London – friends, dinosaurs and more Harry Potter


Our last day and on the train to Warner Brothers Studio to see where they filmed HP.  Again, the weather is gorgeous.  We could have used a few more warmer pieces of clothing, one long pair of pants for both of us and slightly warmer tops.  Italy was hot and if anything, we wore our lightest clothing over constantly and I hand washed some between washings.  Here is the opposite.  We both have was very light jackets and light sweat shirts; however, not everything matches and although I am by no means a clothes junky, and perhaps because we have such limited choices, I want us to look put together.  All clothes matching would be easy and a goal. Traveling in jeans and tee shirts with random sweatshirts thrown on used to be my style and fine but we’ve been in cities and we needed a more formal look.  Ummm, this may just be me getting old and desiring some respectability.

Yesterday was a step down day.  We are not in London anywhere near long enough to indulge in a respectable percentage of its pleasures.  With a busy day today, I needed to organize for packing including our last clothes washing.  Had we a few more warmer pieces, there would have been no need.  Lunch in town with my friend, Anthony, father of Alice who was one of the two reasons to come to London in the first place.  We missed her by a few days and I did not get to bounce her little boy on my knee.

So we had lunch with the father and took time to compare life notes for a few minutes.  We went to an Italian restaurant which is the second Italian restaurant we’ve been taken to here.  I’ve never quite thought about it before but eating in London is like eating in NYC. New York food is Italian and Chinese and middle eastern and Indian and Spanish, et cetera.  We have not chased after authentic British, those taking us to eat have not either and Indian and Italian work very well for us.

After lunch, we visited the Natural History Museum and spent the afternoon amongst dinosaur bones, stuffed birds and many insects.  We were there six years ago when we come to England for Alice’s wedding.  Six years ago, we spent days in St. Albans, I didn’t take Julia into the city much and yet when we got close to the museum this time, I recognized the corner and the entrance.  I forgot the grandeur of the building.  It could be a set in a fantastic adventure or the basis for Hogwarts.  Looking at pictures of the museum a day afterwards, my impression is only stronger.  Oh, to design, work in or enjoy this building on a regular basis.

And then it was Tuesday, our last day in London, last day of the in Europe.  It was the day that Julia had waited for.  If it had been the only place we went to on vacation, she would have been satisfied.

Warner Brothers Studio tour.

And it was pretty amazing.  There was almost too much to see and take in within a single visit if you are a fa of the books and movies.  The number of set pieces, costumes, props, masks and models was dizzying and don’t disappoint  A real geek’s paradise.  Many of the displays were explained with short videos.  There were stations set up to try some hands on potions, to learn to “fly”, to ride the train, et cetera.  We had taken the audio tour which also had short videos on its screen.  All that plus a Harry Potter Passport (that had a game and a place for stamps for kids) was almost much to keep track of.  Julia lost her passport and we stopped listening to everything of the audio guide which cut down a bit on the stimulation.

And there is a lot of it.  Stimulation.

There are lines, even with a ticket and an entry time, we stood in the queue to get into the exhibits for at least 40 minutes.  There were relatively long queues to do green screen flying and to ride the train.  Julia did ok–extremely focused with eyes on each prize–but there was a time she could not have endured those lines.  I didn’t see anyone needing accommodations though I imagine the staff would be helpful.  They were friendly, helpful and very knowledgeable about their exhibits.  The exhibits are set up in two massive buildings and a lot of people fill those buildings.  A staff person volunteered that 6,000 people go through a day and that it is usually sold out.

There are gift shops but not so many as in places like Disney where every ride and attraction empties into a gift shop.  One could almost avoid the shops here.

We rushed back to London after five hours to see Funny Girl starring Sheridan Smith at the Savoy Theater.  It is lovely production and we all-Julia and I and our London hosts— enjoyed it.  I used to know every word of that score, now maybe just 90%.  Although sometimes those British actors put a little bit too much emphasis on their “American” every note was a pleasure and a very exciting end to our travels.

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