Saturday, March 22, 2008

Platform 9 and 3/4

So today we did it - after witnessing the classic (and freezing - it's insanely coldwetcold here) changing of the guard at Buckingham Palace (no queen but a horse who obviously couldn't wait to boogie) we spent the afternoon on the London Harry Potter taxi tour with our tour guide, Carol. Evidently doing just the 3 1/2 tour is a rare thing - most people book the 10 or 12 hour tour that includes Oxford and the place where the classrooms were shot. But we stuck to the good old London scene. It seemed to baffle Carol a bit, how to describe anything to Julia when she hadn't seen the movies yet. I don't know if the books were her thing quite as much - but we did about 10 stops in the afternoon and considering the bitter bitter cold and a 5 year old's tired feet I'm glad we did it.

I'll add links another time (finally adding them today -slacker jetlagged blogger mom) but we started with Kings Cross - Carol pointed out which building had been used as the outside of the station as Kings Cross itself is so not pretty. We scooted inside - changing Julia into her Hogwarts robe (couldn't resist) to see several sites of the movie. The bridge you see Harry and Hagrid on, the clocks, the platform that they really filmed (number 5), the wall where the kids disappear into platform 9 3/4 (Julia tried, but obviously not being 11 yet she couldn't get through) (in the meantime btw it started sleeting outside) and then, outside to the tourist attraction of them all - see picture above - platform 9 3/4. There's my girl taking off for magical boarding school!
We went to the site that Warner Bros "stole" for Grimmauld place - evidently the folks who lived there wanted too much cash for location so WB just built their own exact copy. And then to the Australia House - the site of Gringotts bank. Off to the passages leading up to Diagon Alley (Leadenhall) and the site that had been transformed as the entrance to Diagon Alley. Then of course my camera battery died (damn that overzealous photo taking mommy) and we must rely on Aunt Miriam's with which we took photos but she doesn't know how to download them yet.
A project for Scotland.
We went from Diagon Alley to an open air organic market that is across from a beautiful classically rundown shop under the train arch that was the Leaky Cauldron. It hailed again! We went to London Bridge to hear all about how Harry had flown on Thestrals and Broomsticks over the Thames, back to the Globe to hear the Globe connection (Zoe Wanamaker aka Madame Hooch is the daughter of the man who headed the restoration of the Globe - Sam Wanamaker) and check out The Millenium Bridge again, where Carol believes they filmed for Movie 6 (collapsing Bridge), and the Lambeth Bridge (at which point Julia didn't want to get out of the car again and I couldn't blame her) and then on to Scotland Yard - otherwise known as the Ministry of Magic. I'm sure I've forgotten something along the lines but it was a cool day and will be better when I have all the photos for Julia to compare to when she does see the movies.
But right now she's cuddled on her hotel room bed, listening to Mike read HP5 the second chapter...."addressed to Petunia Dursley at number 4 Privet Drive...."

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