Punting in River Cam

Published: June 3, 2013
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The punt meanders along the river, take you under a seemingly endless canopy of trees and flower bushes and one can’t help but lose oneself in the peaceful surroundings. PHOTO: REUTERS

The city of Cambridge, located a short 40-minute train ride north-east out of London, is a centre for academic excellence and research – being home to one of the premier higher-education institutions of the world, the University of Cambridge.

While the school barely needs an introduction, not many Pakistanis are familiar with the city, aside from the academic significance it holds.

However, the centuries-old Gothic campus buildings and their lush green botanical gardens render Cambridge the veritable architectural museum of England, with people flocking from all over the world to experience its glory themselves.

Much like them, one day I took a much-needed respite from my hectic classes and the hustle-bustle that is London and paid Cambridge a visit, hoping to see the magnificence I had heard so much about. And let me tell you, if you are planning a visit to England any time soon, then I would highly recommend a day out in this beautiful city and there is no better way for this than punting on River Cam.

For those unfamiliar with punts, they are flat-bottom square boats which the boatman, known as the punter, propels by pushing against the riverbed with a pole. The punt meanders along the river, taking you on a journey through the many colleges that comprise the university under a seemingly endless canopy of trees and flower bushes and one can’t help but lose oneself in the peaceful surroundings.

Unfortunately for me, my own experience was wrecked owing to a sudden barrage of heavy snow but the extra blankets and umbrellas on board (packed on every boat to tackle vagaries of the English weather) saved the day and I can safely say that is the single best way to go sight-seeing around the city.

The friendly and apparently weather-resistant punters keep you entertained throughout with tales connected to the many bridges, towers and monuments, etc, you pass under and it is hard not to let the outstanding scenery around relax your senses.

A word of warning though, your boat may be attacked occasionally by the neighbourhood ducks but that is a small price to pay, even for an ornithophobe like me. All in all, if you are a medieval architecture enthusiast, a ride on River Cam is an absolute must.

Amna Hashmi

Amna Hashmi

A sub-editor for the Life & Style desk at The Express Tribune

The views expressed by the writer and the reader comments do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of The Express Tribune.