The porters nod their heads in acknowledgement as you walk out of the gateway of Gonville and Caius. As soon as you take one step onto the sidewalk, the calm atmosphere of the college is wiped away, and replaced by a chaotic, noisy, crowded city centre. To the right you can see the smallest sliver of the marble white Senate building, The University bookshop with window boxes full of fuchsias, and the tall tower of Great Saint Mary’s church. To the left, you can see the old, beautiful brown stonework of the shop buildings, and the intricate carvings of the Michaelhouse Center. You go to step off of the sidewalk, ready for a day of exploration, when something whizzes past you, inches away from your feet. You are thrown back onto the pavement and listen to the ringing of the bicycle bell. Bicycles run Cambridge, and are never conscious of the people around them. Now, looking both ways, you go to cross the street and turn left. You are ready to venture about town, but not without some food before you begin. First stop, Sainsbury’s grocery store.
Even though it is a brisk block away from the college, it is difficult to find, tucked away by the green building near the entrance of the road. You walk down the cobblestones and come right up to the side entrance. You enter, scurry to the sandwiches, and grab the cheapest one you can find. You pay the two pounds at the self-checkout, and are onto your next stop; the market square. The outdoor market is full of brightly colored stands that sell a variety of products; from breads to hats, from records to Belgian waffles. Even though it is beautiful and sunny day today, you need a raincoat. You come straight into the market, and it is bustling as always. Bike bells are ringing, a mess of conversations come from every direction, and footsteps echo on the cobblestones. People are everywhere; buying, selling, bargaining, and sightseeing. You have set your task, and embark on your first mission; finding the pitch in the surrounding sea of people. You walk down every aisle until you finally see a simple, black raincoat hanging on the outer foundation of the pitch. “10 pounds,” the seller tells you. You hand over the cash, amazed at how little the coat cost! Content with your purchase, you decide that you must go down to Heffers and get a couple books. After all, you do have a five hour ride to Stonehenge coming up, you have to be prepared.
You walk down the uneven road and speed past all of the shops. On your way, you are asked two separate times if you want to go punting. The people advertising the punting are everywhere, there is no escape from their persistence. You know you are getting close to the bookshop, because you can now see the intricate carvings and colorful crest of Trinity college. You turn around and there in front of you is the quaint bookshop. You go inside, and get a couple books and some postcards.
You begin your walk back to the college, the smell of fried food wafting down the street the fresh breeze in your face; and you smile to yourself. The square mile of Cambridge is so full of life; it is new and exciting for you. It feels like home, and you never want to leave.