December 5: Ten Bookish Settings I’d Love to Visit

Top Ten Tuesday is an original feature/weekly meme created at The Broke and the Bookish.


Places I want to visit again:
1) Oxford (All Souls Trilogy) and London, England (Shades of London, All Souls, Tunnel Vision). I loved these places. I can never tire of London and I am rereading the All Souls Trilogy so I want to go on a tour of Oxford with Deborah Harkness. I wish I was there when they were filming the TV show.

All Souls College in Oxford, Radcliffe Camera and the Bodleian Library.

2&3) Paris and Grasse, France (The Secret Ways of Perfume by Cristina Caboni)
Shopping spree!!!!!!!!!

4) Volterra, Italy (Twilight: New Moon)
I wore a green shirt and jeans like Bella did in the movie. It was such a quaint and beautiful town. I’d love to go back and spend more time there than just a few hours. They also had a beautiful alabaster shop. More shopping!

They had a Twilight section in the alabaster shop. I have always regretted not getting these alabaster white queen chess pieces.


New places:
5) Naboo, which was really Lake Como, Italy.
I hear they have tours of the villa where they shot Star Wars Episode II: Attack of the Clones. I want to stand on the terrace where Anakin and Padmé were married.

6) NOLA (A Density of Souls, Out of the Easy)
Not during Marti Gras and not during hurricane season. But I would like to see the famous sites.

7) Hawaii (Everything, Everything)
Warm weather, heavenly beaches (and I am not a beach person), and volcanos. I want to go!

8) Salem, Mass. (The Crucible)
It’s my favorite play and the witch trials are a sad part of American history.

9) Scotland (Harry Potter, The Winter Sea)
I want to take a train there from London.


10) Siracusa, Italy.
I have yet to read Siracusa by Delia Ephron but I won’t say no to Italy.

London Day 9 – The last day – Saturday, August 23, 2014

Itinerary: St. Paul’s Cathedral, Tower Bridge, Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park, Tate-to-Tate River Boat.

When we visited St. Paul’s it was on a Sunday and we could not take the tour. There are no tours on Sunday when there are mass services.

Victoria and I took the tour while Stefan and Daniela slept in. We got there right when the cathedral opened at 8:30 am. There are no photos allowed but here is a nice exterior shot.


Inside there is a World War II Memorial in a chapel. They have a book with the names of the fallen soldiers and each morning they turn a page so every name gets a chance to be displayed.

We also went up to the Whispering Gallery. After climbing 257 steps I was dizzy and out of breath. (There is no elevator.) I had to sit down before I could go into the Whispering Gallery. As much as I wanted to climb higher to see the views of London from the very top, I was physically incapable. (Not to mention we were running out of time. We had plans to meet Stefan and Daniela at 11 am near The Tower of London.)

The Stone Gallery is 376 steps up from ground level, and The Golden Gallery is 528 steps up. I must get into shape so that next time I am in London I can climb to the very top and see the views. Perhaps start from the top and work my way down.

To see the Cathedral floor from the Whispering Gallery was both frightening and incredible. I was too scared to go to the edge so I peaked over from a safe distance back.

Victoria and I tried the whispering trick from opposite ends, but neither of us heard the other one. It does work in Grand Central Station in NYC though.

After meeting up with our friends we walked to Tower Bridge and on the way saw the volunteers installing the handmade ceramic poppies around The Tower of London. They blend in behind the trees because they are also wearing red. I love this photo I took. Great coloring and it mixes old and new (The Shard) buildings.

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London Day 7 – Thursday, August 21, 2014

Itinerary: Banqueting House at Whitehall, WB Making of Harry Potter Tour at Leavesden Studios.

How scary and awesome is this? I can’t even imagine not having any fear when cleaning Big Ben.IMG_3881

After breakfast Victoria and I separated from Stefan and Daniela for the morning. We would meet up in the afternoon to go to WB Harry Potter tour.

Vic and I wanted to see the Banqueting House. We learned A LOT of history about the Banqueting Hall. We even sat in on a 20 minute lecture all about the ceiling paintings by Sir Peter Paul Rubens. We learned what story each painting tells, where they were painted and how they were installed, as well as the history of cleaning and moving them. There was so much fascinating information to absorb, especially if you love art history. Instead of going over all the details that can be looked up online, or read about in a book, I am just going to share a few photos. It really is a great place to visit. It is quiet, relaxing (they have bean bags to sit on), doesn’t take up the whole day and is quite affordable. The aesthetics are just beautiful. So if you are in London I highly recommended this site.

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London Day 6 – Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Itinerary: Abbey Road, King’s Cross Platform 9 3/4, Hyde Park, Kensington Gardens, Peter Pan statue, Harrods, The Old Vic stage door.

We had went to bed early to catch up on rest. Daniela and I were trying to keep the cold we developed under control. So we slept in a bit and by the time we were ready for breakfast, the hotel’s complementary buffet was closed. So we had a quick bite to eat near the hotel and bought some cold medicine along with cough drops at the one pharmacy we found.

Then we got the show on the road and went up north to Abbey Road. Just as suspected it was crowded with tourists taking photos as they crossed the street like the Beatles. The road is also a busy street with cars always passing and honking at the tourists. They especially honked at the tourists who didn’t keep walking but stopped to pose mid-walk. There is no traffic light at the intersection. It was madness.

If I lived and drove there, I’d avoid Abbey Road at all costs. I guess they must have to take that road or it’s just easier even if tourists block your way.

None of us would trust our cameras with strangers in this hectic situation so we took turns. I decided I wanted to be George Harrison and even wore all blue to match him in the photo. Stefan wanted to be Ringo, so Daniela was John and Victoria was Paul. Funny, Stefan doesn’t even like The Beatles (he says they are overrated *major eye roll*) but he’d do anything for a photo op.

I went across the street first to stand on the island in the road. I took a photo of the three of them in the order of John (Daniela), Ringo (Stefan), and Paul (Victoria). Then Victoria took one of me crossing the road solo. The plan was to photoshop me into their photo as George, but we never found someone to do that for us. Whatever, we can still say we walked across Abbey Road like The Beatles.

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London Day 5 – Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Itinerary: Trafalgar Square, National Gallery, National Portrait Gallery, Buckingham Palace.

I am so behind with getting these ten days in London posted. Continuing on!

After breakfast we purchased our tickets for Buckingham Palace online. The morning time slots were booked and the next available one was for 3:30. We had to rearrange our plans a bit.

First we went to Trafalgar Square to see the National Gallery and National Portrait Gallery. Yay for free museums!!

Trafalgar Square is turning into Times Square with the ridiculous characters. I saw a Mickey and Minnie Mouse soliciting for tips to take photos with tourists. I don’t get it in Times Square and I especially don’t get it in Trafalgar Square. There were also people costumed as Yoda or the Grim Reaper. They looked like they were suspended in air but were really sitting in a harness that was hidden by a long robe.

There were also chalk artists who drew some really cool sketches. On this day I saw someone drawing Watto from The Phantom Menace. The previous Friday I saw an artist drawing Jim Morrison. I would have taken photos except I wasn’t sure if I had to pay for one and I didn’t want to pay a single pence.

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I love that in the National Gallery you can take photos. With a limited amount of time we could only see the highlights of the museum and so we followed the suggestions in my travel book. There was a section with a map of the National Gallery and where to find certain works of art.
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