Monday, November 18, 2019

A Wonderful Trip to Cambridge

Monday, November 18, 2019

Before we review the day's events, let's take a look at the weekend's Varese Skorpions U16 and U19 results from the wonderful world of Italian nine-man American football.

It was the best of times, it was the worst of times . . .

 Our powerful U16 team brought home
another win to stay a perfect 5-0
on the season

Our young Skorpions beat the Balangero Blitz (1-3) the yesterday.

Our struggling U19 squad dropped
to 0-5 and is still searching for some
much needed answers

Our older lads ran into the buzzsaw-like Milano Seamen (4-0) on Saturday.

As for today, I was up at decent hour and after a continental breakfast at my hotel, I headed down to the nearby Tube station just in time to get my first ever look at London's Monday morning rush hour traffic filled underground scene.

I couldn't even get onto a passing Central Line until the fourth one arrived at our platform.

Sardines have it better.

I was headed to London's King's Cross train station for the ride northeast to the ultimate English college city (sorry Oxford) of Cambridge.

The reason for going to Cambridge is that our long time friend's Susie and Mark Johnson's oldest daughter Sophie is at Cambridge University's Christ's College in the first year of her three year PhD program.

Obviously, she is bright but she is also becoming quite the young lady and, as it turns out, an excellent tour guide!

In my haste to get there, I mistakingly boarded a local train that had 15 stops to make before reaching Cambridge.

I took a non-stop express train coming back to London, much better!
It took about 30 minutes longer
than anticipated but I made it

The 15 minute walk to our meeting
place in central Cambridge started
at this Christmas tree

Andrew has a college!

Established in 1976?

That just does not cut it in this ancient city!

On the other hand, these do
indeed cut it unless you are
trying to lose weight

Which I am.

Remembering Cambridge's
War Dead

 A Catholic Church in Cambridge!

How did King Henry VIII allow this to happen?

NEVER, EVER eat Mexican food
above the 45th parallel!

The colorful entrance to Sophie's
Christ's College

We had not met up yet, so I was unaware that this colorful entrance would play such a key role in our visit after lunch.



I needed to forge on as all of my gawking and the numerous photo ops of this most photogenic of cities were making me late for my designated meeting time with Sophie.

OK, I stopped for just a second
to take this one

Hearts = Laurie, don't you know?

 Sophie Johnson and BLUE SKIES
in front of the King's College Chapel

Though we basked in a highly unusual cloudless day, it was still quite brisk.

OK, a quick recap of Cambridge University's history is in order, so here goes . . .

It is fourth oldest university in the western world.

In the UK, only Oxford University is older.

Cambridge is a public research university founded in 1209 A.D.

Cambridge University is made up of 31 constituent colleges and 100 academic departments.

Cambridge University has produced 116 Nobel Prize winners.

Now that's impressive, don't you agree?

The King's College Chapel is both
huge and gorgeous inside and out

The King's College Chapel's
ceiling is intricate to say the least

 The stained glass is fantastic too

Of course they had a
magnificent organ!

 The Choir was richly carved

As for that ceiling,
I was mesmerized!

With Sophie in the
King's College Chapel

LOVE those curls!

 Jesus with an attitude?

He must have just been chasing the money lenders out of the Temple when He posed for this wood carving.

 One last look at the magnificent
King's College Chapel

Punting on the River Cam

Not too many punters were poling on this raw day.

King's College Chapel
in the background


I MUST be strong!

And I was.

Interesting clock with a
locust "eating" time

 Here is what the locust's
feeding frenzy looks like

At last, LUNCH at the Eagle Pub!

It was highly recommended by Sophie's Father, Mark.

The Eagle does indeed have
its own history just like
almost everything in Cambridge

It also has a solid steak and ale pie and a mulled wine that really hit my palate perfectly.

Mark's suggestion did not disappoint me in the least.

The R.A.F. Airmen's WWII
graffiti ceiling

 I found this room just as
epic as the rest of this great pub

The Tree of Life

More, in depth, info on
the Eagle Pub's story

 Gonville & Caius College

I think, I was getting confused a bit by this point on hard charging Sophie's fine tour.

Caius, by the way, is pronounced "Keys."

What a language!

Stealth bicyclist's are the top
danger in Cambridge

The entrance to Trinity College

Tread lightly here my friend, the Porters who guard Trinity are considered to be the Gestapo of the Cambridge University Porter Brigade.

We did not dare to approach any closer due to our shared concern for our health and safety.

Sir Isaac Newton, a Trinity alum,
lived just behind that,
you guessed it, apple tree

Speaking of DNA, this tree is said to be a direct descendant of the one that plunked Sir Isaac on the head back in the day.

I just liked the angel

 I have no idea which College this
is but I liked the look

Great Goats!
Just loving the architecture

 A view of the River Cam from the
"Bridge of Sighs" at St. John's College

St. John's College, I believe

Wild Mushrooms on the
St. John's College Green


 How can I make this better?

 There you go!

 More of St. John's College

The Round Church

Well, it is.

Sophie's favorite Cambridge
cheese shop  

The aromas were AMAZING
if you love cheese

And I DO!

We were winding up the tour with a stop at Sophie's own campus, Christ's College.

 Charles Darwin was a
Christ's College alum

"Souvent Me Souvient"

This Christ's College motto translates to "I Often Remember."

Christ high above have namesake
college's buildings

This Eagle lectern is in the
modest Christ's Church Chapel

A few weeks ago, Sophie was asked to read some lines of Scripture during a religious ceremony here in the Chapel from this very same lectern.

 Rams beat the Bears yesterday

A Christ's College
dining room

The Green behind Christ's College

 John Milton's Mulberry Tree

Milton was another Christ's College alum who is said to have drawn great inspiration for his writing's while sitting by this very tree.

The College is going to great length to save the tree as you can perhaps see. 

A young, smart and dashing
Charles Darwin . . .

. . . was WAY too much
for Sophie to resist!

Sorry Susie and Mark, but she is smitten.

A GREAT Christ's College
Red Dragon!

We opted for one last stop before going our separate ways at a preferred coffee house of Sophie's.

I had a hot chocolate and she
opted for some hot tea . . .

. . . we agreed to split one,
and ONLY one, Chelsea Bun

I can't be strong all of the time now can I?

It was really good!

We said our good-byes at this point and I can't thank Sophie enough for today, it was a GREAT day for me at Cambridge.

Now for the walk back to the train station . . .


A random monument


There is a 50-50 chance that Sophie's Dad, Mark, has something to do with this statue being in Cambridge.

I love Church doorways

A majestic church tower

The foyer of London's
King's Cross Train Station
was stunning

 I have no idea what this was about,
but it drew a huge crowd of people
for some magical reason

That is King's Cross' exterior view

I hopped onto the nearby Tube for the trek back to my hotel but had to make a change at the . . .

 . . . station

Yes, THAT Baker Street

Wait a second, was Sherlock the man blowing those HUGE bubbles yesterday for the kids?

A Memorial to the
Metropolitan Railway Workers
who gave their lives in the service
of King and Country

I believe this is from WWI.

Physical Fitness is

I think that Sophie tried to kill me today without my even realizing it.

OK, the fun and games in London are OVER!

Bright and early tomorrow morning, I fly to Vienna to start the Europe Warriors U18 team's crash, three day, five practices training for next Sunday's game vs. the Austrian U18 National team.

Should be interesting . . .

Once again,