Saturday, 16 July 2011

East Anglia Tour

On Wednesday, July 6th, we met up with Janet Jeacock (our resident historical expert) for a day exploring East Anglia.

An overview of our travels for the day
We started out from Hughes Hall and Janet added in some bonus Cambridge history as we traveled to our first stop at the American Cemetery of Cambridge - a sad, but beautiful, place focused primarily on remembering the soldiers lost during World War II.  Despite the forecast for rain, we arrived to find gorgeous blue skies, which made the grounds that much more striking.

Gathered together under the flag
From the flag toward the Memorial building
The beautifully maintained grounds
 The flag from the memorial building
Inside the memorial building - a stunning artistic rendering of combat

From the cemetery, we headed on to Ely and the Ely Cathedral (which began construction in the 11th century) where we had an excellent tour of the historic building. 

The Muppets take Ely Cathedral

"The Creation" of an economist?

The impressive cathedral exterior
And even more impressive interior...
We split up into two groups to climb the cathedral's well known octagon tower.  There we found exquisite views of the painted panels and a dizzying look down into the the Nave below.

Our next stop: up!

Peering down into the nave

Peeking out through the panels
Our tour of the upper portion of the cathedral culminated with a visit to the top of the tower where we enjoyed lovely views of the town below and even watched a rain shower pass over the southeastern landscape. 
A view of the west tower from the octagon tower

Gabriella warming up in a sunny patch

Our guide giving us the lay of the land

Erik F taking in the sites

The town of Ely below

Some of the doorways were a little tight for our tall group
But we all managed to squeeze through...

From the tower tour we rejoined Janet for a guided walk around the ground floor of the building.  It was interesting to note that this cathedral contains no crypt due to the swampy nature of the area - according to our guides it would undoubtedly flood.  But we did see a few tombs and even had two willing volunteers try out a stone sarcophagus for size...

Janet pointing out some notable aspects of the cathedral
A small example of the spectacular stained glass which filled the building
The lounging bishop
Jeff is an almost perfect fit...

But Gabriella is like a bug in a rug... Maybe we should leave her for the next group?
It was then back on the coach for lunch as we made our way to the next stop of the day: Bury St Edmunds and the Abby gardens and ruins (plus a quick stop at the smallest pub in Britain!).

The Abby entrance

The meticulous gardens

Stopping to smell the flowers...

Some of the ancient abbey ruins
Our time in Bury St Edmunds wrapped up with a trip to the smallest pub in England - it only holds ten patrons comfortably!  A few students managed to squeeze in for a pint.

The tiniest pub in Britain
Erik F, Vishal, Sam and Ruben stop for a pint

Our last stop on the East Anglia circuit was the town of Lavenham, one of the best preserved medieval towns in England.  It is filled with the historical timber framed houses, a number of which are famous for their precarious looking nature (due to the houses often being built with green wood), and their pink color (from ox blood added to the house paint).

The Crooked House of Lavenham
We capped off our visit with a round of cream tea at the Swan - a lovely (and delicious!) break after a full day.

The Swan

The group relaxes with cream tea

From there it was back home to Cambridge before an evening walk followed by group discussion about the Keynes book at a local pub.

Sam reading the plaque at Keynes' boyhood home

We found more than a few familiar names on this plaque...

Paas' students next to the Paas' plaque

Team dinner and discussion at the pub - still smiling after a long day!

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