Sun 6 Oct - Cambridge, England

"I could have gone to Cambridge with Lionel / I think I tried to raise a pound / Just to see the University..." - Al Stewart's song "Beeleka Doodle Day" comes to mind and you will soon know why it is included here...

We were quite happy to leave "Stay in Chelsea" guesthouse after being without hot water for five consecutive days so we packed up and headed out before 9am for our relocation to Cambridge. Our train was not scheduled to depart from Liverpool Station until 11.30am so we had plenty of time and therefore stopped at an Italian coffee shop and bakery for a coffee on the way to the tube station of South Kensington.

In the end, it was a good thing that we allowed extra time - today was a major rail track maintenance day on the London Underground and whole sections of lines we thought we could take to Liverpool Street station were closed.

Hmm. Our plan B when we understood that the Circle Line would not take us there, was to go to Aldgate East and switch, only to find, once we arrived that the section between there and Liverpool Street was also closed. A 10 minute walk seemed the best solution.

And we were so glad that we did this as we stumbled onto Petticoat Lane Sunday Markets "en route".

Smiles from both of us as we dragged our bags through real markets selling just about anything. Real markets, with real people and real bargains.

We were quickly distracted - no issue with time we were still very very early - and the offer of £1 t-shirts called to us...

Hans was on the lookout too, and we both bought a new t-shirt each for a total of £2. Of course they both had the word "London" on them, but the quality seemed OK.

"Oh my God..., you need a handbag", an old catch cry from a vendor during our visit to Florenze in Italy back in 2008. This time Di agreed and she bought a £10 replacement for her old satchel (sling bag).

Here is Di completing the deal (the bag she bought is handing to the right of her shoulder).

We suddenly realized that we were not that far from the London Gherkin building as it suddenly appeared between the local buildings.

We still arrived at Liverpool Station with a full hour to kill before our train.

There was a Starbucks coffee caravan just outside the station's entrance with outdoor seatings in the sun, so we got ourselves a cuppa and sat down to do some people watching. At one of the other tables sat a junkie, fidgeting with his cigarette and calling out to girls. He offered to suck the toes of a girl in sandals and when he found out that a bunch of German girls came from Cologne, he expressed his dissatisfaction with that town as he couldn't find any marijuana to buy there. Classy.

Our time to depart approached and we found our train to Cambridge at platform 1. Here is Di making herself comfortable.

Study of rail carriages...

Hans engaging his grey matter, or whatever is left of it, in a battle to complete a Suduku.

Fast forward after an uneventful train ride and we arrived in Cambridge around 12.45pm. We got on bus number 1 after next to no wait and at 1.20pm or so we stepped into the Waterman pub on Chesterton Road where we have accommodation for the next 3 nights.

We were too early for check in but were able to drop off our bags in our room before we went out for a wander in a picture perfect autumn day in Cambridge to get our bearings.

Waterman is just on the bend of the river Cam and the centre of Cambridge is behind that, so that's where we were heading.

We were on the lookout for some lunch and we soon found a lovely cafe providing simple dishes and also outdoor seating in the sun, next to a busy throughfare. Perfect for a snack and people watching.

Hans was also enjoying his cup of tea...

Cambridge, of course, has many fantastic buildings and not just the colleges and universities.

OK, we will explore this a lot further, but we couldn't resist a few pics of and around Kings College.

The main entrance to Kings College. Here but no further as it was now closed for visitors when we arrived in the late afternoon. Try again tomorrow.

Looking away from Kings College...

Of course, it could not be a university town without some leftish propaganda. Comrades in Cambridge perhaps...?

You also know you are in a uni town when...

What the? A closer inspection revealed it was a clock. And on time too!

Between Trumpington Street / Kings Parade to the east and river Cam to the west, there are apparently some 7 different colleges and universities. We later read that University of Cambridge is a collegiate university consisting of 31 different colleges and 6 academic schools. This is St Catherine's College.

After wandering and passing all the different colleges, we thought that we needed to check out the punting activities at the river Cam.

Punts was big business on a Sunday afternoon and you could hire a punt and do it yourself or you could just go for a ride. The punts came in various sizes.

At one point, off the bridge on Silver Street, there was a "punt traffic jam" with a mix of do-it-yourselfers and hired hands. You could easily spot who had not done this before...

Although some of the do-it-yourselfers got or perhaps already had the hang of it. The guy on the right in blue was steady, straight and made good time.

As we followed the river, we suddenly saw an enclosed area with this very informative sign... No shit...? We laughed hard.

Back in downtown some time later and we passed a pub, the Eagle, that claimed to be Cambridge's most famous. And not only that, as the blue sign proclaimed, it was in this pub that two young men announced their discovery of how DNA carries genetic information. We were very suitably impressed. The pub itself was also very nice and we may be back for a refreshment at some time.

Well, the main reason that we are in Cambridge right now is that we have purchased ticket to see Al Stewart (of "Year of the cat" fame) in this building, Cambridge Corn Exchange, tomorrow night.

The posters were up and Hans gave it his thumbs up.

By sheer coincident, or perhaps clever planning, Jamie Oliver's Italian is just across the lane from the Cambridge Corn Exchange so we booked ourselves a pre concert table for dinner for tomorrow night.

We zigzagged a bit more and finally found a map where north is at the top. These urban maps show the reader what is in front of them regardless of what direction that points to. Di struggled a bit because each time you had to reorient yourself on a new version.

And yes, a lot of names in Cambridge do start with "Jesus". We had noticed that there were several Cambridge institutions which appeared to have a religious link such as the Corpus Christi College.

Autum had arrived to Cambridge and the autumn colours made for some beautiful displays. These buildings off Victoria Road are referred to as "courts", but we were not sure whether it was yet another educational institution or whether this was indeed traditional courts.

A selfie in the Jesus Green.

We wandered through the Midsummer Common towards the river Cam towards where we started our wandering through Cambridge earlier. There were paved walkways in all different directions...

We bought ourselves an ice cream each and sat down by the river and checked out the water life. There were 3 swans who had pumped themselves up after their wash up routine and they all looked a bit... pansy. Poser!

The smoke here came from a couple of BBQs on a lawn next to the river. Hopefully the smoke and BBQs were not intended for the free range ducks...although it did make us think of Chinese takeaway for dinner tonight...

The pub where we are staying, the Waterman, is just behind this blue and white building.

Evening arrived and we had noticed a coin operated laundromat around the corner from the Waterman and just to the right of the blue and white building above. With no other plans, and plenty of dirty clothes, we decided to do a load of wash and dry around 7pm and Di became laundromat help desk with other customers asking her questions, and a strange guy wanting to chat to her. She does attract them...

Afterwards we went to Hing Hung (next to our accommodation) for take away Chinese food which we had in our room later. Very nice salt and pepper prawn dish and also fried rice, with Satay chicken too.

Here is the Waterman in the dark...we have a very nice room upstairs at the front.

Hans was blogging while Di was watching the third "Pirates of the Carribbian" movie. She likes Johnny Depp. All good. Over and out for now. Goodnight.


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