We're ba-ack! And to give you a taste of our (very busy) journey, here are some photos with commentary.

We got to Cambridge first, and only spent an afternoon and evening there - two hours of which took us to walk to our hotel. Eventually, our friend G showed us around, including the inner parts of St. John's College. This first picture was taken there, it's a bunch of students punting on the River Cam, outside the window in the innermost courtyard we went into.

After happy hour at our friend's lab, we took a nap and joined him in the late evening, as ballroom was wrapping up. This picture, taken on a bridge crossing the Cam on our way to curry, is of what lit our way to our destination.

We walked around Oxford a great deal with [livejournal.com profile] lareinenoire, and saw many sights. Above all what amused me was the disconnect between the austere towers and city streets and the left overs from the celebrating undergrads who had finished sitting for exams the week before. Here is a sample:

I forget which college boasted the door bellow, but I really liked it.

And the other fun thing I enjoyed were Linacre College's advertisements for its ball. The theme, as you can see, is "Pirates and Princesses" and all the adverts were similarly over the top.

Bath was the first city we were by ourselves in, and the only thing Doyle was really interested in was the Roman Baths. So there we went first. This is one of the later pictures I took of the large pool fed from the sacred spring. Everything on the 1st floor (basement really, it's 15m below modern street level) is Roman built. On the far wall you can see a piece of the roof that had caved in and hidden the baths from view over a thousand years. Remarkably, the plumbing is still good - the bath is fed from the sacred spring, and its led-lined bottom still prevents leaks. The water is green because it's open to the sun and that has allowed algae to bloom.

This is the pool the Romans built to contain the water of the sacred hot spring. Off in the right bottom corner of the image you can see the bubbles rising to the surface to release trapped gas. The image of the king in the middle is supposedly one who used the spring and was cured of leprosy. The water level here was higher at one point - it was used as the King's Bath in the Regency period - and you can see how far up it used to go by the rust-color level. When the Roman Bath was discovered the water level was lowered and the King's Bath cleared away in the excavation. The Pump Room is above this - that's where we had set tea.

They actually found the head of the statue of Sulis Minerva (the deity the Roman temple had been dedicated to), though not the rest of her. They couldn't excavate the entire complex as it would damage the foundations of the buildings on top, so she stands as close to the original spot as they could get her.

This fountain was full of foaming green water. Most unusual, and so I snapped a shot for posterity. I know the water from the spring flows (still through Roman plumbing) down into the River Avon. I wonder where this water comes from, though.

This was practically our last shot of Bath, a magnificent view of Bath Abbey.

And this was one of our first shots of London: Whitehall Palace at sunset, seen from the London Eye.

Once again from the London Eye. The Houses of Parliament & Big Ben (aka, Westminster Palace). We were low enough to the ground that you can't see the Abbey behind it, but the other pictures I snapped didn't show well.

On our way to the Tower of London, we ran into the Emperor Trajan standing just inside the City of London's Old City Wall.

Once we did get to the Tower, I got this lovely picture of the White Tower framed by its old inner wall.

And, of course, I snapped some pictures of the Tower Ravens.

We saw the Traitors' Gate entrance from the inside and outside. I chose this picture because it seems more intimidating to see what's awaited them as they pulled up (sans the plaque that says "Traitors' Gate," of course).

After the Tower, we hurried off to the other side of the Thames to catch the show at Shakespeare's Globe (The Merchant of Venice, in case you were curious). It was a great performance - Doyle was very impressed. This is a picture of the stage. Notice the thatched roof! That is probably the coolest thing for me.

The next morning we rose early and ran to St. Paul's before the crowds got big. This is the first glimpse we had of it coming from our Tube stop. Doyle actually climbed to the top of the dome. Good exercise, he said. (I couldn't do it because of my back.)

This is the best shot I could get of the Rosetta Stone. If you look at the reflection, you can see myself taking the picture, and Doyle hanging in the background talking to our friend J who joined us at the British Museum.

The last gallery we were in was a display on "how Romans lived." There were a ton of Roman imperial heads, but this one was my favorite. It's a miniature of Augustus, and his old wreath has been replaced with the crown you see some time in the Middle Ages.

We finished our trip by having another tea by Kew Gardens (the entry to the Gardens themselves was too expensive for the amount of time we'd be able to spend in them) at the Original Maids of Honour, which are indeed made of delicious. So delicious, we brought some back across the Pond. No pictures of those, though.

Now we've returned, and are still slightly jetlagged. But it was a wonderful vacation, and we've both decided we'd like to do it again - for longer, with friends, when my back is recovered - someday.
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