Broomsticks and Bases

I “woke up” from my twenty minutes of sleep feeling a combination of exhaustion and excitement for the day ahead of me. I double-checked the time/location of the bus to take me to the Warner Bros. Studio as well as the times for the tube and which lines I would need to take to get there. While reviewing everything I realized I needed to print a copy of my ticket email in order to get onto the bus. I quickly got dressed, grabbed my bag, and went down to the hotel’s business center to print the ticket.

I then went to the tube and took the Central (red) line to the Bakerloo (brown) line, which took me to Baker Street which was where my bus would be picking me up. The bus did not leave till 7:40 AM and we were supposed to be there by 7:30 AM, but since I had been conditioned from a young age to get everywhere early, I arrived by 7:00 AM. Luckily there was a Costa Coffee Shop across the street, so I went in there and grabbed something to drink and then headed to wait at the bus time. There was a couple and a group of four friends there waiting with me and as clock ticked slowly towards 7:40 AM, more and more people arrived.

Finally the bus pulled up and although it was no Knight Bus, they were playing Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone on the TV, making us even more excited to descend into the world Harry, Ron, and Hermoine grew up in. Within about ten minutes of being on the bus I was out cold and did not wake-up until almost everyone was off the bus. There it was. The giant seemingly glowing side with the words “Harry Potter” in a piercing gold-yellow color, beckoning to us from were we stood. Our bus driver tried to get us to focus long enough to tell us to make sure we were back on the bus by 12:30 PM, but realized we were not listening and set us loose. A shout went up from the group and people ran, walked, skipped, and danced their way up to the building.

There was about twenty minutes to kill before we could enter into the tour, so I went into the gift shop to spend all of my money. I wandered around in awe of all the useless merchandise I could purchase and then began to make my decisions as to what I was going to waste my money on the second time around. I settled on a small banded cream colored watch that featured Dobby’s tiny house-elf body. I also bought four postcards for Peter, Zack, Jackie, and Katie. The question became whether or not I was going to actually find stamps to send them before it became too late. By the time I checked out, I realized that most people were lining up to be let through the first doors.

I got my ticket checked and then looked to my left and saw the stairs that Harry Potter slept under for eleven years before going to Hogwarts. His little room was set up with his few belongings that he had a Privet Drive. The anticipation grew as another group was let into the next room. Finally it was my turn. I held my breath and then let it out disappointedly as the next room just had posters from the movies and a woman telling us to move all the way in. She voiced the fact that we were probably disappointed to see her, to which I agreed. We watched a short video talking about how Harry Potter went from being essentially nothing to a world-wide phenomenon. We were then let into another room that had no props and another video screne. This one was better though because I was able to look at the inspirational faces of Rupert Grint, Daniel Radcliffe, and Emma Watson (it’s incredibly unfair that she gets to play both Hermoine Granger AND Belle, but that’s a rant for another time). Finally, finally, FINALLY the screen moved up to reveal the doors into Hogwarts.

This was the moment I had been waiting for ever since age eleven when I did not receive my owl inviting me to attend (I’m sure it just got lost). The doors opened and revealed the Great Hall, with two long tables running down each side, divided in half for the four houses. As much I want to go into detail describing every aspect of what I saw, I’ll give you guys the chance to see the magic firsthand. The next three hours were a blur of butter beer, sets, costumes, and props, as I got to see and read about everything that went into the making of Harry Potter.

One of the most interesting facts I read was that, not only was every wand box label in Ollivander’s hand-written, but they were the names of everyone who was involved in the cast and crew. The coolest thing I saw was probably the replica of Hogwarts that they used for any scenery, overview shots of the school during filming. Finally the tour came to an end and although I was sad, I focused on how J.K. Rowling’s Wizarding World is still alive with Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them recently being released, and Harry Potter and the Cursed Child being a West End success.

After walking through the gift shop with my eyes closed to get out to the lobby, I sat in the café, wrote my postcards, and read Brave New World until about 12:05 when I headed out to get onto the bus. Once on the bus I was asleep before we had even started moving and by chance happened to wake up as they were pulling up to my stop. I left the bus and headed back to the hotel to drop off my stuff and figure out where the day was going to take me next. After being in the room for twenty minutes or so, housekeeping came by to clean. I quickly packed up my laptop and headed around the corner to a café called Pomme De Pain. I order a chai latte and a bowl of vegetable soup and then sat down to write  Nutella With a Side of Exhaustion and The World of West End: The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Nighttime.

Then I headed back to the hotel to change and get ready to go to our first concert of the term preformed by the BBC Orchestra. I got changed in a dress and then FaceTimed my grandparents and Peter before taking a quick nap and heading down to the lobby. We took a couple of buses to the show and then went to take our seats. Despite my exhaustion and “resting my eyes” during the first half, the show was amazing and I looked forward to seeing more in the future. The bus ride and walk home was uneventful, the bus’s card machine was broken so I got my ride for free. When I got back to the hotel I showered and then excitedly went to bed because for the first time this trip I did not need to set an alarm for the following day.

 

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