The university town, Cambridge


(Disclaimer: random ranting about a trip to Cambridge involved and a few tips on how to travel light for a conference...) 
  
So, I am finally at Cambridge, the University town

Thankfully I took a train for not too late. The train boarding time was 16:33 and arrived Cambridge by 19:45. In all a 3 hours journey (plus taxi ride from the friendliest cabbie I have ever met) with three changes at London. The place is AMAZING! This is my first time here and it holds up to every appraisal it receives. The place I am lodging in called Rectory Farm, situated on Madingley Road, to the north west of the main University of Cambridge campus. It is very green and quite country like if you know what I mean… I just love it! I am so excited to write all about today that I am literally writing it submerged in hot water in my bathtub lol!

Before I start with my accounts of today, I'd like to share with you my travel pack for a 2-3days long conferences.  I generally travel very light, at the most one medium backpack or a largish handbag carrying only the most essentials such as:


My clothes for the conference (2 outfits)
  1. A formal skirt/dress or a formal trouser, or both,
  2. A blazer,
  3. A shirt or vest to wear with the trouser, 
  4. 3-4 pairs of clean undergarments, 
  5. tooth brush and tooth paste as most hotels do not provide them, 
  6. A hair brush,
  7. 1 night suit, 
  8. A classy dress in case of any formal dinner, and 
  9. A pair of court shoes.
  10. A set of travel clothes (that you may wear on the day of travelling).
Here's my backpack… all I need

I only carry foldable crease proof clothes so that they can be packed in one bag itself. Yes, I don't carry make up kit just a bb cream may be. Apart from that I wear the same outfit for travelling to and fro (with changed undergarments of course).  Along with the clothes I also carry my camera, my phone, my laptop and charger, and a file of documents that could contain invitation letters, maps, anything of use/need. And that's it :) Trust me when I say this, travelling light is very very important! Anyway, this time too I carried the essentials and my gadgets but since this time I had to present a poster for the conference I had an extra thing to carry in my hand, a large tube of poster.

Right, coming to my journey, so I caught the 4:33PM train from Southampton that needed changing at Clapham Junction as its first change, there I was meant to get on the train to Vauxhall. And I ALMOST missed it cause the information showed me two different platform numbers, first 5 for 17:44… and when the train did not arrive on time, I rechecked and found that the train for Vauxhall is actually scheduled to stop in platform 10. Huff! I had to dash in a minute to make it to the train. Luckily, the train for platform 10 was actually scheduled for 17:50 so plenty of time. 

At Vauxhall I had to take the underground Victoria line till Tottenham Hale from where the last change was to be made to Cambridge. Finally, at 18:40 I boarded the Greater Anglia train to Cambridge. It was quite packed but I was lucky to get a seat quite quickly. As I mentioned, I was carrying my inconveniently massive poster tube with me, I was sitting awkwardly by myself when the gentleman sitting next to me asked me if I was an artist because of my tube lol! If only…….

Anyway, coming to the fellow passengers (I was sitting on the table seat with two other passengers), this is the first time I met someone who is doing a PhD on bible chapters! I had no idea (pardon my ignorance) that people actually do PhD on them. Anyway, the gentleman was from Florida and doing a part-time PhD under University of Cambridge on the old and new testament chapters, and not only that, he is also a pastor. And the PhD goes much deeper than religion, it delved in the realms of politics too.

Anyway, not discussing someone else's PhD, we had a lovely talk on many different things. Also sitting with us was a granny whose knitting skills were immaculate, she was making these cute little bees that are sold for 50p at the Museum of Cambridge. So next time you go to Cambridge and happen to visit the Museum don't forget to grab some bees :) 

The granny was from a whole different generation… Her story was truly inspirational. To start with, her husband was the first to practice psychiatry and Fraud theory at Cambridge back in 1957. She was even present at the inauguration    of the current hospital by Her majesty the Queen herself. She and her late husband had been married together for 30 years before he was unfortunately killed in an accident. "Doesn't feel like I've lived all by myself since" she said, with a heavy and shaky tone… Broke my heart more than ever. And just like that, an hour just flew by and we never even realised… She has lived through the great war, she used to listen to Churchill on the radio, giving very inspirational speeches during the war. "He was a great orator," she recollected. I love talking to gran moms, they are a walking history. She has literally seen and lived through many a great inventions such as penicillin! Wow, must be so good to have them around. Hmm, I'll never know…

Anyway, after arriving at the Cambridge station, I took a taxi to Rectory Farm, the best in town as suggested by my turkish taxi driver (btw always always always trust their opinions) and had quite an interesting chat with him on the way, who seemed to be a lot into Indian culture, which was definitely quite nice of him IMO. He liked Raj Kapoor movies (over dramatic) lol! He enjoyed spicy curries, his favourite actor was apparently Shah Rukh Khan (and so is my best friend's) and he said (and I take it as a major complement) that Indian and Iranian women have the best "god gifted" eyes in the world… Well, whether true or not, he did make me feel happy… 

My lodge!

At the Rectory Farm, I have a whole lodge with three bedrooms for 6 people, a huge lounge, bathroom and patio all to myself! The place is indeed in a farm with sheep grazing around in the front field, the reception is sooooo homely and beautiful, and my lodge is surrounded with natural flora and greenery.  So, with that ended my first day at cambridge…

Well, now I've moved on from the bathtub to watching Nacho Libre in the cozy bed while writing everything down. I know it isn't much but there is always something about journeys that intrigue me more than getting to places… 

More updates coming after conference… till then… Goodnight :)!