Travel Journal

4th down and Punt

(Sunday 22 August 2010) by Mike and Julie's sort of round the world trip
Day 12 – 8/16/10 Cambridge
We had gotten an eight day Britrail pass and had used it extensively throughout England. Ideally we would not have been traveling so much and taken the time to really explore the places we had been but I wanted a little taste of everything so the pass had been a good value. Today was the eighth day so I figured we’d use it to either visit Canterbury or Cambridge. From the title, I suppose you can figure which city we decided on.
The Tube was down the street so we went to catch the subway to Victoria station but the cost was like 4 pounds for the both of us to get there which was 2 miles away and he said a day pass would still be extra cost? Two civilizations separated by a common language. I thought it was expensive and so we walked to Victoria station. Once there we found out there were no trains to Cambridge from there and we would have to go to another railroad station. We got better advice at the Underground and bought day passes good for zone 1 & 2 for like 5.20. Well we got about an hour of free exercise walking to Victoria station!
It’s a little under an hour to the city
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and we caught a bus into the city center as the railroad station is a couple miles away. Like Boston, it’s not much of a college town. I’m joking of course as we passed many universities. I thought there would be a main Cambridge University campus but the university is spread throughout the city which were nice to walk through.
The main reason I wanted to come here was for the punting though. I had seen it on The Amazing Race and I often visit sites shown on that show. I found Scudamore and rented a self guided punt for an hour. Punt is a strange vehicle where you stand on the stern with a pole and your partner is forward with a paddle to help steer the punt. Try to guess which position I took. The attendant gave a brief demonstration on how to use the pole and we were off like a turtle!



It took a bit of time to get the hang of punting. I can see why so many contestants on the show ended up in the water as standing on the stern is rather precarious and it is easy to lose your balance. Julie, God bless her, didn’t really know how to guide with the paddle and often was paddling on the wrong side and with patches of strong currents, and me struggling with the pole, I’m sure it was rather comical to watch from the banks. On the show, the contestants had a choice of punting for one mile or cycling for six miles. Without a doubt, cycling was the wiser choice.
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We did a bit but I decided not to push fate and we returned the punt about 10 minutes early before I could fall into the Cam river.
We got back too late to try and make a trip to Canterbury so we instead jumped randomly to spots around London. Piccadilly Circus was the first stop. It’s kind of like a Times Square in London with billboard and the theatre district, then Trafalgar square to visit Nelson, then a visit inside the British Gallery which had a nice collection of paintings. Next was Parliament and Big Ben with the London Eye in the background. I would have liked to go up it but at $30 USD each, it was a bit too much. We stopped outside of Westminster Abbey for some photos and also breezed by St. Paul knowing we’d be back to visit inside it. We stopped at one corner of Hyde Park and walked to the other end where Speakers Corner was but apparently it was too late for any of the citizens to be denouncing something as it was vacant.
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It had been another long day and once again we stopped at Subway for the sandwich deal of the day which was a curried chicken. Julie ordered her sandwich first and after see the chicken I quickly switched to a more palatable club sandwich. Julie has been trying to work off a cold for a few days – probably caught it at Stratford and had been getting worse despite her intake of Sudafed which was running low. Hopefully she will get over it soon.

 


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