You should know that most of the people who I’ve been visiting on this EuroTrip are my ex-passengers, but we can just call them friends now. The nature of my job has provided me with numerous people around the world who have extended open-invitations for me to stay, eat and sightsee with them.
Dani and Matt are my first set of ex-passengers who take me to explore Cambridge. A city famous for its ivy-league universities, stunning architecture and punting (which I learned has nothing to do with American Football). Punting is actually a special type of wooden-boat which glides down the canal and is driven the same way as a Mukoro: a person stands at the bow and shoves a big stick into the water and pushes off in the desired direction. It looks more elegant than it sounds, if you know what you are doing.
I am amazed at the stunning architecture of Cambridge, and I immediately become snap-happy, like a big fucking tourist. Dani and Matt are entertained at the role-reversal. To be honest, so am I. I ask them how many pictures I took while we travelled together in Mexico, without hesitation they both say, “None!”
Exploring Cambridge meant stopping in various pubs for a pint of bitter ale or English cider. I prefer the cider, but I fulfill my travellers duty and try a Suffolk ale.
Three pints and 88 pictures later, we head back to the train station and make our way to Bury.
Interesting system the Brits have on the train. Most stations require you to have a ticket to get through the gates, but there are a few where you could just walk on without a ticket. Sure, they have people check for tickets once -in- awhile, but if you get caught, they can just sell you a ticket, rather than fine you. This ticket is sure to be more expensive than what you could have paid online head of time, so I guess you can weigh your options. The best thing to do is to get an Oyster card, which allows you to tap on and off as you go and top up your account as needed. You don’t want to be the annoying foreigner fiddling with change while you have a queue of busy Londoners letting out heavy sighs behind you.
We arrive in Bury and head straight for The Nutshell, the smallest Pub in Britain. I remember sitting in a river in Palenque, Mexico with Dani and Matt, talking about going to this pub when ever I made it out to visit. The Nutshell is definitely charming and cozy to say the least. We order pints and talk to some of the locals. This pub is unreal. There is a dead cat carcass hanging from the ceiling chasing the carcass of a mouse. Apparently in the olden days, people stuffed cats in their walls to ward off evil spirits, but this little guy had a better life, he was right out in the open, practically dancing on the bar. The ceiling is decorated with currency from all over the world and the walls with the heads of other dead animals and funny bar signs. This place sure has character and so do the people in it. The bar man tells me they once had 100 people at once in this place. Imagine 100 people in an oversized elevator, but with an inaccessible bar. You wouldn’t find me in there!
We down our pints and head to Zen Noodle Bar, Dani and Matt’s favourite dinner place. We eat our Asian-inspired dishes in an old tunnel once used to cart alcohol, meat and other commodities underground (so they would make it safely to their destination during The Great Depression). Very cool.
After dinner, we head back to The Nutshell for one more pint. We finish the night with a few more English Lagers, some darts and pool. I realize that my friends know everyone in the bar! The drunkest guy in the room was once their math teacher! As we enjoy our pints, I see a Dominos pizza being delivered right into the pub. Apparently when the kitchen closes for the night, having outside food delivered is quite common.
Last call is announced as we head out of the pub and make it back Dani and Matt’s place by 3AM. What a great day!
Have you been to Cambridge? What about The Nutshell or Zen Noodle Bar?
Share your experience with us in the comment box below.
Also, be sure to check out Allie’s last post in her Adventures With Allie G series.
This post was written by Allie G who is an adventure traveller, cultural enthusiast and sustainable tourism activist.