Ginger Cambridge

cheap
one day
october
luxuriant and tidy nature
ancient colleges

A redhead with freckles

What i hate about all the English cities and towns i saw until now is that they look like little copies of London.
They don't have personalities, living in the shadow of the City, invaded by shopping chains.
About Cambridge, instead, i was pleasantly surprised: i left home with low expectations and i came back amazed!
Cambridge is a freckled redhead, wearing an orange woolen scarf. She carries books, walking thoughtful on a sheet of yellow leaves.

Bus and breakfast

This beautiful town is located north east of London, about 45 minutes from Stansted Airport.
From Victoria Station, after a couple of hours, the National Express bus (ticket 14£ return) leave us just outside the historic centre of Cambridge, in the Parkside.
Immediate stop for a quick breakfast: in Emmanuel Street we find Savino's, a typical Italian bar, something hard to find in UK. You know that kind of bar with just a few tables, a huge counter, coffee machine pouring Illy, Yoga juices and pastries straight from the oven on the back? That one!
We buy something to take away and leave the bar: just around the corner begins the old town, appropriately closed to traffic.

Christ's College

The first thing that catch our attention is a gap on our left hand side revealing a round garden surrounded by twenty pumpkins carved for Halloween (today's October 31!) . It's the Christ's College gate, the college where a young Charles Darwin was educated long before his discovery tour around the world!

This college, like many others, is exclusive: visitors can enjoy the gardens only.
The bar, the pool, the library, the apartments are for students only.

Market and King's College

Leaving the college, just after crossing Market Street we're greeted by the scents and colours of the Saturday morning market stalls. Fresh bread, colourful coats, sweets, home decorations, pumpkins and multicoloured carpets. Meanwhile a beautiful sun wipes out all the morning clouds: it's going to be sunny all day long.

The massive King's College rises just around the corner: majestic, ancient, with its Gothic architecture and a dazzling white! Dates back to 1441, did you know that it took more than 100 years to build? It survived the kingdom of 5 King of England indeed, including Henry the VI, VII and VIII !

Fudge Kitchen

Walking along the King's Parade, we're attracted by a sweet smell from the door of a busy shop.
Without even reading the sign we slip in between the curious to find a guy with an apron and a spatula, modelling a huge layer of sugary dough on a marble table: he's making fudge !
It took me years to understand what the fudge is, even now I can hardly explain: it's a sweet made from sugar, milk and butter, cooked in the pan to 160 °C and then shaped on a marble surface until it cools down.
Well, in that moment the pastry chef was finishing his work of art: we have seen this mixture from semi liquid becoming gradually more and more solid, just by cooling down. Once cutted in slices, he let us taste pieces: soft, still warm, sweet !!!! Super delicious !!!
Going out we read the name of this magical place: Fudge Kitchen.

King's Parade

Along King's Parade there's a long queue of tourists entering the King's College, and a street artist intent on playing the guitar in ... a trash!
But you just need to walk into one of the lanes to find that peace and silence Cambridge is renowned for.
St.Benet's Parish Church, small and basic, is the oldest church of the city, dating back to 1025!
Dozens and dozens of bicycles are parked on railings and from every open window you can see a student focused on a book :)

Mathematical Bridge and Punts

Heading to the River Cam, at the end of Silver Street, we find the cute Mathematical Bridge, a wooden pedestrian bridge that connects two parts of the Queen's College.
Parallel to the Mathematical Bridge there's a punting point : a corner of punts docking and departure, led by chauffeurs or rented privately. It's funny to see the people shaking on the punts, pushing the little boats and trying to avoid falling into the river!

We take a walk along the river,astonished by the colors, then we go back inside, along the King's Parade, to walk out again on the river behind the King's College: that's because there isn't a public footpath which runs alongside the river.

The ducks bodyguard

Soon we realize the reason why the green spaces are so tidy: as soon as one of us steps on the grass, a little man dressed up with the bowler hat pops out, gently inviting to remove the filthy feet from the royal lawn :D The "bodyguard of ducks" is so kind that we don't even get upset :D

Jumping in a picture

We were heading to Trinity College and the Bridge of Sighs, but a wonderful landscape stops us: it feels like we're entering into a drawing! Do you remember the scene in Mary Poppins where Mary, Bert and the children make a jump it the picture? Exactly the same!

Do you believe in reincarnation? I don't, but it's fascinating. If it was true, ‪Vincent‬ ‪‎Van Gogh‬ would have left Netherlands to get a new life in ‪‎Cambridge ‬, spending his days going punts. He still loves colours, indeed :)

Anyway we stay there, taking pictures and playing with the leaves for a good while until sunset arrives.
We enter in a coffee shop for a hot cup of tea, and when we leave it's dark already.
And everything closed, too! Yes, in Cambridge every shop shuts down around 5.30-6 pm.
We missed the Trinity College and the Bridge of Sights! Our bus supposed to depart at 9.00 pm, so we have 3 hours to waste. We walk every single lane, but being Cambridge small, we end at the same point again and again. The last thing to do is an early dinner :)

Well, next time i'll be back during spring, with sunshine and flowering trees :D

First things i'll visit will be the Trinity College and the Bridge of Sights!

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Pros

  • wonderful colours
  • historic centre closed to traffic
  • quiet
  • cozy
  • young

Cons

  • at 6 pm everything shuts down
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