Monday, July 30, 2012

Summer in Prague - Day 1

This was partially planned by me as the other part was arranged by CIT Travel which my parents already booked with them which includes accomodation and train tickets. The flight tickets and tour was planned by me and my parents. This trip covered not only Prague which is located in Czech Republic, but also with the addition of two countries which were Austria (Vienna) and Hungary (Budapest).

Our flight departed from Edinburgh, Scotland at 4.00 pm. We had a quick tour in Edinburgh before we went to the airport thus we had time to dropped by Hard Rock Cafe Edinburgh for one final time. On the same day, my final exam result was released and alhamdulillah my result was good which enabled me to graduate on time. We took a shuttle bus from Edinburgh Waverley Bridge to the airport.

We arrived at Prague (which is also known as Praha in local language) in the evening. The journey took approximately two and a half hour and this time we used Jet2 instead of the normal Ryanair or Easyjet.  There, the transport was provided by our travel agent and we were brought to our apartment which is located in Wenceslas Square. The apartment was quite comfortable and big! They provided us with 4 beds instead of 3. There's a kitchen, living room and laundry machine. The Wenceslas Apartment is located above Mark & Spencer. Wenceslas Square is a very strategic place to stay as there are loads of souvenir shops, restaurants and attractions located here. The Old Town Square and National Museum are located within walking distance. Actually, when travelling in Europe, most of the attractions are reachable by foot. Plus, they have a great transport system such as trams, subways, buses and trains.

Wenceslas Square

Since we arrived here in the evening, we didn't have much time left to explore the city, so we basically walked around the Wenceslas Square to buy some souvenirs. Prague is famous for its Bohemian crystals and they sells them at a cheaper price compared to other places. Well, I had no intention to buy crystals. I'm fine with fridge magnets, t-shirts, key chains and other small stuffs. Postcards are compulsory. Aside from the normal resin fridge magnets, they also sell the ones made from wood. This type of magnets are made from Prague, not from China. So, it's best to grab this kind of magnets.

Prague Opera House

We walked further and saw the Opera House. Since it was dusk, the building was covered with yellow lights. There's a tower besides the Opera House. There were a few tour bus booths here in case you want to board one tomorrow. I just grabbed one brochure from the booth to find more interesting places to be visited.

The Old Town & Astronomical Clock

One of the significant landmark in Prague is the Astronomical Clock which is located in the Old Town Square. A few historical buildings could be found here such as church and several towers. A lot of people seen wandering around here since there are many restaurants and bistros here. During my visit, there was some sort of festival because the square was placed with a stage and many small booths. Tourists took turn to take photo with the Astronomical Clock, so did I. Snap here and there before we proceed with our tour. By the way, it's already night time so we had to walked quickly. We didn't want to go back late at night.

According to Wanji, the new year celebration is frequently held here. New year means there will be a lot of fireworks and drunk people. Haha..

Hard Rock Cafe Prague

We bumped into HRC Prague without knowing it's exact location. Once we found it, we entered the Rock Shop and purchased some souvenirs. Since I already have HRC Prague t-shirt, this time I only interested in buying the pin badge. I chose the design which has the Astronomical Clock on it so that it would be more memorable.

We ended out night walk there and walked back to our apartment. Aside from the square, the streets were now quite empty and quiet thus making our walking pace quite fast. I might be unsafe to wander around late at night.

House of Music

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

More Summer Trip Day 2 - Harry Potter WB Studio Tour (Part 2)

Exterior Sets

The exterior sets are placed in between two halls: Interior Sets and Creature Room. There is an open space that locates the sets such as Riddle's Tomb, Privet Drive, Potter's Cottage, Hogwarts Bridge, Wizard Chess and also magical vehicles such as the Knight Bus, Weasleys' Ford Anglia and Hagrid's Bike.

There's a cafe selling Butterbeer as well!

Ford Anglia

Knighr Bus

Wizard Chess

Riddle's Tomb

No.4 Privet Drive

Potter's Cottage

Hogwarts Bridge

Creatures Room

Creature Room is rather small. Here, we could see a variety of magical creatures that had been featured in Harry Potter movies. Some of them are puppet and some are robots. Most of the creatures were invented in 1:1 scale. The creatures include goblin, owls, thestrals, dragons, mandrakes, Dobby the house elf, Buckbeak the hippogriff, dementors, merpeople, grindylow and many others. In addition, a full scale model of several actors were also displayed here such as Harry Potter, Dumbledore, Hagrid, Katie Bell, Draco Malfoy and Charity Burbage. A little baby Voldemort robot was displayed here as well.

Mandrakes and Goblin masks

1:! scale human models

Thestral, dementor, Horntail, Charity Burbage and Aunt Marge.

Grindylow, Voldemort, dragons & Hedwig

Cornish Pixy, owl, merpeople and Grawp

Basilisk's bones, Buckbeak, dementor & mandrake

Diagon Alley

Probably the most long-awaited set that I wanted to visit. This alley was full with two rows of shops which include Madam Malkins, Weasleys' Wheezes, Ollivander's Wand Shop, Gringotts and many others. The only thing that I hate here was that the lighting kept on changing colours, especially to blue. It affected our photos badly. (=.=). I think the tour would be more interesting if we could enter each shops to see the interior design of the shops.

Weasley Wheezes

Model Room

It started with White Card Models where a series of buildings were modelled into smaller scale by using white cards. First, there was Hogsmeade, then Hogwarts followed by Classrooms, Quidditch World Cup Stadium, Lovegood's house, Astronomy Tower and also the Whomping Willow. A few concept arts by artists were also displayed on the wall. After that, we were directed into a large room where a Hogwarts model was placed. It was definitely fantastic! The details looked real and the model was so huge! Nice one! :)

Hogwarts Model

Towards the end of our tour, there is a room full of wand boxes. Each of the boxes was marked with the designers' names. The wand boxes were handmade.


