Well, I have a week before classes resume, so I’m trying to relax and feel as stress free as possible before the work begins. You might know that relatively recently, I went to France on holiday. As expected on holiday, I did virtually no exercise. And since returning from France, I’ve done little running. As a result, I felt terribly out of shape during the most recent ParkRun. I finished in 10th place with a time of 18:30. It didn’t help that I had a headache prior to the race (it felt better afterwards) in addition to feeling uncomfortable in my running tights (They’ve lost elasticity. I can’t say I was close to a wardrobe malfunction, but occasionally I had to pull them up during the race). I have to buy a new set.
But I have much better news from the weekend. Unfortunately, during this time around in the U.K., I really haven’t seen much as in regards to new places. Well, other than the library at Leeds Met. I know a bunch of people in this country I met while working in Japan and France. Unfortunately, I hadn’t met up with any of them – until yesterday.
Sian, whom I met during the time I was an English assistant in Rouen, had been wondering when I was I going to come down to either London or Cambridge to meet up with her. I figured yesterday would be the perfect day since it was before classes resume and I had no plans. So all I had to do was figure out the cheapest way to get to Cambridge (where Sian lives. She was willing to take the train to London. But since I’ve never been to Cambridge and it’s not terribly far from the capital, I figured it would be nice to visit somewhere new while making things easier for Sian).
So after taking two buses (The cost of four bus tickets to/from Cambridge was only slightly more expensive than the least expensive one way train ticket to Cambridge), I was in Cambridge (If the Wikipedia entry on the town is correct, my arrival location – Parkside – is adjacent to the site of the first ever football match). It’s a very famous university town, and… that’s what I basically knew about it.
But Cambridge feels a lot different from Leeds. Leeds feels huge compared to Cambridge as the Leeds city centre doesn’t feels as condensed. The buildings are taller in Leeds and the town seems more modern as the architecture in Cambridge seems rather 19th century. Or maybe my opinion is a product of the places I saw in town. But I looked seeing the architecture in Cambridge, which gave me the perfect excuse to play around with my new camera. Actually, I didn’t know what the hell I was taking pictures of most of the time. But take a look.
The main reason I went to Cambridge was not to sightsee (although I would love to return in the summer to go punting) but to meet up with Sian. I greatly enjoyed chatting about France, her life in Cambridge and my time in Leeds. She admitted she wasn’t great at giving tours of the city, but she introduced me to the Heffers bookstore in town. According to its website, it’s an institution in town (Speaking of books, Sian works in publishing). Maybe it’s me, but there seems to be more bookstores in French cities than British cities. Anyway, it’s always nice to skim editions of Lonely Planet while being shielded from the rain.
As evidenced by one of the pictures above, Cambridge is a popular location for punting. Sian told me she gone punting several times, including when her family has visited her in Cambridge. What’s “punting?” A punt is a kind of boat, and a lot of people go punting on the River Cam when the weather is nice. Obviously, yesterday was not the day to do so but during the summer, many people will rent punts and Sian showed me where people will go punting.
After sightseeing, we ate dinner at the Dojo Noodle Bar, which Sian told me is a popular location for her and co-workers to eat lunch. The Dojo Noodle Bar features noodle dishes from all over Asia and better yet (for me), there were several Japanese dishes (and a couple of them were vegetarian). So it was the perfect way to end my day in Cambridge.