There are things about Cambridge that will make you go, ‘Bugger me. Didn’t expect that!’
Some things won’t take you aback at all. Not surprisingly, the river Cam and its many smaller tributaries, are pretty ubiquitous. The Cambridgeshire Fens are pretty much flat. No steep drop, no raging torrents. This makes it easy for punting, which requires some skill but no real grunt, and means you can moor your narrowboat or houseboat in reasonable expectation it’ll not get swept away and capsized overnight.
Bicycles; you’re entitled to expect those in Cambridge, and the city does not disappoint, except in the very marked lack of riding skills. You can get away with mayhem on a bike, and drivers will just give you a wide berth and let you get on with it.
Some things you might not anticipate. Launderettes/laundromats. Last one I can recollect was the legendary one in Highgate, the ersatz Chinese laundry, the Wishy Washy Splishy Splashy Washee Knickee Very Quicky. I’m surprised they still need them in a university town, where most students live in Halls of Residence or houses of multiple occupancy where you expect a washing machine, or the point that students can be a bit lax in the clothing hygiene. You’d not thought there would be the demand.
Something else you might not believe there is demand for is public phoneboxes, but you’d be wrong. Cambridge has masses of them, and many are those proper red ones that have yet to be snapped up by Americans wanting to convert them to shower cubicles.
Something I really didn’t expect were the small flocks of parakeets. Now that I should have guessed at. The Commons and parks in South London have thriving flocks, and the environment in Cambridge is similar to that in South London.
Yes, a place to surprise and delight. Except or the lack of pubs. That’s not natural in a college town.