Got up for a run – almost a routine here?! – it was beautiful and sunny – wheezed and heaved my way up Primrose Hill and then back down to the Canal Path and went to the right a bit further than before and ended up at a place where there were a bunch of boats moored. On the way back to the flat I thought how I hadn’t seen any boats in motion, and, as if on cue, there went one!
Back at the flat had the multi-cultural breakfast again – more skyr and crumpets! OMFSM toasted with butter and honey… the crumpet, that is. Not sure if that’s what one is Supposed to do with them, but dang it was tasty. Then we were off to catch the bus to Harry Potter Land. Or at least where the movies were filmed. We were on at the first stop but there were three other stops and the bus did fill up and yikes the London traffic. Eventually we did get a bit out into the countryside and there were the sound stages, which used to be an aircraft manufacturer, then were used to make the movies, and now make money. That is, you can visit the sets and get a behind the scenes view of the making of the movies.
Which – confession time – I have not seen any of the movies. I had not read any of the books, either – that automatic disqualification by virtue of being The Next Big Thing – but then WCN pointed out that since we were going to be going to HarryPotterLandia I should have SOME idea of what was going on, and Eric pointed out that it wouldn’t be a bad idea to be able to share something that WCN is interested in with him, so in light of that I finally gave them a try. The books that is. And ended up sorta binge reading, although I didn’t get through all of them – dang they got long! Despite my misgivings that they can’t be THAT good I actually generally enjoyed them. In fact I quite enjoyed the first one. Entertaining, and some good messages and themes without being too heavy handed about it – satisfying on several levels. Second one not so much. And then they started getting longer and I’m not sure I was always keeping track of all of what was going on, but still fun. Anyway.
Back to HarryPotterLandia. It was nice to have some frame of reference as to what it all “meant”, but it would probably be possible to enjoy it from a movie making/creating an alternate world perspective without knowing the details of the story. It was quite the production! The sets and props and costumes were really amazing. They also had great displays about the creatures and animatronics. I particularly enjoyed the graphics and art – they could have a great gallery show) and the model, especially the castle.
The place was quite the operation – I asked one of the people herders and they said about 5000 people a day go through. First we queued up in the Disneyland line maze thing. Then we get batched into a holding room where they have screens displaying movie posters from different countries on the walls and we got a bit of a spiel. Then our group was moved into a little theatre-like room (seats in that one) where there was another spiel – and oh maybe there was a little movie or something they showed us too. Then we were in front of the Hogwarts Hall doors and then they opened and we got to go in. From there we were on our own to wander about and look at all the exhibits – only thing is once you left the first sound stage into the outside area (which gave a nice break – and there was Butterbeer!) – you had to continue on to the next one. No going back. Of course there was a giant gift shop at the end.
Then there was the bus ride back, which didn’t go all the way to where we got on, and maybe we could have gotten off sooner/closer to where we were staying but we didn’t have anything else in particular planned for the day so just rolled with it. But after the first stop and then pretty much sitting in traffic not moving we decided to get off the bus and make our own way. Which, duh, traffic – it was commute time, so the Underground was crowded too, giving us that experience, yay, which we survived, to tourist another day…
June 28, 2016