Day 1 - Cambridge

11 July 2007 - Wednesday

Our train arrived in Cambridge. We figured out how to call Jen on the payphone, and then took a taxi to where we were staying, the Cam Guest House.

Jen was waiting for us when we arrived! She had lots to show us, and since our plane was late we had to hurry.

Cambridge is a lovely city. Southern England reminds me a lot of northern Germany, where I spent 3 weeks as an exchange student back in 1994. It was neat having traffic lights that go red+yellow before going green, having the windows that open three-ways, down comforters instead of sheets, and always being worried you are going to get run down by a bicycle while walking on the sidewalk.

The thing that took me the longest to get used to was the cars driving on the opposite side of the street; I nearly got run over every time I crossed a road because I'd look the wrong way before crossing.

On our way to Jen's flat we walked along the Cam river. Here you can see a barge house-boat in the foreground and some crew-team boat houses in the background:
Cam River

We walked across the Midsummer Common:
Midsummer Common

For historical reasons cows live on the green:
Jesus Cows

And because of this there are cattle gratings at the entrances:
Cattle Grating

I was amused by this sign, which I choose to interpret to say "No sledge-hammering bicyclists except Jesus":
Jesus Sign

In town we walked by the market:

And continued on where we got pasties (our first British food). They weren't bad.

Nearby was the Corn Exchange, which sounds funny to American ears but each town tends to have one. It's where villagers exchanged grains in the 19th century.:
Corn Exchange

There were streets that had actual gutters, not their pale American imitations. In the background you can see a Belisha Beacon which is a pedestrian crossing with flashing orange lights (I need to start posting actual scenery pictures rather than random stuff like this or Kristina is going to get annoyed):

On to part 2 of our first day in Cambridge