Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Aboard the Hogwarts Express

Most of the third day of our Scotland trip was spent aboard the Hogwarts Express.

Ok, I'm not 100% sure that any part of this train in particular was used in any of the Harry Potter movies, but let's just go with it here.

This is an honest-to-goodness coal-powered steam train.  Cindy warned us ahead of time to try to keep the windows shut when going through tunnels because if you don't, you get coal dust all in the train compartments.  (We forgot at least a couple times.)

Told you it was the Hogwarts Express.

Our tour group was all sitting in the first class section and I wish we'd gotten a picture of Cindy, because she had on her Hogwarts best--Gryffindor robes, gray sweater and red-and-yellow tie.  And there's me with my Bertie Botts Every Flavor Beans and a Chocolate Frog.  (I ate the frog but not the beans.  I'm with Dumbledore on that one.)

So here's a not-so-great picture of the Glenfinnan Viaduct, which I know for sure IS in the Harry Potter movies.  This is what they use for the iconic shots of the Hogwarts Express chugging along towards Hogwarts.

A couple shots of the scenery we rode past...Cindy had several Harry Potter-related activities for us and we were so busy with the coloring contest that we kinda forgot to look out the windows for a while.  Lee made up for it though, in the end we had 159 pictures from the train, which is like 1/3 of all the photos we took over the weekend.  So I'm only showing you 10% because a.) uploading 159 photos would take forever, b.) there were quite a few that when you click through them on the computer, they look like a movie, and c.) no way would you bother scrolling through all of those on the blog.

The ride was maybe two hours I think, and our destination was the small town of Mallaig, which Lee absolutely fell in love with.  It's a quaint, picturesque little town and luckily the weather cooperated and didn't rain on us the entire time we were there.  Our waitress at lunch said it was the first day in over a month that it hadn't been pouring down rain.

We only stayed in Mallaig long enough to walk around a little and eat lunch, then back on the train.  And I was trying to be good about keeping my trip log updated...I still haven't written in it about our last day of the trip though, whoops.  I keep that little notebook with me whenever we go anywhere so I can write down the details of what we do and what we see.  Helps when it takes me months to scrapbook stuff.

Incredibly, Lee got this shot from the train.  No joke.

I don't remember why he was giving me that look.  I get that a lot though.  On the return trip, Cindy gave us all a Harry Potter trivia quiz, and I totally rocked it 'cause I know Professor McGonagall's first name, Hermione's favorite class from her first year at Hogwarts, and how many siblings Ron has (not to mention their names).  I won a prize, too--the Hogwarts banner that was hanging on the door of the train when we arrived (you can scroll back up and look at it again, hee) which is now hanging up in our house.  Wonder what House I would have been in...I think Ravenclaw even though the Gryffindors get all the love.  Lee I think would be a Gryffindor.

Just 'cause I thought this was a cool shot with the train and the smoke and the scenery.

And here we are on the viaduct again.  I kinda would like to go down into the countryside around there and take photos of the viaduct from the ground.

During our ride back to Fort William (I think it was Fort William where we started from), two men in traditional Scottish garb came through selling raffle tickets for a couple bottles of whiskey, and then this one guy agreed to have his picture taken with a bunch of us from our tour group.  The other guy, an older dude with a gray beard and a wicked sense of humor, happily hiked up his kilt when asked if he really wore it in the traditional way, and even let the girl across from us take a picture.  Full moon in Scotland!!! (He did at least make sure none of the kids in our tour group could see before he did it.) 

So yep, that was the train ride.  We got back to Fort William and then hit the road for a couple of hours to get to our hotel outside of Sterling (and Lee and I will have to go back to Sterling some other time).  Ah, crud, I forgot the sticky toffee pudding picture again!  Dangit.  When we had dinner that night, I ordered it again 'cause it was that good.  Lee had something with lots of strawberries :)


CCsMom said...

Lee looks like he has on a Harry Potter shirt! Gorgeous photos! And I like that Lee captured the "First Class" thing on the headrest on the train. Woo hoo! Traveling in style.

Amber Hight said...

I am super jealous of the train ride, that looks so fun! And you got to COLOR? I'm so goin on that trip, lol! The pics are awesome, looks like you guys had a blast!

Giffysk8s said...

As they would say in Boston, "That was totally WICKED!!!!" Just our way of saying awesome. :) I'm with Amber~soooooooo jealous!

As for the Bertie Botts Every Flavor Beans: when they first came out, every little kid in my 3rd grade class HAD to have them. I had to make a rule about only bringing 2 beans to class per day, otherwise those kids would have been eating them all day long! And the loved to play the "open your mouth and I'll give you one of mine" game. Believe it or not, they LOVED it when they got the vomit and earwax flavors. BLECH!!

And really, who else could possibly have won the trivia contest except for maybe J.K. Rowling herself?

The photos are amazing. Hard to believe you were on a moving train! And just FYI, I would scroll through 159 pictures on your blog anytime. :)

This sounds like such a fun trip. I told Rick we now have to add Scotland to our Bucket List.

RIck totally LOL because of your little notebook. I have one with me all of the time, too.Great minds (or forgetful ones) think alike. :)

Giffysk8s said...

Oh, I forgot to ask you to take a picture of your Hogwarts banner hanging in your house!

CCsMom said...

I'm looking at these pictures again and thinking I'd just have to pinch myself to believe I was actually on a train in Scotland. Wow, it is SO GORGEOUS.

Got lots to do today,so wish me luck!