Here it is… finally! A tour via picture of our crazy English adventures. It’s high time you had a glimpse into our summer world. We’ve been living the high English life, traipsing round cathedrals and cobblestoned streets, hidden gardens and vast estates (think Mr. Darcy’s Pemberly…literally). We’ve had multitudinous cups of tea (the English average is six cups a day and we’re doing our level best to fit in), eaten gigantic pieces of fresh fried fish with a newspaper bag of hot “chips” (french fries). We’ve walked what felt like three million miles, had quite a blast setting up house (we’re doing our own cooking) and attempting to grill burgers on the 4th in between sudden bursts of pounding rain. In general we’ve simply delighted in the gift of a summer in this ancient town. Here’s the quick tour:
The Round Church
This is our homebase. We work here daily doing whatever happens to be needed and meeting the visitors who come here from around the world. Its one of the oldest buildings in England, built between 1000-1100, it’s shape inspired by the round Church of the Sepulchre that sits on the supposed tomb of Christ in Jerusalem. The model was brought back with the Crusaders.
Ah, be still my soaring, singing soul. Who knows if there is such a thing as sacred space (aside from the whole of the glorious creation), but if there were, surely the soaring, echoing beauty of this church could be one. The sheer hugness of the place, the ceiling rising four stories straight, lit by the dappled light of stained glass murals, the paintings on the cieling a procession of the stories of the prophets with Christ at their head, the nearest to the altar. We spent a lovely day here, wandering, journaling, loving God through the beauty, remembering that heaven really will be beyond conception of beauty or thought.
4th of July (Picture to follow)
A priceless memory. This is us, hands clasped faithfully over our hearts to hear The Star Spangled Banner trumpeted out over the spires of Cambridge in a burst of American Patriotism. One of the American students in town climbed to the top of St John’s College Chapel tower just to play the national anthem. Of course, he had to follow it with God Save the Queen, but we just muttered the words of My Country Tis of Thee under our breaths instead…
King’s College Chapel
This might be one of my single favorite memories of the summer. We very innocently wandered in to this world famous church for an evensong and had two hours of near divine excitement. This church, begun by Edward the 6th, and finished by Henry the 8th, is really the center point of Cambridge and is one of the most beautiful pieces of architecture I’ve seen. However lovely from the outside though, it is the inside that so amazes for the walls are almost entirely replaced by walls of stained glass murals, the only complete set of original Renaissance stained glass in Europe. We took our places in the pews just as the sun was sinking and so hit the whole Western wall. It became a shimmering, four story mural of jewels in a swirling picture of Christ’s resurrection. And that was before the choral prayers, the boy voices swirling up to the ceiling, the prayers spoken low and sweet. And that was before the organ recital culminating in a joyous rendition of Holst’s Jupiter that set us grinning at each other with the sheer glory of being in that place and hearing that music.