Berlin Round 2

It was refreshing to return back to Berlin, where over the years, the city has gained an incredible individualistic reputation, a place to be, create and live.

BerlinTen years on from my initial visit, my new exploration of Berlin somewhat changed my previous perspective of the city. Yes, the city is soaked with history, oozing with sophistication and glamour in some areas, and a living, breathing, story book- but this time, I was able to explore underground Berlin- the nitty, gritty side of it.

berlinStaying in the neighbourhood of Kreuzberg meant that we really were getting to grips with the urban edge of Berlin. Away from the polished streets and renowned architectural triumphs, we were fighting the February elements by graffiti studded streets and raunchy underground sex clubs. A completely different experience to my previous visit of Berlin which you can read here.

berlinBut I had come this time, to explore the artistic flair of Berlin, with which so many expats choose to thrive in, the cultural identity that hipster Berlin has formed, and the world famous nightclubs with their varied and intense music scene.

berlinBeginning our short weekend trip with a free Street Art tour from Alternative Tours in Berlin was the right choice. Starting in the commercial Alexander Platz and led by a young Aussie who had fallen in love with Berlin herself, she took us around neighbourhoods, pointing out established artists- their work and their message, whilst highlighting stories that accompanied the neighbourhood.

berlinAs hipster young artists surged to barren areas of Berlin for cheap rent prices and began to form communities and unique shops and bars, other people followed the artistic trend, meaning rent prices begun to increase. To avoid the costly changes, graffiti and street art suffocates the walls of many neighbourhoods in East Berlin, etching tag names and slogans on buildings that are precariously high and dangerous to reach. Strolling through neighbourhoods, we took in sights of cheap donner shops inviting all to snack, corner shops with towering produce, flamboyant shops selling recycled jewellery and bars that purposefully look shoddy to avoid customers.  You can immediately sense that this side of Berlin still seems separate to West Berlin, by identity and by culture.

berlinMauer Park is a popular tourist attraction on a Sunday and so we headed there afterwards, changing direction from East Berlin, through Central to North Berlin, at the neighbourhood of Prenzlauer Berg.  The neighbourhood showed us a glimpse of what Berlin is like to those who can afford high rent prices. As similar as to coming out of Shoreditch in London to Notting Hill, sweeping pavements lined with bare trees led us to our destination. We passed exclusive bars and worldly restaurants that actually had tables to sit in- which lacked in many of the restaurants where we were staying.

BerlinPreened and proper locals walked their equally preened dogs along the streets and we looked at each other, as if to question each other- which neighbourhood would you prefer? We headed over to the Flea Market just as they were closing up, where painted portraits of Frida Kahlo, vintage jumpers and classic records were on sale. Glancing over our warm cups of Chai Latte and apple pies, we noticed that very little locals visited this market, it merely being a location where tourists flocked to gape and gawk at (or buy lots of earrings in my case).  Although a wonderful market to browse, do be wary that it might not be as authentic as you imagine.

berlinFrom here we headed nearby to an infamous beer hall, Pratergarten, to drink in the traditional style of Steins and sit in orderly rows whilst glugging their home grown brew. But, alas, it being February, the beer hall was shut, and so we were herded into their restaurant – an incredibly fancy establishment.  It did look like a lovely place to dine and relax in, the décor looked as if to resemble a lavish hunting lodge, however with no reservation and not the budget to eat there either, we sipped our dark beers and regained our strength to move on.

berlinWe spent our final day exploring the key sights that all need to see when visiting Berlin, the Berlin Wall (but the East Side Gallery, rather than the traditional part of the wall kept at Checkpoint Charlie) we saw the messages respected artists left on the walls for the future generations, the original creations left to inspire and educate, as well as the Reichstag and Brandenburg Gate.

berlinWe left little time in our days to see the sights, and all with bleary eyes, aching limbs and heavy heads. That’s only because we spent our nights so vigorously exploring Berlin after dark. On our first night we headed to Wilde Renate, a house party style club filled with weird décor and varied music in all of the rooms, reputed amongst the ravers of Berlin. But in the true traditional style of Berlin, we weren’t allowed entry into the club.

