Cambridge 2017 – Colleges and Books

Having made a brief stop off in the outskirts of Watford yesterday we then spent today in the city of Cambridge. Like the Harry Potter Tour we have been to Cambridge several times before. Despite that we managed to do plenty of things today that we have never managed on previous visits.

One reason for this was that rather than wandering aimlessly we followed a prepared route from the GPSmyCity app. This highlighted many of the colleges but also gave us some history and directions between the points, which was useful. The other great thing was that this weekend was “Open Cambridge” meaning that we had freer access to the colleges than we otherwise might have had.

We started the walk at the Great St. Mary’s church and went up it’s tower as you can’t beat the view from the top of a church tower. That said I wasn’t quite so pleased on the way up when I cracked my head on a low beam. The expletives were, however, drowned out by the bells that were peeling at the time. The view was good but limited – you really can’t see very far but what you can see is perfect.

Back down below we progressed on to our next stop trying not to look too much like tourists as Cambridge seems to be teeming with people wanting to sell you walking tours and punting trips. This seems to be peculiar to Cambridge as I don’t remember ever having such a problem in Oxford.

Finally we reached our ultimate destination – the Botanic Gardens. Now I don’t know if it is because of the person I am or I am just getting old but I do love a botanical garden. I’m not sure if it is the plant life, the peace and quiet or both but they are great places to be. Quite often oasis of calm in the middle of a busy city. This one was particularly good with an excellent restaurant too. Pity that the moment we sat down at the tables outside to eat that the heavens opened! Fortunately it was only a short shower which meant we were able to enjoy the gardens.

An Evening with Anthony Horowitz

Somewhat randomly, when we were planning what to do on this trip, a tweet appeared on my stream advertising an evening in conversation with Anthony Horowitz. I’ve made it sound like it was some intimate little tête-à-tête between us but, in fact, there was probably about 100 people there.

I’ve seen lots of Horowitz’s work but never heard him speak before and my first impression was just how posh he sounded! The second thing was just how much he talked, he was unstoppable. The interviewer, the author Elly Griffiths, had several attempts to reign him in but failed to do so. The discussion, including questions from the floor, went on for about an hour and was fascinating, although one wonders how many times he has repeated some of those stories.

I’m not sure that I should confess to this but I really like Horowitz’s new book. No, I don’t mean the words, I mean the actual book. I sat for most of the evening with the book on my lap stroking the front cover! It is one of the most beautifully tactile books I have ever felt and you should buy the hardback simply just to feel it for yourself. 

So all-in-all I enjoyed our weekend in Cambridge but if I’m honest I probably prefer Oxford. This could be because it is local to me. It could be because they don’t have the pestering tour guides. Or it simply could be because it is the home to Morse and the Radcliffe Camera.