The Cam Bridge
We had heard of Cambridge for literally decades, but had no idea where the name came from until we visited. Those who live nearby or are more familiar with the area may think it is very elementary, but it came as a revelation to us to learn that both the town and the university are named for an actual bridge which crosses the Cam River at this spot. The Cam is not a large river and the bridge is not particularly impressive, but it dates back for many hundreds of years. This picture is of our nephew, Alan Wheeler, with the Cam Bridge behind him.
Something a lot of people miss...
Something a lot of people miss initially when they look at the Great Gate (me included) is the fact that the statue of Henry VIII is holding a chair leg in his right hand! This used to be an sceptre, but was replaced long ago by mischievious students. Oh, what imps they were!
The information about this chair leg prank was told to us by the guide on our punt tour. I would recomend such a tour to anyone - if you get a good guide you can learn so much, and it's much more interesting than a guide book!
Is that any choice at all ? Take it or leave it...
A visit to Hobson's Conduit on the corner of Lensfield Road and Trumpington street is worth doing, perhaps on the way to exploring the open areas past the backs.
The conduit spilt up water that came into the town from hills to the south. It then ran along various channels or 'runnels', some of which can still be seen at the side of the streets in the area.
More famously, his business (from which he could afford part-sponsorship of the fresh water system) was in delivering mail to London. This ran from some nearby stables.
As a side-line he also rented out horses. In an impressive piece of animal husbandry for the time (1570-1630) he would only allow someone to hire the horse nearest to the road (and thus the most rested animal).
If you wanted a horse - it was your only option. This is thus the source of the phrase 'Hobson's choice'.
The Cambridge Union is a society where many important debates are held. It's probably not quite as well known as the Oxford Union, nor does it attract the same amount of famous speakers, yet for any Cambridge student with political aspiration, it's a starting point on the road to fame.
Live Music, Nice Atmosphere
The Portland Arms, just outside of the center, is worth the walk if there's interesting music going on in the back room. There is a folk and acoustic night on Fridays. It's usually good, and the cover is not usually too bad. Otherwise, its still a nice pub, decorated with traditional English pub decor (ie., horrid carpets).