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I haven’t made an exhaustive study, but I’ve said on more than one occasion that Pepperdine University in Malibu, CA has one of the most beautiful campuses I’ve seen. There you have the combination of the Pacific Ocean and the mountains forming the best of both worlds.

Having visited Cambridge this week, I’d say that Pepperdine has been dethroned, at least in my admittedly limited experience. Although the geography doesn’t quite measure up, the combination of centuries old colleges and churches, scattered around a tranquil river with acres of trees and lawns more than makes up any difference. Everything has that lush, English-countryside look to it and there’s so much history to discover. One day was enough to get an overview, but I’m sure you could spend as long as you like exploring all the stories. Kings College Chapel was one of the highlights. They’ve done a nice job presenting it with lots of side rooms that have informative displays about various aspects, from its history to the designs of the symbols, to the evolution of services throughout its existence.

I was surprised by how busy the place is. I guess I had in my mind the picture of students in robes pacing quietly across these great lawns, but its actually just like any modern university dropped into a medieval backdrop. I read that it has the highest per-capita percentage of bicycles of almost any city and that’s certainly true. They’re crazy for bicycles. They ride them everywhere and in many places they’re legal on sidewalks, so it can get a little dicey.

I didn’t punt on the River Cam, although that is supposed to be the quintessential thing to do in Cambridge. I sat on the banks of the river for a while and watched some other folks and that pretty much fulfilled any punting desires I may have harbored. Punts are long, flat boats, with a few benches and a flat spot near the back where someone (the punter?) stands and uses a long pole to propel the boat along. I’m sure its nice enough and the weather was beautiful, but I don’t think I missed out on too much.

I’ll post some pictures from my visit soon.


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