miffy and i were born on the same day and we met in our first week of life because our moms are friends. in addition to being my oldest friend, this girl is one of my favourite people ever. she is one classy lady, and every time i am with her i learn about something new to admire in awe. miffy was studying at cambridge this summer, so while i was in england i took a train up to see her, and i found out that cambridge is pure magic.
there is an academic enchantment and sense of richness of human thought wafting through cambridge. everything feels imbued with smarts and culture. it was fun to see and compare to my old home of oxford. i was left positively tickled by the pretty sights and the charming atmosphere of it all, and the glorious weather gave way to a i-couldn’t-think-of-anything-more-perfect day in cambridge.
miffy lived in the main and most grand college of the many at cambridge – kings college. she had a beautiful room overlooking the river cam, and got to eat all her meals in this majestic, stained-glass and vaulted ceiling dining hall. as soon as i arrived in cambridge (and we excitedly caught up walking through the streets of the town from the train station), we at lunch in the fabulous dining hall.
after dining, we went to the kings college chapel, which is absolutely breathtaking – i was blown away. miffy whispered interesting facts to me as i swooned. the streaming sun made the intense colors of the stained glass spray onto the intricate stone walls and the well-worn floor and the fanned ceiling was a marvel.
after seeing the chapel, we strolled around to see lots of different colleges, amazingly beautiufl buildings, lush gardens, punters on the river cam, old manuscripts, significant spots and pretty bridges. miffy was such a perfect tour guide. i loved going in all the areas restricted to the public but open to students!
we went to the middle of town, where there was a big market going on in the square. we decided to climb the spiral staircase to the top of st. mary’s church’s tower for spectacular views of the city.
we saw some more gorgeousness around the colleges (each had uniquely beautiful bits about it!), stopped by the fitzwilliam museum to take in some fine fine art and then went to the cambridge botanical gardens for a stroll around just right as golden hour approached.
we sat on the banks of the cam and watched the punters and observed the warm light and enjoyed the sun. it was such a still and lovely little slice of life as we basked in the ambiance left by generations of brilliant minds and appreciators of beauty.
every few weeks cambridge students have fancy meals that they can attend together called “formal halls.” there was one going on at pembroke college the evening i was in town. miffy didn’t have a ticket to that particular dinner, and obviously neither did i, but we decided to dress up and just see if we might be able to get in. i love those kinds of sorta-sneaking-in experiences, and in this case, it worked like a charm. for free and with one of my dearest friends in the world, i ate a divine three course meal by candlelight in an old library under an intricate ceiling in the heart of the intellectual capital of the western world. not too shabby.
it seemed like an impossibility that this day could get any more wonderful, but in fact perhaps the best was saved for last. with a group of friends and friends of friends, miffy and i went punting on the cam at night under the stars. the magic of it all was astonishing. the sky was like a sparkly indigo blanket warming the night, and i let my fingers skim the black water as the old buildings gleamed so softly along the banks. miff and i even got a turn with the punting rod and we pushed our boat under willow trees and bridges.
there’s just no other word for it – this day in cambridge was magical.