Saturday, April 25, 2015

Walking Around in the City and History - My Second and Third Week in Cambridge

Three  weeks passed, I bought the bike, got the simcard, opened a bank account, received my first month salary, even did a business trip to meet UCL folks in London. I think I really settled down into Cambridge. Except occasionally, I applied very bad Scandinavian humour untimely. I think I am getting more and more familiar with every thing here, even with that peculiar accent.

Beside always being overwhelmed with research work, I finished a very thick book on British history. The book is in Chinese, almost 400 pages and covers the history from 6000 BC to 2000 AD. Due to this large time span, the book cannot really dig into details. Luckily, the author is a very good storyteller. Instead of stating "cold" fact, she narrated a lively and coherent story. It is quite funny that history used to be the subject I hated most when I was in the middle school and high school. I remember clearly I complained to my mom every day that when I had to remember so many names and why we had such a long history. However, things started changing as I am getting older. I realised you simply cannot get rid of history, and history itself, always repeats itself. I sometimes made fun of myself in front of my colleagues -- "Well, you know, maybe it is because I am becoming part of the history now ... fading away ...."

Except the Friday's happy hour (which is a long tradition in the Computer Laboratory in Cambridge University) when I usually go and grab a pint, I did not really visit pubs or bars. But I did visited Fitzwilliam museum and King's College and its famous Chapel. Recall that I have told you the importance of your university card in my previous post. Because of the card, I am not only able to visit the place for free but also can take two guest free of charge. Lovely!

Fitzwilliam museum and a corner in King's college.

Magnificent view of the King's College and its famous Chapel.

People are punting on the famous river Cam in such a lovely weather.

I certainly have to mention my first visit to the Cambridge University Library. In total, the Cambridge University has over one hundred library and every faculty may also have its own library. The main university library is very close to the lab, less than five minutes bike ride. To get into the library, you need a university card. I think the public can also get in as long as they apply the card from the registration office. I was completely impressed by the historical atmosphere at the moment when I set my foot in the hall. Such a sharp and strong contrast to the Kaisa library and Kumpula library which are the exemplars of the modernism and functionalism in Scandinavian design.

Cambridge University main library, feels like in Harry Potter movie.

Last thing, a side note, the water in Cambridge is really really hard. The moment I opened the kettle lid in the kitchen, I was impressed again, like I was impressed before by the library. I made fun of my British colleagues - "Are you growing (sea) fish in the kettle, this definitely looks like coral ...." However, I have been drinking it anyway since all others are drinking it. You know, "When in Rome, do as the Romans do".

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