Wednesday, September 30, 2009

An English Weekend

The Tower of London

Cambridge's famous mathmatical bridge

A scenic shot of the River Cam

Trinity College and set for the movie Harry Potter

Colin, our trusty tourguide

With our days in London numbered, this past weekend we explored parts of London that we have been wanting to see since we arrived. Our first stop on Saturday was the Tower Of London. One of London's most popular tourist sights the tower's original function was a fortress, a royal palace, and a prison. It has also served as a place of torture and execution (two of Henry VIII's wives were beheaded here), a treasury, a zoo, and Royal Mint. Since 1303, it has also served as the home of Crown Jewels. We were actually able to see many of the past and current crowns used by various UK royalty during coronations and other royal ceremonies. I have to admit that the collection was quite impressive. We even saw the two largest diamonds in the world! We were surprised by the size of the is not just one building but an entire complex and we spent over 4 hours exploring the area. We finished the day with drinks in Camden Town, an area of London known for great people watching.

On Sunday, we headed to the scholarly town of Cambridge. We started our tour of Cambridge by getting belts made at the outdoor craft market and feasting on ostrich burgers. We then headed to the River Cam for a punting tour. Punting, a method of driving a boat by pushing off the botton of the river with a long, skinny pole, is a true artform. We were going to rent our own boat but were happy with our decision to let someone else do the work...especially when we saw several people take an unintentional swim when the boat when one way and the pole went the other! Along our tour we saw several of the 31 colleges that make up Cambridge University. Each college has its own history, traditions, and personality. They all, however, have some amazing architecture. Since we had not rested quite enough on the tour, we found a nice green patch on the river's edge and watched all the tourists attempting to guide their boats down the river. We then headed to a local pub for yet some MORE resting. What a great weekend!

Au Revior!

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