Cause you’re Harry-Freaking-Potter!

Howdy Party People! Are you ready for another fun-filled day with Kristin & Justine? Well you better get ready, cause it’s comin’ at cha in 5…4…3…2…1…

Today we travelled to Oxford. We munched on muffins, nectarines & yummy hot beverages on the way! Oxford is nice. There are universities stuck everywhere and anywhere…seriously, at one point Justine looked down an alley, and there was another school! In reality there are only 2 universities and one college in Oxford. Whats gets confusing is that the University of Oxford is actually composed of over 40 self governing colleges with one central administration. All of the colleges are huge and old and absolutely gorgeous. And since the majority of the town is university buildings, the town is very very pretty!

We stopped to drop our bags at our hostel then went to explore. Our wanderings brought us to a souvenir shop and eventually a post office. The post office was a bit of an experience. We were worried all of our stuff wouldn’t fit into the large post box, but it totally did! Nothing even had to be squished up too much! Then there is the fact that it is really expensive to mail boxes across the ocean. We expected it to be expensive, but not that expensive! We are just poor backpackers! You people better appreciate these presents! Finally there was the fact that Kristin’s Visa card wouldn’t work there. This is the first and only time (she used it later in the day) that she’s had an issue. The guy told her she messed up his system, like it was all her fault that a place that also deals with international travel money can’t deal with a Canadian credit card. Luckily Justine’s work fine.

We decided the best way to see Oxford was in a tour. Kristin had been searching for one online about 2 months ago and happened across a site about Harry Potter tours. This tour is only offered once a month and it just happened to be on the one day we were in Oxford. Talk about fate! So we went “Pottering in Harry’s Footsteps”. Our guide was a nice older lady who gave us a nice tour of the colleges, while trying to tie everything back to & draw as many parallels as possible with Harry Potter. It was interesting & informative, and we got free entry into the colleges (or it felt like it…we do realize the cost is probably worked into the cost of the tour).

And now for the actual Harry Potter portion of this post! The tour started with a lot of places that weren’t filming locations and we know because we can notice a filming location faster than anyone else in the tour group. Frankly we were by far the craziest fans in the group…we answered all of the questions the guide asked the group and others started just copying where ever we took photos because they knew we hit the important spots.

Basically we were waiting with anticipation for the first recognizable site…so much so that we possibly squealed when we walked into the cloisters of New College and got a glimpse of the courtyard beyond!
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For those of you that can’t just immediately place what scene was filmed here we will list them for all sites. This very courtyard was used in Goblet of Fire for the scene where Harry goes to tell Cedric about dragons being the first task. That means that Daniel Radcliffe and Robert Pattinson both stood right where we were standing. And if you think that scene through you will realize that that tree in the back…
…is the tree that Malfoy just hops out of…Malfoy is then turned into a ferret and bounced around a bit. Unfortunately for us Tom Felton did not fall out of the tree while we were there (nor did Robert Pattinson suddenly appear…Justine found this unfortunate. Kristin did not.)

Our guide took us into an ancient lecture/examination room and told us all about it’s long history, including when there were no books or paper at the school and all tests were done orally in this room. She then pointed out that the room was used for 2 different scenes, 4 years apart in Harry’s life. The first was as the hospital wing in the Philosphers Stone. The second was the room where Professor McGonagall taught the boys and girls to dance in the Goblet of Fire.
We were sitting on the girls side…possibly right where Herminone sat?

We then visited the Christ Church College Great Hall. This is the one the Hogwarts Great Hall was based off of. They actaully built a larger version of it on a set so it could fit the large number of Hogwarts students…also so they could utterly destroy it in the Deathly Hallows Part 2.
A cute side note about this site: Lewis Carroll was the math/physics tutor for the 10 children of the headmaster of this school, one of which was a little girl named Alice. One day she asked him if he could write down some of the stories he would tell to her and her siblings. He did, and because Alice was the only one to ask for them they became her adventures…Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland. To commemorate that great book the characters have been hidden in one of the stained-glass windows!

The best part of going to the great hall might have been the stairs leading in. We are talking staircases you see more than once throughout the series!
And at the top of the stairs was the place where in the Philsophers Stone Harry has his reunion with Tom & Hermione, following the life threatening events trying to retrieve the stone. If you’re a fan you’ll know the scene:
“Alright there Harry?”
“Yeah, Hermione?”
“Never better!”
We rushed to take pictures of this spot long before she had pointed it out as a filming location. People may have thought we were insane for being so excited about it…and maybe we are… We probably looked extra crazy as we basically acted the scene out right in the location it was filmed.

And now, here is the photo of the cool thing we ate today:
Justine keep seeing signs for Cornish Pasties and thinking they eat them in Harry Potter…in reality they eat Pumpkin Pasties and learn about Cornish Pixies. Anyway, we decided to munch on them today! They were super yummy! Lots of flaky pastry, meat & tasty onions.

Tonight is laundry, google mapping, train schedule looking & getting organized because tomorrow is…drum roll please…Paris! Yes we are about to disembark from the UK and venture onto the continent! It is both exciting and terrifying. We are so looking forward to Paris (especially Justine!) and all of our upcoming destinations. But we’re also nervous about leaving the safety of the English speaking countries behind and venturing into something new. There’s also a little piece of us that sad…we love the UK! We’ve been happy & comfortable here!

Anyway, new adventures to come tomorrow…and some of them in French…stay tuned!!!

Love, Luck & Leaving for the Unknown,

PS. Happy Birthday Kristin! Hope your day was filled with all sorts of shenanigans (it’s sure started out with them)!