We set out for Cambridge one very cold Saturday, with hopes that it wouldn’t rain because we wanted to go punting. For all those who don’t know what punting is (I didn’t know) it’s basically a tour of the University of Cambridge from the river. You get into a small creaky boat with eight or ten others. A rower stands at the helm of the boat, ducking every time we pass under a bridge and pointing out all the different colleges. It’s like a British version of the Venetian gondola.
What I didn’t realize about the University of Cambridge was that it’s actually comprised of 31 different colleges. Because of this, Cambridge is very much a college town. But it felt like there was something for everyone. Walking from the train station to the city center, the streets were packed with people and the roads filled with students on bikes, their backpacks weighing them down.
Before even reaching the city center we stopped at a cathedral, which, unfortunately I don’t remember the name of. That’s the thing about being abroad—most of the churches I see, while they are beautiful, blend together.
In the main square there was a farmers market of sorts, with a few dozen tents filling the area. Street performers lined the sidewalks and shoppers carrying flowers, hot food and fresh produce wandered by. After enjoying a hot meal and gawking at the man on stilts, we wandered through the back alleys to the small dock where we would climb into the boat.
Once on the river the temperature seemed to drop, but the water remained calm. Dark clouds rolled in and reflected on the water as we admired the beautiful colleges lining the riverbank. Other punters glided by, some waving to us and some in a trance-like state.
While it was a little chilly that day, we lucked out with a beautiful sunset. The dark clouds turned a shade of purple and reflected pinks and oranges and the gold lining on the buildings glittered.