When we were planning our motorcycle route, we were deciding between Cambridge or Oxford. We went for Cambridge because watching tourists punting seemed like a fun activity and who doesn’t want to have a few pints at the Eagles pub where Watson and Crick unravel the secrets to human genes.
See & Do
- Pembroke College Free admission. Assuming it isn’t time for finals, you are welcome to walk around the campus. We enjoyed the beautifully manicured lawns and historical architecture. The actual campus is not too large, but you can still feel the history as you walk through it.
- Mathematical Bridge: A common fable about this bridge is that it was designed by Isaac Newton, who was able to build it without any nuts or bolts. But in reality it’s just a common wooden bridge that uses some sound architectural principles to stay stable and carry students over (visitors unfortunately aren’t allowed). But it still looks pretty cool.
- The Backs: Refers to the “back” of the colleges — a nice park/pedestrian area along the River Cam where you can either go punting on a boat or just wander around aimlessly for a bit enjoying the scenery. Unfortunately we could not get into the famous King’s Chapel due to final exams (end of April).
- The River Cam: The river for which the town is named, it’s more like a scenic stream that runs behind the colleges. If the weather is nice and you’re in the mood, you can hop on a boat (an authorized one of course!) and go punting. Since the river is fairly shallow, punters propel the boat by using a really long stick to push the boat down the river. Most of the punters looked like college kids doing this to get some extra pocket cash (or maybe they’re doing it for the workout). Since it was a bit chilly/rainy, we decided to go for a walk along the river, and there are plenty of little bridges that cross the river where you can stop to take a picture (bridges over the Cam…Cam bridges?). Just don’t block any student bicyclists on these narrow bridges or you’ll be the target of some angry bell ringing.
- Clare College: As finals were going on, we couldn’t really explore much of the campus, but one of the best bridges over the Cam that gives an excellent view of the river as well as adjacent colleges is over here.
- Christ’s College: Can’t help but pop into another college — the portrait of Charles Darwin near the front gate is what drew us in. This is where Charles Darwin was originally educated — as an American I can’t help but find the college’s name a bit ironic as Christ and Darwin are usually portrayed as incompatible with each other.
Eat & Drink
- Hot Numbers Coffee: Nice little hipster-ish coffee shop that was near our hotel. Notably, they make a real and excellent chai latte (using real tea bags and no weird powdery substance). They also don’t serve any coffee with an Italian name, it’s coffee either with or without steamed milk (they like to keep it simple).
- The Free Press: Grabbed lunch and a beer here — unfortunately the Sunday roast was all out, but we still enjoyed our Scotch egg and mushroom pasty. Beer was great too, we had a strong cider and a real ale — there is just something about real ale that makes it so drinkable. True to the pub’s name, we grabbed a few newspapers and spent our time reading about the local happenings.
- Nandos: Ah, British Peruvian fast food. Cheeky Nandos. They serve chicken, and it’s fast food. We had to come just because we had heard so much about it and they are pretty scarce in the US.
- Eagle Public House: This is where Watson and Crick spent their afternoons having a pint while discussing their research into DNA. Bit of a tourist spot now due to that, but since we went near closing time, we were able to enjoy a quiet pint and do some people watching (looked like some intense theoretical discussions were going on at nearby tables).
- Pint Shop: Completely packed when we went in on a Friday night, but we were able to enjoy some local craft real ale, some curry fries, and another scotch egg (much smaller this time). Pretty cool to see where the beer was brewed and realize that oh yeah, we just rode through there.
- Royal Cambridge Hotel: Quaint little hotel that fortunately had parking for our bike right out front. Hotel had a strange layout–had to take an elevator and then climb up some stairs and go through some narrow hallways which was a bit annoying while carrying large bags. The water pressure was no good and the ceilings were a bit low, but the room was quite spacious, the location was excellent, and the hotel feels like it has a lot of character — in spite of the negatives, I’d stay here again. We also got acquainted with the famous British non-mixer taps in the sink (seriously…why?)
- Night of 04/23/2016 till Morning of 04/25/2016