Friday, October 3, 2008

"Harry's Wondrous World"

For our day trip this week we were able to travel to the land of the great Oxford University. Our first stop was Blenheim Palace. For the past month the weather has been great, sunny, warm, etc. so we were quite unprepared for the cold that October 1 gave us!!! Although it was a sunny day, it was not warm (as you can see by the faces in the picture below)! I actually enjoyed Blenheim a lot . . . better than Windsor Castle at least.

Kaitlyn, Kayla, Emilee, and I freezing in front of Blenheim Palace. We were able to wander the gardens and park a little bit before our tour and I loved them, though they weren't nearly as spectacular as Stourhead.

Here is a waterfall we found during our brief exploration of the park. Aside from its amazing architecture and design, Blenheim is known as the birthplace of Sir Winston Churchill. It was also used for many different purposes during World War II . . . I think its colorful history and fun stories is what made it more exciting than Windsor Castle.

After our tour of Blenheim we jumped in the bus and headed to the famous city of Oxford, home to Oxford University. We had the whole afternoon to do whatever we liked so we headed out to explore. The first college that we visited was Magdalen College, pronounced "Mawd-lin" calling it "Mag-da-lin" is a big no-no! It is one of the most beautiful colleges at Oxford and was home to C.S. Lewis as a student!

A view of Magdalen College from the deer park.

The famous gargoyles of Magdalen College are rumored to have inspired the stone statues' in C.S. Lewis' series The Chronicles of Narnia, which I love . . . if you have not read them you should!!!

During our wandering we found The Eagle and Child pub. This is where CS Lewis and JRR Tolkien would meet and discuss whatever was in their brilliant minds at the time.

We also found a Ben's Cookies! There are only 9 located in the UK and 1 outside the UK . . . in Salt Lake City, Utah!!! So if you get a chance stop on by because they are delicious. (Side note: this picture is courtesy of Emilee . . . the big glass of milk, it's not mine!)

The next part of the day was my favorite, because I'm the biggest Harry Potter nerd ever!!! The first two Harry Potter films have many scenes from Oxford and we had fun finding them and recreating them. Scenes of the Hogwarts Library have been filmed in this library, but we couldn't go in because only Oxford students were allowed.

Christ Church College was the major filming area in Oxford for the first two films. Here is Hillary and Laura in one of the courtyards holding up their wands, it looks Harry Potter-ish doesn't it?

Here is another view of the courtyard, Emilee, Hillary, Bethany, and I by the fountain. But here is where the real fun begins.

Professor McGonagall in Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone watching the students enter Hogwarts.

I couldn't find the exact picture we recreated but here is my version. This is on the staircase leading to Christ Church's cafeteria . . . better known as "The Great Hall."

The Great Hall in Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone.

Christ Church's "Great Hall." Okay, so its not so "great" without the digital effects (i.e. making it look bigger, longer, and more wizardy) but it still is where they filmed it!!!

Becky, Emilee, Me, and Katie and our wands in the Great Hall.

We had a ton of fun in Oxford and we rapped up the night with Evensong at Christ Church Cathedral, which is like the Anglican version of Mass held at 6 pm. It was a great experience but it made me appreciate our church services even more!!!

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