Monday, October 26, 2009

Bridge of Sighs




Because sometimes its just nice to look at stunning things...

How gorgeous is this? I crossed this bridge, daily, while attending Cambridge University in England. Besides being built roughly in 1209, and being the second oldest university in the English speaking world, it is simply beautiful.

So during my stint there, this bridge was my primary means to get on the main campus where I studied ancient legal structure and the formation of legal societies, laws, and the court system. Graduate study at Cambridge, while intense, was one of the utmost privileges.

And while attending, I watched the punters traveling down the river and even gave it go several times myself. And I sipped on many a pint after spending hours reading about Hammurabi's code (which of course, the former is a direct by-product of the doing the latter).

This is the Bridge of Sighs, named after the Bridge of Sighs in Venice although purportedly, not remotely similar. It was built in 1831 and Queen Victoria claimed it to be her favorite spot in the city. I have my own rationale behind the name but it involves a certain Italian Professor whispering terms of endearment in my ear one night on that bridge. Bridge of Sighs, indeed.

And of course, there were other charming blokes running around that impressive campus. Well, someone had to periodically captain that punting boat for me, yes?

To walk amongst the ghosts of former attendees was an awe-inspiring opportunity. And every time I crossed this arch, it felt like traveling back in time.

Cambridge is a lovely place including our many visits to the lone "nightclub" in Cambridge in which one could witness the masses dancing. I saw a lot quite a bit of dancing. Or actually, what looked more like people with dry heaves, which just proves that regardless of continent or country, it takes all kinds of dancers to fill the floor.

And watching everyone get "arse over tit" as we were told, which included us of course, well, that did make for big fun on more than one occasion.

I also had my first "shandy" there in which they mix beer with a splash of sprite or lemonade. Of course you haven't heard of such a thing. Most grown people have not. Go ahead and make fun for drinking sugar beer, you won't be the first. My little brother who historically prefers straight vodka asked you drank what?

However, not so fast if you are still pounding down the Miller Lites which contain as much kick as Sprite. But when you go somewhere and all they have on tap is Cambridge Amber and Charles River Porter which are as thick as mud and as powerful as moonshine, a little something to lighten the fare is never a bad idea. A girl had to study after all.



76 comments:

Inspiration in Italy said...

These photos are incredible and I loved this post.

xoxo
Rachel

sheila said...

Wow, stunning! One day maybe I can see the in person. At least I can dream. :)

Severus Snape said...

Your claim to be a latter day Zuleika Dobson is sadly marred by you getting the name wrong. It's shandy. Shanty is a song popular with sailors (and no doubt Italian professors).

Jess @ Frugal with a Flourish said...

Ohhh ... how beautiful! And I love your writing style! Stopping by from SITS to say Hi!

Joshua said...

I am adding this to my list for the next time the wife and I make it out of the U.S. Stunning.

Joshua
http://techparent42.blogspot.com

JennyMac said...

Ahhh Severus...thanks for the heads up. I have seen it both ways but will trust anyone who knows the femme fatale Zuleika.

Shandy is it.

mo.stoneskin said...

The problem with Cambridge is the cyclists. Hate them!

'Shanty'? You mean 'shandy' right? Also known as 'lager tops'. Horrible stuff, diluting a nice beer like that is a crime!

Liza said...

I had my first Shandy in Australia, Bitter Beer mixed with what they call Lemonade (which I call lemon soda--delicious for all you doubters, and I LIKE beer. My husband's father used to drink them during WWII. He said the actual name was "Shandygaff"--shandy for short. Yum.

Shorty said...

A truly beautiful bridge! I love historical artifacts like that, and would love to visit them some day... How wonderful that you were able to share in its beauty up close and personal like that!

Mommy Mac said...

Sister.

What have NOT done?


Wait.

Don't answer that.

I love the layers you have to your life.

Very cool to see how well versed you are.

I do the whole can of lemonade thrown in a six pack of beer.

What could we call that?

.mac :)

Tammy Howard said...

I drank more than a couple few shandies this summer - turned a few other folks on to them, too. Much better than it sounds!!!

These pictures are indeed beautiful - what an amazing opportunity - what an amazing experience.

The Peach Tart said...

Beautiful. I had no idea you studied there.

Molly said...

I was an exchange student in London in high school....and I brought my mother back a watercolor of the Bridge of Sighs! How funny!

Suzyhayze said...

Sometimes I get so sad when I think I may never get the chance to see these things. Thanks for the view.

vanilla said...

Work in London allowed time for one daytrip. Chose Cambridge and so glad I did.

Vodka Logic said...

I had a shandy when I was in England last December and hated it. Didn't care for the cider either.

