mayhem, via flickr

After spending much of the day doing laundry and working on an NSF proposal (boy, those people are picky), I got on the bike and went into town– all of three blocks. As soon as I hit the Magdalen Bridge, I ran into a solid wall of tourists.

My first though was, “Who the Hell are all these visitors?” but of course I’m not really in a position to complain. My bike may have huge wicker basket, but I’m hardly a local yet.

Granted, the winter term (Lent, as it’s called here) starts next week, so things might be more than usually busy with students returning to town, but it struck me that there were a lot of visitors. The place was jammed.

Crowded Cambridge
crowded street, via flickr

It makes me think that my vague ideas of taking weekend trip to London or other places makes a lot of sense….

Eventually I gave up on riding, parked my bike, and walked around.

the obligatory picture of bicycles, via flickr

The market was active– I’ve always returned from the lab after the market had already closed– so I spent a little time wandering around there.

Cambridge market
cambridge market, via flickr

I hadn’t realized it, but there are actually a number of farmer’s stalls, so I think I’ll be visiting again.

Cambridge market
cambridge market, via flickr

After that, I rode down Free School Lane, past the Cavendish, and turned on Peterhouse Street.

University Museum of Zoology
mystery archway, via flickr

As I was passing an archway, my eye caught something weird. A whale skeleton.

University Museum of Zoology
museum of zoology, via flickr

Turns out the University Museum of Zoology is kind of wedged in the middle of a court made by the Cavendish and various other buildings, and it has a finback whale skeleton. But it’s not inside the building; it’s protected by the elements from an overhang, but it just visible from the street.

Finback whale at the University Museum of Zoology
finback whale skeleton, via flickr

One of the things I love about walking around London (especially at night), Cambridge and Oxford is that they richly reward wandering: they tend not to have the gigantic vistas of Paris (or even Budapest along the Danube or the couple major avenues), but it seems like something interesting or charming is always around some nearby corner, and it’s just a matter of finding it.

It’s almost always true, but sometimes it’s kind of ridiculous.

Finback whale at the University Museum of Zoology
o hai, via flickr

After that, I biked over to Christ’s Pieces, then to Sainsbury’s for dinner (yet more roasted chicken!), then home. There’s still more NSF work to do, and then tomorrow I have to work on a talk I’m giving on Monday.

Christ's Pieces
christ’s pieces, via flickr

[To the tune of Tears for Fears, “The Devil,” from the album Everybody Loves A Happy Ending (a 2-star song, imo).]