Sunday, June 11, 2017

{england: oxford and harry potter}

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If you know me, you know that I love Harry Potter. I still stand by the fact that I'm a low-key fan, but this post kind of makes me question that.

By the time we got to Oxford we were starving, so we quickly found a gf pizza place before we checked into our Airbnb. Our flat was super cute (first picture below) but probably my least favorite throughout the trip for various reasons.

Oxford University is enormous; it's made up of thirty-eight different colleges! We knew we wouldn't be able to see the entire thing, so we just focused on the exploring the town and one of the schools.

Since it was a Sunday evening, we decided to attend Evensong at the famous Christ Church Cathedral. It was an hour of prayer, silent reflection, and beautiful music by the a cappella choir. We both loved the service—it made us miss singing!

The next morning we did an early tour of Christ Church College. The buildings were beautiful and inspired some of the sets in Harry Potter—most notably, the dining hall. Can you imagine eating there twice a day?! The opulence and history was incredible.

Warner Brothers & Cursed Child

After our morning in Oxford, we drove straight to the Warner Brothers lot for the Harry Potter studio tour. Even if you aren't a fan of the books or movies, there's no way you can't be impressed by the detail that went into the films. The sets, costumes, and props were just insane. The trivia was never-ending and Dylan and I both came out appreciating the entire franchise even more than we did going in. My favorite part was the model of Hogwarts at the very end. Obviously the real thing doesn't exist, so they used the model to perform some movie magic for the film's overhead shots. And one of the coolest facts we learned was that the hand-painted portraits in the movies were all of producers or crew members of the film!

To wrap up the Harry Potter theme of the trip, I'll fast-forward to London really quick. Since the London theater scene is fantastic and we loved seeing Wicked on our last trip, we definitely wanted to see a show again. There were a ton of options, but I desperately wanted to see the new Harry Potter play Cursed ChildNot only did I love it when I read it last summer, but I'd also heard the original cast was phenomenal. (Just a few weeks before our trip the show and actors swept the Olivier Awards.) But as I did research, I quickly realized it would be near impossible to get tickets. The show was sold out and any re-sale tickets were hundreds of dollars. I was so bummed. But lo and behold, we ended up walking by the theater on our first day in London, so I popped into the box office to see what the deal was. We ended up getting super cheap tickets and great seats to both parts of the show! (London visitors...try that!) Dylan will be the first to tell you she was less than thrilled to use up two of our nights in London for this, but even she was totally wowed by the performance. The only word to describe it was magical. The set was brilliantly designed and the illusions made it seem like the actors were truly using the magic we knew so well from the movies. We turned to each other multiple times with a "how did they do that?!" look. And to be able to see the main cast was something we'll never forget. I couldn't recommend it more, so definitely see it once it comes to the US!

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