Luckily their vodka is like ours lol..

Beautiful pictures and how lucky to have studied in the UK

Erin M. said...

I am jealous that you studied there. I bow down and grovel at your feet!

I have not heard it called a "shandy" here. My husband makes a similar concoction, but terms it, "Beermonade." He's mighty proud of himself, as you can imagine. Now I can steal his thunder and tell him it wasn't his invention! LOL!

A Year on the Grill said...

What a great post. I love your stories. And don't get me started on Hammurabi's code... sure, the jerk has a code, but he still owes me twenty bucks

confused homemaker said...

Learn something new about you every post, eh? I love bridges, looking at them (in photos) but not so much actually crossing them. And I'd think a shandy doesn't sound so bad, different but not bad.

Girl With The Golden Touch said...

That is beautiful :) xx

Dan. said...

How long has it been since you have been in the UK JM? I have only been to Cambridge once, and that was an accident after getting on the wrong train-a nonstop to Cambridge, took me two hours. But I have always heard it’s a lovely place. Great photos, and you must have loved some of the peculiar English expressions.

Jules said...

That's just gorgeous! You've lived like 20 different lives, I swear!!!

Geez Louise♥ said...

This is s a beautiful post!!!! The bridge is amazing!

Hope your having a wonderful day JennyMac!

Chrystal

Mom in High Heels said...

Beautiful photos! It was raining when we visited Cambridge a few years back. Boo! How lucky were you to get to study there? Jealous!
In Germany, there is a drink called Raddler (or Rattler, I can never remember which), that is half krystalweizen (a pale beer) or pilz and half "limonade" which is like Sprite, but more lemony. I LOVE THIS DRINK. It is so freaking good. I was bummed I didn't get one when we went to Oktoberfest, but I made up for it later. :)

Baloney said...

If I could go back in time I would have done a year abroad in college. How fun!
I've learned something new today. Shandy... hmmmm...

Michael Rivers said...

Wonderful bridge. I would love to see it in person. Seeing things like this is my favorite part of travel.

Eva Gallant said...

beautiful photo and great post!

Jen said...

oh my you lucky girl, studying at Cambridge - the photos are lovely. Maybe someday when the kids are grown I can get over there and see it in person...sigh.

Stephanie said...

Beautiful bridge. Consider me very jealous of you for studying at Cambridge... I only dream of a privilege like that.

Nat said...

Thats such a beautiful bridge. I love the scenery in England, its where we always go for holidays ( as we have family there).

Something Happened Somewhere Turning said...

What a cool post. Glad you shared this bit of history.

darsden said...

Absolutely stunning! I love the architect of the bridge awesome pictures of it. Just beautiful.

JenJen said...

JennyMac
I love when you get introspective and fanciful.
Today is one of those days.

Good work my friend.

Dumblond said...

Wow. I am now officially intimidated by you...."studied at Cambridge"?! Holy crap...
The pictures are quite beautiful. Thank you for sharing them.

Alicia said...

wow those photos are amazing! and i love your wide array of life experiences....cambridge?! wow!! you rock!

Kristina P. said...

That is living the dream, my friend.

Barbaloot said...

How beautiful. I wish for a moment that I was two people and one of me could go do the Cambridge studying thing, too---while the other me stayed here and continued to enjoy my current life.

DeNae said...

Oh, that bridge...it elicited a full-on moan from me. (Don't tell my husband.)

In my next life, I get to be the one who does graduate work at Cambridge, and you can be the piano teacher, ok?

C'mon, it'll be fun!

Ali said...

Beautiful photo! I may have to give a shandy a go as I'm not a beer lover--wine and rum, on the other hand...

Live.Love.Eat said...

You have such a way of making anything interesting. Although studying at Cambridge and having Italian professors whisper sweet nothings in your ear on a beautiful bridge and talk of shandy is all interesting in and of itself. Still, you tell it so well....

Nyx said...

So I've never had any proclivity to study law, but looking at those photos is beginning to change my mind.

Absolutely stunning.

And I know what a shandy is! Yay food network....

Chic Mama said...

Stunning bridge....and yes what a privilege.Shandy is still very popular here...lol. :0)

Slamdunk said...

Great photos. At least you can fall back on a second career if you ever get tired of the legal system.

Charisse and Holly said...

I would love for one of my children to study somewhere as amazing as this. Of course mama would have to get a flat there to keep an eye on things:) Holly at lifelaughlatte.blogspot.com

Jen said...

very beautiful.

Simon said...

Lemonade shandy at least tastes considerably better than any beer I’ve ever tried. And a Cambridge graduate – I’m impressed. Tough place to get into. I think there was only one Oxbridge acceptance out of my entire sixth form.

