My mom left early Saturday afternoon, family visits are always too short for my liking but that's life for an expat. She finally received her baggage, at the airport about an hour before she left. To make a long story short, we spent days being passed between different people some said the baggage was at JFK, others said Heathrow and no one could make up their minds which was correct. The day before she left it was finally confirmed to be in Heathrow and had been since Monday morning but at that point she'd bought new clothes and there really was no point of getting it delivered to the house (which they maintained we would have to pay for!) I did finally receive my stow away Hidden Valley Ranch dressing which of course was the main cause of distress with her lost baggage.
Fortunately our schedules allowed for Luke and I to both take a day off work the Wednesday she was here. We were hoping for a sunny Spring day but what we got was the embodiment of 'April showers'. There are so many places close by that we could go, the hardest part was deciding which one to choose (that and getting mom out of bed). In the end we decided to go to Cambridge, a place that all three of us had never been, a small city about an hour away from us, famous for it's medieval streets and of course the University.
By the time we set off it was gone 11:00. The scenery was pretty on the drive, apart from a view industrial parts around Bedford. That's England for you though - driving through countryside one minute, a city the next, and then before you know it you're back in the countryside. Once we reached the outskirts of the city we took the Park & Ride option to get into the centre of town. This allowed us to park up and pay £2.50 each to be dropped off by a double decker bus directly in the centre. The only sane option really given the narrow streets designed long before cars.
To escape the drizzle we nipped into a pub called the Baron of Beef (English pub names still tickle me) for a spot of lunch. I choose the safe option of a Jacket Potato filled with coleslaw and cheese, Luke had a massive burger and my mom the roast beef wrapped in a massive Yorkshire pudding. I accompanied my mom to the bar to order, during the exchange I felt compelled to tell the barman I lived in England, after he questioned where we were from. Could he not tell I lived here by my choice of ale and helping my mom order a cider? I'll let it pass as I guess my accent was probably a big clue, although I'm told it's softened now by my mom and others. I can't tell as to me I still sound like I always have, although I do pronounce tomato 'to-mah-to' instead of 'toe-may-to'.
After lunch, it had stopped raining and we walked around the city taking in the scenery and history. We stopped at the University book store and spent ages pouring through all the different texts. I love book stores, especially ones I've never been in before and I always find one hundred-and-one things I want to read before realising I have about fifty-two waiting back home. Being a good girl, I left the store emptied handed, although this was probably more to being overwhelmed by how many books I wanted rather than being good.
Although it was cold and rainy, Cambridge was a lovely day out and a place I'd love to visit again. Albeit on a warm Summer's day so we can go punting in the river or visit the Botanic Garden. But when it comes time for the Oxford v. Cambridge boat race I will still be cheering on Oxford, it is after all the birth place of Alice in Wonderland.