Up around 7.30 – the latest I’ve managed to sleep all trip. After breakfast, I contemplated my bags and wondered how to get to the station – far too close to bother with a taxi, bit too far to just walk – when Michael rang to announce he would be by to take me to meet my train. I quickly raced downstairs to pay my bill, which was a bit higher than I’d expected, then popped out for a quick walk. Back at the hotel, I looked at the bill again and discovered I’d been overcharged by £50. Got that reversed, Michael arrived, off to station to wait for train.
This was a long train ride – first an hour and a half to Peterborough (hooray for National Express and the free wi-fi), then a half hour wait and then a local train to Cambridge. An announcement just as we got to Cambridge informed all the continuing passengers that the windscreen “had sustained some damage” between Ely and Cambridge and would therefore be terminating at Cambridge. No indication of what had happened, but we were all curious.
Checked in to my hotel – another with teeny tiny rooms and this time the smallest shower I have ever seen. I had a quick shower and managed to bump my head on the wall while trying to rinse! (didn’t hurt, just funny). The location and price are fantastic, and the teeny tiny room (with bunk bed!) is all I needed. Apparently this is almost completely the wrong time to come to Cambridge, because the students all started yesterday.
Met up with the lovely Mike Siggins around 2 and we headed into town, so he could give me the tour. We checked out a couple of bookshops, stopped for a drink once or twice, and looked at the Colleges and the river. Lots of students having a crack at punting – it was a miracle that none of them actually fell in.
Now it was reassuuring to see that Mike’s fame in gaming has spread to the general denizens of Cambridge. Either that, or we were just in the right part of town – after about the third person recognised him, I started counting them. I believe we got to 10 – and I firmly believe it would have been higher if we’d not been inside eating dinner all evening – but I am getting ahead of myself …
In the evening, we headed off to visit Javal and his fiancee. Javal is a very good friend from BGG who I have “known” (online) for over 3 years, as far as we can establish, but had never met. Dinner was fantastic – gorgeous food and great company – once again with wine and swelling feet/ankles. I had some soft drink yesterday so think I will cut that out and see whether that plus lots of water helps to resolve anything. I played the Aussie traveller and took my big bag of laundry over with me so it could wash and dry while we hung out. This was another of those wonderful evenings where people you have just met feel like people you have known (and liked!) forever. Really fantastic to see online friends/acquaintances turning into real people and friends too.
Before dinner, we played a quick 3er of San Juan which the guys kindly let the foreigner win, thanks to some lucky 6-building draws. After dinner, we chatted, mostly about games, then realised that OMG we were not actually PLAYING a game, and grabbed Thurn und Taxis. I snuck a victory there, too, due I am sure to scary numbers of online games, retrieved my washing and headed back to the hotel. By pure random luck we got there just in time for Mike to catch the last train home.
I didn’t sleep well – there wasn’t noise, but I tossed and turned and didn’t really settle into good sleep. It didn’t help that my hairdresser rang in the middle of the night to confirm the Bigster’s appointment tomorrow (I didn’t answer, but did wake up). Note to self: Switch phone to silent mode before bed, or turn it off – it will automagically switch itself on when an alarm is due.
Today (Tuesday) I’m up and packed, and about to head for breakfast then London. Hoping for wifi on the train but failing that I believe it’s available in the Eurostar pre-departure lounge. It’s go – go – go now — in the next seven days, I will be in four different countries. Where they speak four different languages. And I will get to abandon my scary big suitcase for a while – it’s so heavy and so annoying, although I am at least starting to get rid of some of what’s inside.