Friday, August 5, 2011


We started our day fairly early since neither of us could sleep due to jet lag.  After a nice breakfast, we shuffled out with Neshan to catch the number 55 train to Cambridge.  Neshan is a professor of geometry at Cambridge and also lived there a few years with Manisha, so we were bound to get some good insight into the town prior to venturing off on our own.

Bus Number 55 from Huntingdon to Cambridge
After about an hour ride, we turned into the Cambridge bus station as I took in all of the historic architecture of the town.  I must say that public transportation in England is great.  Our round trip fare to Cambridge was only a few pounds each and the bus had free WiFi so I was able to book Shari and I Eurostar tickets to Paris!

One of the Many Old Churches in Cambridge 
After debarking the bus, we followed Neshan through a modern mall (I was surprised to see) and into the main square where the local farmers market was in full swing.  We decided to grab some lunch after a brief stop at the local tourist information (TI) office.  Then it was off to lunch so Neshan could mark up the map we got from the TI in order to show us the must see spots.  Since Shari had already been to Cambridge, I was in good hands an assured of seeing the best of Cambridge.

Courtyard of Trinity College
After lunch, Neshan headed off to think up the next great geometry theorem while Shari and I headed off to check out some sights.  First on the list was Trinity college, home of the Wren Library and some of the oldest manuscripts in England including some of Sir Isaac Newton’s original notes and the actual manuscript to the first Whinny the Pooh book.  It was absolutely incredible to be in the presence of writings many centuries old.
The Wren Library
 After the Wren it was off to see the punting on the Cam River.  From the time we arrived in Cambridge, young men and women kept coming up to us asking if we would like to go punting.  It was a bit odd to hear at first, but after a brief explanation by Neshan, we found that punting was a flat bottom boat ride up and down the cam river.  You can either try to maneuver the boat yourself with a long metal pole or you can get one of the Cambridge undergrad students to give you a private narrated tour.  Although it looked like fun, it was a hot day so that river was packed with tourists and so Shari and I decided just to watch the fun from a footbridge.
Punting On the Cam River
 Feeling a bit hungry, we decided to catch a bite and headed into the Michaelhouse Café inside of the St. Michael’s Church.  St. Michael’s Church was originally built prior to 1200 and was redesigned in 1326.  It served as both a college chapel and parish church and the main chapel is still in immaculate condition.  It was definitely a bit surreal to eat our lunch inside of such and old house of worship….

St Michaels Church

Another View of St Michaels

View of the Inside of St Michaels 
Refreshed and ready to roll, we hit a few tourist locations, including an ice cream parlor and T-shirt shop, prior to visiting the next major sight; Kings College Chapel, built from 1446 to 1515.  This Chapel’s architecture was absolutely stunning with old flying buttresses and large arches and spires.  There was a six and a half pound charge (about $12 US) just to walk into the church and we had a few other places to go, so we decided to stay outside and snap some nice exterior photos.
Kings College Church 
After checking out Kings College, we took off for a cool architecture museum but found that it closed about 15 minutes prior to our arrival so we decided to take a nice nap on the grass of a local park.  We awoke to a few light raindrops and made our way into the center of town where we found Jamie Oliver’s new Italian restaurant called Jamie’s Italian.  Shari is an enormous Jamie Oliver fan so we had to come back to sample a few small plates-the place looked fantastic inside.
A Nap in the Grass

Shari Loves Jamie Oliver's Restaurants
We left Jamie’s Italian for later and found a bar that offered free WiFi, so we popped in for a bit to check e-mail, book our room for our Paris excursion and catch up on a few things.  We stayed at the bar using the WiFi for about an hour and no one hassled us to buy a drink!  
Kitchen at Jamie's Italian
Shari began to get really excited as we made our way back to Jamie’s Italian and I must say I was won over too after we sat down at the bar to wait for a table to open.  The bar tenders were cool and they made a great Royal Mojito!  Once seated, Shari and I had a hard time ordering since everything looked spectacular, but we ended up deciding on the crispy squid with garlicky butter, the wild truffle risotto and the bucatina carbonara.  The squid was the absolute best I have ever had.  Extremely lightly battered and cooked to perfection with some small serrano pepper slices and an incredible garlicky butter dipping paste.  The risotto and carbonara were also excellent, but it was really the ambiance and decor of the space that charmed us both.  The food was so good, we split a desert (the ultimate brownie consisting of chocolate, raspberry and amaretto with vanilla ice cream).  What a great cap to an awesome day.
View of Shari in Jamie's Italian 
After dinner, we had to find our way back home by ourselves.  It was pretty late, but the last bus wasn’t suppose to leave until 11:35 PM, so we had plenty of time to make the station, even if we missed the 10:35 PM bus.  The bus arrived right on schedule and dropped us close to the Huntingdon station where we ventured out into the misty night to see if we could find our way back to Neshan and Manisha’s.  We were home after about a twenty-minute walk and collapsed in bed exhausted from the day but eager to get up early to head off to Paris.

The next post should be a good one, so stay tuned and I will get it out as quickly as possible.

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