Thursday, July 24, 2014

July 23: Cambridge

What comes to mind when you hear Cambridge University?  I always pictured students sitting in groups discussing various subjects from science to world politics. .. That was NOT what I saw.  Cambridge is definitely a college town.  Not only is Cambridge University there,  there are SEVERAL other world renowned universities here as well.  Kings College,  Queens College, Trinity College, and 27 other colleges are all part of the University. School is out for most students,  which meant that the tourist season had begun. (By the way,  today was the first of what I would call summer weather.  It was about 78 degrees.) The place was packed with tourists in large and small groups. As bicycles are the main mode of transportation,  there were literally hundreds of them.  We were much more likely to be hit by a bike than a car!  We went to see the beautiful colleges but found that there were "admission fees" for EACH of the 31 colleges and the fees would only allow you in the gates to admire the gardens and architecture. For all it costs for students to attend,  you would think people could admire them for free.   Not to mention that Cambridge and It's 31 colleges are the country's largest land owners Thanks to Henry Vll who gave the land to them. I took my pictures of the colleges where possible,  but I was internally dreaming of what it would be like to be a student here.  At one point we went into the university's book store and I drooled over the books wishing I could run into Stephen Hawking whose office was in the building across the street. Inside I was scheming how I could sell my house, abandon my life in NC, and move to Cambridge to live amongst "true academics". !  Reality did kick in and I realized that I am no longer 22, but will turn 50 in just a few short weeks. :(  Nevertheless,  I DID Sign up to get their brochure about summer programs !  Who knows,  maybe next summer?   One of the main tourist attractions is "punting" on the river.   We bought our tickets earlier and had a 5:30 departure time.   We arrived at 5:15 as instructed.   We were told there would be a short delay;  45 minutes later an employee came to walk us to the dock.  When we got to the dock,  another employee told us it would be another 45 minutes as they were waiting for boats to return.   At that point we went and got a refund.  The owner gave us 10 £ for our inconvenience.  So,  we didn't go punting BUT,  while we were waiting we got into a conversation with some students and got some very useful information for our next trip.  As it was a bit late,  we walked back to where we parked the motorcycle.  When we first got to Cambridge,  we were in need of breakfast so we stopped at a Cafe in one of the main streets.  Luckily there was an open space to Park.  As we were looking for where to pay, and how much,  one of the waiters rain out to us to tell us that motorcycles Park FREE !  We parked and went in to eat.  The waiter told us he would be happy to hold the helmets in the restaurant office for us so we would not have to carry them around! He and Tim exchanged some motorcycle jargon, and we'd gone off to explore the city.   Now,  how later we arrived to get the helmets.   I confess I was a bit nervous,  but we got them safe and sound with warm regards and best wishes for the rest of our trip.   We have met so many nice people on our trip,  many because we were on the motorcycle,  but others who were just nice people.
Pictures are here :

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