03 January 2013

The first day of the year

The requisite New Year's Eve party and celebration took place the night before, so it was no surprise that we did not stir until noon or noon-thirty the next day. Once Ally, JJ, Allen and I were finished with breakfast around 3:15pm, Ally and I decided to take a walk before it got too dark. We walked down along by the river, and it was delightful.
The weather was crisp, dry and not too windy. It was a perfect day for a walk.
We started in the neighborhoods near Ally and JJ's house. I enjoyed looking at the houses, they all sat up against the street and did not look big from the front. However, being that they are row houses, most of them were deceptive in appearance and most likely quite roomy inside.
Ally talked about the building of the area. She told me how this area had once been farmland, and tracts of land were sold to builders who would build maybe 4 houses, usually all 4 of the same design. One might be left facing, and the other right facing, but otherwise the same. In some cases, one might find the same house design later on in the same street or on a nearby street, if the builder bought more land. Some of the houses had years carved into them so that you had an idea when they were built.
Most of the houses were from the 1800s, but every so often one came across houses that were much newer. We speculated as to why these houses might be newer: fire, bombing, disrepair/rebuild. As one walked, one could also see the trends at the time they were built. For example, in one section, almost every house had a front window that stuck out a bit and above it was an alcove with circles carved into the facade. Some houses had intricate design work and tiles underneath the roof. Others were more plain. It was obvious which houses were being cared for, and which had housed students for a number of years. My favorite house had a huge rosebush growing above the front door and on the wall. I can only imagine how beautiful it must be when the sun is shining and they are in bloom!

After walking through the neighborhoods, we walked along the river. The river that runs through Cambridge is the River Cam. Like Oxford, punting is a favorite pasttime along that river. We saw large houses lit up and reflecting in the river. Many of them had entire glass walls along the riverside of the house. We also saw a wooden house (well the ground level was bricked) that seemed to grow out of the riverbank. The design was so unique, it reminded me of something that Frank Lloyd Wright would design. But I do not think it was his.

As we walked along the Cam, we also came across another style of house: riverboats. The idea of a house you can take along with you as you travel the canals and rivers is very appealing. I should like to try this one day. The riverboats were all sizes and colors, some looked occupied and well kept, while others looked more like they had been abandoned since the cold weather hit. Some of them had porthole windows (and larger windows) that one could see in to get an idea of what life in a riverboat must be like. Cozy for sure!

As we walked further, the sun began to set, and one could see Cambridge University silhouetted in the distance. It was beautiful.

We turned townwards to begin our loop home. The streets were lit up and it was clear that some shops and cafes had been open on this first day of 2013. Other places were closed, ready for the big sales to begin on the 2nd of January. It was fun to do a bit of window shopping and pose under the decorative lights. Cambridge is by far one of my favorite places to walk around. I love the mixture of old and new, the tradition and modern side by side. I enjoy the atmosphere, the bikes, the energy and life one finds in this city. It was a perfect way to spend the first day of 2013.

Cambridge makes you smile, and as evidenced by the graffiti below, it knows it!

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Location:Cambridge, England

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