On to Cambridge

Saturday, November 13–We slept in this morning until almost 9:30, so we missed the “lovely English breakfast” at the hotel. After we got cleaned up and dressed, we went for coffee and a pastry at a little shop that George had discovered the last time he was here “Les Deux Amis”–quite nice and the proprietress was very friendly.

He wanted to go to Falkner’s, the fine paper, bookbinding store, so we did that, then walked back to the Russell Square Underground station and took the Tube to St. Paul’s Cathedral. As it turns out, this was the day of the Lord Mayor’s Big Celebration–part of the Remembrance Weekend observances–so we got a parade, including a horse-mounted band, a carnival on the front portico of St. Paul’s, and a whole lot of locals. It was quite fun. We went into St. Paul’s–we had skipped it last time. Much of the scaffolding has been removed since then, although restoration work is still being done. There was a Eucharist just beginning in the crossing of the cathedral as we arrived. We walked around the perimiter and down into the crypt. We skipped the gallery–no lift and 535 steps in each direction. We looked around in the bookstore before we left. We had lunch at a Pret à manger (a wonderful chain of sandwich shops–they are everywhere in London) in the vicinity of St. Paul’s–everything else seemed to be closed.

Then took the tube back to the hotel, picked up our hand luggage and went to King’s Cross for the 3:15 fast train to Cambridge. It took about 45 minutes–George dozed and I listened to music on my iPod.

We took a taxi to Derek and Rory’s flat on Park Parade. Derek has been generous to offer us the use of it both in 2003 when we were here and again this trip. We had to get the key from their friend Tessa Gardner down the street. Although the sun was shining, it was quite cold. George took the key and got to the flat and Tessa went with me to book a reservation at a French restaurant that she recommended. She was quite insistent with the matre d’ that we should get the reservation and that we should be in a good spot in the restaurant. She said, “I am a regular customer of this restaurant as you know, and you owe these important guests some consideration.” The reservation was for 9:30, so we went out and walked around Cambridge and did some shopping at Marks and Spencer (underwear for Dan Gross, and a sweater–or “jumper,” as the Brits call it–and scarf for me; I had gone off and left mine in London, and I was freezing) and at Sainsbury (stuff for breakfast) After we finished the shopping we came back and read and relaxed until it was time to go to dinner.

At the restaurant (Chez Gerard, which turns out to be a chain) we had to wait for a bit for our table, and then wait some more for a waiter; however, the subsequent service was quite good. I had paté for a starter and steak and frites for my main course (so much for counting Weight-Watcher points) and crepes with cherry sauce and honey ice cream for dessert. It was excellent.

It was after 11:30 by the time we got back to the flat. It was chilly inside and George couldn’t find the thermostat for the heat. We finally went to bed about 12:30.