A Beautiful Day in Cambridge

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A few months ago I participated in an International Students House Travel Club day trip to Cambridge. After a short minivan ride from London, our group of 13 international students arrived to a quaint little city dominated by gothic and red-brick university buildings. There were many churches, cozy coffeeshops, parked bikes everywhere and quiet courtyards full of the greenest grass and autumn flowers. For students, this was heaven.

Our first stop was the main street in front of King's College (pictured above). Our guide gave us about an hour to explore our surroundings before the official tour started. I headed for the local farmer's market, the most famous of its kind in the city where not only farmers but also artists and antiques collectors exhibit their goods in the same square. I also walked by a series of gardens, very pretty bridges and grassy areas where cows basked relaxingly in the sun. Every place seemed ideal to study.

"The highlight of our trip"

When the group reconvened, we visited other colleges and the King's College chapel before we headed for the highlight of our trip: punting. A "punt" is a type of rectangular wooden boat that is very famous in Cambridge's Cam river. Guided punt tours are advertised everywhere in the city, attracting tourists with the promise of local knowledge and beautiful sights of the university's architecture. I enjoyed the boat ride immensely, even though the punts frequently hit one another, failing to escape the heavy traffic.

We passed under the famous Mathematical Bridge, which the myth attributes to Newton, and we also passed by the buildings that have been victims of the infamous "night-climbing," a common yet forbidden practice of Cambridge students. The night climbers of Cambridge, as they are known since a book by the same name was written, have been secretly climbing onto the roofs of buildings for the last 100 years. Despite university efforts to ban what they consider vandalism, exotic objects like UK flags and lavatory seats continue to appear on roofs as a testament to the climbers' perseverance.

I really enjoyed asking our punt guide, who happened to be a Cambridge student, what it felt like to attend the best university in the world according to international rankings. He replied: "It feels great. I can finally say we are better than Harvard!"


Maria is a Harvard graduate and a guest blogger for Foreign Students. She posts regular updates of her experiences as a postgraduate student at LSE in London. Click here to see her older posts.


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