Last weekend was really fast and it was over well before I could realize it. The best part of the weekend was the trip to Cambridge.
Situated in east of England, Cambridge is an English university town and the administrative center of Cambridge shire county. From London it is close to 60 miles and it takes about an hour to reach the destination. Cambridge is situated near Silicon Fen, which is considered to be the heart of the high technology center. Cambridge is best known for its University, Cavendish Laboratory, King's college chapel, Cambridge University Library and Punting.
We started from London Liverpool Street on Sunday at about 8:50 AM to take the National Rail operated by ONE Network to Cambridge. Nonetheless after seeing the speeding National Rail trains in the Ilford station one of my wishes was to take this kind of train. The train started at the appointed time of 8:58 AM sharp cruising slowly and steadily towards its destination. The train was running at an average speed of 76 kms per hour and touching the peak speed of close to 120 KM per hour between certain stations.
The journey to Cambridge from London is absolutely amazing. If you are a nature lover, this is the journey one must take. Even in winter, Britain experiences rain that sometimes makes the geography of the land very beautiful. Right from the time one comes out of London; the greenery can be experienced all around which is absent in the main city. The train to Cambridge calls at Tottenham Hale, Waltham Cross, Chestnut, Broxbourne, Harlow Town, Bishops Stratford, Audley End and Cambridge town. The journey between Chestnut and Broxbourne is especially very good since the entire landscape is surrounded with plain grasslands. The surface is absolutely flat which makes the landscape extremely beautiful. Getting to see flat surfaces in India is actually a rarity. A few snaps were taken in train as well, will upload them soon on the blog.
We reached Cambridge at around 10:30 AM. The weather was good. Bright and a little sunny where the sun was trying to protrude out of the dark clouds. The temperature should be around 10-11 and not less than that. Thereafter from the station itself we took the hop on and hop off bus, which is really a good thing in Britain. This type of bus allows you to get down and see the place and then again get into the bus at a later point in time. A number of buses run throughout the day, which allows easy movement from one place to the other. As expected the bus was pretty much empty except for a few people.
Cambridge town reminds me of Manipal where I did my PGDM in TAPMI. Close to 22000 students study in the town of Cambridge in various colleges within the university. The University houses close to 31 colleges, which offer courses ranging from Arts to Science and Mathematics.
Our first destination in our journey was the Microsoft research center, which has been funded by Bill Gates for an estimated cost of close to £ 50 m. Next to the Microsoft R&D center is the Cavendish Laboratory. The Cavendish Laboratory has a major role in the Atomic Structure world. Most of the discoveries in the Atomic structure world have come from the Cavendish Laboratory. Some of the notable ones are Rutherford’s Alpha Scattering experiment, JJ Thomson discovery of electron, Niel Bohr’s calculation of radius of the atom, Bragg’s X Ray diffraction law. Cavendish Laboratory belongs to the Physics Department of the University of Cambridge. Its actually part of the Trinity College, which is one of the most well known colleges in the world. It was a dream come true for me when I looked at the place. Almost for 5 years we read continuously about Atomic Structure and all these people. Today I saw the place where they did all these experiments also.
Next destination was the American Cemetary, which consisted of a memorial for American soldiers who died in the Second World War. The area surrounding the cemetery is an awesome sight and was perhaps the true countryside feeling. Lush greenery spread all over with dried maple leaves on the ground. It was just an amazing sight and delight to the eyes. Probably only a poet can describe the nature better.
As we were coming back into the Cambridge City center we saw the express highway to London and Stansted. The cars were speeding at close to 100 mph. The next stop for us was punting on the river cam, which also provides the name to the town. It was afternoon by then we started seeing the colleges in the town like Kings College, St John’s College, Queens College and Trinity College. All of them stand tall with their historic buildings. All these colleges placed a very important role in the development of science and mathematics. Infact Trinity College boasts of close to 31 Nobel laureates including our very own Amartya Sen.
Next destination for us the Kings College backs. Kings college backs is akin to the backwaters of Kerala and reminds me of the holiday we spent there. In the Kings College backs only we had our very own Indian dish Lemon Rice prepared by Lakshmi. It was a good preparation and filled up the stomach very well.
Thereafter we just moved in the Cambridge high street and did a little bit of shopping and saw a roadside play also. I am not really sure what it is called as but on the first look it was really good and a different kind of an experience. Then we walked all along the high street seeing some T-Shirt shops and a very old church spotted by Uma Rani.
Our lunch was at a familiar space – Pizza Hut. It was quenching as well as filling for everyone. We moved on crossing the football ground to catch our bus which dropped us at the station.
We took the fast train to Kings Cross,which was a nonstop one and took just about 45 minutes to travel from Cambridge till London Kings Cross. The journey comes to an end.