Being rejected from clubs is actually a common thing in Berlin, in fact for the biggest techno club, Berghain, there is even an article on VICE of some of those who have been rejected from the club, for no particular reason. The bouncer at Berghain is notorious for his picky attitude and rude manners, and not wanting to spend hours queuing for a club we might not even get into, we decided not to visit. So it was no real surprise that we were rejected from this club. It could have been the fact that we turned up at 12 when it opened (which we later found out was totally uncool and really you should turn up at 2am to that club), maybe it was because we were in a group (they apparently don’t like large groups), maybe it was because we were obvious tourists, or maybe it was because my friend was seen drinking outside the club, either way- it was a no go. We headed to the bar opposite – which is awesome by the way, although very smoky, so if you are heading to Wilde Renate, make sure you stop here before for a few drinks.

For our second night, we were more prepared and organized for Berlin’s arrogant door staff. We first headed to Icky, a fun gay club. Now this isn’t a gay club which you might be used to visiting in London or any other cosmopolitan city, this was a little more hard core than that. Videos on the walls of… well you get the picture, were unexpected. Ignoring the screens, we made friends on the dancefloor whilst dancing to Spice Girls. Although sticking out like a sore thumb for being a group of tourists, we had a great time and were happy to experience the gay scene in Berlin, albeit briefly.

We then headed to another type of clubbing experience which Berlin is renowned for, a techno club. Watergate was incredibly close to where we were staying, and so it was an obvious choice for us. Making it into this bar/club, we were rewarded by a river view from the bar of the ominous night of Berlin and its stunning architecture that resembled a turret from Harry Potter. Descending downstairs into the thumping dancefloor we saw Berliners really let loose, and joined the sweltering crowd ourselves. Despite the really strict boring dress code which Berliners seem to adopt (black, black and oh did I mention black?), we finally realised and recognised why so many visitors end up never leaving Berlin. They know how to party.

BerlinTo fully explore and immerse yourself in Berlin, you need much longer than just a few days here and there. It is ideal to explore Berlin by neighbourhood, to fully comprehend the sheer size and diversity of Berlin. Make sure you leave time to recover from its wild nights, so you are able to explore its original pieces of art and significant artefacts of history too.

A Weekend In Geneva

On previous trips visiting Switzerland, I always have abandoned city life for the fresh mountain air, swapping scenes of towering building blocks for snow dusted mountain tops. However, on a recent trip to Switzerland, I visited an old friend who has recently moved to Geneva for work and this time, I left behind my skis.

GandhiLanding in Geneva I was immediately bombarded with advertisements displaying the latest glamorous watches and I realised that the rumour of Geneva being known for watches, cheese and chocolate might actually be true.

Cheese MarketAs with most French people who work in Geneva, many actually live and shop in France due to Geneva being such an expensive city. With France surrounding the city of Geneva and signposts highlighting the close proximity of the country dotted throughout Geneva and the virtually ghost like border patrol between both countries, it is easy to dart between the two countries. I stayed in a small town in France but explored Geneva. It is common to meet French people in Geneva too, choosing a higher standard of living and wage in Switzerland than in France, but still just a stone’s throw away from their family and friends. French people in Switzerland or even working in Switzerland form their own sort of community here, which adds to the cosmopolitan feel of Geneva. With around half of the population originally from places outside of Switzerland, it is no surprise that hundreds of international organisations are based here, encouraging workers and visitors to explore and work here.

Lake Geneva at SunsetGeneva is a sleek stylish city, where trams glide through the city with ease and the whole town clusters around one of the largest alpine lakes in Europe, Lake Geneva. It is easy to lose track of which street you are on due to the similarity in design of the roads. Banks, hotels and offices rub shoulders with one another as they jostle for space in the city. Luxurious shops line the streets that surround the lake and the Old Town is hidden amongst the everyday norm of Geneva, as if covering a dark secret that will reveal the past from this glitzy city. The only real sense of authenticity and history is on some of the buildings- the balconies and shutters that have been there for hundreds of years, illustrating a traditional style of architecture. The city lacks the nitty gritty character that I love exploring in cities; it is too sophisticated, too bland for that. The only real beauty is the lake that draws visitors in to its water edge. Bobbing swans float along the surface and flags blow in the wind in the distance, the water is clear and I am repeatedly told by all that it’s wonderful to swim in summer- I can imagine it is, but that is the only good thing I am told about the city.

Traditional Swiss ViewBut, who cares what’s in the city when you have the stunning mountains all around you, Chamonix one of the most superb ski resorts in the world merely just a drive away from you, and the unlimited options to explore nature and fuel your adrenaline with extreme sports?  Being an extreme sports lover myself, I could see the attraction. Almost every local owns a boat which allows them to explore the shores of the lake with ease and paddle boats are for hire too. As well as this, wind surfing and paddle boarding are both popular activities at the lake as well.

