Apologies

After my last post over a year ago, schoolwork got very busy.  Then I began the ongoing process of trying to find a job so that I could stay in the UK (no luck), and began working on applications for PhD programs (also no luck).  At first this left not time for updating this blog, and eventually, I forgot that I had a blog.  I have been reminded, and I’m going to add some pictures for the approximately three of you who read this.  I’m sorry it’s taken so long to get back to you.

Because it’s been a while, I don’t really remember the context of these pictures as well as I’d like to, but judging by my writing in the last few posts, I don’t tend to have much to say about what I post anyway, so you’re not missing out on much.P1030339

Above you see the University Library on a nice clear day, with the Cambridge flag flying.  There are some days when all of the colleges will fly their flags.  I like these days.  It’s fun to walk through town and see heraldry everywhere.

The UL at Cambridge is, I’m told, one of three copyright libraries in the UK (the other two being the British Library in London and Oxford’s Bodleian Library).  If I understand that correctly, it means the library gets a copy of every book copyrighted in the UK.

Also noteworthy: there’s an unfinished short story by C.S. Lewis titled ‘The Dark Tower’ that, before its abandonment, was meant to be a part of the Space Trilogy.  The story’s titular tower is thought to have been the UL.  (It does get pretty dark inside the UL.)

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I’m pretty impressed with the fact that so much can grow in the UK, so I’ve taken a lot of pictures of plants.  I won’t post them all, but these are nice.  I think I took them around Easter, but I can’t really remember.

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Well, that’s all for now.  Next time, I’ll find some more interested pictures.

best,

B.

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Snow!

P1030310Hi again,

I’m sorry I don’t get around to writing very often.  In point of fact, I don’t get around to much of anything other than studying very often.  This is probably a habit I should fix, seeing as I’m in a foreign country and I ought to be doing a better job of exploring.

Anyway, here’s a relatively foreign experience for me: snow.  Of course, I did live in Iceland for a year, an island that, as you might guess from its name, does have snow enough for me to say I’ve experienced.  But as I’ve spent most of my life in south Texas, I can’t help but find snowy weather an occasion for photography.

Above, you’ll see Selwyn Chapel – and snow.  Below you’ll see blossoms of some sort covered in snow.

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P1030311Here’s Selwyn Hall.  This is where we eat.  Our dining hall staff is really friendly.

P1030335Here’s a closer shot of the railing on the steps up to the hall.  Someone has decided that the snow all along the top could be rolled up.  I thought that was pretty clever and decided it needed to be documented.

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P1030330Here’s the backside of Selwyn Chapel vied from inside Selwyn’s gardens.  They’re not that much to look at during the winter, but they’re pretty nice.

P1030334The gardens also have a little duck pond.  Here it’s frozen over, but on warmer days, you’ll see ducks and – more often – moorhens.

P1030325I’ve been really impressed with all of the little flowers that manage to grow in the cold.  I thought this was a nice picture of them.  I don’t know what kind they are.

Well, that’s all for now.  Thanks for reading!

B.

 

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A Few Museums

Cambridge isn’t all that big a town, but it’s museums are, understandably, really nice.  In this post I’ll show you a few pictures of the Sedgwick Museum of Earth Sciences, the Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology, and the Fitzwilliam.  Having been to the first two of these before, I didn’t think to snap enough picture for thorough reviews, but I hope you’ll find these interesting.

My first stop was at the Sedgwick, home to this Iguanadon.P1030161One of the fun things about this museum is that in addition to displaying a good bit of information on earth science, it also gives you a look at the history of how scientific theories have changed as different discoveries have been made.  For example, they’ve included a statue that portrays the Iguanadon as Victorian scientists thought it might have looked, which I’ve pictured above.  Notice it walks on all fours and has a horn on its nose.  Later scientists decided that that horn actually belonged on its thumb and that it walked on its hind legs, as seen below.  Still more recent scientists have reconsidered that notion and put it back on four legs, but left the horns on the thumbs.  Since I study history, not science, I enjoyed learning about all of these scientists playing with different theories – maybe more than I enjoyed learning about the theories themselves.

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Skipping a great many rocks, let’s move on to this skeleton of a hippopotamus.  The sign labels it “hippopotamus amphibius” which, as you might know, is exactly the same scientific name applied to the hippos living in Africa today. But this specimen was found in southern England.  Apparently quite a few more hippo skeletons were found in London when the subway tubes were being dug out.  I like thinking that there used to be hippos (among other familiar yet foreign creatures) living in Britain.

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Here’s an Irish Elk:

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Here are the skulls from several wild cattle.  They were actually pretty common throughout Europe for a long time, but were hunted out during the Middle Ages.

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Following this short expedition, I made a quick stop at the Anthropology and Archaeology Museum, as I just heard that an old friend of mine from my time in Iceland had helped design their temporary exhibit on Tibetan Buddhist monks (which I forgot to take any pictures of – my apologies).  But here’s a view of the main gallery on the second floor.

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And here’s a view from the third floor.

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And now for what’s probably the nicest of Cambridge’s museums: the Fitzwilliam.

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Deprived of all of its collections, the building alone would be worth any tourist’s time.  But its hoards of artifacts from Egypt, Babylon, Greece, and Rome, as well as its paintings from the Renaissance to the Victorian period are also well worth seeing.  But for now, here’s another shot of the building.

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Marble comes in red and yellow.  This was news to me.

