Thursday, 10 May
11.05.2012 - 24.05.2012 13 °C
Said goodbye to David this morning ..... maybe won't see him again until he returns to Australia next year. When I return from my road trip, he and Vicki and Graham will be on their road trip so I will be in his apartment on my own.
Using the Piccadilly Tube line as advised, I got to Kings Cross station well before the train was due to depart; used the efficient automatic dispenser to obtain my tickets without any difficulty and had a coffee while watching the departure board for my train. The platform numbers are only displayed 10 minutes before the train is due to depart. Interestingly, in France the departure platform is displayed 20 minutes before departure. Checking the departure board every few minutes, suddenly all the trains to Cambridge flashed up cancelled!!!! There were trains scheduled every half hour. A train left for Cambridge just as I arrived but my ticket was for an off-peak service (cheaper and I did not need to get to Cambridge until 1pm to collect the hire car). The information desk was besieged by travelers with Cambridge tickets. I felt sorry for the receptionist there but I gathered these cancellations must be quite regular. It was 10 minutes after the board flashed cancelled before a human voice announced the cancellation but without any contingency information. The information receptionist was advising travelers to catch another tube train to Liverpool Street to get an all stations train to Cambridge. This train was well appointed with full tables in front of the seating on one side of the carriage and little pull down tables like the ones in France and on the Eurostar, on the other side and lots more space for luggage. The train terminated at Cambridge and I met an Australian couple in the lift on the way out of the station. Taxis were running constantly from the station with the taxi queue filling up quickly. Buses were also available but as I didn't recognise the place names on the front of the bus, I joined the taxi queue.
I like the logic of the names of the roads. The car hire company was on Newmarket Road ...... which eventually ended up at, well ...... Newmarket. My accommodation in Cambridge was on Chesterton Road, which led to Chesterton! The car is a Honda Jazz, black, auto, four door. It's in the "class" that I requested but I thought I was getting a VW Polo, auto three door. I've also hired a GPS with the car and it took me a while to get the hang of it as it's logic is different to mine. By the time I sat in the car trying to figure it out, the rain had started again. It was 1:30 pm and my original intention was to explore Cambridge on foot and by car. However, I now just wanted to find my way to my accommodation. It wasn't far away but it took a while to get my bearings and confidence behind the wheel in a different environment.
The Hamilton Hotel where I am staying probably began it's life as a detached house and a semi- detached house next door. Now it resembles a quaint version of Faulty Towers. A rabbit warren of doorways, mismatched carpets, steep narrow winding staircases (getting used to these now) and stepping up three stairs, taking four steps, then down another three steps. My room for the two nights (B7) was through two doorways, through a lounge room, down a hallway, through another two doorways then up a steep flight of stairs. The breakfast room was lovely and light, with a generous English cooked breakfast. It suits my budget and location and the shared bathroom and toilet was always available as the twin and double rooms had ensuites, but not the singles. There were more rooms above mine with the staircase actually within the ceiling of my room.
Chilled out in the hotel for the rest of the afternoon as it was vey unpleasant weather for photography and sight seeing. There were bicyclists EVERYWHERE ....... avec and sans helmets ..... because this is a Uni town ..... there were hundreds of bicycles at the station ..... and I've seen the ultimate in a young girl sans helmet, steering with one hand and texting on her pink smart phone with the other!!!
Planned tomorrow's drive to Norwich to visit the Shirehall Textile Study Room. It's a 200km round trip and I have to be there by 11am. Mostly main roads as time is tight and I've never been to Norwich before nor Cambridge. But tomorrow is intended to be an educational trip not a sight seeing one.
Thank you for reading this installment.
Love Lyn xxx