I fear I have been remiss in my blogging! I’ve been pretty busy for the past two weeks, and I most of my free time has been dedicated to a TON of assigned reading for my classes. I’m still enjoying class, and I’m not saying it isn’t cool to read Oliver Twist and recognize all the street names and neighborhoods mentioned, but don’t these professors know that they’re interfering with my Super Awesome European Vacation/Pub Crawl 2011?
Anyway, I’ll start where I left off. Two weekends ago I took a day trip to Cambridge with my friends Zoe and Liz. We had a really great time—Cambridge is absolutely beautiful and really OLD! The university is all historic buildings and perfectly-kept grounds, and its academic charm engulfs the whole town as well. We did a punting (boat) tour on the River Cam, which is an awesome way to see all of the University buildings while listening to historical tidbits about them and their famous alumni. We also walked around the grounds of some of the colleges, in some cases pretending we were students and walking past the “Tourists Do Not Enter” signs. It was crazy to see the buildings that housed former college students like Sir Isaac Newton, Charles Darwin, Stephen Hawking, William Wordsworth, John Milton, and a million more scientists, writers, royals, and other luminaries. We also saw the boys’ rugby team coming back from practice, which was equally as absorbing as all of the history.
This is me being intellectual in a completely non-staged way.
In front of one of the college buildings.
The three of us!
In addition to touring the colleges, we also spent quite a bit of time in Cambridge’s oldest pub, The Eagle. It was opened in 1667, and after walking through the maze-like layout of the building, you can definitely tell. It was very warm and cozy and traditionally English. The pub’s most recent claim to fame is that Watson and Crick allegedly figured out the structure of DNA there while they were relaxing over a few pints after a long day in the lab. Pretty badass. Zoe, Liz, and I got lunch there during the day (the fish and chips were delicious!) and then later we had five hours to kill before our train back to London. We had bought the cheapest possible round trip, which meant that we were stuck in Cambridge until 11 pm on a Sunday. Since everything else in town closed around 6, where else could we go but the pub? We had a fun night trying all the bar’s different microbrews and chatting up the locals. I ended up having a conversation with a guy named Freddie who was studying “Maths” (British for Math…if you didn’t quite catch that.) He was totally nerdy-looking, but in the best possible way—he was wearing horn rimmed glasses and suspenders! I also assumed he was a freshman, but then it turned out that he was older than me and getting his Masters. We had a drunkenly intellectual conversation (the best kind of intellectual conversation) about academia and career choices, and he asked for advice about where in America to go for his PHD—Harvard, Yale, Princeton, MIT, Columbia, or Stanford? Well, obviously being an expert on Ivy League schools, I gave him the lowdown on Boston, Connecticut, New York, and Princeton. And told him that the East Coast is way better than the West Coast. So that was that. If life were a romantic comedy, this scene would flash to another scene five years later, where I bump into him in Boston or New York, we recognize each other, and proceed to date while one of those “happy couple montages” plays with an upbeat song in the background. We might run into a mishap along the way, but in the end I get to marry the future Steve Jobs of our generation. And then I’m super rich and can spend my time curating my private library, donating to worthwhile charities, and buying awesome clothes. Roll credits!
The outside of The Eagle
At the end of the night, we were all pretty happy with Cambridge, and as the least intoxicated one of the group, I had to be the voice of reason and convince my friends we had to take a train home. (“I don’t care if the bartender is your best friend and he says we can sleep on his floor, we are going to London right now!”)
So Cambridge was a lot of fun, and definitely a highly-recommended day trip, if you find yourself in the UK!