GenevaMount Saleve is the nearest mountain to the city of Geneva and boy, it’s a beauty. The dramatic cliff face casts a shadow over the houses below whilst trees dangerously sprout in between its rocky cracks. We headed up to the top via cable car, however many choose to hike up it as well. Although a seemingly easy tourist activity, it should not be taken for granted (as ever with Mother Nature) as it can be quite a treacherous journey, many in fact losing their lives to the mountain, so tread with caution. There are plenty of hikes on top of Saleve too, which allow all to trek through dense woodland with moss covered granite out crops, rolling hills and stunning clearings which offer panoramic views of the icy Mount Blanc. A trip up here also allows you to see the city in its full glory, as well as fully take in the vast size of the lake that centres Geneva. An alternative way to see this stunning view is by paragliding, a popular activity off Mount Saleve- although an expensive one might I add!

WoodlandAlthough Geneva might not have a diverse night life and urban edge which I am accustom to, it does have a number of wonderfully relaxing Spas that do the city justice. Spending a Friday evening energising in a hot pool, steam room or water massage chairs on a city rooftop whilst watching the sun set over the city is incredibly relaxing and rejuvenating. It does wonders for your stress levels and is no doubt healthier than the English way of letting loose after a stressful week at work- spending a fortune in the pub! Other places to see in Geneva are of course the Palace of Nations, Reformation Wall and an array of Museums that host a number of interesting artefacts.

UNAs my time drew to a close in neighbouring France/Geneva and after I stocked up on cheap French cheeses, I began to reflect on my short but sweet time in Geneva. Would I visit again on a holiday? Probably not. But could I see the attraction of expats moving here? Yes. I could definitely see why people would live in Geneva, work there and receive a high wage, spend lazy summer evenings by the lake swimming and watching the sunset colourfully explode, or crisp early mornings hiking up the steep mountain and then paraglide down with ease, or spend chilly winters snowboarding on perfectly smooth slopes every weekend. The nature that surrounds the city is beautiful, but the city itself, not my cup of tea.


Chasing Waterfalls in Iceland

Iceland is most definitely a unique country. My father once told me, “the more you travel, the more places look the same”, which annoyingly is true. I find myself comparing places, scenery and landscapes to previous destinations I have visited. Maybe it is because humans crave the familiar, maybe it is because I really do travel a lot. Either way, I am happy to say that yes places may have similarities (the rugged landscape of Iceland to me was a cross between Wales and New Zealand in case you are wondering) but the culture, history and the people of every country you visit is different, and that is what spurs me on in my adventures.

View from PerlanWith only 330 thousand inhabitants on this isolated island, Iceland is incredibly empty and desolate in various parts of the country, with just the call of the wind, the trickling of brooks and the occasional bah of a sheep to add sound onto the silence. Driving along winding paths into various densely filled national parks nestled with rocky granite outcrops, luminous green marshes and cascading waterfalls with no one around- is in fact a normal sight. The deeper you go into the depths of rural Iceland, the more you are able to imagine how the predecessors of Iceland felt travelling in nail bitingly ferocious winds and vast open spaces with no human contact for days in end. It is hard to fully understand how much Iceland has developed since its Viking ancestors first touched soil on this geothermal hive of activity. It’s easy to turn up the car heating and pump up R Kelly’s track Ignition, (I was very relieved to find English music being played on their radio stations) and not fully take in the true jaw dropping beauty of Iceland. To pull over and stand in awe at small clusters of shack like houses that live in the shadow of a heaving volcano.

The view of an impenetrable fortress of solid rock and bubbling lava in the form of a volcano is not an uncommon sight in Iceland, in fact with around 130 volcanoes situated in Iceland, its geothermal activity is a common reason why such a large amount of tourists flock here every year, to experience the unusual. Due to Iceland’s strategic location- situated between two tectonic plates, Iceland experiences a large amount of tectonic activity and is one of the most geothermal countries on the planet- hello long hot showers! (So much so that mini earthquakes kept setting off our hotel’s fire alarm meaning one evening we hilariously sat in our hotel gowns in reception for a good 20 minutes).

Blue LagoonTrekking along the crater of an active volcano is just one of the many things that can be done here, expect to have blissfully relaxing soaks in any of their hot springs- or in the iconic vibrant Blue Lagoon, experience exploding geysers, mud popping pits that look as if bubbles of chewing gum explode around it’s edges, glaciers that cut through mountains, rushing waterfalls that thunder down the sides with powerful force, hidden caves, peaceful lakes, meandering rivers that follow roads as if two children playing tag, and volcanic beaches that are home to weathered shaped rocks that jut out on the horizon.

