Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Cambridge and the Goblet of Fire

I had a really nice time touring Cambridge with Nick. The campus is old and beautiful. It's full of traditions that are hard to explain or to understand until you see them in person. Before visiting, I was told that it was just like Harry Potter. At the time, that seemed confusing and strange (and a bit of a cop out, honestly). Now it makes sense.

Nick lives in Darwin College. The college describes the community (sort of like a dorm) that he lives in. It doesn't describe the program that he's studying in. But these communities have libraries, bursars, chapels, and living areas.

Nick studies sustainability and we visited his office at the engineering building. We had the chance to meet and talk to many of his friends. They all have engineering backgrounds, but are from all over the world-- and are a wide variety of ages.

We had one meal in a giant dining halls with long tables. It looked just like Harry Potter. I learned about this special way of boating down the river called punting and saw the beautiful lawns that sit between the old buildings. We had lunch at a local pub where I tried bangers and mash. It was very tasty.

I also had the chance to wash my laundry in Nick's dorm. This was a huge relief to say the very least as my bag was full of many more dirty clothes than clean ones.

On my last night in Cambridge, we spent a few hours in another perk of Darwin College, the bar. It's called DarBar and on Monday night, they sell Beck's and Stella for one pound. It was a great chance to meet more of Nick's friends and see what life is really like for Cambridge students.

A number of people asked if I was in graduate school or if I would be going back soon. Even though I've already completed my formal education, an experience like this really makes you wonder...

On the last morning, Nick met me at my hostel for breakfast and then walked with me to the train station. I caught a train into a London airport. It required me to switch trains three times before arriving. I flew a budget airline that was operated by another airline that was also operated by another airline. Many passengers had a challenging time figuring out where in the airport to check in. Luckily, I found everything on the first try and since I got to the airport early, I took the time to eat lunch. I had a Tennessee burger (it had bacon and a side of barbecue sauce) and a little Ben & Jerry's to remind me of home.

I had a great trip to Cambridge. If anyone asks, I will now tell them it's like Harry Potter.

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