There is no shortage of beautiful campuses and chapels to visit in Cambridge, no matter who you are, but when you know people, the tours become fabulous and fascinating and doors are open to you that few outside of each college's community can enter.
That was the case for us with special tours of Gonville & Caius College and St. John's College with friends of Isaac's and especially on Sunday, July 21st when we had a special tour of the King's College Chapel given by the chaplain, Richard Lloyd Morgan. Richard was ordained in 1998 after 25 years as a concert and opera singer; he performs the chapel evensong services on Mondays with Isaac when school is in session; he is 1 of Isaac's favorite people at King's College. Isaac asked for a private tour to include hour family and the families of a few of his friends and Richard was gracious enough to give us access to parts of the chapel few get to see. Also in this set are photos of the inside of the chapel taken during an earlier visit (including a few duplicates from Friday's post).
As usual, our trip started with a bike ride into town from our flat.
That's Richard in the light blue shirt.
He talked briefly about the history of the church and what sets it apart as 1 of the most outstanding buildings in Britain. In addition to 26 panels of gorgeous windows that miraculously survived the Reformation and World War II, it is the largest example of fan vaulting in the world. You can read more about that here.
We spiraled up heavily worn stone steps
to a narrow brick passageway
and entered the space above the ceiling and below the zinc roof. We walked under low beams the length of the church on the stones, beautifully pieced together and just 4 and a half inches thick in places. The patterns looked like huge, fossilized seashells.
In several places there were 1-1.5 inch holes drilled through the rock - chilling to peer through.
Next we climbed up and walked alongside the zinc roof on wooden slats.
The views were amazing.
We walked up and over and along the far side before heading back down. That's St. John's Tower that we climbed the day before on the skyline.
Note the barbs on the tower to the right - an unsuccessful attempt to keep "night climbers" from tackling the towers.
Admiring the gorgeous fan vaults from the beautiful side.
Yeah, we walked up there.
This end of the church is where Isaac's choir sits when they perform.
There's his seat, followed by 2 detail photos from the same spot.
The stain glass windows are stunning and varied.
This massive painting is 'Adoration of the Magi' by Peter Paul Rubens, painted in 1634.
Some of the furniture is older than the church.
There were lots of side rooms and smaller altars including this 1 with a talented harpist
and this 1 with interesting burial stones under the rug.
Proof Isaac and I were there.
Along 1 side, the outer rooms held a wonderful interpretive center with artifacts and construction notes.
Both inside and out, I was dazzled by the creativity and variety - little faces and unique shapes thrown into the patterns.
Goodbye to the chapel and hello to brunch in King's Hall - salmon, mmMmmm.
Proof of shoe shopping (hallway rug back at the flat).
Mid afternoon Mariah, Greg, and I headed to the Cambridge Botanic Garden; we loved the wildness and variety.
The greenhouses were really special, with a broad spectrum of climates and plant species.
My favorites were the gigantic lily pads. We were told at the entrance gate that they bloom ever 3 to 5 years.
There were some awesome trees
and lovely wetland areas.
Also some fauna to provide balance amid all the plant growth.
The last stop before we headed out was the wildflower meadow.