The alarm went off and before we really woke up, we were back in Green Park once again. This time with sneakers on and earbuds in. Maggie decided we should not actually run together and seeing we were in London, I should go to the left; and she would play the American and go to the right. We set off on our morning run in opposite directions, passed each other at the half way mark and met back at the hotel for our real excursion of the day… Cambridge!
After a short ride on the Victoria line, we entered King’s Cross station and boarded the Hogwarts Express. Actually we didn’t have time to search out the infamous Platform 9 3/4, but we jumped on a train to the college town of Cambridge. As we left the train station, I realized I forgot to bring a map; and much to Maggie sirgrin, I
decided to simply follow a group of Spanish high school students we saw on the train earlier. Assuming their teacher had a clue to the direction of the center of town, my plan was to go from there to our main objective: Trinity College’s Wren Library. As the largest library out of all the
multiple Colleges in Cambridge, it was on Maggie’s
must see list for the day with its 300,000 or so books and a display of Milne’s manuscripts of Winnie-the-pooh…Maggie has requested to post a more accurate representation of this library later on.
We followed our guides (the Spanish students) to the first stop on the tour- a store to pick up supplies. For us that
was a diet coke and a bag of Sea Salt and Balsamic Vinegar Crisps (potatoes chips).
Maggie thought it was creepy to continue to stalk the kids, so we ducked into Emmanuel College- just on the right as we made our way to the old town center. We walked through the court yards; and when we found the library closed (thank god), we quickly moved on.
Next up was the city center with it shops, café, restaurants and market. Before exploring the sites, we found a spot a coffee for me and a snack for Maggie to recover from the walk into town.
Just across from Charles Darwin’s al mater, the University of Cambridge, we poked into a church and found a small spiral stair case. Instantly we decided to see where it lead before someone could question us. After more than 100 steps we were on the top of the bell tower. With bells ringing at 1:00, we enjoyed the tremendous vantage point overlooking the city. Maggie, much like her mom, didn’t like the confined space, not really knowing where it led or what was around the next corner; but she tolerated me and made the trip up and down without a complaint other than her feet and legs hurt!
As we set out, we quickly found out it was graduation week and many of the colleges were closed to visitors. Bummed but undeterred we pushed on and ignored the “Closed to Visitors” signs. Our rational was we were tourists not visitors. With this attitude we entered Trinity College like the tourist we were- me with my shorts and polo shirt, and Maggie in
something less than that. Needless to say we stuck out just a bit with everyone dressed up for graduation. Maggie and I can officially say we were kicked out of Trinity College. My thinking is we had to be in before in order to be kicked out so that was an accomplishment.
Eventually we found the Trinity College Library and it was everything Maggie loves; old books and more old books with a few Mac computers mixed in every so often for the researcher. The only disappointment was she couldn’t take any pictures or books.
From the library we walked along the river watching the boaters and admiring the grounds for a bit. Found a great spot to people-watch for lunch and had the best “garlic bread” ever (despite the fact it isn’t what you think of with garlic bread)
With full stomachs Maggie set off to find a book store and I to find a coffee and a tree in the shade to wait and wait and wait some more…
We continued to explore many of the Colleges including, University of Cambridge, Christ College, Clare College, Kings College, Queens’ College and of course my name sake St John’s College. Some of them we wandered around unobstructed others not so much.
We retraced our steps back to the train station, Maggie feeling much more comfortable knowing that we knew were we were going and not trailing the Spaniards. As we approached the station we realized the train back to London was about to depart, and the two of us still hurting from the walking today and the two previous days and definitely from the run this morning sprinted to the platform. We did a version of a drunk sprinter with a broken leg and a bad knee with asthma, but we made it just as the conductor yelled “Jump Now and mind the gap!”
At some point in the day Maggie’s said “I think I could go to school here”
We arrived backing at King’s Cross Train Station and yes did the Harry Potter thing … We jumped through the wall at Platform 9 ¾ and got the pictures to prove it. Note who have what houses scarfs on and the smile on Maggie!
A Starwood moment with John Legend at the O2 center in London
A few days ago the woman at the front desk at the Sheraton Park Lane Hotel (my go to hotel when in London) asked me if I would be interested in two complementary VIP box seats to take my daughter to see John Legend Thursday night! One of the benefits of traveling and being a life time member of Starwood’s reward program!
After a long day, we cleaned up and headed off to the show – The seats and food were great!!! Definitely a fun night, but ended up being a late one. Neither one of us had any problem getting to sleep.