Friday, April 27, 2012

Kiersten and Hot Stuff in the UK: HARRY POTTER

Last night I was talking with Hot Stuff and showing him the pictures I was featuring today. "People are going to think we had the worst vacation ever," he said. 

WRONG. Because we found WANDS, guys. ACTUAL HISTORICAL MAGIC WANDS. OBSERVE:

A "Conductor's Baton"? Please. We know a wand when we see it.

As we were traveling through the countryside Hot Stuff and I both felt like we came to a deeper understanding of what Tolkien envisioned when he wrote about the Shire. And when we got to Edinburgh, suddenly Hogwarts and the entire wizarding world made so much more sense.

Oh, hey, friendly neighborhood castle! We don't have a lot of those in the US.

I know this sounds dorky, and it totally is, but wandering around Edinburgh among these old, amazing buildings, it really felt like it would be easy to see magic everywhere. (Also yes, we totally ate at the cafe where JK Rowling wrote Harry Potter. No pictures, because it was super crowded and I get embarrassed easily. But Hot Stuff did suggest visiting the bathrooms so I could say I used the same bathrooms JK Rowling used when she was writing Harry Potter.)

(I didn't.)

(No, seriously, I didn't.)

Me, outside of every single building: "This one must be something. What is it? IT CAN'T LOOK LIKE THIS AND JUST BE OFFICES."

We loved everywhere we went in the UK, but Edinburgh was...special. Also FREAKING COLD. But special. The architecture is amazing and everything is gray with random brilliant pops of color. We even took a ghost tour. My inner snob was like, "That's such a tourist thing!" Then my inner snob-puncher said, "YES AND GUESS WHAT YOU ARE TOURISTS." I love these old cities because you can't escape the fact that you are walking around on so much history and so many centuries of living. And the churches! It KILLS me that you can go hang out in a church that was originally built in the 1200s and people still worship there every Sunday. I look up at the soaring rafters and imagine an invisible mist of prayers and hopes, several feet thick, sent up there by generations and generations of people.

But I digress. We took the train and I got all giddy that this was the same ride from London to Edinburgh that the idea first came to JK Rowling. Except we went backwards, from Edinburgh to London. So, surprise! I came up with OPPOSITE HARRY POTTER! About a girl in the wizarding world who discovers there's a unmagical world of really boring people with no magic all around her, and that she gets to go to regular boarding school where no pets are allowed and instead of going on magical adventures they...read about them!

Ahem.

We kept wandering back to the castle to just stare at it.
I want a castle, yo.

More on castles in the next post. Because there is ALWAYS more to say about castles, right? Right. Back to the really important things: Harry Potter. Because as much as the UK pretends like it is fantasy, we know the truth. Not only did we see a witch trying desperately to pass as a muggle on the tube (no pictures, sorry, but she totally wore every piece of muggle clothing she could find, none of which matched), we also found EVEN MORE WANDS.

Do the wizards know these are here, and just laugh? Or does the government try to pull off the "hiding in plain sight" thing as far as the witch and wizard population is concerned?

One of our last days in London as we were walking along the Thames we saw even more evidence of the wizarding world. These wizards were on their way to the Wizengamot, and they forgot to try to pass as muggles:

TAKE ME TO YOUR PORTKEY.

And finally, because I wasn't kidding when I said I had a bathroom shot for every post about England, I give you: PUB BATHROOM WIZARD GRAFFITI!

Oh, Voldy. If only you knew how far your scary reputation had fallen.

23 comments:

Ina said...

I'm so thrilled that you got to see both Edinburgh and London! We're moving back to Europe (Norway) this fall, and I can't WAIT to be a hop and a skip away from those cities. Loved your photos (and captions)!

Josin L. McQuein said...

While you were in Edinburgh, did you happen to look down the street opposite the castle and see a tall building with a large top spire looming at the end? That's Fettes College, which is what you get when the Hogwarts starts to bleed through into the real world. (Seriously, the campus was part of the origin of Hogwarts. It's beautiful.)

Small Town Shelly Brown said...

