Tuesday, December 4, 2012

My (3rd) visit to Bath 27 November 2012

I've been to Bath twice before- once with just my mom, and the second time was with my mom and my little brother.  The differences this time are: 1. I was by myself, and 2. I was not connected to any kind of tour like the last 2 times, so I had all the time I wanted.  Until things closed, at least.

So I got on my train to Bath, and it started to rain.  Of course.  However, by the time I reached my destination, about 1.5 hours, it was only cloudy.  After talking to the guy in the glass store at the end of my trip, I discovered I was actually very lucky as it had rained for the last week, and had just stopped on Tuesday (the day I was there).   Looking back, I could believe that because the river I saw while walking to the Fashion museum looked swollen and fast and cold.

It took me about 20-25 minutes to walk from the train station to the Fashion Museum...I had not counted on the amount of hills in Bath...   and wearing Wallabees was not the smartest idea I've had...again...  I was excited about the Fashion Museum because I love historical fashion!  And on the other 2 trips to Bath, I'd never been able to make it up to this museum, it's kind of out of the way.  I was pleasantly surprised with what I saw there!   A lot smaller than I was imagining, but packed full of cool things- at least to me, the average traveler is usually not as enthralled with historical clothes as I am!  It started with an exhibit on Sports fashion, which was semi-interesting....the historical clothes more so than the hideous current ski/tennis/etc... "fashion".  Then it went into the oldest clothes all the way to the present.

The Silver tissue Dress on the right
One of the coolest exhibits there is one that's not normally on display; I'm not sure how long it will be there, or how long it has been there.  It's a glove exhibit.  I know, I know, you're thinking...gloves?  wow...exciting...  but it really was!  Especially since the newest of those gloves is about 300 years old.  the oldest was from the early 1600s.  I think that's pretty damn cool!  Another really cool exhibit that's right at the beginning was one of dresses.  It has a special dress in the case- called the Silver Tissue Dress- from the 1600s, one of the most complete dresses from that era anywhere!  Again...pretty cool!

It ended with the most awful, hideous, and ugly fashion from the 20th-21st centuries that I have ever seen.

From there I walked back down to the Roman Baths, which is the main reason people go and have historically gone) to...Bath...     The Roman Baths have been there for about 2000 years, give or take.   It's a pretty cool experience to see a place where people socialized for so long!   While a lot of it is in ruins, or disappeared, broken, etc... there's a lot that is intact, including the main bath, and a few of the others- to an extent.

The top picture is of the main part of the Baths, the second is of a smaller hot bath, and the 3rd is the head of Minerva, who the Baths were dedicated to I believe.  Even though it was the 3rd time around, it was still pretty cool!

After that I went to Bath Abbey which I had never been in, because I think it was closed both times.  Either that or we didn't have enough time to go through it.  It's a gorgeous abbey!  Not in a way like the cathedrals around England and Europe, but it's very big and has some cool stained glass and other little interesting tidbits, including a really big organ- I forget how many pipes it has.

I concluded my visit to Bath by walking around the Christmas Market that is set up there until January something.   I bought a delicious meat pie and some Christmas presents!  I walked back to the train station, and got on my train and went back to London!  A pretty good way to spend a day I think!

Monday, December 3, 2012

Wingardium leviosa! Harry Potter Studio Tour- 28 November 2012

Well, the Harry Potter studio tour is pretty damn amazing!  (Pardon my French)   It's expensive to get it- £28.   But it is so worth it!  Its about a 15-20min train ride out of London to Watford Junction- easy, about 6-8 pounds.  Then you board a special purple Harry Potter double Decker bus that will take you to the studio- £2 round trip.  

You pull up to the studios, which look like normal ones you might see on the news or in a magazine or something, although these used to be aircraft hangars, so that's what they look like I guess...   You walk in and see the gift shop and so you start salivating at everything you can see as you walk past it to get in line to go into the studios.    

The tour is almost all self-guided except for the beginning 20-ish minutes or so.  You first go into a big room with about 50-60 or so other people and listen to one of the employees and watch a short film on the walls- the producers, etc... are talking about making Harry Potter.  You then go into a big auditorium and sit down and watch Harry, Ron, and Hermione talk about the sets, the experience, etc...  and then the screen goes up and you see a huge door that leads into the Great Hall! Yes, the Great Hall from the movie- the real one that they used....no magical ceiling though :(    That's the last bit of guided tour- an employee talking about the different props/clothing/etc... that are in the Great Hall-including details you don't see in the movie, like the seal inside the big fireplace that you don't see because there's always a fire going!  

After that you walk around the corner and it's like a Harry Potter dream!  So many props, parts of sets, buildings, wands, clothing, and on and on and on!  You even get to fly on a broomstick and in the Weasley's car!  In between Studio J and studio K, you can buy some butterbeer!  And see some outside sets, like #4 Privet Drive, the bridge, and the Potter's house, along with the Knight Bus and Hagrid's motorcycle.

Me trying butterbeer- surprisingly good!

The main model for outside shots of the castle!

The second half of the studio tour involved the creating of the various creatures, animals, or shows the pictures of the real animals used- like for Fang.  I think there were 8 or 9 different dogs used for Fang if not more?   It showed how the animatronic stuff worked,  Hedwig, the weird Voldemort thing in Book 7, etc... also how they did the dementors when it wasn't shot with CGI, how they did Gwap, Hagrid, and the ghosts!  

This was so much fun!!!  I highly recommend this to anyone who visits London, and if you visit before July 1- I will totally go again!