Saturday, January 8, 2011

An English Winter: Cambridge (Part I)

If you have been wondering about the absence of posts (and my general well being), fear not. I was holidaying and have tonnes to write about.

I seem destined to travel westwards at the height of winter and keeping with this tradition (Actually, taking it a tiny bit further), I visited England during the coldest winter in living memory. Armed with a copy of the Lonely Planet, intense optimism and a jacket that was made for someone three times my size, I descended upon London. If you were/are a reading sort of kid (And no, Twilight doesn’t count. No number of screaming women and sales success can convince me that that is acceptable literature. For any age group.), then England must have made an appearance in most, if not all, your books. Enid Blyton also gave me my first glimpse of a non-rasam-and-curd-rice world. The Five Find-Outers (not to be confused with the pesky Famous Five) always found time to have the most exotic tea - buttered scones, clotted cream, cakes, puddings and other wondrous sounding things – in the middle of all their crime busting shenanigans. These teas and the possibility of meeting magic people were what most of my childhood fantasies revolved around.

Anyways, getting back to the point: I made it to England. And while I spent most of my time enjoying the sights and sounds of London, I am going to talk about that in another post. On this one, I am going to take you to Cambridge. Laughing Boy, Cheesy Girl, The Pimp and I visited this university town on cold winter morning. We took the bus to the centre of Cambridge and promptly fell in love. These old, old buildings took our breath away (The ‘new’ buildings were constructed in 1840. And the oldest building here was built in 1464. 1464!). Another structure that caught our attention was the Grasshopper Clock (see picture. Some of you may remember it from the movie Paa).

While Cambridge is a walker’s paradise, I would highly recommend that you take a boat over the River Cam (8-10 pounds). The boatsmen or punters (i.e., a very good looking, young student) take you around in the boat and explain the history of these buildings. And the origin of some very interesting phrases. Did you know that the term ‘daylight robbery’ came about because they taxed windows and the sunlight that filtered through. The view is marred by some misplaced hunks of brick and concrete (Lasdun Building, I think it was called). Once you are off the boat, walk into one of the colleges and take the atmosphere of the place in.

If you are there during the summer, which they assure me is gorgeous, you could even catch a play in the college gardens. There were posters and ads for all sorts of activities (suspect and otherwise) all over the place.

And if you are hungry while you are there, then there is only one place that I recommend: The Copper Kettle. We chanced upon this while looking for another restaurant and thanked our lucky stars. The place is warm, filled with people and great smelling food. This place has a wide menu that even includes some Turkish offerings. But that day we set our sights on the all day breakfast (5 pounds). For the meat eaters I recommend the Full English breakfast: bacon, sausages, tomatoes, eggs and toast. Need I say more? Incredibly good, filling and totally worth the money. They also have a veggie version of the breakfast.

But if you are veggie, try the A-la Turca Platter (6 pounds). This comes with one warm and very large baguette, feta and cheddar cheese, olives, boiled eggs, tomatoes and cucumbers. The quantities of cheese that they give you are very very generous. (The layers of holiday fat I have accumulated are testament to that). The feta cheese was very fresh and tasted lovely. I also recommend that you have some marmalade. While I am not a huge fan of the preservative parade, this is one that I liked very much. The ambiance at the Copper Kettle is good with some oriental lamps and kettles doing the rounds. Service is quick and efficient and they allow you to linger too. They also have a clean, well maintained loo.

While I am not a huge fan of the preservative parade, this is one that I liked very much. The ambiance at the Copper Kettle is good with some oriental lamps and kettles doing the rounds. Service is quick and efficient and they allow you to linger. They also have a clean, well maintained loo.

If you are in England and are looking for a relaxed day looking at pretty, historic buildings, walking lots and eating even more then head towards Cambridge. Cambridge has that youthful, optimistic vibe that most university towns have. Smart, successful, beautiful kids who think the world is their oyster. Ah! The follies of youth. When you are as old and as wise as me, you will know better. This little expedition has however convinced me to study in Cambridge. So if Cambridge is handing out scholarships to broke, Indian bloggers who like to eat lots, contact me immediately!

I have so much to write and talk about that I am going to be updating the blog pretty often. Stay glued!

P.S: As a result of an impulse shopping expedition with Cheesy Girl I am now the proud owner of impossibly high purple boot-type heels. Not that it is of any consequence to this blog. But I just wanted to share. :)


Satya said...

enjoyed reading your post about cambridge ... have only heard of it but u are lucky girl...make the best of it, follow ur heart : )


S.. Diva said...

nice blog... your London series of posts are wonderful. reminds me of my trip and all the english food i desperately hogged on :)
haven't yet done Sunny's despite being a Bangalorean ... shame on me :(

Post a Comment