On Saturday, I embarked on a journey to Cambridge with Daphne, Max and Michael for a well-deserved midterm break! I had to wake up very early at 6:30am, as our train was at 8:10am. The train journey was 3 hours long but we were very well occupied. Daphne taught us, the 3 Ms, how to play a card game called Bridge. It sounded really complicated at first but after we got the hang of it, it was very exciting!!
When we arrived in Cambridge, we decided to grab a bite to eat at this Mexican restaurant called Nanna Mexico. I had tacos and an authentic Mexican pineapple soda. The food was very messy but tasted good. I really liked the soda as well!
After lunch, we headed to to the Fitzwilliam Museum. On the way there, we took a detour through the grounds of the University of Cambridge and passed by the psychology department while we were wandering around.
Then we went on a free walking tour. BUT BEFORE THAT, while we were admiring the back of King’s College, this girl from the university started promoting a punting tour. The tour cost £15 per head and we all thought it was expensive so she said “I can give it to you cheaper but then you’d actually have to go for the tour or else I’d have wasted my time here”, which was super rude! We were all standing there looking at each other when she said “The cheapest I’m allowed to go is £12.50”. When we said no thank you, she rolled her eyes and stormed off in a huff. She just completely lost us when she told us we were basically wasting her time if we didn’t go for the tour. If you want to promote something, that is not how you do it. Even if I was considering it, I still would’ve been put off by that.
Anyway, the guy conducting the free walking tour was really nice! The walking tour was two hours long and we got to learn about the history of the university. I thought it was really cool how we were in a place where so many amazing scientific breakthroughs were made, like the discovery of the electron and the splitting of an atom.
While we were on the tour, I asked Daphne if she knew whether Stephen Hawking went to Oxford or Cambridge but she didn’t know and a quick Google search revealed that he went to both. Oxford for undergrad and Cambridge for postgrad!! WOW.
We had dinner at this Hong Kong fusion restaurant and I had this really good Thai styled fried rice vermicelli! I also had hot bubble tea and it was an interesting experience drinking bubble tea without a straw and eating the pearls with a spoon.
On the way back to the train station, we stopped by Chatime to get my second round of bubble tea! It was something I’ve been looking forward to for the whole week and I even checked a few days before the trip to see if Cambridge had a Chatime HAHA. It was also Max’s first time drinking bubble tea!
When we boarded the train back, we saw an old couple and a young man sitting in our seats. When we told them that we reserved those seats, they didn’t seemed convinced and refused to move even after they inspected our tickets. The old couple gave a lot of excuses about how there were no reservation tickets on the seats and that the seat number printed on our ticket had the letter ‘A’ after it but the seat just had the number on it. It was plain obvious they just did not want to move!
On top of that, the train was overbooked and it was evident they weren’t going to get a seat if they let us have our seats. The young guy also said “I would move but it wouldn’t make a difference since they want all four seats anyway”. I was just so pissed off and annoyed because we spent the whole day walking in Cambridge and the train journey was 2 hours long! I was so tempted to just head back there to glare at them!!
10 minutes before we were due to arrive at Nuneaton for our connecting train to Coventry, it was announced that the train was delayed by 10 minutes. The train manager said they were trying to hold the Nuneaton–Coventry train for passengers with the connecting train and would update us before we arrived. Just as we were approaching Nuneaton, we were told that the train was “successfully held” but to get to Platform 1 as quickly as possible. We ran to Platform 1 but when we got there, the train had already left! None of the passengers on the train made it to Coventry! The next train was due in an hour and a lot of the passengers (including me) were unhappy as the train we were on was headed to Birmingham New Street and we could’ve gotten a connecting train from there back to Coventry much quicker!
I am so disappointed with CrossCountry trains! They did not handle the situation well at all. They inconvenienced us and so many other passengers! The whole CrossCountry return journey was just a mess. First with our “reserved” seats, then with the delay and missing the connecting train. Maybe they need some lessons on the psychology of expectations? Do not give expectations to people and then not deliver them in the end!!
This whole experience with CrossCountry trains would’ve put a damper on our trip if it weren’t for great company and Daphne’s deck of cards. We killed the one hour wait by playing Bridge again. Max was still having trouble distinguishing the black suits so I told him to call the clubs ‘Cauliflower’ and it worked! It was especially hilarious when he said ‘King Cauliflower’. Playing Bridge (and drinking bubble tea) was the highlight of my trip to Cambridge! 😀
The rest of our journey back went smoothly, thank goodness. We managed to get a table seat in the London Midland train and got to play more games of Bridge! When we got back to the train station in Coventry, we arrived just in time to catch the 12X bus back to campus. That was certainly a good way to end our trip!