"All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given us."
Gandalf, The Fellowship of the Ring, J.R.R. Tolkien.
"If you wish to be happy, think not of what is to come nor of that which you have no control over but rather of the now and of that which you can change."
Oromis, Brisingr, Christopher Paolini.

Friday, July 4, 2008

To England and Around Newcastle (June 27 - July 3)

On Friday, June 27th we drove from Reno to San Francisco. We saw a small patch of blue sky as we crossed Donner Pass, but otherwise it was smoky the entire way. Pretty amazing.

Our flight to London was as good as can reasonably be expected. DD2 slept most of the way, but DS and DD1 slept for only 3 hours. They are quite enamored with on demand in-flight entertainment...

We spent one night in London, and then caught a train north to Newcastle-upon-Tyne. From there we visited Alnwick Castle (used for the outside of Hogwarts in the first two Harry Potter movies) and Hadrian's Wall.

Newcastle has a nice Discovery Museum, which is very kid-friendly, and a great mix of hands-on science and local history. DD2 especially enjoyed "washing" her hands at the giant tap in the water and sanitation display.

I had tried to keep our plans simple, since traveling with three young children can be somewhat unpredictable, but we also managed to squeeze in a visit to Durham Cathedral. This building is amazing in it's own right, but was also used in HP. Our tour guide at Alnwick was quite amused by the computer editing done in the movies; "they put Durham Cathedral's towers there, the Quidditch pitch there, and over there was Scotland." Apparently one of the narrow cobblestone streets in Durham was used for Diagon Alley, but we didn't have enough information to get the exact location.

DH enjoyed the local brew.

On Thursday we drove to Edinburgh to catch a plane to Oslo.