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How many Harry Potter references can you put in a blog entry

before your readers stop reading.

View No Spain No Gain on staley's travel map.

Likely due to the sunshine and beaches, we’ve found that the British love to holiday in Southern Spain. We like Spain’s climate as much as anyone who has spent most winters in a place like Michigan or Illinois, but since we now live here already, we followed something like a reverse migration pattern and headed to the British Isles for our spring vacation.

Spanish houses don’t really have fireplaces, so we couldn’t travel by the Floo Network. Even worse, since Matt’s Firebolt got hit by a rogue bludger on the beach the other day, we had to resort to flying in a commercial plane. So, after over six hours of bus rides to the airport (have we mentioned Vera is remote?) and another two hour bus ride from the airport our discount flight landed in, we arrived in London and the trip was afoot! And... we were almost done traveling for the day.

Knowing less about London than Uncle Vernon knows about magic, finding our hostel in London proved to be perhaps even more difficult than finding the Sorcerer’s Stone. Sara had received an email saying that the hostel’s staff would leave at 10pm, meaning we would be locked out if we were to arrive any later. We made it to Victoria Train station by 9:30pm, but we knew that according to the intense London public transportation system website it would still take at least another 30 minutes to get to our hostel. As Big Ben ticked closer and closer to 10pm, we grew more and more nervous and might as well have been looking for Platform Nine and Three-Quarters since we had no idea where to go or even where to look inside of the train station.

Of course, our initial reaction to the situation was to simply send an owl to the hostel with a message saying that we would be arriving a little late. Unfortunately however, our owls hadn’t made it through airport security, so we had to telephone the hostel instead. We could only conclude that the phones had been enchanted, because call attempt after call attempt we just kept getting a horrible buzzing sound.

Finally, thanks to the help of a family with a cluster of red-headed youngsters, we found the correct platform, boarded the Hostel Express, and were on our way. O.K. so that last part was stretching the truth, but we did eventually find our way to the hostel, which actually turned out to be more of a pub than a hostel. Either way, we were very happy that the hostel’s staff turnout out to be a bartender who was still around and therefore able to check us in (and serve us a butter beer!). After the 15 hour travel day, we climbed the steps to our room in the Gryffindor tower of the White Lion Hostel were rocked to sleep by the music blaring from the pub just one floor below.

As for the rest of our trip to London and later Edinburgh and Glasgow, we had a very nice time sightseeing, adventuring, brushing up on our British English, and working on our Scottish accents. There’s a lot more to write, but quite frankly we’ve run out of Harry Potter references, so we’ll let some photographs tell the rest of our stories.

If you’re still reading, it looks like one can safely put at least ten HP references in a blog entry, with a Sherlock Holmes reference sneaking in there somehow too…Merlin’s Beard!

Posted by staley 12:54 Archived in United Kingdom

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