Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Return to being Muggles!

A number of the group ended up on the same train to London last Friday. There was lots of laughter and chatter amongst the piles of luggage. 

We arrived in London to typical English weather....rainy and quite dreary. In fact, our days back in Nashville have been quite similar! It seems that many are still getting emails alerting them to snow and ice delays in the UK this week.

We marvel at the great weather we had for the majority of our trip.  A couple of students heard from chums who went to Florida for spring break and reported less sunshine than we had.

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Final day as a class

After spending Wednesday evening in London and seeing Matilda, the Musical, we took the train to Cambridge and settled in to a lovely hotel. Thursday morning, we were treated to Professor John Murrell's lecture on the American Connections to Cambridge. 

After lunch in Homerton College's Great Hall (and yes, it is true....they did have a Harry Potter Dinner several weeks ago with owls flying through the Hall!), the students had the afternoon for exploration of Cambridge.

I feel certain that we will soon post more photos from our final dinner together, but we had a lovely time at the Brown celebrating a very special and memorable week together. Professor Troseth and I continue to appreciate the wonderful students we were so fortunate to have on this adventure.

Platform 9 3/4 finally!!!

It was almost hard to believe....we were all at the famous stop at King's Cross Station! 

Yes, the Dores had arrived!

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Roald Dahl Museum & Eagle and Child

Today, we ventured out to Missenden to delve into the world of children's author Roald Dahl and explore his life history and creative process behind the scenes.

The museum is geared primarily toward young children, but we had no trouble embracing the world of imagination and diving into the activities, including taking a seat in a replica of the writer's favorite chair and getting behind the wheel of an airplane with facts on his time the World War II pilot.

We read and listened to interviews with Roald Dahl and other children's authors (including J.K. Rowling, of course!) about their craft, their writing routines, and their tips for budding young writers. We saw how young children can use the facilities to draw from these inspirations to create their own works of writing and illustration.

Our tour guide shared details of Dahl's family and professional life, from his first marriage to Patricia Neal and their four children to his first book, his budding relationship with world famous illustrator Quentin Blake, and his second marriage to Felicity Crosland.

Later, we headed over to Eagle & Child, an Oxford pub famous for playing host to the "Inklings- weekly meetings of the minds of C.S. Lewis, J.R.R. Tolkein, and other prominent Oxford authors of their time. We discussed The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe as it relates to the Harry Potter series, trends in children's literature at large, and what we've learned on our trip so far.

On our way out, we even heard that the C.S. Lewis Society still has a standing reservation on Tuesday nights to honor the Inklings' legacy!

Monday, March 4, 2013

The Magic of Harry Potter Remains

Jenna is quite right in her post, the Warner Brothers Studio for Harry Potter is quite amazing. We had a splendid day. I want to add a couple of photos (if only our readers could imagine how many pictures we took and will be sorting through!). The first is an acknowledgement to the fabulous Crystal Doochin and her staff who took care of the arrangements that were needed for this trip. Below, see four of the students posing in front of the Crystal Cave exhibit with thumbs up to show that Crystal is being appreciated throughout our trip.

We now know the "hams" of our group.....or are they just ready to cast a few spells??? And we also have video to prove that they got the moves down brilliantly!

Hogwarts Bridge was not referenced in either any of Rowling's books or in the original script. But we learned that on of the set creators came up with the idea and now the bridge is a splendid part of the Hogwarts campus.

Once again, we had a grand time as students of Hogwarts! Go Commodores!

Today was wonderful! We took a private coach over to the WB Harry Potter Studios tour. The instant we stepped off the bus, and walked over to the start of the tour, our class changed from a group of mature 20-30 year olds into a pack of overly excited fourth graders. We were greeted by some familiar faces from the movies, and were all too eager to take pictures with them! On the tour, we were able to see more from the movies than we could ever imagine. It was filled with different costumes, sets, and props used throughout the magical series. We also were offered the chance to ride on broomsticks! Below are some pictures to show just how much fun we had! Cheers!

We've arrived!
Ministry of Magic Statue!
Great Hall!

had to brush up on my parseltongue to get into the CHAMBER OF SECRETS!
butterbeer stache.

Go Dores on Privet Dr!

casual stroll down DIAGON ALLEY!

Amazing model of HOGWARTS! this thing was absolutely incredible.

THE BURROW! "Its not much, but its home."
Potions anyone?
Look whose wand we found hidden amongst the rest!

Sunday, March 3, 2013

The Infirmary in the Potter movies, in the Divinity School at the Bodelein Library


excited about our walking tour of OXFORD!
more excitement!


Divinity School @ Oxford University aka the HOSPITAL WING from HARRY POTTER!!
Do you recognize this courtyard? It is the site where Harry tells Cedric about the dragon challenge during the Triwizard tournament! (it is also where Alastor "mad-eye" Moody turns Draco Malfoy into a ferret!)

Another view of the courtyard!!
Inspiration for light from Narnia!
C.S. Lewis' inspiration for Narnia! 

Saturday, March 2, 2013

Touchdown in Londontown

After a day and night of travel, we are all finally kingdom-side in Oxford! Some of us experienced flight delays and cancelations, took peculiar routes, and suffered very long days, but all and all, it was a worthwile trip across the pond and we are so excited to be here! We got to gather together for a hearty pub meal in Oxford tonight, and now it is time to get some rest, recover from jet lag, and prepare for the adventure that lies ahead.
 Almost landing...

  Shuttles between terminals

 Entering Oxford

 Dinner together at last!
- Jocelyn and Isaac (3/2/13 9:24pm Oxford time)

Brief update.....

All but one of us has arrived....and she should be here (after flights canceled in Nashville and Chicago due to SNOW!) around midnight. We had a lovely dinner and are ready to get a good night's sleep!

Friday, March 1, 2013

The model for this painting was born in one of the cottages making up our hotel.  Dorothy L. Sayers used to stay here. 

More Oxford
The little cobbled alley is lined with very old (we're talking OLD) cottages that comprise our hotel! 

Oxford Town