Is that person in the graffitii saying "Noes"? Like 'where is your nose?' or 'No...I mean more than one no...noes!"

rockinlibrarian said...

Me, outside of every single building: "This one must be something. What is it? IT CAN'T LOOK LIKE THIS AND JUST BE OFFICES."


Much love!

Jaime Morrow said...

That bathroom graffiti is stinkin' hilarious. Love that they even drew a pic of Voldemort. My hubby and I are headed to Scotland on Wednesday, so this just gets me more excited. :)

storyqueen said...

Call me a dork, but I would read OPPOSITE HARRY POTTER if you wrote it...

Shelley

Dara said...

LOL, awesome!

Seriously jealous though. I've always wanted to go to the UK. I was *this close* in college...

Ah well. Maybe someday. For now I live vicariously through your pictures :)

Sheepa said...

Man, these UK love posts make those of us living in the UK seem like fools for not realising how cool the place is. I guess we're just used to buildings that are ancient and don't bother to really look at them unless we're imagining them as our future art/dance studios :)
One post on Sherlock and the other on Harry Potter? I guess these are the things that now define Britain :D

Jennifer Morian Frye said...

LOVE this post, and everything about it! :) Esp. what you said about all the history, that is the very biggest reason I want to visit the UK, and Athens, and well, much of Europe. I'd 'settle' for just the UK though.
Seriously this made my day. :)

Jennifer Morian Frye said...

...Also, my capcha thingy just now looked suspiciously like a spell....

Kristi said...

Ok, I'm gonna call it. This was the BEST PHOTO TOUR EVER.

Thanks for sharing all the hidden secrets the UK has to offer. Who knew?

And there will be more photos, right?

Michelle Wolfson said...

Love this post.
And I agree with all the comments-best photo tour ever. No, you brits don't appreciate what you have. I would totally read the opposite harry potter.

And my captcha phrase glides off the tongue like a spell as well. Sort of reminiscent of wingardium leviosa (wait, crap. is that it?? oh no, if I got that wrong, this is going to make me think I need to reread all the HP books.)

Jessie Oliveros said...

That was really funny. So funny that I read some out loud to my husband. And he ignored me because he's working. So boring. He needs magic.

Harry Potter Bank Checks said...

I wanted to see Harry Potter's place too!

Kelly said...

Haha. Glad you enjoyed the UK, Kiersten. Despite me living in the UK, I've never actually been to Edinburgh (Yes, I know that's probably a bad thing, but Opposite Harry Potter sounds great. :)

Liesl Shurtliff said...

Oh my gosh, this just made my day!

readerfreak22 said...

I love Harry Potter! I have all books and movies! I loved reading this post and I absolutely loved the last picture! This has definitively made my day! Ms.White next time you visit here you must pack me in your suitcase, please.

Rachel Morgan said...

TAKE ME TO YOUR PORTKEY. <---- hahaha!

Yeah, someone should really tell those wizards to dress more appropriately in muggle company...

Unknown said...

I love really want to go to england and i am so jealous of you for being able to go. :)

I am such a huge fan of harry potter, my friends and i are huge dorks of Harry potter. Some of them have t-shirts and we say lines from the movies and book. Yea, i am one of those people.

I love castle, and desperately want to live in one...shh don't tell anyone but I would kill to be a princess in distress in a high tower with a knight coming to save me...

Oh, and Sherlock Holmes is a YES!!! I feel in love with both of the newest movies and I really have to watch the BBC series. I love everything to do with him. <3 :)

Whirlochre said...

Oddly enough, it's got colder since you left...

Crystal B. said...

You didn't go into the bathrooms in the Elephant House? They were the best bathrooms ever, you totally missed out.

No joke, there was Harry Potter graffitti all over the walls and the door as well as toilet seats completely covered with pictures of the characters. You would have seen my graffitti on the hand dryer.

Totally missed out.

RA Jones said...

Delighted to see that you loved Edinburgh. I'm lucky enough to be able to visit often as I have a son at university there. It's always inspirational--you also try the fringe in August. It's a blast.

Lynette said...

That's so hilarious! You just made my DAY! I can't stop laughing!!! You ROCK!