Travel Flashback: Brighton & Cambridge

For awhile last year, I was posting a look back at past travels every Wednesday. Life got in the way and I stopped doing it, but I figured I’d start back up again. Today’s post is from my time in London in summer 2006. You can find the rest of my travel posts here.

While studying abroad in London, our class took two “field trips” (if you can still call it a field trip when it’s a bunch of 20-year-olds) – one to Brighton, and one to Cambridge. Since I sadly didn’t take a ton of photos in either location (how unlike me!), I decided to combine them together into one post though, in actuality, the two have little to do with one another.

First up, Brighton, a coastal town in the south of England. I have to admit that I’m not sure I gave Brighton a fair shake – I wasn’t that impressed with it, but we were only there for a day, so I’m not certain that was enough time to form an accurate judgment. In any case, Brighton made an easy day trip from London, but it’s not exactly a spot I’m clamoring to return to.

We spent a lot of our time in Brighton at the Royal Pavilion, the seaside retreat of King George IV. I remember the interior being quite fancy – verging on tacky – with lots of Chinese influences:

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Our other main activity in Brighton was lounging on the beach. Actually, “lounging” is a misleading term – as we discovered, Brighton’s beach is 100% pebbles, making laying out on a towel a highly uncomfortable proposition. We mostly spent our time walking along the shore and I discovered that even doing that (when you’re wearing thin sandals) is quite uncomfortable. I think I’ll take my beaches with sand, please.

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While I wasn’t a huge fan of Brighton, I enjoyed Cambridge much more. It’s just a university town – but what a splendid university it houses:

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We explored campus for a few hours, passing by Newton’s Apple Tree on our walk. Legend has it that seeing an apple fall from this tree inspired Newton to formulate his theory of gravity. I’m not 100% sure I buy that story, but it’s a fun thought.

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In the afternoon, we partook in “punting” on the River Cam. A punt is a little boat that one person stands on, with a gigantic pole, and propels forward (you can sort of see it happening in the photo below). Needless to say, we American rookie punters were not very skillful and many mishaps ensued – though it did make for a fun afternoon!

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While I adored my time in London, these little day trips reminded me that there’s so much more of England to see outside the city. Though I feel like I say this for every place I visit, it’s true – I definitely have a long of English excursions for future trips!

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4 thoughts on “Travel Flashback: Brighton & Cambridge

  1. I used to live near Brighton and the first time I visited I didn’t like it at all. It did grow on me, but I guess that’s because I lived so close by for many years. Although to be fair, I also got to know it in a way that’s not possible in a day or even a couple of weeks. And like you, I much prefer beaches with sand!

  2. You definitely got lucky with the weather! Embarrassed to admit I’ve never been to Cambridge despite living in the UK for 30 or so years. Did try punting though when I lived in Oxford and it’s a good arm workout!

    1. Punting is definitely a good arm workout – and it’s also slightly terrifying. I’m not coordinated, and I kept thinking I was going to fall off the punt!

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