Potter Elf

A confession…I love Harry Potter.  I’m a Potter Nerd.

In a wonderful and brilliant IMAG3106.jpgsurprise birthday treat my lovely sister took me to the Warner Brother’s Happy Potter Studios.

I nearly vomited with excitement when I found out.  Once I calmed down this is what we experienced.

Firstly, you need to book ahead.  There are specific time slots and if you don’t book you will not get in.  Also if you miss your time…you don’t get in!  So we headed over to Watford in good time and caught the transfer bus from just outside the station.  It is easy to find and only costs £2.50 return.

Once we arrive and collect our tickets, we are early so head in to the gift shop.  Everything that you can imagine from the Potter world can be found in here.  There are time-turners, Hogwarts uniforms (in all the house colours), chocolate frogs and wands!

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Our time comes and we line up for the tour, I won’t give away any spoilers but the start of the tour is great! We the wander in the Great Hall (epp!!) and then out into the heart of the studios.  There are costumes, sets, props, make up and interactive segments.  At the moment the Forbidden Forrest is the new attraction and the explanations of how the creepy woods were created is really great.

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Next we head into the food hall area and get our butter beer…I’m not IMAG3103.jpgsure about it to be honest…but butter beer ice cream! Yes, just yes!

Then we see some of the outdoor sets before heading back inside to the Hogwarts’ Express.  It is worth the line to head in to the train and have a look, each of the carriages are dresses for the films that they appear in.  On to the special effects area, so cool, real artistic genius.

And the end….well that is a surprise.  Go see it.

Even if you are not a Harry Potter fan you should go, the information that is available about the ways in which the world is created is really interesting.

My little nerd heart is perfectly buzzing at the end of the experience and I can’t wait to go back.

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Potter Prelude

Just a little bit of indulgence, here are two of my favorite quotes from J.K. Rowling.

 

 

“We’ve all got both light and dark inside us. What matters is the part we choose to act on. That’s who we really are.”

J.K. Rowling, Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix

 

 

 

“You fail to recognize that it matters not what someone is born, but what they grow to be!”

J.K. Rowling, Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire

 

5 things about Mowgli the Elf

Things I’ve learn since Mowgli joined us.

1) You only ever have one shoe from now on.

2) Poops outside are exciting.

3) Don’t go barefoot…because …well we haven’t nailed no 2) yet.

4) Tights are a bad idea.

5) Puppies are awesome

 

 

Pinhao and Wine tour

Next up on the Northern Portugal road-trip is Pinhao

Pinhao is a small village in northern Portugal. It is surrounded with vineyards and dips down to sit just on the Douro River. It is picturesque and when we visited quite calm and beautiful. The local train runs from Porto to Pinhao and although we did not take the train it is supposed to be a beautiful trip.

We park and pop into one of the IMAG2878vineyard offices to see if we can go on a tour. Unfortunately not…it would appear that booked ahead for the most part is a must. So we wander in the town and down to the river bank to do some googling.

We manage to find a smaller and newer vineyard called Quinta de la Rosa which can accommodate us for the afternoon tour. We march up the hill (perhaps get a taxi) it’s hot but the view is more than nice.

Once we have arrived and joined the tour group we head into the courtyard and off into IMAG2889the processing and storage areas.

Quinta de la Rosa still use the traditional stomping the grapes method which would be amazing to see (in August – September depending on the season). The tour is great, and informative and the lady who takes us around is obviously passionate about Port and the winery.

Next we move on to the tasting, we try in all 2 different wines and 3 different ports. I would recommend this winery tour is a great option for a reasonably priced option. Although there are lots of options out there…make sure you book in advance if you have particular tours you want to go on.

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This post is not sponsored at all but if you would like more information about Quinta de la Rosa please click here .

So that you can come back…

This is one of my newest favourite quotes about traveling and I feel a beautiful truth within it.  Feel free to leave your favourite quotes below as well.

“Why do you go away? So that you can come back.

So that you can see the place you came from with new eyes and extra colors. And the people there see you differently, too.

Coming back to where you started is not the same as never leaving.”

 

Terry Pratchett, A Hat Full of Sky

Ponte De Lima and Lindoso

This is a combo post about two of the great little places we visited one day during out drives around Northern Portugal.
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The First is Ponte De Lima.  

Ponte De Lima is a cute little Medieval town on the Lima River bank.  It is named after the bridge that crosses the river.

The car park seems odd as you appear to drive on to the bank of the river but aside from this it is an easy place to visit.  The main square is beautiful looking back across the river and the old bridge to churches and countryside.  As always with any town, move away from the main square if you want to save some money on food or drink.  We wander in the streets and enjoy the old village feel.  This town is lovely and I would definitely like to revisit it.  There is a big and famous market that opens every second Monday, all the way along the river bank…alas it is not Monday when we visit.  But this sounds spectacular.

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Lindoso

Lindoso sits within the national park and surrounded by beautiful ruggard countryside.  The area is famous for the old granaries which are called Horrreo.  The Horrero look like little stone houses or tombs, you can find them in some of the towns hidden among the older areas, or all gathered together on hillsides.  Linodoso have a big group that stand together near the castle.

The castle is great, its free to go into except the very inner walls which are only open a small part of the year and coast a couple IMAG2919of euros to get into.  The Castle has a long history and was used up until 1910 by the Portuguese

Government.  We spend an hour walking along the walls and enjoying the view and crumbling history.  It definitely feels like an adventure.

 

Also….The National Park is home to special cow found in this area of Portugal, they are called Arouquesa and they are wonderful.  Look at this guy!!

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Sunshine!

“It was June, and the world smelled of roses. The sunshine was like powdered gold over the grassy hillside.”

Maud Hart Lovelace