“It was a dreary morning when the wheels
Rolled over a wide plain o’erhung with clouds,
And nothing cheered our way till first we saw
The long-roofed chapel of King’s College lift
Turrets and pinnacles in answering files,
Extended high above a dusky grove.”
Today, V and I took a day trip to explore Cambridge. We took the National Express coach from Victoria Station in London and landed in Cambridge by noon. Footloose and fancy free, we set out to explore.
Rivalry between England’s two oldest and most prestigious universities, “Oxbridge,” dates back some 800 years ago when an association of scholars left Oxford after a dispute with the townsmen to form Cambridge University. Like Oxford, Cambridge is a collegiate university comprising of 31 independent colleges including King’s College, Queen’s College, and Trinity College. Whilst much bigger in size than its rival, Cambridge still retains its scholarly atmosphere and the town is filled with cute coffee shops, ubitiquous bookstores, narrow pedestrian pathways, and tons of bikes lining the streets of Cambridge.
Our first stop along the King’s Parade was King’s College. Founded by Henry VI in 1441, King’s College is the most architecturally stunning building in Cambridge in my opinion, particularly the College Chapel, a brilliant example of late Gothic architecture.
The blue skies made the perfect backdrop for the unbelievably beautiful sandstone buildings.
Our next stop was the Trinity College. The largest of Cambridge’s colleges founded by Henry VII in 1546, Trinity College’s notable alumni includes Jawaharlal Nehru, Issac Newton, and Francis Bacon, and has produced over 30 Nobel Laureates. It is also home of the Wren Library designed by Christopher Wren, the 17th century architect who also designed St. Paul’s Cathedral in London.
Cambridge was an ultimate spot for two roaming shutterbugs!
The narrow, winding, cobblestone streets were just too picturesque to resist.
After all the architecture and lunch, we followed our feet down to the river and decided to do the other thing that Cambridge is so known for – Punting in River Cam!
A punt, for those wondering, is a flat bottomed boat, used in shallow waters and propelled along by a punter, who pushes against the river bed.
Originally used for shooting & fishing, now they’re pretty much just for larking about on the river.
We decided to take a self-hired punt which added to all the fun.
We couldn’t possibly have picked a more splendid day for it!
The sun blazed down above while a cool breeze whipped along the water, rustling the trees and turning the grass into ocean waves.
We punted along the winding stream, expertly maneuvered by our boatman. I have to say it was hard not just get swept up in the magic of the place.
Blossom fluttered down from the trees, canoodling couples whispered to each other, students taking a break from exams shrieked and laughed from wobbling boats.
I quietly sat and watched the play unfold around us, turning to smile at one and other now and then.
We quickly realized it takes two to punt! 😉
“With your hedonists who grovel on a cushion with a novel
(Which is sure to sap the morals and the intellect to stunt),
And the spectacle nefarious of your idle, gay Lotharios
Who pursue a mild flirtation in a misdirected punt!”
A guitarist singing on the bank was the golden ribbon tying up the dreamiest of afternoons.
Discovering we’d missed the Kings Collage Choir Service by a whopping 8 mins (mildly devastating), we lay our jackets in the long grass and just enjoyed the last of the sunshine.
Cambridge is by far one of the most beautiful places I’ve ever visited. The people are lovely, it’s positively soaked in history and everyone whizzes around on bicycles; which is brilliant!
I highly recommend a trip.
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