England

Let’s go punting! Or not.

This past Friday, Peter and I drove to Cambridge for a quick overnight stay. Cambridge is a town located on the River Cam in the center of the county of Cambridgeshire (just north of London). Several universities are located in Cambridge with the most noteworthy being the University of Cambridge which is one of the top five universities in the world.

We arrived mid-day and as Peter checked into the hotel, I took a bite of my complimentary chocolate chunk cookie and it broke in half and the molten chocolate fell all over my sweater and raincoat. Totally worth it though.

We did our best to bum around the town but the weather was incredibly awful and made bumming around town not fun at all. Not only did it pour all day and all night but it was also in the mid-40’s. The weather reminded me of the weather we encountered in Rome. My socks and shoes were soaked and I was, for the most part, miserable.

What did we do in Cambridge? Well, we ate and drank and complained about the weather. We didn’t get to go punting (similar to a gondola ride but in a flat and square boat) which was sad but only means we will return to Cambridge when the weather is more pleasant.

Even with the awful weather, Peter and I agreed that if Maidenhead was like Cambridge, we’d both be fine living in Maidenhead but the fact is, Maidenhead is a commuter town and will never ever be as cool as Cambridge. Cambridge felt more like a European city than it did an English town. There were a lot of students (approximately 22,000 of the 110,000 population) and a lot of tourists and a lot of different accents. It was refreshing because I typically only hear British accents in Maidenhood.

We went to dinner on Friday night and had the most delicious cocktails we have had in England. My new favorite drink is called The Blushing Russian. The menu description was as follows: Absolut Vanilla Vodka hard shaken with fresh raspberries, Chambord Black Raspberry Liqueur, cranberry juice, and a splash of lemonade. It is the type of drink you drink in the summer while sitting outside and you don’t realize how lethal they are until you stand up and are totally hammered.

On Saturday, we went to the Duxford Imperial War Museum. We spent several hours meandering around the museum and only visited about half of what was on offer. The museum is home to some of the most iconic aircraft in the world. It is also home to tanks, military vehicles and boats. I would never describe myself as a history buff but the Duxford Imperial War Museum is the second Imperial War Museum I have visited in England (Churchill War Rooms is the other) and both have been equally interesting.

What did I learn at the museum?

Tanks are gigantic, look really heavy and are not fuel-efficient.

Holding patterns for airplanes are layered.

Airplanes and air travel have come a long, long way. I still despise Alitalia though.

We returned to Maidenhead Saturday night to a dog-free house and more cold and rainy weather. We had a big day on Sunday – Mexican night with the Minnesotans in Maidenhead!

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