All of this stunning natural beauty and I forget to mention the one attraction which pulls so many tourists to this country- like a moth to a flame, visitors also come here to experience, the Northern Lights, otherwise known as “Aurora Borealis”. I’m not going to get scientific on you-as you may realise that science is not my forte, however, the northern lights are a product of different atoms in the atmosphere which creates this bizarre illusion of vibrant lights- that seem to sprinkle on the dark night sky by a majestic power. Iceland is just one of the places where you are able to see the Northern Lights, and with each country, the style and colour of what is normally seen varies dramatically. With all sightings of the Northern Lights, there is a prominent wavy line of green and off this other colours and shapes sometimes occur.

Road into the UnknownThe main reason my mum and I went to Iceland, (mainly Reykjavik) was to try and catch a glimpse of these magical lights. Arriving in the afternoon we left our snug hotel rooms and boarded the Grayline Tour bus choosing the tour option “Mystery tour” on the basis that the tour would be 4-6 hours. Boarding the bus we soon found out that the 100 people on our bus were not the only “hunters” that evening, in fact 4 other busloads of tourists were also heading to the same destination from the company, which meant we had to wait till all busses were loaded and stick together throughout the journey. Feeling as if a mere piece of cattle in a large operation, we were forced to sit and wait at a service station for the other busses for 40 minutes. The time that we were told would be spent searching for Northern lights kept ticking and we soon realised that the vast amount of time we thought we had- was actually calculated by our 2 hour journey time there (for a 1 hour journey).

View from the GeyserThis was not what we had expected. When we finally made it to the location where on previous nights the Northern lights were seen, I could see the glow of the green line in the night sky- which is known to be the focus of the spectacular light display, but it quickly began to fade leaving us with the pitch black night sky filled with a carpet of sparkling stars. We were disappointed. Obviously the northern lights is mother nature and so we cannot control it, or rely on her to always show this glorious formation of colour in the sky, but the mass shifting of tourists made the situation even worse. Personally, I think you have more chance of seeing the Northern lights if you spend more time heading into Iceland, away from the harsh lights of the city, maybe even hiring a personal driver, be on a boat, or hiking through the countryside and camping in the unknown. It is pure luck and chance, but the way the tour was handled by Grayline, made the experience less enjoyable.

Street ArtNevertheless, Iceland is still a remarkable country and we were not going to let this stop us from enjoying our stay in Reykjavik. Reykjavik oozes Scandinavian influences however still manages to be unique. It carries this similar consciousness to well being, health and the environment which countries like Sweden and Denmark are known for, I mean there were exhibits of car crashes hung up on a display on the side of the road to remind drivers to drive safe, for example. But this consciousness also affects their culture and style. A hub for creative energies and literary minds, Reykjavik is covered with vibrant outlandish street art which locals don’t even bat an eyelid at and the cultural and historical significance of the traditional sagas, only further highlights that Iceland’s own culture is what makes them who they are.

VangeyurIcelanders dress as if the original hipsters, the ones that don’t care what they look like, that combine rock and vintage with ease and with no other countries nearby influencing them and very little commercial chain stores, clothes shops are every London lover’s dream. Second hand shops stand next to dirty record shops (yes that is its name) and whilst everyone is urged to buy, they are urged to recycle as well. The music scene shapes Iceland’s originality, with no neighbouring countries directing their music choices; Iceland’s eccentric and diverse music scene caters to all types of genres, and music that you will probably have never heard of too. I immediately felt this eccentric, artsy vibe walking along the main street Vanyegur, which although now covered in ever increasing tourist shops, I still manged to feel this underground scene which has developed from their cultural roots, and which has put Reykjavik on the map.

Harpa, IcelandMeandering through the colourful houses and spaced out streets, it is quite easy to find the popular sites in the city. Spread out in the sprawling metropolis, it would be best to either cycle around the sites, or drive. We did the latter. Renting a car was an easy process and apart from the minor incident of me driving on the wrong side of the road (very briefly might I add) it really is very easy to drive around the city and the entire country itself (however using a Satnav is best advised as some tourist maps are not as detailed as one would hope, and can make navigating around the city stressful). Sights you should check out are; the concert hall named Harpa which is styled in an interesting glass formation, the Sun Voyager– the iconic sculpture of a boat which Icelanders culturally identify with (being a nation of fisherman and farmers). Hofi house, a structure that emphasises Iceland’s political alliances and ties around Europe is nearby too and although stunning architecture, the house is actually closed for visitors- which makes visitors that drive to this site in a much better position than those who have to wait for a tour bus.

