It would seem that it has been rather a long time since I was a regular blogger on this blog. If I were the type of person who made New Year's Resolutions, I might resolve to be a better blogger for you this year. But since I'm not, how about I just try harder to blog more than four times this year. It's not that I don't have plenty of pictures and stories of the places where I've gone, I just don't ever manage to sit down and write something for the five people that read this blog, including Andrea (hi Moglie!).
I think a good place for me to start getting caught up, would be Cambridge. I don't mean that imposter Cambridge, the one in Massachusetts, I mean the first, real, original Cambridge in the UK. While returning home from Zambia last year, I stopped off in Cambs for a few days to visit with my friend, and amazing hostess, K. After 3 weeks in Zambia, I flew 14 hours, and was a little bit disoriented trying to find the National Express hub at Heathrow. But when I finally found it, and saw that there was a Caffe Nero (my favorite!) this is what I looked like...oh yeah, that bad.
I rode for nearly 3 hours from London to Cambridge, where K met me. Almost as soon as I arrived, I realized that 5 days would not be nearly enough time to fully absorb a city that's been around for 2,000 years. I had a bit of rest, and then we were off for lunch, a bit of sightseeing, and and of course, mint chocolate chip ice cream!
We stopped off at The Eagle Pub, the site where in 1667, Crick and Watson announced the "secret of life"-- DNA.
The Eagle is owned by Corpus Christi College, and is one of the larger pubs in the city. In the back, there is the RAF bar, where the ceiling has graffiti from US airmen and sailors during WWII.
Cambridge gets its name from the River Cam, and very popular pasttime in the area is "punting" down the river in a flat-bottomed boat with a 5m pole used to steer, and propel the boat forward. It was still a little chilly when I got there, so I opted just to watch. Next time, I'll definitely give it a try.
On the next day, we visited Anglesey Abbey, where K spends a lot of time volunteering, and coordinating many activities on the grounds. According to wikipedia, "Anglesey Abbey is a country house, formerly a priory, in the village of Lode. The house and its grounds are owned by the National Trust [think of it like the American version of The National Park Service/Department of the Interior]...The grounds were laid out in an 18th-century style by the estate's last private owner, the 1st Baron Fairhaven, in the 1930s...The 1st Lord Fairhaven also improved the house and decorated its interior with a valuable collection of furniture, pictures and objets d'art."
Everything there was so green, and looked so lush. I could have spent several hours just wandering around the grounds and looking at all the fun things in the gardens.
While there, I seem to have developed a fascination with doors that carried me through the rest of my trip there. Even the most basic doors would draw my attention, and I still can't explain why. I promise I'll post later with all the pictures of the doors that I found...or maybe not. ;) Anyway, let me give you an example. This door, was a service door to one of the many kitchens (I think):
This is the door to a garden. See what I mean?
This was a pretty exciting day for me. The Abbey is loaded with all sorts of interesting pieces of art, jewelry, and clothing from Lord Fairhaven. The clothes were so tiny, think that they probably would have fit someone about 14 years old in the contemporary US:
When we walked into the library, one of the first things I noticed were the cross-hatched windows. Upon closer examination, I realized that people had etched their names on the glass. Before I was able to get upset at 'thoughtless tourists defacing historic sites,'I learned that it was actually Lord Fairhaven and his friends who etched their names into the class in celebration of the Allied defeat of Nazi Germany. You'll see that some of them are dated May 8th 1945, the date of the formal recognition of the end of WWII.
After an exciting afternoon at the Abbey, we'd worked up quite an appetite. K and I stopped off at a local pub, a historic one to be sure, but I can't remember the name now, where her friend A joined us for dinner. I of course had fish and chips with a pint of beer. After dinner, I needed dessert. K and A told me I had to learn that if I wanted dessert, I had to ask for pudding. It's all very strange to me, but as you can see, I fully embraced this one: