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Wednesday, December 31, 2008

A Change in Plans

We planned to spend our last full day in London catching the most notable and famous sights of the city, including Buckingham Palace (changing of the guards is every other day in the winter at 11:30 am), Westminster Abbey, Parliament, Kensington Palace, the London Zoo, and Madame Tussuad's. But earlier at tea time at our hotel we met a fellow who was a former resident of London. He gave us the advice to take a day and tour Oxford. We thought it was a fairly long distance from London, it turned out to be less than an hour away by train. So we changed our plans and decided to spend the last full day in Oxford. We are glad we did. We headed there around 10 am, and after arriving, we walked about 10 minutes from the train station to the heart of town. It is a very charming town with lots of old buildings dating back to 600 A.D. interspersed are many shops along the streets, many of which are closed off to automobiles and it was nice to walk down the cobblestone streets and tour the town. But our biggest highlight would be to find parts of Oxford where Harry Potter filmed on location. The girls were not disappointed, not as they were during the London Walk. We found at least 3 areas of the college and church area where the girls could distinctly recall where parts of the movie had been filmed. The actual dining hall in the movie was a recreation, but the hall that inspired the look and feel was in a place call Christ Church. You could tell how much it inspired the set design in the movie, it was fantastic. The actual stairwell leading up to the dining hall was used in several movies and the girls enjoyed getting their photos taken there. We also found a common area on the church grounds that supposedly was used for exterior shots of Hogwarts castle. Another great find for the girls. We did a little shopping and found some great items. And last but not least, we found another great pub called the 4 Candles, where we would once again dine on fish and chips and relax in the warmth of the pub. Today was a good day for all.

Tomorrow: Returning to Paris for New Year's Eve.

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