Sun VoyagerNearby is the Sigurjon Olafsson Sculpture Garden which although small, does offer a number of detailed designs varying in texture, however there are other sculpture gardens which are supposedly more aesthetic. Hallgraimskirkja is another famous sight to see, an ornate church that has intrinsic architecture that is supposed to resemble basalt lava flow in Iceland, either way it’s a stunning sight.

ChurchPerlan is a must visit too, it is a national landmark of Reykjavik and it hold a cultural significance over the city. A quick trip can be easily had here as well as a lengthy one, the well-stocked café has a number of food options to choose from and is open late-some visitors organised their visit well by visiting prior to sunset over the city and eating in the café after. If you would rather dine at the luxurious restaurant of Perlan on the top floor, you can do so too (we did and to read about our experience head to the end of this post).  Wanting to learn more about the historical evolution of the country of Iceland and its people, we headed to the National Museum of Iceland. It did provide interesting scope on Icelanders originally being Vikings and their journey to what the country is like now, however I did find the museum quite drab and stuffy, and in hindsight, would have probably preferred visiting a modern art gallery in which I could focus on Iceland’s culture as it stands now and research the rest online.

View from Perlan- spot the rainbow!Heading out of the city on a day trip is advised to all who visit Iceland. Iceland is highly regarded for its natural beauty and getting away from the clutches of the city is the best way to do so. There are a number of directions and locations that are close, where visitors normally head to and with time limiting our full desire to see the entirety of the country, we chose to head to the most popular spots. Hundreds of tour busses flood the winding roads, herding people from one site to another which seemed so… unpleasant. Hiring a car meant we had the freedom to pull the car over and stop and explore a craggy peak, take pictures of a certain sight and go exactly where we wanted to go, whenever we wanted.

Sculpture GardenHeading to the national park of Pingvellir allowed us to appreciate the dramatic change in scenery, where we caught a glimpse of the rugged coastline, towering mountains and bushy heaths. We passed pine trees that would have not looked out of place in Canada, peacefully still lakes, flowing brooks and trickling waterfalls. The weather continuously changed as we plunged into the depths of Iceland with the sun beginning to peek out behind the clouds to then change to erratic rain hammering down on the windows, whilst driving into an ominous mist. The rapid change in weather made our tiny little car meandering down empty roads into nature even more eerie and unusual.

PerlanAnother famous sight is the Geysir, where one geyser erupts suddenly to the ecstatic cry of excited tourists whilst the other enviously gurgles nearby. A large hill stands over the site and is worth the climb up to see the sweeping views of the landscape that alters so differently in various directions. Gulfoss Waterfall is the next attraction to see – do make sure you turn off before the Gulfoss sign down a smaller path, this leads to a more accessible view of the waterfall and a carpark. It is worth stopping here to see this example of nature exert so much force and power, tumbling water over layers of rock into a deep gorge.

Gulfoss WaterfallFrom here, we headed to a nearby town called Haebradi where waterfalls and geysers were dotted around the tiny village, although not as impressive as the previous sites, you can directly see the impact of these marvellous pieces of nature on the towns geothermal energy and their vivacious way of life. What really makes the journey to this remote town worthwhile is the landscape that surrounds the town, it is more mountainous here and the rolling hills and dipping valleys are stunning. Although we did unfortunately have a time restraint, we were told that Selfoss, Vik, and the Black Beach on the South Coast were equally as beautiful to explore too.

Geysir ViewFood in Iceland, just like its landscape, varies dramatically.  A popular tourist rumour is that Icelanders eat puffin, whale and shark and so many tourists head to restaurants that serve this meat to “live as the locals do”. Many years ago, back when the people of Iceland first inhabited the country, yes they did eat this meat- due to the fact it was the most accessible and easiest meat to find, however now days, Icelanders taste buds are tantalised by the Nordic style cuisine, French bistros and even American style hotdogs. In fact, there are signs in restaurant doors with images of whales and the message “meet me don’t eat me”, highlighting this very issue. Why would such an environmentally conscious country eat the incredible natural wildlife that surrounds them? So please when visiting, avoid these restaurants.