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Just above the red part of the walls are plaster casts of frescos from Greek temples.  At first I didn’t even think to look at them, as I just assumed they were designed for the building.  I like this incorporation of exhibit materials into the architecture of the building.  When I go back, I’ll look more carefully to see if the same is true for those statues up closer to the ceiling.

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Now here’s King’s College Chapel:

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And here’s an English Longhorn:

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And We’re Back!

Hello Loyal Readership,

I’m back.  Clearly I was wrong to say that my last post was, well, my last post.  Thanks so much to all of you who have come back.  I’ve started my MPhil in Anglo-Saxon, Norse, and Celtic at the University of Cambridge, so there will be more photos, anecdotes, and random things coming your way.

So to kick things off, here’a  picture of my new home: Selwyn College.

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Selwyn is named for George Augustus Selwyn, the first bishop of New Zealand.  It’s one of the new colleges, which means it was built after 1700 (1782 in this case).  Of course, as an American, I think this is just wonderful.  The old colleges were all built before 1600.  Here’s a picture of one:

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What you see above is St. John’s College.  Incidentally, this is where George Augustus Selwyn stayed when he was at Cambridge himself.  As much as I’ve liked Selwyn so far, I have to admit that, visually speaking, it doesn’t compare to the old colleges.  But it has a great graduate student community and a now world-famous basset hound ‘very large cat‘.  (Pictures of said, ‘cat’ will come, don’t you worry).

Here are some cows:

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Here’s another picture of some more stunning Tudor Gothic architecture:

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And, because it just wouldn’t seem like my blog without gratuitous pictures of animals, here are some mallard-ducks:

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Well, that’s it for now, but thanks for stopping by!  I hope to have more pictures for you soon.

Take care,

B.

 

 

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Auld Lang Syne

Before we begin, here’s a fun picture.  I saw this on the duck pond in Reykjavík.  It’s   a human-sized hamster ball.  It was worth showing you, but it didn’t warrant its own post.P1010809But the real aim of this post is to wrap things up.  After I returned from Denmark, the rest of my time in Iceland was dedicated to thesis writing.  I enjoyed this well enough, but it did not give me any photo-worthy material.  The thesis is finished now, as is the Masters, as is my time in Iceland.  My time here has been, to say the least, well spent.  I’ve seen some beautiful and frightening landscapes, met lots of great people, learned a lot and, uncharacteristically for me, had fun.

It seems only appropriate to end with some photos.

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P1010366 P1010252If you’re planning to go to Iceland someday, I hope some of the pictures I’ve put up here in the past will give you some ideas of where you might want to visit.  I recommend the Snæfelssnes area, but you can’t go wrong with the Golden Circle.  Regardless, you must try horseback riding somewhere.  That was probably my favorite way to see the countryside, though hiking is fun too.  The food in most places is pretty good, and the people in most places are pretty friendly.  I suggest going during the summer since it’s too dark to do anything during the winter.  But if you go during the fall or winter, you get to see the Northern Lights.

P1010480Now that I have my M.A., let me make some reading suggestions.  First, I recommend Njáls saga again.  I’ve heard it compared (justly, I think) to War and Peace, and that means it’s good.  I won’t give anything else away here (but I have in older posts).  Second, those of you who have not yet had any exposure to the legend of Sigurðr the dragonslayer are missing out on one of the most powerful mythological tales in European history.  I think that it really should be taught alongside Homer’s Odyssey and Virgil’s Aeneid in our high school literature classes.  (Do high school literature classes still teach the Aeneid?)  Völsunga saga, though a little stylistically dry, is as good a place as any to get acquainted with the story, and the Eddic poems on the subject are great.  And if you want to meet one of the most entertaining characters in literature, you really must read Egils saga so you can hear about Egill Skallagrímsson.  Grettis saga and Laxdæla saga are also both excellent.

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P1010400Many thanks to the M.I.S. faculty and the Árni Magnússon Institute for the opportunity to study with them, and the Fulbright Commission for making my travels and studies possible, to the Icelanders for their hospitality, and to God for all of these things.

P1010799I’ve had fun writing this blog.  I hope you’ve enjoyed the pictures.  Many thanks to all of you for reading.

Sincerely,

Bond

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Copenhagen

After the conference, I spent one night in Copenhagen.  That’s not a lot of time, but it’s enough to take a few pictures.

Here’s the train station.

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Here’s the Ny Carlsberg Glyptotek Art Museum.  I didn’t have time to go in, but the outside is nice looking.

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Here’s Christianborg Palace.

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Here’s a statue of a man and a woman carrying a pair of bronze-age horns.  I’m guessing this was built back when Germanic/Nordic nationalism was all the rage.

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Here’s Tivoli’s front gate.

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For those of you who don’t know, Tivoli is a fairly old amusement park and it’s easily the classiest amusement park I’ve visited.  It’s kept pretty clean, and it has great gardens.  Here’s the pantomime state.

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And here’s one of my favorite things about the park: they have really cool lanterns.

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I also went to the National Museum of Denmark, but I even when the signs don’t prohibit it, I don’t feel comfortable taking pictures in museums.  There are some great artifacts, though, and a lot of them are pieces that we learned about in my classes.  So it was great fun.

B.

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Happy Easter!

Here’s my favorite Easter hymn.  I still haven’t found a Youtube video of this with an arrangement that I really like, but this one’s not bad.

Halleluja!  Christ is risen!

Soli Deo Gloria!

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