Speeding down the motorway, with the tumultuous buzz that is London behind us, we rolled through the countryside towards Cambridge. Ed Sheeran blasting through the radio and the distinctively British smell of sheep and fresh English air wisping through the car as we rolled the windows down on this warm Summer day. I had only been begging him all week to come to Cambridge with me – my insistence fuelled by the clever characterisations of Caroline Calloway – and finally he let me run with my imagination and go on this spontaneous trip. I say ‘spontaneous’ since only half an hour before we were on this drive North, we were making our way to Hyde Park instead, to row on the Serpentine. But with a gloomy forecast for the rest of the week, we conceded that today would be our day for a bit of Cambridge Dreaming.
Hand in hand we meandered the winding streets of Cambridge, turning down alleys and peering through gated colleges. King’s College stood majestic amongst the greying skies, and the flurry of graduating students huddling together in cap and gown outside these ancient monuments just added to the buzz.
“Let’s sneak into a college,” I said, eyes wide with the sparkle that can only come from impending mischief.
“No way,” he said. But when he laughed incredulously I knew I had him hooked.
Pulling his hand towards a teeny tiny alleyway behind one of the colleges, we composed ourselves and strode right through the cloister, with marquees set up on either side of the path under which graduates and their parents, professors and friends sat munching (in rather a refined manner, might I add) on their banquet. We looked out of place, I’m sure, but no one stopped us, and although we didn’t try our luck at actually getting served and seated, I definitely called this a win. Particularly as when we piled back onto the street, giggling like devilish little children, a porter was stood checking tickets for entrants – lucky for back gates, hey?
“Ok, that was fun,” he conceded as we drew towards the River Cam.
“See! Adventures in Cambridge!”
The rest of the afternoon was spent in a dreamy haze as we were punted around the historic University town by our lovely punter (who we later saw on the BBC that night?!) We managed to get seats right at the front, so we had an uninterrupted view and plenty of space to stretch our legs as the boat gently rocked us, sweeping under bridges and affording us magnificent sandstone views from every turn.
What a glorious city to wander.