Day 5: Saturday, September 9, 2006
Goodbye London, Hello Right-Hand Driving
We got up early and caught the Tube to Victoria
Station, south of Parliament, to pick up a rental car. (On a
side note, we purchased a 3-day Underground pass while we were in
London. If you are going to London, it is really the only way
to get around - it is efficient, fast and covers the whole
city.) Thank God it was a Saturday and there was not much
traffic early in the morning for my first day of driving on the
right-hand side of the car and on the left-hand side of the road.
droved back to the hotel to pick up our luggage and only got
lost at little bit. Got honked at. It took over an
hour to drive out of the greater London area and reach the M11
motorway. Got honked at. We then took the motorway
northeast and got off an hour later. Got honked at.
We drove to our hotel, the Travelodge on the A14 motorway at
Swavesey, just outside Cambridge (see photo in left margin).
We dropped off our luggage and drove into Cambridge and finally
found a place to park.
drive Toyota Versa
The city of
Cambridge is a quaint old English university town.
It lies approximately 50 miles (80 km) north-northeast of London
and is surrounded by a number of smaller towns and villages.
Cambridge is best known for the University of Cambridge
which was founded in 1209. According to the 2001
census, the population was 108,863 (including 22,153 students).
It was another warm day and we had a great time walking through
the town and the university, taking in the sites.
The River Cam, a
40 mile tributary of the River Great Ouse, flows through
Cambridge. One of the famous pastimes in Cambridge is to
rent a flat bottom boat, called a punt, and go punting on the
Cam. You can pole yourself or hire a university
student to be your punter, for about 20£ each. It
seemed pretty expensive and we almost decided not to do it.
However, after watching other neophytes struggle with the long poles, we
decided to bite the bullet and have someone else do all the
work. This was a truly great decision
Punts on the
as the next hour was spent relaxing in
the boat while our punter, actually an Oxford student (the Other
School), described the names and the history of each building we
passed. There were several locals picnicking along the
shore. This turned out to be one of Ken's favourite parts
of the whole vacation - and we almost didn't do it because it
was too 'expensive'. Kathryn has a motto
about shopping that she calls "Errors of Omission" which
states that it is a mistake not buy something you like if you
can't come back and get it later. This became our motto
for deciding what to do on the rest of our vacation.
'enjoying' the ride
After we finished our
punt ride, we found the Eagle , a famous pub in
Cambridge. It was a good find for both of us.
Kathryn discovered that on Feb. 28, 1953, Francis Crick
walked into the Eagle pub in Cambridge, England, and, as
James Watson later recalled, announced that "we had found
the secret of life." Actually, they had. That morning, Watson
and Crick had figured out the structure of deoxyribonucleic
acid, DNA. And that structure — a "double helix" that can
"unzip" to make copies of itself — confirmed suspicions that DNA
carries life's hereditary information. Kathryn, being
a biology teacher was excited about this. Ken, being a
math teacher, was excited because they served very good beer at
the Eagle's history
We went back to our car and used a machine to pay
our parking ticket. We had been there a little over 5 hours.
The first 5 hours cost us about 4£ and the extra portion of an hour
(15 minutes) costs us an additional 7£. What a rip-off!
We drove back to the hotel. Got honked at. My first day of driving on the
'wrong' side of the road was very stressful and by now, my knees
were killing me from all the walking we had been doing.
Unfortunately, it is almost impossible to find ice anywhere in
Britain. We did manage to find a cheap collapsible vinyl
cooler which we put to good use for the rest of our vacation
whenever we did manage to find ice.
Click here for a slide show of Day 5 photos.