Our kids are constantly surprising us. They keep rising to the occasion that is “explore every inch of our new homeland” with enthusiasm.
Most of the time.
They were excited about the Eiffel Tower, the nuclear bomb shelter in Essex, and the London Science Museum. However, we have been holding off on medieval churches, garden tours, and old estate grounds, sensing these are places not typically filled with secondary school students. At least not when not on a school led outing.
When I suggested we visit Cambridge last weekend, I steeled myself for rolling of the eyes and the long sighs of “Mo-o-o-o-ther!” followed by “so boring” and “why can’t we ever do something we want to do!”
This. Did. Not. Happen.
Instead they nodded and said, “You are the best parents ever. Thank you for bringing us on a wonderful family adventure. We don’t mind leaving our best friends, beloved grandparents, and schools where we are comfortable, causing us minimal anxiety.”
Or maybe it was just, “Okay. Cool.” Details schmetails.
What matters is they were on board, which as every parent knows, is the key to a successful family road trip.
Drew and I had on our agenda a tour of King’s College, St. Mary’s Cathedral, and a stroll along the streets, taking in the vibe of this university town that dates back to 1209. We are history buffs, so walking the same streets of Lord Byron, Charles Darwin, and Stephen Hawking was thrilling. Even more thrilling was that the girls’ were almost as excited as us.
But first, the mall.
Yes, that is correct. Somehow we stumbled across a mall, hidden in the heart of Cambridge. Emma was in awe. Starbucks, New Look, and John Lewis greeted us as we followed Em’s beeline to The Little Cupcake stall.
Filled with mocha frappuccinos, lattes, and decadent treats we made our way to St. Mary’s Catherderal. We trekked up the bell tower – all 123 winding stairs – and were rewarded with breathtaking views of Cambridge. Sarah took those narrow stairs two at a time on the way down, which was only just this side of heart stopping. I followed much slower, my aging knees groaning as I gripped the hand rail to steady my decent.
Next up was King’s College, where we were eager to see where some of the best minds in science, maths, and literature had gone to school. Sadly, the college was closed to the public that day, however our disappointment quickly faded as we turned the corner to find…a music store… a music store filled with drum kits.
Sarah was in Nirvana. Literally.
Although our kids are catching our history bug, they are still kids, and weaving kid friendly attractions into our adventures keeps their interest. What we have quickly learned is to balance our adventures between adult and child friendly events. This keeps the peace and nourishes family harmony.
Our next stop: Birling Gap & Brighton to see the sea.
*Cambridge Tip: Do NOT drive into the town. It is a congested one way street nightmare. Make use of the Park and Ride bus service for easy and stress free access.