CAMBRIDGE, UK ON FOOT

CAMBRIDGE ON FOOT.
Getting to Cambridge, UK is quite easy. There are buses going there from Heathrow. The trip takes about two hours. Buying tickets at the bus terminal turned out to be wise, because they were much cheaper than the ones we saw online. Exploing Cambridge is only done on foot, since most areas are for pedestrians and bikers only. The town was founded in times immemorial, which one can see in numerous buildings and churches. It is the second oldest university in the UK, with Peterhouse established in 1284. Amazingly, one can still walk around the yard for free, looking at the ancient but still functioning houses and immaculate lawns. King’s College, founded by Henry VIII in the fifteenth century, is vast, and unexpectedly beautiful, with its own lovely chapel. One has to pay 7.50 to get inside. The population is over 100,000, with about 25,000 students. One can see it in the streets, with lots of young faces walking, running and riding bicycles. There are plenty of shops clearly oriented towards young fashion, as well as lots of bars, cafes and pubs. There are many bookstores, too. It was amazing to see a shop which said “Cambridge University Press”, made me realize that the textbooks used all over the globe are actually printed and sold right here!
On a nice day, people relax on the green grass all around the River Cam, while visitors are offered boat rides. “Boating or punting, madam, sir?” is a constant song in the air. It is a very international town. Helpful signs, town plans are everywhere. Whoever you ask is ready to help. “Are you lost? Do you need help?” an old man asked me when I stopped at a corner, trying to read my tourist map. “Are you good for walking?” Straight ahead, cross the river and up the hill, a brisk walk of 20 minutes, turned out to be about an hour for me, the final leg spent in the company of a friendly student who took me directly to my destination. On the way, I saw two houses which irresistibly brought back memories of Frankfurt, with their checkered white walls. What amazes me most is not the age of everything I saw, but the fact that the town is preserved as is. “Circa 1092”, a sign near one church entrance said. Those who built it could not know that it will endure for a thousand years, until the said millennium had passed, yet they managed to erect it. The Round Church, one of the town hallmarks, it also very old. Entering it, one feels the need to be silent; indeed, there is a general hush in all such places.
There are lots of parks and flowers everywhere. Lovely magnolia trees were in bloom, showing giant flowers with thick white petals. St. James’s College had its triple gardens open for the public: you pass through one arch into a garden, then through another arch into another garden, and through yet another arch into a great green space where you can sit on a bench, relax and enjoy a warm day and a magnificent view.
Walking around, I found a small booth in a park and bought bus tickets for our next day’s ride to Stansted airport. It takes about an hour. It turned out to be quite a large airport with plenty of cafes, shops and kiosks with everything you might need for a journey.
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