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Two Days in Cambridge

The first stop on my trip… Cambridge England

My trip started at John F Kennedy Airport.  I thought I was going to be so smart and take a flight out at 7pm that arrived in London at 7am – giving me practically a whole day.  Yeah, I didn’t really think that completely through.  For starters, my flight left at least an hour late; a few hours before my flight an inbound Volaris flight from Mexico City landed on the wrong lane almost colliding with an outbound flight – which of course backed things up.  We landed shortly after 8am gmt but by the time I got off the plane, through passport control, got my luggage and through customs it was closer to 9:45.  From there I needed to pick up my rental car.  I had stupidly assumed that the agency was located at Heathrow airport.  It wasn’t; I had to heft my two suitcases and two on board bags all by my sleep deprived self onto the shuttle bus.

After finally getting the car, I drove to Cambridge only to realize that the car was making some strange noises – which meant a phone call to roadside assistance.  By this point it was close to 2pm, I was utterly exhausted, and now waiting for roadside.  I quickly realized that my plan to have a full day of exploring was a pipe dream, and settled for some light browsing through stores while I waited for the car to be fixed.  After the car had been sorted, I went for an early dinner and decided to make full use of the giant, glorious bathtub in my hotel room, before calling it an early night.

I started the first true day of my trip bright and early at the Fitzwilliam Museum.  After spending some time looking at the building’s beautiful architecture, I bee lined it to the museum’s painting collection.  The Fitzwilliam’s collections span a lot more than just the paintings, but since I knew I was pressed for time, I chose to do the abbreviated visit.

From there I decided to head toward the actual colleges of Cambridge.  I started by visiting Queens College; one of the oldest and largest colleges of Cambridge University, with some of the most recognizable buildings.  After touring through the parts of the college open to the public, I made my way through towards the River Cam and famous Mathematical Bridge

From there, I went to go next to Kings College and the adjoining chapel.  I quickly learned that my day was not going to go smoothly.  Kings College, like many of the other colleges as I was soon to learn, was closed to visitors for the day; I happen to be visiting when the colleges of Cambridge University were conducting prospective student interviews.  To say I was frustrated was an understatement; but the sun was shining, the air was crisp, and I was determined to make the best of the day.  I continued on Kings Road towards my next destination and happened to stumble upon two incredibly adorable shops.  First I went in to Mr Simms Olde Sweetshoppe (9 Kings Parade, Cambridge CB2 1SJ) to peruse the veritable sugar rush in waiting.  Next I was drawn to Fudge Kitchen (11 Kings Parade, Cambridge CB2 1SJ) by the scent of freshly made fudge – in fact I even got to watch them make it.

I continued walking and made my way to St Mary’s Passage and had a moment to pop into The Cambridge Satchel Company (2 St Mary’s Passage, Cambridge CB2 3PQ).  I’ve always loved their handbags, so I was thrilled to be able to shop at their home store.

From there I continued onto Trinity Street, moving towards Trinity College.  As I mentioned earlier, Trinity college was also closed for the day, which meant I was only able to view the stately old college from the outside, but I was once again determined to not let that rain on my day and instead took in parts of Cambridge available to me.

When I had started planning my trip to Cambridge, the Pepys library at Magdalen College was one of the first things that made it’s way onto my list.  The Pepys library isn’t exactly large or in some fantastical building – but for book lovers, it’s a pretty incredible site to see all those old books in the collection.  The only problem is that the library is only open during very specific hours, since I was now in that window I decided to head over there.  Magdalen College was open, allowing me to get to tour another college and indulge my bookish ways.

After Magdalen College and the Pepys library, my plan was to back track to St John’s College and the Bridge of Sighs.  But surprise surprise, it was closed.  I really wanted to try and get a view of the bridge, so I consulted the handy map app on my phone to look for another way around.  Unfortunately I did not get to see the Bridge of Sighs; I did however, find an incredibly beautiful spot.  From Trinity Street, turn onto Trinity Lane located between Gonville & Caius College and Trinity College.  Follow the road around and turn right onto Garret Hostel Lane.  At the end, you’re given the option to go straight over a pedestrian bridge, or to turn right into what appears to be a parking lot.  Go through the “parking lot” and follow the backside of Trinity College.  You’ll come out onto Brewhouse Lawn and Scholars Lawn that are separated by The Avenue – a beautiful tree lined street/bridge.  It’s the most picturesque spot.

I visited in winter, which meant that there wasn’t a chance of me catching beautiful photos of quaint Cambridge in bloom.  It also meant that there wasn’t a chance I was going punting on the River Cam; while it’s definitely a classic Cambridge experience, I probably would have lost some fingers or my nose from frostbite.  But even without the rolling greens at their peak, the town itself was still marvelously charming and a delight to visit.


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