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  • Day3

    Harry Potter Day!

    June 3, 2016 in the United Kingdom ⋅ ⛅ 11 °C

    We set our alarm for 7am, although I forgot to turn off my work alarm, so that went off at 6am... Whoops! We got up at about 7.15 and showered and got organised for a big day of sight-seeing. I had to get the hotel maintenance man to come up and bolt cut one of my locks - I accidentally used a broken lock, so the key no longer fits in it. Ah well! We headed out and jumped on a train at Russell Square to Green Park. Walked through the park and found ourselves at Buckingham Palace! As it was only about 9am, there weren't many people around, so we could easily get some good photos. We watched the guards for a few minutes - boy, their jobs must be boring!
    From there we walked down Birdcage Way, and found a group of about 40-50 guards in training. They had some synchronicity issues - obviously still very new - but they were fun to watch! We continued on and found a bunch of horse guards (and their horses) walking down the street. Each guard was on one horse, and guiding a horse either side. It was rather impressive, obviously well trained horses!
    We eventually made it down to Big Ben and Westminster Abbey. I asked Jacinda for the time, before realising I was in front of the most famous clock tower in the world... Look up, Marns! We took a few photos of Ben and then walked over to a bridge crossing the Thames so we could get some pictures of the London Eye. We wandered back to check out Westminster Abbey, I felt slightly emotional to see it, I just kept picturing Princess Di's funeral in my head. It's such an iconic place, and I would love to go inside, but the £20 entry fee seems a bit steep. If I have oodles of money left at the end of my trip I might check it out... We walked to Westminster station and jumped on a circle line train to King's Cross, ready to meet up with Carl! After 5 years, it was a bit of an emotional reunion!
    We ventured off to Pret for something to eat, and then headed towards Eustion station. We jumped on a train which took us to a station where a shuttle bus was waiting to take us to our main destination, Harry Potter studios!
    On the shuttle bus we met one of the HP Studio Tour workers, Lina, who gave us a great insight into what to expect, and it was clear she really loved her job, making us even more excited!
    Once we arrived, we picked up our tickets, then headed into the tour!
    I'm not going to go into all the details, because we spent 5 hours going through and it would need a blog of it's own, but it was so incredibly amazing and I would go back in a heartbeat. I cried (as expected) when I walked into the Great Hall, it was so overwhelming. What a mess! I think I'll need to make a Facebook album dedicated solely to it for all the photos I took... Highly recommend!
    The tour ends in the gift shop, which we spent another good half an hour or so in. I finally settled on buying a book (Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them) and a Ravenclaw jumper.
    We headed back to catch the shuttle to the train station, said a quick 'see your shortly' to CK, and walked briskly to the our hotel to drop our shopping, then headed to the Contiki Basement to check in for our tour! They just needed to double check all our details, and we met our trip manager, Tamara (from New Zealand) and our bus driver, Joe (from Portugal). We also got to meet most people from our facebook group, which was pretty exciting. We all decided to head out, grab a drink and get to know each other! We headed to a small pub called the Rocket, and it was pretty exciting to see all the profile pictures come to life!
    Carl came and met us there, we had a few drinks and a bite to eat, and ended up leaving the bar at around 11.30pm. We walked back to  our hotel with my new contiki pals Tareisha and Ebony. T nearly got herself run over crossing the road to her hotel, she was too keen for the food on the other side..!
    We arrived back at our hotel and CK came up to collect a Hard Rock Cafe glass I'd bought him a few years ago at Surfer's Paradise. We then said a bit of an emotional good bye. It's unfortunate he'll be in the States when I get back to London, but hopefully I'll get to see him again sometime soon! 5 years between drinks is too long!!
    I got everything organised for the early wake up the following morning, and got to sleep around 1.30am.
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