After our first whirlwind day and a half in London, we hopped on a train to Cambridge to visit Joseph – our dear friend from college and the best man in our wedding. Joseph is currently studying clinical neurology at St. John’s College in Cambridge (what an underachiever) and was part of our reason for choosing the British Isles for our trip in the first place! We were able to spend a weekend with Joseph and Rebekah (his equally amazing girlfriend), and we packed quite a bit of fun into two very full days!
Upon our arrival in Cambridge, we grabbed a quick dinner of fish and chips before seeing a show of the Footlights – a Cambridge comedy troupe. The show was hysterical, and we thoroughly enjoyed our first evening together! The next morning we were up early to begin the drive to Stonehenge. This day was full of a lot of great sights, but we also spent a collective eight hours in the car thanks to plenty of traffic. Joseph was a real trooper and navigated us safely around dozens of roundabouts and through the countryside. I was completely stunned when we drove right by Stonehenge on the highway – we could see it from the road! Once we parked and made our way to the sight, it was all very surreal. The stones are huge in size and in mystery, and the whole site has an eerie feel. We were only a couple of days ahead of the summer solstice, but managed to miss the bulk of the crowds.
After making our rounds at Stonehenge, we hopped back in the car and headed toward Bath. I knew next to nothing about the city of Bath, but learned a lot once we got to the town’s central attraction: the ancient Roman baths. The town is rich in history, and the well-maintained baths are absolutely stunning. We spent a couple of hours exploring the exhibits around the baths, then meandered through the rest of the city, notably Bath Abbey and the Royal Crescent. I loved the mix of Roman ruins with gothic architecture, and the whole town was very walkable and easy to maneuver. While this stop wasn’t one I had planned for or researched about, I was so glad we made the stop and got to see that slice of history!
Our next day was spent exploring Cambridge – its separate colleges and chapels on foot, the canals by boat, and the gardens via garden party. We started off with a tour of the canals by punting – think Venice-style gondolas, only on an English river and manned by (mostly) amateurs. After a near run in with a willow tree, we opted for dry land and toured St. John’s College and King’s College nearby. The fan vaults in the chapel and King’s College were incredible. We spent the afternoon at a St. John’s garden party for graduate students, where Joseph graciously invited us as his guests. Rebekah insisted that garden parties are a very English thing, and I’m inclined to agree. It was a lovely afternoon, and after checking in at our next bed and breakfast, we all met up again for dinner and bowling. The next morning, Joe and I were off bright and early to Scotland.
A special thanks to Dr. Dr. McAbee – we so enjoyed our time with you and appreciate your tour guide expertise 😉