Wednesday, January 18, 2006

First Social Events

Yesterday we attended our first 'Coffee Morning.' We met a number of women who are volunteers for this (nearly) weekly event. And quite a few of the people there were associated, in some way, with Wolfson College: Henryk and Magdalena, a Swedish couple, with their two smal children, and Rita, the wife of another visiting fellow from Montreal. Some told us they would be at the formal dinner later in the evening. Each Coffee Morning is held at the University Centre, which is located in the center of the city, right on the River Cam. See the pictures below.

While we are talking about the Cam, here are a few more pictures. The first shows a herd of ducks (or is it a lamentation of swans?) along the riverwalk south of town. The Cam is a very narrow river that flows through the heart of the city. The city itself was built in a 'fen,' a marshy grassland. Outside of the city proper the fens and marshes are abundant. To the right are a few pictures of the river as it winds through town. In the middle photo you can see 'punts' moored along the river; this is one of the locations where you can rent one of these narrow riverboats and, trying vainly not make a fool of yourself, knock up against everything in sight and wind up drifitng downriver anyway. We're looking forward to trying out ourselves when the weather warms some.

After Coffee Mornings there is usually a tour of some part of Cambridge. Today, however the tour guide, June, was ill and there was no walking tour, so Danny and I decided to go back to the Fitzwilliam Museum and finish our tour there. We had seen the galleries on the ground floor earlier. Today we walked through the first floor (i.e., the second floor; as one Brit explained, the first floor requires one flight of stairs to reach, the second floor, two, and the ground foor, none). There were paintings by Botticelli, Titian, the two Brueghels, Rubens, Constable, Monet, Renior, Matisse, Picasso, El Greco, Degas, etc. It is a remarkable museum. Here is a picture of the front of the Fitzwilliam.

When you step outside of the museum, here is the view down Trumpington St. Everywhere you look, one building is more beautiful than the next!

After finishing at the Fitzwilliam Museum, we had lunch at a little cafe up the street, and then went to the Market in the center of town. The vendors are here every day selling their wares, from fruits and vegetables to clothes, linen, candy, jewelry, incense and fish.

The formal dinner at Wolfson started with an hour-long reception in Lee Hall that included wine and champagne and about 10 varieties of hot h'ors d'oeuvres. Then we moved to the Dining Hall where dinner was served. It consisted of the following courses: 1)soup; 2)plaice with mushroom & tarragon filling, zucchini, potatoes and rolls; 3)chocolate mousse; 4)coffee in the gallery alongside the hall; and 5)fruit back in the main room. Of course, wine was served with the main course and port and/or Pinot Noir was served with the fruit course. The porter was kind enough to take our photo on the stairs leading up to the dining room. Notice Danny's formal robes, required of all the fellows at dinner.

At the meal, we happened to sit across from an American visiting fellow (from St. John's College in Santa Fe, New Mexico) who grew up in Cincinnati and graduated from Walnut Hills High School (the same school our children just graduated from)!! It really IS a small, small world.


At 7:40 PM, Blogger Brent said...

Mrs. Otero,

Rome seems so great. i am glad you and your husband are having so much fun. Jake says hi! We all miss you! Come back soon!



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