24 hours in Cambridge: colleges and punting

titlecambridge-01During one of my recent trips to England, I decided to spend 24 hours in Cambridge. I didn’t really know what to expect, reading the town name mostly on the English text books I use at school, so here is a little post on what Cambridge is all about.
We departed by train from London Liverpool Street station one morning in July and barely an hour later arrived at the little train station in Cambridge. We had quite a lot of luggage so we took a taxi to take us to our hotel that was located right in the centre of town. We grabbed a map and off we went to explore this new place.
We started by going to King’s Chapel and the adjoining college. Wow, what a special place to study! Of course, visiting in July, there weren’t many students around, but I guess there must be a very special atmosphere during the school year. I wish I had the possibility to grab a great novel and read sitting on one of the benches right on the canal. It certainly looked idyllic.
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We then passed Great St.Mary’s church to get to the market place, we browsed the stalls and went for a quick but delicious tapas lunch at La Raza in Rose Crescent.
Then we went on a punting tour, the first highlight of my day. If you’ve been to Cambridge you surely know what I’m talking about, if not just look at the pictures and you’ll figure out in a second what punting is. We had a very young guide and as we really wanted to hear what he was saying, we decided to sit, or rather lie because that’s more or less what you do, at the very front of the boat. The drawback was that we got to look at his feet for about half an hour, they were in the way all the time and they are on a lot of my pictures (I will spare you the sight :) ) As for the rest, the tour was simply amazing, if it was for me I would have spent the whole day on the boat, maybe only stopping for a short picnic. There was even a Pimm’s boat selling their typical British drink to people sitting on the canal side or punting. The tour was so relaxing, such a peaceful environment and I bet it gets even better a little outside the centre of the town. If you are brave and a little athletic you can even try punting on your own. The information provided on the tour was interesting too, it gave us a little insight into the university life and history. I wish I had more time in Cambridge to visit the other colleges too, but I have a feeling that I will go back one day, after all it’s not too far from London.
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After the punting tour we continued our walk along Trinity street, we stopped briefly at the All Saints Garden art and craft market and then continued until we reached the round church. Then it was time for tea, and I mean the English kind, with scones, cucumber sandwiches and cute little pastries. So we headed for Harriet’s Tea Room which somebody at the hotel had suggested. It was a fun experience but I’m sure there are much nicer places in the UK to have tea, I so want to try the Ritz in London!
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After some shopping and picking up a sandwich for later at Bread & Meat, we headed to our hotel for a quick shower and a short rest before getting out again for my second highlight of the day. While we were trying on clothes in the local branch of Noa Noa, we noticed a flyer advertising a Shakespeare festival held in the gardens of the different colleges. My friend and I, both being Shakespeare fans, just had to attend a performance and we decided to see The Merchant of Venice in the gardens of Robinson College. We had no idea what to expect and when we arrived we were quite surprised to see a small stage, a few chairs and about twenty people sitting in little groups on a quilt in the grass and having picnics, the real kind, with salads, breads, champagne and strawberries with cream. We felt a little shabby with our sandwiches, even if they were delicious, and our PET water bottles. The play was great too and I can say for sure that I will never forget that special night.
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Cambridge was great in so many ways, and it’s so easy to get there from London, so what are you waiting for? :)
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