Sunday, 1 June 2008

A trip to Cambridge

Well, yesterday was a beautiful day, wasn't it? So, rather than stay at home, it saw us trundling up to Cambridge for a day out of pleasure of both body (real ale) and mind (sightseeing).

Setting off from King's Cross - it always adds something, I think, if your journey starts from an iconic gateway - we arrived at Cambridge in time for a spot of lunch at first stop, the lovely 'Live and Let Live' pub. This is one of those places that you wish was your local. It's small and cosy, but clearly a lively place, rooted in its community. And, of course, it does some really good real ales. Everard’s Tiger Bitter and Nethergate Umbel are the regulars, the latter a pale summer ale with a subtle touch of coriander. One of our friends commented that he only likes coriander in curries and in carrot and coriander soup, but I disagree: I think it goes really well in beer.

Then for me it was off to visit the Chapel of King's College. It was a building that I have wanted to visit for a long time, and it didn't disappoint. Indeed, one of the most pleasurable aspects was discovering elements, like the stunning stained glass and the astonishing heraldic carvings, that I wasn't expecting, alongside elements like the glorious fan vaulting, for which it is best known. Then, I went across the road to the church of Great St Mary, the University Church. It's not the most exciting interior, but the views from the tower are excellent.

So, with the mind suitably refreshed, it was off across the Cam to the Pickerel for another pint (or two) - Woodforde Wherry (very nice) and Nelson’s Revenge (also very nice). This pub is supposedly the oldest in Cambridge, and clearly has a history as a Coaching Inn, as well as just being a nice pub. Next stop was the Eagle, back in town. Another historic pub with connections to Corpus Christi, it was also where Wilson and Crick used to relax after their work at the Cavendish Laboratory, and was where they chose to first announce their discovery of DNA. Another old Coaching Inn, it gets very busy with tourists and students alike, whereas the Pickerel and Live and Let Live both have quieter atmospheres.

So, it all made for a perfect day out. That, and the weather, of course...

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