In addition to applying to Cambridge I feel that the bravest/best decision I have made was to attend a Spanish summer camp as a native english speaker – not only did this throw me out of my comfort zone but I made tons of friends from all over the world who I still talk to two years later. So when me and one of my best friends from high school organized spending a week in the Southern Spain I just had to contact my camp roommate to see if she’d be at home in Seville at this point in the summer. SHE WAS!
Just over a month later following a rather comfortable two and half hour train journey (thumbs up Spanish long distance trains) we arrived in Seville. Upon reuniting with my roommate we had tapas and she run us through her thorough itinerary for the day (7 hours) we were spending in her city. Highlights for me including wandering through the Jewish quarter, eating gorgeous ice cream (snickers and kinder bueno) and seeing some Game of Thrones locations (anyone else super excited to see Dorne?).
Today is the 5th of August 2014 which means it has been exactly 52 weeks since I received my Advanced Higher exam results and found out that I had in fact met my conditional offer to read Geography at Newnham College.
To say I was pessimistic regarding my chances of even being made an offer to study at Cambridge is entirely accurate; a Scottish girl whose parents were the first (and only) members of her entire family to go to university, who came from a (lovely) school with no Oxbridge experience and was not currently studying Geography at school. Basically I thought applying was a shot in the dark but nearly two years after applying (where on earth has that time gone?) I’m nearing the start of my second year and can’t imagine being anywhere else (though there are times I wish I was…).
The point of this post is really just to remind myself that despite Cambridge being maddening at times it really has become home in a way and that applying was one of the bravest and best decisions I have made so far in my 19/20 years.
As a child my interest in the world outside of rural Scotland was primarily directed by the books and films I read and watched and the most influential of these was The Thief Lord by Cornelia Funke (as well as the amazing film adaption – starring the very young Aaron Taylor-Johnson and George McKay). For years I dreamed of running about the many side streets of Venice, living in an old fashioned Italian cinema and riding water taxis. Over time I grew up and started properly researching Venice, oh the wonder of the internet – more specifically WiFi as dial up was so diresome – eagerly waiting for the day I could realize my dreams and visit the city. So when my family decided to spend a week in June/July in the Venetian Rivera I simply had no option but to crash the holiday and insist we visit Venice (they were fairly easy to convince).
Approaching the city on a ferry was an amazing (if slightly chilly) experience and of course I spent the journey taking a ridiculous number of photos on my camera and iphone as I am the designated family holiday photographer (though for this reason the majority of holiday photos of me are selfies).
To my disappointment I spent the entirety of our time in Venice on dry land, no gondolas or water taxis for my family (my sisters’ aren’t the biggest fans of boats and threw up enough of fuss over the ferry). Although by not having completed my rather cliched Venice bucket list (more about this later) I do feel that another trip the city is definitely in order.
Like the stereotypical tourists we are number one on our to do list for Venice was to visit St. Mark’s Square, yes partly for the role it plays in The Thief Lord, and were fortunate to have arrived early enough in the day it was not heaving with tourists and pigeons (not a big fan of winged rats). After surveying St Mark’s and deciding that spending two hours of our eight hours queuing to see the Basilica was probably not the greatest of plans (another excuse to return to the city though) we headed off to explore the numerous small streets that make up the centre of the city and to eat our fair share of gelato (no pictures of this as we all eat our ice cream pretty darn fast).
These side streets and bridges made for some amazing photos and some interesting routes in getting across the city, especially with the ‘no boat’ rule. Masks were purchased, pizza was eaten and overall our day in Venice left me wanting so much more (especially considering I am still to ride in a gondola). Venice you have my heart, maybe someday I’ll return and get it back…
My name is Charlotte, a 19 year old Scottish girl (please don’t ask me how I’m voting) who is a month into her summer holidays after completing her first year of reading Geography at the University of Cambridge. Having made several attempts to foray into blogging I decided it was about time I attempted to start one as a way to document the remaining two years of my undergraduate degree, rather than the tumblr text posts I used to rant about friends, family and stress over the course of the last year. I’m also using it as driving force to write more and utilise my camera whilst away at uni, though this does not mean that these posts will be limited to rambles related to university but will also feature travel, food and reviews of music, films and books.
This has been my home for the last year and isn’t it absolutely stunning….