maandag 28 mei 2012

Hogwarts will always be there to welcome you home.

Yesterday was the day I went to visit the Harry Potter Studio Tour!
I got up at... 7.30, I think and then took my time to get ready. I got on the tube and at about 10am I was at Victoria Station, which was an hour before the bus left.
I decided to get a frappuccino and then take my time to find the correct place. Well, the first struggle was the question of which direction I had to walk to.
It turned out I had done very well in coming so early, because it took me quite a while to get to 4 Fountain Square, Buckingham Palace Road! First, I asked a bus-driver, but he couldn't give me any more directions than that I should probably walk around the corner.
Around the corner I came across somebody who works at Sainsbury's and he was able to explain to me that I needed to cross the road and that it was somewhere there. Also very clear.
So I crossed the road and there was this building and it had a display to show what companies were situated in it and Golden Tours was on it!
I walked through the building and ended up in the right place! (:

There already was a queue of Potter-fans, so I just joined them to await the bus. After a couple of minutes, the bus made it's appearance! Now, you must know that I had anticipated a Golden Tours-bus like the ones I had seen driving through the city. I was not prepared for one that was decorated in Harry Potter-theme! It looked amazing!

After we had all checked in and received our tickets, the bus took off. The drive was about an hour and a half, but most time was spent driving through London (finally got see how big it really is!).

So at 12.30 we arrived at Leavesden studios. The first thing I noticed was how HUGE it was. Really, mind-blowing. And I don't believe that is the only building they used. So it was even bigger!

I joined the queue inside and after a while I found myself in a room with four screens hanging on either side of the room on which short fragments were shown about how the Harry Potter films had come into life.
After that, we were guided into the 'cinema'. We got to sit in very comfy chairs and watch a very big screen that showed us Dan, Rupe and Emma talking about the tour.

The next thing was the Great Hall and it really was great! They displayed two of the tables and props on it, some costumes and also dummies of the professors wearing their costumes in front of the professors' table.
After that I've seen props from the Yule ball, chocolate sculptures that had been kept for 7 years, make-up tables, the gate to Hogwarts, the potions classroom, boys' dorm, the ministry of magic and much, much more.
Then the tour went outside, where we could see the Knight Bus and 3 and 4 Privet Drive. Also there was an oppertunity to buy butterbeer there, which I, of course!, did! It was weird, but pretty good! I can understand why these young wizards are addicted to it!

Back inside we came into the room where many of the creatures had been created, like the goblins, giants, mermaids and so on. They also displayed some dummies they had used in the film, for instance a Harry or Dumbledore dummie that was about 20% smaller than the actual person, so that Hagrid would look bigger when standing next to the dummy (I hadn't even thought about doing that!).
We also got to see white paper models of places in Harry's world and artwork that had been made to inspire what a scene might have to look like.
Eventually I entered this room and it took my breath away! Before me, was a huge model of Hogwarts! It looked so real and amazing, wow!
What I learned is that they used this model when they needed to film Hogwarts from air: they'd film the persons that were needed in the scene, in front of a green screen, then they'd film the Hogwarts-location from the air and later edit it, so that it will become realistic! They've done an amazing job with that!
After that I wandered around the souvenirshop and bought myself the Studio Tour-guide, a milk chocolate bar from Honeyduke (the sweetshop in HP) and also a way too expensive chocolate frog. I also bought the same chocolate bar to give to Tom and Amanda as a thank you (they're also Potter-fans, though I don't know for sure they've seen the films).

Then, it was unfortunately time to go.
We went back to Victoria station where I got the tube to Notting Hill Gate, after which I had to find my way to Tom and Amanda's son Joe's cocktail bar, called the Portobello Star. It is, unsurprisingly, on Portobello Road.
We had a cocktail there and afterwards went for dinner with two friends of Tom and Amanda's (one of them who has also worked with my dad) and Joe and his girlfriend. Madeleine, Tom and Amanda's daughter, was also supposed to come, but she is near the end of her pregnancy and was therefore too tired.

It was quite a fun evening and the day itself was just amazing!

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