Top 5 Countries I’ve Traveled To

Standard

I would be lying if I said I wasn’t proud of my traveling achievements. To date, I’ve been to 11 countries all around the world. But it’s not the quantity, it’s the quality, and I’ll be counting down my top five countries I’ve traveled to. (So far!)

These countries are in no particular order.

France

flat,1000x1000,075,f.u1.jpg

(c) clarebearhh

You’re sitting in the airport lounge between your yawning parents. It’s early, but that doesn’t matter because today you’re going to Disneyland Paris! You’ve never been on a plane before, never been outside the UK before, and you can’t contain you’re excitement. Next, you’re on an art trip, admiring the beautiful architecture of Paris, eating baguettes and sharing a room with your best-est friend in the whole wide world, thinking it can’t get much better than this. But lastly, you’re on a beach in Nice, watching the sun go down, having spent nearly a month on the road with the same best-est friend. They say everything comes in cycles, and this one might just be your favourite.

Italy

flat,1000x1000,075,f.u1 (1).jpg

(c) clarebearhh

Once again, you’re sandwiched between your parents, this time in the back of your brother’s car, driving through the rolling hills of northern Italy. You admire the vineyards, the mountains, how everything is so green. Ten years later, you come back, with a heavy heart and minus your parents. You try to relive every memory you ever had here, trying to search for your lost loved ones as if they had come here to escape their illness. It’s your own little patch of heaven, and in some ways, you can still feel them with you in every step. It’s not just northern Italy that captures your heart. In your Europe Road Trip you glide through the cities, eating pizza, pasta and gelato, enjoying the country in true Italian style.

Hungary

flat,1000x1000,075,f.u1 (2)

(c) clareberhh

You’re sitting in the bay window of your hostel, looking down on the locals whilst you read. You’re reading Looking for Alaska by John Green, which you picked up for less than a pound in an English Bookstore. You marvel at how a book can perfectly summarise the grief you feel, and capture the wunderlust you ache for. You carry it with you through the rest of the trip, and for a long, long time after that. Budapest is the perfect rest stop, with the famous bathes to sooth your aching shoulders, goulash to settling your stomach and roommates who really make the stop exciting and fresh.

Austria

flat,1000x1000,075,f.u1 (3)

(c) clarebearhh

Your inner child is squealing with joy, as you sing the songs from The Sound of Music and marvel at the filming locations. They even have a Julie Andrews exhibition, as if you weren’t excited enough. Salzburg is filled with deja vu, as is Vienna, which inhabits the stereotypical big city high street stores you would find at home. But if you look hard enough, you will find the back alley authentic Austrian gems, like the Naschmarkt, selling fresh fruit and vegetables, meat kebabs, and accessories and other trinkets made by the locals.

America

flat,1000x1000,075,f.u1 (4).jpg

(c) clarebearhh

Your J1 visa dictates a cultural exchange, you must work to earn your keep, but also have some adventures in equal measure. New York City is your favourite, the concrete jungle whisking you up in it’s frenzy. Times Square dazzles you with it’s bright lights, Broadway theaters and levels upon levels of shops. You celebrate the big 22, wearing a long, glamorous dress and having cocktails at TGI Friday’s, a burger a Planet Hollywood and a matinee show. You feel like a Princess, making it one to remember, and flying bright and early next day to Florida. Harry is waiting for you at the Islands of Adventure, where Ollivander gives you your wand, Willow with Unicorn Hair, ten and three quarter inches.

~

That concludes my top five. It was really difficult to choose from all of the wonderful places I’ve been to, and as you can tell some hold incredible memories for me. In the second part to this post, I’ll look at the places I really want to visit and haven’t yet. Are there any you think I should add to the list? Let me know in the comments!

Advertisements

Which Harry Potter film is my favourite?

Standard

Picking your favourite Harry Potter movie (or book) is like trying to pick your favourite child. I don’t take the decision lightly, hence why it has taken me SO LONG to write this post. Whichever film is left last, I immediately feel guilty for, and to be honest, each film has their strengths and weaknesses, which makes the decision even harder. Nevertheless, I’ve managed to rank them. Finally.

I would just like to take a moment to say that just because your favourite doesn’t come near the top, doesn’t mean I don’t enjoy the film or think it’s good. I love all of the Harry Potter films dearly, but my reasons for ranking them in this order is down to my own personal taste. With that in mind, let’s get underway.

8

Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix

MV5BMTM0NTczMTUzOV5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTYwMzIxNTg3._V1_SY317_CR0,0,214,317_AL_

Order of the Phoenix marks David Yates’ debut on the Harry Potter franchise, and unfortunately he was met with a difficult task. Order of the Phoenix is the largest book in the series, and so trying to condense the plot into a streamline film was going to be challenging for any director. Couple that with the fact that this was David Yates’ first Harry Potter film, I find Order of the Phoenix to be the weakest.

Scenes I Love: Dumbledore’s Army practicing in the room of requirement, watching their friendship develop and grow stronger. The Order at Grimmauld Place, especially Christmas with the Weasleys.

7

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2

MV5BMTY2MTk3MDQ1N15BMl5BanBnXkFtZTcwMzI4NzA2NQ@@._V1_SX214_AL_

I know, I know. The climax of the Harry Potter franchise charts so low on the list? Yes, but only because I cannot bear to watch my beloved characters die in the final battle. It is an amazing action film, with incredible special effects, moments of humour, and it completely charming – but I have to mentally prepare myself before I put the DVD on!

Scenes I Love: Dumbledore’s Army camping out in the room of requirement, led by the silver trio Neville, Ginny and Luna. Neville generally being a bad-ass beauty in his cardigan. Ron and Hermione FINALLY getting together. Lupin, Sirius, James and Lily walking with Harry into the Forbidden Forest. Narcissa betraying Voldemort!

