As promised, today’s post will be the second part (of three) of my time abroad in Cambridge. While yesterday I showed you all pictures of King’s College and Bodley’s court, today’s post will be about punting, being out and about in town, and the Cambridge Union Society.
Many of you may be thinking “what is punting?” I actually did not know/had never heard of punting until I arrived in Cambridge. A punt is a flat-bottomed boat with a square-cut bow which is designed for use in small rivers and other shallow water. Punting refers to boating in a punt. Well, this is quite a big tradition in Cambridge amongst the college students. During my first few days there a few friends and I decided to try punting out for ourselves. Let me say it is a lot harder than it looks. The name of our punt was “Step to Heaven”. All of the punts are named different things, for example another was named “Point Turn.” While punting we got some great views of the colleges in Cambridge, some of which I will post below so you all can see.
While punting we were shown many of the colleges at Cambridge and had a chance to take some fantastic pictures:
(view of King’s College and Bodley’s Court from the River Cam)
(Bridge of Sighs)
The Bridge of Sighs has quite a cool bit of history to it. The Bridge of Sighs belongs to St. John’s College and was built in 1831. It is named after the Bridge of Sighs which is located in Venice. The Bridge of Sighs is one of Cambridge’s most famous tourist attractions and it is believed that it was Queen Victoria’s favorite spot in the city. A common myth about the origin of the name is that it was the Cambridge students who named this bridge the “bridge of sighs” due to the “sighs” heard from pre-exam students.
Along with punting, I did a lot of walking around in town to see what Cambridge had to offer. Cambridge of course is quite small and most of the shops closed around 5-6 p.m. This being said I was able to still get a glimpse into Cambridge life. On one of my first afternoons there my friend, Donna, and I decided to try Auntie’s Tea Shop for an afternoon tea and sandwiches.
In addition to Auntie’s Tea Shop, I was also a regular at Benets (located on King’s Parade), an awesome coffee and ice cream shop
While on the program, the program assistant also had different activities that we could participate in. Since Afternoon Tea is quite a big deal in the U.K., the program assistants set up an afternoon tea in Pembroke College in the Thomas Gray Room. We learned about the history of the room and were shown two drawings hidden behind the paneling of the room. Additionally, we were informed of the correct way in which one makes an English scone: the jam goes on first and then the clotted cream goes on top second . You can see my wonderful example below and a picture of Pembroke College.
(The proper way to make your scone )
Another place of significance, where I spent a majority of my time, was the Cambridge Union Society. The Cambridge Union Society , which is commonly referred to as “Cambridge Union”, is a debating society in Cambridge. It was founded in 1815, and has developed a worldwide reputation of free speech and open debate. The Cambridge Union is the model for the foundation of similar societies at other universities such as the Oxford Union and the Yale Political Union. During the summer the Cambridge Union was where most of my classes took place, where most of the programs were held, and was a popular spot among the summer students.
Join me again tomorrow, where I will conclude the trilogy on Cambridge. High Table formal dinners and the King’s College library to come!