The Boob Nazi said...

I need to go back to Venice. And apparently need to get to Cambridge. How beautiful.
Bridge of sighs is purportedly (love that word) named because of the sighs the prisoners would make because it was their last time seeing the fresh air or something. (That's what I was told in Venice.)

HalfAsstic.com said...

Beautiful!
Yes, I do believe I sighed...

Tsquared417 said...

More proof that you are the coolest.

AND a shandy is my favorite!!

ByDSea said...

Absolutely beautiful, and a wonderful read as well!
Cheers!
C

A Lawyer Mom's Musings said...

It's certainly aptly named. I'd sigh with total contentment every time I walked over it.

Grand Pooba said...

Wow. That is seriously beautiful. And I can't believe you went to school at Cambridge! That is amazing and quite the experience I'm sure.

I've got to try that lemonade/beer mixture. Wait til I tell my husband, he's gonna flip!

McVal said...

Wow! That's pretty! My 15 yo wants to be an architect someday and that would definitely push her in that direction if she saw it. Maybe I'll show it to her after school today.

Kristin said...

I used to work at an irish pub back in the day and have killed quite a few shandies! Yum! What a fun post.

M-Cat said...

"arse over tit" LOVE it!

And my first drinking experience ever was beer mixed with lemonade.

WTC?

Shop Girl* said...

That is SO beautiful... I adore old architecture. It's how I believe a university campus should look, none of this steel and concrete business. Give me ivy, old stones and beautiful architecture any day of the week!

Chief said...

How could you even focus on anything while living in such a wonderfully beautiful place. Awesome

K a b l o o e y said...

Pix are lovely, recollections were appreciated (peeling the onion and all) and I loved the reader whose husband makes shandys and calls them "beermonade"! Absolutely love that word and want to take a trip over and start ordering them in pubs and then videotape the reactions. "Beermonade, my good man!" I 'm actually a cider gal, but it'd be worth it to change drinks.

Arielle said...

Oh, that is gorgeous, but nothing like the one in Venice.

Lisa and Laura said...

This is just beautiful. You need to write a book called "The Bridge of Sighs." It's got such a ring to it.

Pumpkin Delight said...

Oh you lucky girl. If I were to do it over again I would have studied abroad. I love Englad, so much. I love to travel and do it as often as I can, but I would have liked to have lived somewhere before my adult responsibilities began.
The bridges are different, but equally beautiful.

AnnQ said...

Beautiful picture -- I've been twice and I love England! :-)

Little Ms J said...

Gorgeous.

Eyeglasses & Endzones said...

Um, Done Deal...I am booking a ticket. I need to get there ASAP! That is a beautiful bridge and I MUST get my boys on there!!! ;)

Mrs Montoya said...

OF COURSE you studied in Europe. You are just that cool! And here in SoCal the beer, lemonade and vodka concoction is called Summer Beer. No one can ever criticize you for spelling that wrong ;)

blueviolet said...

You are so lucky to have had that experience. What a gorgeous bridge of character.

Laoch of Chicago said...

Long ago when I visited Cambridge I found it to be beautiful. Especially the rebuilt cathedral.

Ela said...

Oh it's so gorgeous! And what memories it now brings you :)

The Redhead Riter said...

Wow! That is truly beautiful.

Hit 40 said...

Very cool that you studied at Cambridge. Nice!! Beautiful pictures.

Did you think you learned anything different than you would have learned in the classroom at your local college?

Intense Guy said...

Beautiful pictures and memories...

I remember the canal and a "mathematical bridge"...but its been so long ago..

Did you see Lewis Carrol's chair by any chance?

Geezees Geezees Custom Canvas Art said...

sigh .... lovely ...

the monkey's mama said...

My husband and i spent a year in Cambs and miss it terribly. He was a grad student and I earned my PhT (putting him through).

Thanks for the memories!

PS he then went on to law school, as well, and now we live in ATL. Small world!

Lauren said...

Cool, you did summer school there too! Lol.

...mmm... said...

Truly, what a privilege and I know that foreigners studying in UK have to pay twice as much so I'm glad it was sow well worth it for you.

JadeLD said...

I'm glad you enjoyed your time in Cambridge. I lived there too for about a year and a half. Although I did find it quite pretty I also found that any more than a year there can get really dull.

It's different when you're studying and they town's obviously great for that but I couldn't live there for any longer, the best thing for me about Cambridge was that it was so close to London! I did appreciate the Bridge of Sighs too on punting trips and the ostrich burgers from the market - not those I miss!

Each to their own! It's great to have the opportunity to see other places and make your own opinion of them.
Jade