Outskirt of London
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Let's start from the nearest, Greenwich, which is actually a borough of Greater London on the southern bank of Thames River. First stop is the National Maritime Museum, the largest of its kind in the world. If you ever found Brits too cocky or arrogant, you may likely find the origin here, from how the ocean helped establishing and shaping the empire where the sun never set, once upon a time the greatest empire on this planet.
An amazing collection of ships, ship models, instruments, and other maritime objects. Too much history, too much pride...
The Greenwich Royal Observatory, the original site where the 0 degree longitude (the Prime Meridian) was established in 1884. Stepping on the line that split the world, cool! This is the original site of the observatory, the research activity was actually moved away starting in the 1940s, because heavy London fog had made astronomical observation extremely difficult.
The astronomical instrument collections and the view of London from the hilltop.
The town of Greenwich. The first pic is the Queen's House.
This is Cutty Sark, the fastest tea clipper ship in late 17th century, racing around the Cape of Good Hope for lucrative tea trade with China.
Cambridge. College town and learning center in central England. University of Cambridge is constantly rank among the greatest educational institutions in Europe, and the world. It's amazing how medieval this world-class research institute looks, at least to an American. I wonder how graduate students here feel about living in these hundreds-year-old building, breathing such archaic air, while doing cutting-edge scientific research?
The 2nd oldest institution after University of Oxford, Cambridge was formed by students from Oxford and University of Paris in early 13th century. A long academic history leave many historic sites like these: Cavendish Laboratory (1st pic); J. J. Thompson discovered the primary electronic charge here in 1897 (2nd pic); the Eagles, a popular bar whose ale has catalyzed many important discovers including the double-helix structure of DNA (1950s). Among the statues of many scholastic giants in Trinity College, I could name only Newton, Bacon, and Tynneson (what a shame). However, I didn't think Charles Darwin got his due respect, for his statue was placed in a dark and shabby corner next to a laundry room (last pic). Personally I think Darwin's profound influence on sciences and modern thought in general can be matched only by Isaac Newton. Guess the Darwinian theory was (and still is) so ground-shaking to theology that there was plenty of bitter feeling about this gentle and brilliant scientist. Well, the least I could do was pay him a tribute.
Trinity College is the largest and probably the most famous among the 31 colleges in Cambridge. Among the alumni are Prince Charles, King Edward VII, and George VI. We were very impressed by the library, with scriptures from great intellects including Newton, Hamilton, and Milne (3rd pic). The last 3 pix is a little chapel of the college.
King's College. It's been a Vandalic tradition that the naughty students replace the mace of the King's statue in the front gate with all kinds of ridiculous objects. Now in July of 2006, it's a wooden leg from a desk (1st 3 pix).
The Chapel of King's College, a late Gothic style
structure, are now widely viewed as the symbol of Cambridge.
Boating on the Cam River. In the last 2 pix is the Mathematic Bridge, reportedly designed by Newton, then without a single nail. Some nosy people wanted to study how Newton did it and took it apart, but they never able to put every back together. At the end they had to nail the wood back together.
St. John's College, the 2nd largest college and bitter competitors of Trinity. The elaborated bridge with a roof is call Bridge of Sighs, which resembles the more famous one in Venice.
Other beautiful corners of the campus.
Windsor Castle. A thousand-year old fortress and the largest inhabited castle in the world. The history of the castle can be traced back to the days of William the Conqueror, who first constructed a wooden military base in the current site. Since then the castle has been changed, renovated, rebuilt over its 1000 years of history. Today the Windsor Castle is one of the principle residences of the royal family. Near the entrance of the castle stood a statue of Queen Victoria (3rd pic), whose reign marked the most glorious years of the British empire.
Entering the castle, feeling the stout stone wall and the small slit for crossbows and firearms, we can clearly see that the castle's purpose as a military fortress is well served.
The Upper Ward, or simply the Courtyard.
The Round Tower, a place to store, Underneath it is a beautiful garden.
St. George's Hall (1st pic), the ceiling of this huge room is decorated by the coat of arm of all knights of garter. The last 3 pix is the miniature Doll House built for Queen Mary in 1920.
The Lower Ward.
St. George's Chapel, a Perpendicular Gothic cathedral.
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