We finished out tour in less than two hoursand we found ourselves in the souvenir shop. They sell most of the items that are memorable to the visitors such as costumes, books, snacks and whatnot. Costumes include robes, sweaters, neckties, hats, prom dresses and wands. I grabbed a few fridge magnets, postcards, a Gryffindor t-shirt, and a pin badge. Things were very expensive here. So I bought for myself only. A wand cost £24.99. I didn't buy any since I already got 6 of them which I purchased from ebay. Ahhh, and I bought a couple of Chocolate Frogs as well! They cost £7.99 each. Quite expensive, but lantaklahhh.. I just want the 3D cards inside and I got Godric Gryffindor and Rowena Ravenclaw! :)  

There's a lot of things that I really wanted to buy such as the Marauder's Map, scarfs and more t-shirts but I simply couldn't afford to buy those things. I already spent £80 in this shop. Huhu..

After everyone had finished buying their stuffs, we had a quick lunch at the cafe. I bought an egg sandwich and a bottle of juice.

Alhamdulillah, finally we had been to this place which we had been dreaming to go since it was first open in spring. I'm glad it went well although the weather was extremely hot that day.

Monday, July 23, 2012

More Summer Trip Day 2 - Harry Potter WB Studio Tour (Part 1)

We had our breakfast in the hotel room. They provided free complementary drinks such as tea and coffee too. I ate the instant pasta which I bought last night. We woke up early since our train will depart 8.30 am.

The train left from Birmingham New Street and reached Watford Junction 2 hours later. I had pre-purchased the tickets online and chose the cheapest one which cost about £10 for a return journey. But of course I was the only one who got the cheapest price since I have a Railcard (entitled for 20% discount). Hihihi.. =D

As soon as we arrived, we headed outside looking for the bus stop which would shuttled us to the studio itself. Oh my my, there's a lot of people queuing already. The bus was very Potterish, it was double-decked with the exterior decoration of Harry Potter photos. Nice~ But we missed the first bus since it was overloaded but shorly after that, the next bus arrived. Alhamdulillah. The bus costs £2 for a return journey.

Fans queuing up for the shuttle bus.

After 15 minutes, we reached the huge studio, The Making of Harry Potter- Warner Bros Studio Tour. I went to the kiosk to collect our tickets. The ticket must be purchased online and it costs £28. However, if you are coming in a group of 10, you can get a reduced price. OMG, I was so excited! But our tour started at 11.30 am, so we lingered around the lobby taking some photos. The lobby was decorated with the portraits of the casts, a hanging Ford Anglia and an astronomy monument. 

Tadaaa! Here we are! :)


Then, we queued up at the entrance while the staff scanned our tickets. The 'cupboard under the stairs' set was displayed here. It's a place where Harry had been living for 11 years with the Dursleys..

Cupboard under the stairs. Harry's first bedroom.

Waiting Room

We entered a waiting room while waiting for our turn to enter the cinema. Inside this dark room, there were several monitors which displayed Harry Potter film posters in different languages. This was to show that Harry Potter saga was well known and acceptable in a lot of countries.


A short intro about Harry Potter movie scenes and Harry, Ron & Hermione made a brief introduction of the studio on the big wide screen. At the end of the clip, the white screen folded up revealing the entrance to the Great Hall behind it. This was awesome! We're getting so exciting while gathering in front of the door. The entrance was just like the movie, with the suits of armour standing on the walls.

The Great Hall

The most famous set in Harry Potter films. The hall itself is very big with long tables and benches for each of the Hogwarts houses: Gryffindor, Slytherin, Ravenclaw and Hufflepuff. Many costumes were displayed here such as school robes, Triwizard t-shirt, ghost dresses and teacher's costumes as well. At the teacher's table, the statues of the Hogwarts teachers were placed at the front. They includes Dumbledore, McGonagall, Snape, Moody, Flitwick, Trelawney and Hagrid. There's a house point counter as well which resembles hourglasses. Hogwarts logos were carved on the stone walls.

The Great Hall door

Suits of armours

Hogwarts emblem

Long dining table

Point counter

The magnificent Great Hall

Costumes for Hufflepuff and Ravenclaw

More costumes

Teachers and staffs

Interior Sets

Next to the Great Hall, lies a big hall occupying interior sets from Harry Potter series. This includes the famous Gryffindo Common Room, Dumbledore's office, Potion class, Umbridge's pink office, Hagrid's hut, Ministry of Magic, Horcruxes, Quidditch and many more awesome sets. It was very fascinating seeing these sets created with such details and accuracy.

Yule Ball dresses

Yule Ball table decoration

Ron's costume

Gryffindor common room

Dumbledore's office with Pensieve

Four Potter fans
Horcruxes - Ravenclaw's diadem, Hufflepuff's cup, Slytherin's locket, Tom Riddle's diary and Marvolo Gaunt's ring.

Potion class
Chamber of Secret's door

Hagrid's Hut

Marble stairs and Gringotts cart

Goblet of Fire, trophy, broomstick, Hagrid's bike and Moody's chest.


The Burrows

The evils

Ministry of Magic - statue

Voldemort, Gringotts' vault door, Vanishing cabinet and Death Eater masks.

The very pinkish Umbridge's office

Ministry of Magic



Sirius' family tapestry

We were so amazed by the creation of these interior sets. The props were made in so much details and some of them were hand-crafted. I wonder when Malaysian film makers will reach this level.. Hmmm...

That's all for Part 1.

I will continue writing Part 2 when I got time. Part 2 will cover the exterior sets, magical creatures, Diagon Alley and model room.

Happy Ramadhan peeps!


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