The Real Cambridge is quite a lot different from the US Cambridge. There are vast stretches of green grass everywhere. People drive little brightly-coloured Volkswagons on the wrong side of the street, and in some places one can be walking down the middle of the street and not realize that vehicle traffic can go there too until a car creeps up behind you, trying to get through. Everywhere that's not explicitly marked "no cycles" (the colleges, historic important buildings, etc.) features dozens of locked up, often step over-framed commuter bikes, decorated with panniers and front baskets.
I still find it vaguely nerve-wracking being in a British vehicle, since I'm always expecting cars traveling in the opposite direction to come wheeling towards me. But I have yet to step off the curb and almost get hit by a double-decker bus because I looked in the wrong direction before starting across.
The Cam River is frankly quite puny. Walking alongside it you can witness such events as crew boats nearly crashing into tour boats, and apparently a sort of crew racing called "knocking" is often used because of the river's narrowness. It's also not very deep, as can be proven by the periodic punt hires along its shores. And here punting is not to procrastinate (very much an MIT-ism) but to propel a punt , which is a flat-bottomed boat with square ends, by pushing a pole against the bottom of the river.
It's difficult to go six hours without being offered a cup of tea, especially if one is visiting many different people. And I have no idea how people can manage to get drunk off of beer, because a pint is quite enough to fill my stomach and leave no room left for more. So much liquid! And the prices of everything here are just about the same as in the US--except in pounds sterling, not dollars. Which means things really cost twice as much. But since the only things I really need to buy are food, drink, and miscellaneous (like anti-death-by-hay-fever-histamine), things will work out alright.
Things have been awesome so far, and the local free software-Debian-Ubuntu-GNOME crowd has made me feel right at home. Maybe someday I will actually swap Cambridges for a while. I've gotten to see a bit of Cambridge University here too. Since Hanna's (really awesome) dad is a fellow of King's College, we got to go in and look around even though it's exam season and the general public isn't allowed in -- there's always a person in funny academic robes standing at the gate and shooing away tourists. Right through the gates there is a large, pristine mowed lawn. It's in such a condition because no one is allowed to walk on it -- unless they're a fellow of the college. Flaunt that. Her dad also supervises the Cambridge end of CME, so we crashed an end-of-the-year garden party for that this past afternoon.
And Saturday it's off to Scotland, which should be just as awesome! And with more people and more Debian! I'm excited.