Cambridge (…so when can I go back?)

Sam and I finally went to Cambridge yesterday. I have been wanting to go since we got here since it’s right around the corner, basically. And wow, it did not disappoint. Be ye warned, this post has a lot of pictures. I just could not narrow it down any more.

Cambridge is host to many academic institutions and an amount of history that is simply hard to grasp. (I mean, I HAVE to go back because I have yet to see any of the museums, tour any of the campuses, or see the pub that Watson and Crick celebrated the discovery of the double helix in. There’s way too much for me to nerd out over.) So, for our first trip, we didn’t really plan anything, we just walked around and found our way throughout the city. We would turn a corner and find some architectural and academic gem such as this:

A charming corner of Cambridge

A charming corner of Cambridge

One of the many things I loved about this city was that the colleges are dotted throughout the city center. We were stopping in quaint little shops along a main stretch and peeked up to see this. There are stunning views everywhere. It seemed as if several of the colleges were having orientation, so there were families moving in and around and tables set up in entryways. I definitely want to go back and tour some of the colleges though, as many of the views were only visible through a fence. Such as this:

"Do Not Walk on Grass." (Okay... what if I just nap on it?)

“Do Not Walk on Grass.” (Okay… what if I just nap on it?)

Unlike some of the towns and larger cities I have been too, I never felt too crowded in Cambridge. I’m not a huge fan of cities and big crowds, so Cambridge felt just right. Even on a busy Saturday with students bustling about, we could take our time and stroll the streets. Several were wide enough for cars but were for pedestrians (or cyclists) only. Sam and I learned this week that Cambridge is close behind Amsterdam in boasting the most bicyclists per capita. Also, this visit reaffirmed my desire for a bicycle basket.

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We ate lunch at Las Iguanas, a Latin restaurant that was recommended to us. It was delicious, and we dined outside with a view of the River Cam. Feeling inspired by the city air, we adventurously opted for a duck taquito dish. It was … strange. That was basically all that remained of our meal.

The awning on the building to the right is Las Iguanas.

The awning on the building to the right is Las Iguanas.

See those boats? Those aren’t just any old boats. (Don’t call it a boat.)  Those are punts. And they are traditional to England, but are inseparable from Cambridge. “Punting on the River Cam” is an age old tradition that locals and tourists alike fork out their pound sterling for, to either lounge and enjoy the ride or give a stab at it themselves. A punt differs from a gondola or canoe by the way it is propelled. They move by a long pole, which is stuck into the bottom of the river and pushed along. Walking over Cambridge’s many bridges, it was quite easy to pinpoint the experienced punter and the visitor giving it the ol’ college try. See if you can guess:

By the way, that is the somewhat famous "mathematical bridge."

By the way, that is the somewhat famous “mathematical bridge.”

Watch out, duckie!

Watch out, duckie! By the way, we’re sorry about lunch… Awkward.

Beautiful, huh?

Beautiful, huh?

We did not go punting yesterday, but I assure you, it is on my list. Although, I think I’ll leave the driving to the pros. Or Sam. 🙂

The view in that last picture above is the “Backs.” The Backs is a strip of lush lawn that edges the Cam behind the colleges. We took a lovely walk back that way and enjoyed seeing the colleges from afar. In this next picture you can see 1. Cows (there on scholarship?) 2. The heads and poles of punters on the Cam, and 3. What I believe is King’s College. But don’t hold me to that.

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At one point while walking, we turned the corner down this beautiful alley,

Inviting, right?

Inviting, right?

And we found a beautiful little artisan fair. We bought a beautiful photograph of a bridge over the Cam.

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But THIS was one of the coolest things we saw at the artisan fair:

The Coffee Bug.

The Coffee Bug.

It’s a big scooter coffee cart. Guys. This is genius. I’ve found my calling. And in the land of instant coffee, powder mocha mix, and weak lattes, THIS coffee was awesome. Sam and I would still love to have a coffee shop someday… maybe we’ll have a coffee Bug instead. Less overhead.

That's an Astoria machine, the brand I learned on.

That’s an Astoria machine, the brand I learned on.

One final contribution to my love of Cambridge: The trees. They were everywhere. How could the day not be refreshing and relaxing when covered by canopies and crunching along sidewalks.  It’s finally feeling like autumn as well.

I did not stick to the sidewalk. There were LEAVES TO BE CRUNCHED.

I did not stick to the sidewalk. There were LEAVES TO BE CRUNCHED.

I really did love Cambridge. In case you couldn’t tell. And what I love even more is the prospect that I could be there in less than an hour, exploring new streets with a proper cup of coffee or relaxing under a tree with a good book. What’s not to love?

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