Saturday, November 26, 2005

Day 5: A dream comes true at lunch

I’ve been thinking the coolest thing would be to eat in a really old Cambridge (or Oxford) college dining hall. And visiting the circa 1250 Peterhouse hall the other day confirmed that with its stained glass and high ceilings and portraits of worthies glaring down on the tables.

Well, in meeting some online friends, my dream came true. One is a doctorate student at Peterhouse. She said, “It’s just student fare, but we can eat at Peterhouse if you like.” My eyes widened, and I said, “You don’t have to ask me twice.” It was a very special lunch indeed. (The food wasn't that bad, either.)

Earlier, we looked over the Cambridge Illuminations exhibition at the Fitzwilliam Museum. It displays old illuminated books, some dating back to the 12th century. The workmanship of the old illuminated texts is amazing.

The content of the illuminations is wonderful as well. You have to have a sharp eye to notice, but one illumination had a pope getting it during the Last Judgement. And there was a facsimile of the Trinity Apocalypse you could leaf through. It beats Left Behind by a mile!

Random tidbit: I’ve learned that in visiting buildings in Cambridge, you must remember to look at the ceilings. Many of them are quite wonderful, such as the 80 foot high fan vaulted ceiling at King’s College Chapel.

My favorite ceiling so far is that of the Chapel of St. John’s College. It beautifully portrays Christ and various saints in a big oval around the chapel. Looking up at it makes me feel like I am indeed “surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses.”

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