23 July 2012

Cambridge was more than just scientists

In my last post I gushed about the famous scientists of Cambridge - and there were many, but I would be remiss if I didn't write about the city in general.
When I arrived it was cold and rainy. That did not stop Alice and I from going out to enjoy the city, it only ensured that we stopped in Fitzbillies for a hot chocolate. (oh but I am getting ahead of myself)

Cambridge is simply lovely. The buildings are old and historic, but the city still has a young, vibrant feel. The university is made up of many colleges, each with its own unique traditions, history and buildings. Visitors are generally not allowed in the colleges and must admire them from the outside.

To say that there are many cyclists in Cambridge is simply an understatement. The place is swarming with them. Not only must one constantly be aware of (and as a pedestrian, sometimes dodge) the cyclists, but bikes are everywhere. Chained to fences, trees, lamp posts, other bikes or even themselves, the bikes are as much a part of the architecture as the brick and mortar.

Cambridge also has a number of churches. We visited the circle church and saw a short (25 min) video about the history of Cambridge. We also visited a church that is a cafe as well. The cafe is closed on Sunday for services. Clever use of an under-utilized building if I do say so myself!

Cambridge gets it's name by being built where there was a BRIDGE over the river CAM. The river flows throughout town and plays a big role in the town's social life. There are many foot paths along the river where one can walk or jog, additionally there are punts and kayaks one can rent for a day. Plus of course, the university has a rowing team that practices (and competes) along the Cam.

The trails along the river extend beyond town. A favorite (for locals, tourists and celebrities alike) is to row, paddle or hike out to The Orchard. Nestled in an apple orchard allowed to grow wild, The Orchard is a lovely garden cafe. The food was amazing, the location peaceful. Alice and I enjoyed a lovely lunch at the Orchard.

Then we hiked along the river on the very muddy wet trail back into town. The muddiness was clearly not a deterrent as we encountered many others along our hike.

Not everyone in Cambridge cycles or walks, they also have an extensive system of busses. However these busses are a bit unique. Some parts of Cambridge had old rail lines that were no longer in use, yet they still existed as pathways. These were converted into roads for busses and busses only. (there are signs that say: "Car Trap", so that people know not to drive there. The busses were also outfitted with an extra set of wheels. What happens is that when the busses come to these lanes, they lock into the lane and cannot deviate from it. Because there is no other traffic, the busses can (and do) go as fast as a train. It's interesting to watch as the driver simply takes his hands off the wheel, sits back and lets the bus accellerate.

Cambridge is a great place to visit - oh! And if you want to stand out as a tourist, then just buy/wear a Cambridge University hoodie!

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Location:Cambridge, England

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