6

Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone

MV5BMTYwNTM5NDkzNV5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTYwODQ4MzY5._V1_SY317_CR8,0,214,317_AL_

The film that kick-started it all. Watching the young golden trio is just a delight, and it’s so comforting to revel in the pure innocence of the Wizarding World before Voldemort’s return. Christopher Columbus managed to make the first film timeless, and no Christmas is complete without watching this film by a roaring fire and wearing a Weasley jumper.

Scenes I Love: Hagrid putting the Dursleys in their place. Harry’s first experience of Diagon Alley. Harry meeting Ron and Hermione on the train. Harry standing up to Draco (multiple times). The gold trio sleuthing around the castle figuring out the mystery.

5

Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban

MV5BMTY4NTIwODg0N15BMl5BanBnXkFtZTcwOTc0MjEzMw@@._V1_SY317_CR0,0,214,317_AL_

Prisoner of Azkaban stands out, not just visually, but as the turning point of the Harry Potter franchise. Alfonso Cuarón creates a stunning film, that sees the trio not only come into their adolescence but also gives the collection a mature tone. It’s a shame that Alfonso Cuarón didn’t stay on for more Harry Potter films, as his vision was something that was universally loved by all of the fans. 

Scenes I Love: Hermione being rubbish at Divination, yet mastering all of her classes by using a time turner. The introduction of the Mauraders, and seeing Remus and Sirius come to life. Ron and Hermione going on “dates” in Hogsmede as Harry can’t visit without permission.

4

Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets

MV5BMTcxODgwMDkxNV5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTYwMDk2MDg3._V1_SY317_CR0,0,214,317_AL_

The second film, also directed by Chris Columbus, steps up a gear with the Chamber of Secrets. Harry, Ron and Hermione return to Hogwarts with more knowledge of Voldemort, the Wizarding World and the dangers that surround Hogwarts. With Hermione being petrified for a portion of the film, we see Harry and Ron haphazardly try and navigate their way through the next mystery, and ultimately (without realising it) destroying a Horcrux.

Scenes I Love: The introduction of Dobby. Dobby is free! The Weasleys rescuing Harry from the Dursleys. Spending time at the Burrow. The Weasley’s in general. Harry’s derp moment trying to get to Diagon Alley. Lockhart being inept throughout the whole film.

3

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1

MV5BMTQ2OTE1Mjk0N15BMl5BanBnXkFtZTcwODE3MDAwNA@@._V1_SY317_CR0,0,214,317_AL_

A lot of people were opposed to splitting up the Deathly Hallows book into two films, and I can understand why. From a business perspective, it would seem as though Warner Brothers wanted to make more money by issuing two separate films, but had they not made that decision, we would not have had Part 1 in all it’s glory. I know lots of people think that the “calm before the storm” films are boring, as I heard lots of complains about Mockingjay Part 1 as well as the first Deathly Hallows film. Personally, I absolutely adore this installment. There are so many moments of light and shade, and comedy mixed with fear as the final battle looms ever closer. The dynamic between the trio strengthens as their friendship is put to the test, and even though we’re out of our usual Hogwarts setting, we’re still left with the amateur sleuthing that the trio partake in throughout all the books and films.

Scenes I Love: The flight of the seven Harrys. Preparing for the Wedding at the Burrow. The return of Dobby and Kreacher. Camping in the Forest. Harry and Hermione dancing together. The silver doe. Ron returning, destroying the Horcrux, admitting his deepest fears and feelings, and Hermione giving him hell. Ron and Harry making up and talking in the tent. The tale of the three brothers. Basically any romantic Ron/Hermione moments.

2

Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire

MV5BMTI1NDMyMjExOF5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTcwOTc4MjQzMQ@@._V1_SY317_CR0,0,214,317_AL_

Trying to decide between my number two and number one was THE MOST difficult decision ever and to be honest I switched these around a number of times. Probably by the time this post goes live I will have changed my mind again. When the Goblet of Fire DVD first came out, I watched it over and over again, so I probably know the film inside out. Mike Newell created a fantastic film, and I’m sad he didn’t stay on for more films after Goblet of Fire.

Scenes I Love: The entire Quidditch world cup sequence. Harry falling for Cho Chang and Cedric and Harry looking out for each other, despite the fact that Cedric is dating Cho. The Yule Ball sequence. Ron and Hermione arguing. Cedric’s funeral and Dumbledore’s speech. The ending with the golden trio watching Durmstrang and Bauxbatons leaving Hogwarts.

1

Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince

MV5BNzU3NDg4NTAyNV5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTcwOTg2ODg1Mg@@._V1_SX214_AL_

Half-Blood Prince is my favourite Harry Potter film, (although closely followed by Goblet of Fire). David Yates, who tackled the task of adapting the remaining Harry Potter movies, really hit his stride with this film. Once again, this film is the calm before the storm, as we see Harry and the gang return to Hogwarts after the events of Order of the Phoenix. This also marks the last time Harry is at Hogwarts before the Final Battle.

Scenes I Love: Harry and Dumbledore out on their adventures. Harry trying to flirt with the waitress. Harry returning to the Burrow and flirting with Ginny. The trio taking potions classes and Hermione getting frustrated at Harry because he is better than her (thanks to the Half-Blood Prince). Ron being rubbish and then awesome at Quidditch. Hermione and Ron fighting, flirting, trying to get back at each other. Ron being under the influence of a love potion. Harry being under the influence of Felix Felicis. And so many more!

That concludes my ranking of the Harry Potter films. Do you disagree with my choices, and think a different film should be number one? Or do you agree with me? Let me know in the comments.