For Sawyer's Spring Break, we took a trip to England with our friends, the Bench's. We left Monday afternoon, spent the night in Ghent, Belgium, and on Tuesday morning we drove to Calais, France, where the EuroTunnel (or Chunnel) was located. We debated long and hard about whether to take the Ferry or the underwater Chunnel...ultimately we opted for the shortest route. My only regret about not having taken the Ferry, was not getting to see the White Cliffs of Dover as we arrived. But the Chunnel was very smooth and quick and we were happy with the way it worked out. Ok now I am going to back the story up a bit--
Sometime in January we decided it was time to start reading Harry Potter to the kids (mostly Sawyer, really). We read the first two books aloud, and then listened to the third in the car. That combined with watching the first two movies (some parts of which were too scary for them but they loved it anyway), sparked a flame of love for all things Harry Potter. We told them that when we went to England during Spring Break, we would go visit Harry Potter Studios. Imagine my disappointment when, a week before our trip, I went to book tickets online and found that they were sold out!!!! We were devastated. Who knew that it was something that had limited tickets?! I had no idea, obviously. Something told me the next morning to go and check the website again, and to my surprise (and relief), some spots had opened up! Tuesday was the only day that had availability, and we were due to arrive in England in the early afternoon, so I booked the tickets for the 6 pm tour. We ended up getting to the Studios at about 4, and we had heard that they sometimes allow you to go in early. We told them we had 5 small children with us and would love to go through earlier, and they gladly obliged. Which turned out to be a very good thing because we didn't get out of there until around 8!! The kids would never have lasted had we started at 6.
So where do I even begin with how awesome this was?! Of everything we have seen in Europe, this might have been Nate's favorite. Our kids really loved it too (other than Isla--she could have done without). There was so much to see and I felt like we were seriously living in a dream!! I got chills when we walked into the Great Hall. Without kids, we could have spent a few more hours looking and reading and enjoying it all. We got to taste Butterbeer, which was so yummy. Unfortunately Violet chose that moment to be a grumpy pants and she wouldn't so much as sip it. Her loss. Our only regret about the tour was not buying our kids one of the wands. They are just so stinkin expensive, but man they would have loved them. They spent the weeks after playing Harry Potter every time they got a chance, using sticks and whatever else resembled a wand. Harry Potter Studio Tour was a huge hit for our family. We'll never forget it :). (I posted way too many pictures but I'm not sorry)