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29 sep201829

The Other Durham

Durham, NC, United StatesDurham, NC, United States
Durham Durham! I miss the original Durham, every day. I remember when I lived in Bishop Auckland, a bit to the south from Durham, and only visited the city few times. Every time I liked it and it became my goal to be able to live there one day. 

I had decided to move to New Brancepeth before I found my then new job. One thing was clear - I wanted to go so I did. 

Almost 15 months since I left it I found myself in North Carolina in a very close proximty to, as I like to call, the other Durham. It woud be wrong not to check it out and compare the two! From Raleigh it was pretty straightforward to get to Durham, taking one bus to the Regional Transport Center and then another one downtown. Once I arrived I was going to wait for another bus to take me to Duke University but I haven't been walking enough lately so decided to walk, after all it was just 2 miles (3.6km).
Around one kilometer before the Duke's campus I encountered students' living quarters. Because I never stayed to have a look around Downtown I can't really gauge if there are a lot of students living privately in the City Centre or only in those areas. If it's the latter I have to say it looks like a little village. A lot of short flat blocks, most of them three/four floors high but giving out a really nice vibe. I haven't seen a lot of living quarters in Durham UK but you could say it was similar. Down the road there was also a lot of single houses and judging by the registration plates on the cars parked beside them, I, quite correctly, deduced those houses were occupied by those students who could afford more :)

My point of entry to the world of Duke were, of course Duke Gardens.  55 acres (223 000 m2) of landscape, fauna, and flora that were opened officially in 1934 are named after Sarah P. Duke, a widow of one of the university's founders. {"type" : "www", "url" : "", "date" : "20 September 2018", "title" : "History | Duke Gardens"}     

 {"type" : "www", "url" : "", "date" : "20 September", "title" : "Sarah P. Duke Gardens", "author" : "Wikipedia"} It contains many species of plants contained in few areas:
  • H.L. Blomquist Garden of Native Plants - more than 900 species and varieties of regional native plants {"type" : "www", "url" : "", "date" : "20 September", "title" : "Blomquist Garden | Duke Gardens"}
  • William Louis Culberson Asiatic Arboretum - 18 acre collection representing the diversity of flora in Sutheast Asia and Japan {"type" : "www", "url" : "", "date" : "20 September 2018", "title" : "Asiatic Aboretum | Duke Gardens"}
  • Doris Duke Center Gardens - perfect setting for performers, weddings, and photography {"type" : "www", "url" : "", "date" : "20 September", "title" : "Doris Duke Center | Duke Gardens"}
  • Terraces & Historic Gardens - contains rose garden, fish pond with goldfish and koi, and much more {"type" : "www", "url" : "", "date" : "20 September 2018", "title" : "Historic Gardens | Duke Gardens"}

The part I always like the most about walking through gardens like these is when all the plants are very thoroughly named. In Duke Gardens you get to read them in both Latin and English, and if my memory serves me correctly sometimes in Spanish. Sometimes the names are hilarious, which makes it even more interesting to find the funniest name of all. I really liked the Orange Azalea, commonly called Firecracker.
Since it was Sunday I expected a lot of people to show up - you know I like taking pictures without people in them, otherwise I would have to spend countless hours in front of a photoshop to remove them. Luckily I didn't have to deal with too many "intruders" and even better, at one point, I was walking through a bamboo forest completely alone and nobody interrupted my silence - ahh!
Perfect place for a quick break

After I crossed the 36th line of latitude many times, watched some ducks (didn't feed them though), talked to some sun-tanning turtles, and said hi to many other animals - I decided to find the Duke Chapel. Naturally I had to compare it to Durham Cathedral though I know it's not very fair. After all Duke Chapel is like a baby compared to the Cathedral as it was built only between 1930 - 1932. 86 years - baby indeed! {"type" : "www", "url" : "", "date" : "20 September 2018", "title" : "Duke Chapel", "author" : "Wikipedia"}

Despite its young age the chapel is still very impressive considering it's only a university chapel - turns out it actually is one of the tallest in the world. According to Princeton University only chapels of Cambridge and Basilica of Sacred Heart at Notre Dame are taller than Duke Chapel. Not a bad company!
I couldn't help but stare into the sky with the Chapel in its skyline and remember doing exactly the same with the Cathedral. The whole feeling of the campus and that area was very similar. A lot of youngsters with backpacks walking from what I assume was a library, studying their best to graduate from Duke. Many languages being heard on the streets was something that always catches my attention and is normal in places like this with such diversity. 

Strangely I didn't even make it to the central campus but I was happy with what I saw. I walked through little streets around the Chapel and other places like Bostock Library, Davison Quad, or Divinity School - yes that one sounds interesting. Perhaps they teach you how to become gods - I'm sure Caligula could teach them something about that ;)

One statistic that stands out a lot is the population number between the two Durhams. The UK one has 47 785 people as of 2018 {"type" : "www", "url" : "", "date" : "24 September 2018", "title" : "Population of Cities in United Kingdom (2018)"}, but the US one has 267 743 that is over 7.5 times more! {"type" : "www", "url" : "", "date" : "24 September 2018", "title" : "Durham, North Carolina Population 2018 (Demographics, Maps, Graphs"}. It's not shocking since the area Durham UK covers is only 42 km2 (16 mi2) whereas the US one spans across 285.75 km2 (110.33 mi2).

Was it worth the visit? Definitely! I love walking around old university campuses as it's as close as I will ever get to a higher education :D It's the vibe that I always feel when being in places like these, people running around to make their futures bright, speaking in many, many languages, the history in the air of how those places were founded, in order to fuel the inventions and breakthroughs, and most of all allow people to be creative in every way possible.

The Original Durham will always be in my heart due to the sentimental significance but The Other Durham didn't disappoint me!
Little frog living in Duke Gardens
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