How to cure ‘bubbleitis’
Bursting the bubble
Have you not been further out of Cambridge than going to West Cambridge all term? Have you forgotten to read national news in about a month? Have you started to became overly consumed by the JCR weekly minutes? Does your weekly supo work seem like the most important thing in the world? Do you have a weird feeling of being stuck? If you have answered ‘yes’ or ‘sort of’ to any of these questions then I am sorry, but I am going to have diagnose you with "bubbleitis". The good news is, bubbleitis is not fatal. There’s actually a very easy cure. You just have to leave Cambridge! Here are some ideas for trips of varying difficulty/ time periods for your consideration.
Getting to the seaside is a bit of a faff from Cambridge 🙁 but the East Anglian coast is accessible via train/bus (you will probably have to get both). In about three hours you can get to Great Yarmouth, Cromer or Hunstanton, making this quite a trek and therefore an all day trip at least. But to be honest, there is nothing like standing on a beach while the wind buffets you and you can smell the salt and the world seems suddenly vast and your problems seem very small and it is just quite healing actually. So very worth the trek, in my opinion, but I understand if you are looking for something a bit easier, in which case, read on.
East Anglia actually has some great places to go on a day trip. Nearby is Ely with its Cathedral, if you are looking for something shorter. But if you want to go further afield then Norwich is two hours by train, and has a castle and a cathedral and some lovely old buildings and Jarrolds, which is not that good really but I have nostalgia for it. Peterborough is only an hour away and in my opinion it is a bit of a shithole but sometimes a shithole is just what you need when you have spent a lot of time in a beautiful place, because it reminds you how lucky you are to live somewhere like Cambridge. Also it has a famous cathedral, if you are into that sort of thing. Bury St Edmunds is a historic town which is an hour and a half away and worth a visit if you like ruined abbeys and cathedrals (I've been made to visit a lot of cathedrals so I'm afraid they are quite prominent in the list). Saffron Walden, which sounds like the name of a girl who went to a metropolitan single sex prep school, is in actual fact a rather beautiful medieval town which you can get to in around an hour.
Of course if you want real excitement then getting to London is also very easy by train and there are countless things to do there but I am writing this article assuming that you have actually already heard of London and therefore do not need me to suggest it as a destination.
In the immediate vicinity:
Cambridge is surrounded by lots of very idyllic little villages with country pubs that you can often cycle, walk or take a bus to. A walking route I enjoy is to walk to Grantchester and then Trumpington and back. You can get to St Ives on the Cambridge Guided Busway quite quickly and St Ives is, according to my A-level geography case study, one of the nicest places to live in the country, so is probably worth a visit.
There’s a lot to be said for hopping on a bike and just cycling in a direction until you find something good; it is weirdly freeing to be so unintentional about a journey, because so many of the trips you make in Cambridge are just about getting to where you are going, rather than enjoying the journey itself. As long as you have a phone with you, you should be able to use google maps to find your way back home.
A final word from me, is that obviously all these journeys should be made with friends ideally, so that you can make wonderful memories as well as getting out of a place than can sometimes make you feel a bit trapped. So here is a reminder from an excessively wise third year that you are not trapped if you don’t want to be! Leave the city! Come back again, I am not telling you to drop out, but remember this: there is no shame in needing a bit of a break from Cambridge.
cover image: author's own