Today was my first day exploring what else the UK has to offer outside of London. I have been itching to get out of town for awhile. My friend Oli offered to take me and a few friends sightseeing in Cambridge, where he went to school! He brought along a friend from Uni (what they say for University), Simon, to be his fellow tour guide. I invited Anna and Elizabeth to come along. Oli graciously drove us all out there and had a whole itinerary set.
We started the day by walking around the colleges and had coffee/tea/hot chocolate and a Chelsea Bun. Chelsea buns are apparently a famous in England so we had to have one. They are basically a cinnamon bun!
From there we took a punting tour! Punting is basically like a gondola, only the boat is flat bottomed and the people pushing use a long pole instead of an oar. They stand on the back of the boat and push you down the River Cam. A lot of the colleges back up to the river so you can see how beautiful they all are. Also the tour guide had great information, some things that not even the two graduates knew about! Our tour guide was Dutch but moved to England when he was 8. I asked Oli if he thought he was a student, but he said that students are not allowed to work while going to Cambridge so they can focus on their studies! Also Cambridge is just three years, and three years after graduating your bachelor degree becomes a masters….like magic! I wish mine did that.
Afterwards we walked through the country down a path to the town of Grantchester. We had lunch at the Orchard Tea Garden which they claim more famous people have taken tea there more than anywhere in the world! We actually sat at a table in the garden while eating lunch. I decided to be bold and ordered a Ploughman. It was described as basically a deconstructed sandwich. I ended up with a huge plate of food that included a salad, apple, picked onion, other picked veggies, applesauce, ham, block of cheese and slices of bread. It was a lot of work to eat it but I was quite full by the end.
We walked back to Cambridge and went to the Fitzwilliam’s museum. They had a large collection spanning many years. What was cool was seeing some works of art we had discussed in class! And also being able to recognize some artists paintings by their style. There was even a Hogarth we had discussed in depth there. It was a really great museum.
After that we went to Evensong at King’s College where Simon went. Simon actually currently works at Windsor Castle as a singer. As in…he sings for the Queen as his daily job! He used to preform in Evensong when he was there. Evensong is a church service performed almost entirely in song. The choir was quite incredible.
From there we went to a local pub called the Goose for a drink with some current choir students that Simon knew, then the five of us headed off to dinner at D’arrays. I had a steak, mushroom and gravy pie! It came with a side of mash and a salad. A really great way to end the trip. After that it was time to go home. I really appreciate being able to see an area with someone who knows it. I love being a tour guide in my own city, and have done so for many people so this is my good karma coming back to me!