Taking advantage of a deal with Ryanair, we purchased a roundtrip ticket (Basel-Stansted-Basel) for $50 per person and visited our friend Maria in Cambridge, UK the first weekend of November. We spent 3 days exploring the area and even had the opportunity to go to London on Sunday to see the Remembrance poppies at the Tower of London.
We didn’t plan much for our visit. The main purpose was to see Maria, who we met in 2012 in the baggage claim area of Ezeiza airport in Argentina after we returned from El Calafate. A few months after we first met we visited her in Valencia, Spain.Since then, we’ve kept in touch via email and Skype and Alexis and I were very excited to seeing her again and listening to her adventures about her travels around the globe.
After we arrived in Stansted airport, we took the train to Cambridge where Maria was waiting for us. We missed the stop and had to hop off in the next stop to take a train back to Cambridge- not fun.
We spent the day catching up with Maria and then in the afternoon we took a stroll downtown where we got a taste of the college nightlife in Cambridge. We had dinner at Teri-Aki, an Asian restaurant.
The next day we visited some of the most famous Colleges (King’s, Trinity and St John’s). Because Maria is a member of the University, we had the privilege of visiting places not open to the public. This was great because we were able to enjoy the areas and take pictures without the hustle and bustle of the tourists crowds.
The city was more beautiful than I imagined. The architecture of the buildings, the small boutiques, local shops and the food really left us craving for more. I also think the beautiful multi-color fall scenery contributed to the wow! factor .
We alternated our visits to the colleges with a few stops at the market and some shops. At noon we were hungry so we stopped at the relatively new but very popular Aromi. This is an Italian café that serves great pizzas, salads, paninis and mouth-watering pastries. I couldn’t resist the opportunity to try a cannoli.
Alexis was very happy when he found a satchel he was looking for at The Cambridge Satchel Company. For dinner, Maria hosted a delicious homemade dinner and invited her goddaughter with her husband over. We had a great time, laughing and sharing funny anecdotes about work and life in general.
On Sunday we woke up very early to catch the train to London. It was the last weekend before the poppies were removed and it seems that everyone waited until the last minute to go see them. So many people, everywhere.
Seeing the river of over 800,000 red poppies (a symbol of Remembrance in the United Kingdom) was a wonderful experience and something you don’t see everyday.
After seeing the poppies at the Tower of London, we headed to Westminster Abbey. We got caught on the Remembrance activities and literally couldn’t move for 20 minutes. The roads were closed and the police stopped the traffic of people in order to ask for a few minutes of silence in honor to the victims of WWI.
We had an amazing time in Cambridge/London and definitely see ourselves returning in the near future.