Friday we had an adventure.
We pushed through curtains of thick rain and heavy clouds to the city of intellectuals on a gloomy Friday. Did you know that around 30 of all nobel prize winners graduated from Cambridge? Or that Cambridge is not just a university town, but also an industrial town? Scores of markets were torn down to make way for some of the colleges by the river.
Saturday the sun came out, the brides walked their aisles, the tourists snippety snapped as popular businesses rolled around in cash brought in from Asia and America, Africa and Europe. Namely among them, and I was one of the hundreds to succumb foolishly to it’s charms, was a quaint little affair called called Hardy’s Original Sweetshop.
So needless to say, I enjoyed Cambridge thoroughly. There was a sea of tourists, most notable among them were the Chinese and the Americans, milling about all the most popular places, like King’s college, the Fitzwilliam Museum and most of the punting stations. We also photobombed some wedding shots, and I found The Haunted Bookshop, which appealed to me because a). it was haunted, and b). it was a bookshop.
I am not too sure about the haunting though, I eavesdropped on a tour guide telling a crowd of bored looking Americans that there had been a little girl who was murdered there, and you can tell she is drifting about because she is always accompanied by a smell. I am not too clear on the particulars of the story. The bookshop was messy and small and glorious, with tottering piles of books fitted into every nook and cranny, little notes here and there, and the most exciting books hiding in the most intricate places. There is nothing quite like a long browse through volumes that were once thumbed by ancestors we only read about in books. I found some original Beatrix Potter, Austen and even Shelley! Worn covers and faded inscriptions inside were enough to tell me that the people of yore did in fact exist and they loved books just as much as we do.
The gardens were top notch, and the colleges were the stuff of day dreams and night dreams. And regular thought-dreams.
The feeling that stood out the most for me in Cambridge was that I honestly thought I was in an entirely different world. It felt like I had stepped back in time, or was wondering the cobbled streets of another country. Roses climbed up old stone walls, greenery mingled comfortably with ancient architecture, flutes were played, coffee was had, and tudor houses hunched their breasts out over winding streets.
There was even one instance where I needed to call my husband, and I almost checked myself, thinking ‘oh no, I can’t call him I am roaming!’
But I was still in the UK! It really didn’t feel like it.
Cambridge is a sight not to be missed. Especially if you love books. There were books and bookshops galore. Plenty of coffee, ice cream and parks too. Imagine a fine summer’s day, sitting on a bench with a lovely view of one of the beautiful college chapels, coffee in one hand and an exciting novel in the other.. what could be better, in this ancient university town?