Continuing from the last Postcard from the UK, here comes the penultimate edition…
Jyothi is here!
My wife, Jyothi, had arrived in Cambridge. No wonder things brightened up – after all, her name is Jyothi. It was an apt time to sing, ‘Bahaaron Phool Barsaao Mera Mehboob Aayaa Hai!’.
As Jyothi is familiar with Cambridge having visited the city in 2022, both of us began venturing out together allowing Sid & Prerana to catch up with their work.
On some days, Jyothi & I would reach the City Centre by bus and Sid and Prerana would join us there after a few hours of work that they would have put in already.
Inner weather and Outer weather
Fluffy clouds floating against an azure blue sky, the gentle River Cam flowing along the historic King’s College flanked by rolling grassy meadows occasionally interrupted by a field of swaying daisies, and tourists enjoying their walks or their punting in the splendid Cambridge weather.
By the way, during such times, to enjoy such a vacation, the inner weather is more important than the outer weather.
My wife, Jyothi, and I walk across the city, sometimes more than 10 km in a day, stopping like curious children on the way to peep into quaint lanes, getting into small shops to browse their wares, sitting outside tiny cafes to enjoy a cup of coffee, and occasionally to take a picture.
I am deeply aware that these are fleeting moments meant to be savored.
Which is exactly what we are doing.
During this vacation, we were lost in our own world. But we were not alone. See the notice below spotted during our walk in the area of Girton. I hope Gimli returns to his parents soon…
Cambridge – an eventful city!
Around the colleges, one can spot so many notifications of upcoming events. I am sure this youthful buzz makes the city vibrant.
Fall of Apple
Sid showed us this unusual apple tree.
This Flower of Kent apple tree, which grows outside the entrance to Trinity College, was originally grafted from the actual tree that resides at Newton’s childhood home in Woolsthorpe Manor, Lincolnshire. Cambridge’s apple tree is an offshoot of the authentic tree now cared for by the National Trust, where Newton first saw the apple fall from its branches. To honor his links to the university and contributions to science, this tree was planted in 1954. (Wikipedia)
Sid & I had tried visiting the various historical colleges of Cambridge. However, we had to postpone our visit to the following week as most colleges were holding their May Ball events and the colleges were closed for visitors.
May Ball is a ball that is held at the end of the academic year at the colleges of the University of Cambridge. The tradition of May Balls started in the 1830s. A May Ball is an elaborate and lavish affair and the tickets are fairly expensive. The event begins in the evening and, as I understand, lasts until dawn.
Once Jyothi was in Cambridge, we joined Sid and visited the colleges. As he was a University of Cambridge staffer, he could take us inside the colleges.
We visited Corpus Christi College (founded in 1352) King’s College (1441), St John’s College (1511), and Trinity College (1546). To imagine that such ancient institutions are in a fully functional state is indeed remarkable. Many of these colleges have Nobel laureates, Prime Ministers, Presidents, and other global dignitaries in their list of alumni.
Monumental structures steeped in history, hallowed halls, architectural wonders, intricate and elaborate motifs, manicured lawns, verdant greenery, exotic plants, and hushed silence summarises our tour of the colleges.
As we toured these colleges, I wished I had studied in one of these colleges. However, the good part is that, as parents, we get an opportunity to redeem ourselves. I am so happy that the children – both Sid & Prerana – got to study in such prestigious institutions for their Masters & their PhDs.
Later, Jyothi & I got an opportunity to watch the Service at the King’s College chapel on one of the mornings. The Service lasted for over 2 hours. What a solemn ceremony!
On one of the days, after the visit to colleges, Jyothi & I headed to The Granta, an iconic pub situated on the quietest and most picturesque stretch of the River Cam between Cambridge centre and Mill Pond. The location offers stunning views (see picture below) from the comfort of their spacious decked garden which is perfect for sunny days. The weather was just perfect!
BIN there done that!
Cambridge’s iconic Singing Bin Man, Charlie Cavey, has been singing out of a litter bin for over 20 years now.
One day he looked at an empty litter bin and thought, ‘I could fit in there’. From there began a journey of singing. At that time, he hadn’t learned how to strum the guitar but now he is often surrounded by people listening to him. We were there too.
To my mind, Charlie’s is an unusual case of ‘BIN there done that’.
I was thinking that if he were to ever sing a Hindi song, as he is so attached to the bin, he could look at the bin and sing, ‘Tum BIN Jaaoon Kahaan’…
Travel leads us to unusual discoveries.
Well, what’s Life without travel
I was interviewed by for a Happiness Project at Christ’s Pieces, Cambridge.
This one is a project in phases. They are keen on my future participation.
They loved the idea of my 66-page e-book titled, ’31 Ways to Reclaim Your Happiness’, and my book of Quotes titled, ‘366 Insights for Life’.
As we go along, they will be getting in touch with me to talk about the different aspects of happiness.
Well, this opportunity made me happy.
The Bridge of Sighs
The Bridge of Sighs (translated from the Italian name, Ponte dei Sospiri) is a bridge in Venice, Italy. The enclosed bridge is made of white limestone, has windows with stone bars, passes over the Rio di Palazzo, and connects the New Prison (Prigioni Nuove) to the interrogation rooms in the Doge’s Palace. It was built in 1600.
The view from the Bridge of Sighs was the last view of Venice that convicts saw before their imprisonment. The bridge’s English name was bequeathed by Lord Byron in the 19th century as a translation from its Italian name, from the suggestion that prisoners would sigh at their final view of beautiful Venice through the window before being taken down to their cells. (Wikipedia)
Jyothi, Sid & I had visited the Bridge of Sighs at Venice during our Europe tour several years ago.
The Bridge of Sighs in Cambridge is a stone covered bridge at St John’s College. It was built in 1831 and crosses the River Cam between the college’s Third Court and New Court. Designed by architect, Henry Hutchinson, it is named after the Bridge of Sighs in Venice, although they have little architecturally in common beyond the fact that they are both covered bridges with arched bases.
Visit to the Bridge of Sighs at Venice & Cambridge – ticked!
Sigh! The days are galloping ahead! The vacation will end soon…
Coming up in the final Postcard from the UK: A visit to Letchworth Garden City and onwards to Hitchin Lavender Fields, a visit to the pocket city of Ely, visiting Sid’s workplace, and the riverside walk from Cambridge to the neighboring village of Grantchester.