City lifeThe ones you should head to is; Hornio, for a pizza that tastes as good as in Rome, The Scandinavian restaurant for soft tasting fish or Perlan for an intimate revolving dining experience- with the soft notes of a piano being played in the background, a dancing candle that imitates the city lights outside and outstanding table service. My personal favourite is dinner at Old Iceland, this place is incredible! Each dish was created out of fresh wholesome ingredients that complimented each meal so well and gave a sense of traditional Icelandic dishes, without harming the environment. It is incredibly popular- some visitors were even waiting outside in the cold for a table- so do make sure you go early, or book for 6pm- the latest table they have.

Hofi HouseAlthough I didn’t experience the magnificent Northern Lights in Iceland, I did experience a country like no other.

Day Tripping to Cambridge

Cambridge is one of the most well visited cities in England due to its historical ties and values attached to the city, through its educational system, Cambridge University.

Cambridge was the first university established in the UK and wandering through the city, you can  understand why Cambridge holds a superior edge over Oxford. Oxford is filled with a range of nightlife and bustling student scene, whilst Cambridge oozes an intellectual air which one immediately intakes and immerses themselves in, as if gaining brain cells merely by just standing in the city itself. The exquisite architecture hums with stories of ancient tales of revelry and echoes with words of wisdom passed down from generation to generation. Meander down cobbled streets, under paved archways and through hidden alleyways, which lead on to grand elegant buildings with expansive manicured gardens. Watch first time punters struggle and slip with the action of punting whilst bleary eyed students routinely gather excited tourists onto boats to whisk them along the river, floating under hanging willows and narrowly avoiding stranded punters, laughing in hilarity at their situation.

Copyright: Heather C
Copyright: Heather C

I came to visit Cambridge on a day trip to visit one of my closest friends who moved there for work. Driving from Surrey, we conveniently parked in the park and ride, and took the bust transfer in, avoiding the traffic and expensive car parks.

Using Trinity College as a meeting point, my friends and I were enraptured by the glorious splendour of the building which looked as if a church, rather than an educational establishment. The entrance was heaving with international tourists heavily clad with selfie sticks and donning “I love Cambridge” T-shirts with wide beaming smiles, whilst posing in front of the Tudor influenced structure, which has been noted in many novel and historical artefact.

Copyright: Heather C
Copyright: Heather C

Trinity College is a symbol of what the city of Cambridge has to offer; education, wisdom, intellect and knowledge, in a picturesque setting filled with quaint historic buildings nestled next to high street shops. However, the building which is more famously known is, the King’s College Chapel. The King’s College Chapel steals Trinity College’s thunder, it is an extra ordinary example of one of the finest Gothic buildings in England and for many, is a must see on any tourist’s agenda.  Flooding British TV screens every winter, the sight of Trinity College is on every screen with the Cambridge choir capturing the very essence of the festive spirit. Harmonic sounds float up the steep spiral and the wondrous notes work their way through the building, along the narrow wooden aisles and chiming the ornate stained glass windows that beam a kaleidoscope of colours onto the inner walls. Walking through the aisles you are awestruck into silence by its majestic beauty and still nature. When leaving the chapel and stepping into the sunshine, it felt as if re-entering the modern world, with its everyday chaos.

Copyright: Heather C
Copyright: Heather C

It is quite easy to spend an afternoon lounging on or along the banks of the lazy river, watching the clouds drift through the sky, or stroll through the historical city, finding hidden gems of architecture, or spending an afternoon dining in a 16th century pub in the sunshine, such as The Eagle– the oldest pub in Cambridge, where we had a hearty lunch in the courtyard. Step inside and the ceiling is covered with war memorabilia and coasters from various ales and lagers from over the years. The pub has an atmospheric buzz to the place and thanks to its large portions and cheap prices, the pub attracts all types of people; tourists, students and locals, creating a hybrid mix of people enjoying the historical character of the pub.

Although, if you find it easier to leave the comfort of a traditional pub more than I do, then head over to the Fitzwilliam Museum– a haven for classic art and historical artefacts from all over the world. The museum is a jumble of goods that will make you wander what an earth they are doing in a museum tucked away in the heart of Cambridge, and nicknamed as “the Fitz”, but being one of the first public art museums in the UK, you can understand the logic behind these actions.

As I said before, my experiences with Cambridge are short lived, merely just a day trip, however, I can see why visitors would want to spend a few days here or even relocate here. With its charming cyclists that zip past you, was well as the buzz of young energy from students that infiltrate  the elegant architecture and historical buildings, Cambridge is quite a catch.