Harry Potter’s London // Letters to October (9)

Dear October,

A day before I left home again, I started re-reading Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets. It’s a battered copy with my name written in it in sparkly gel pen — three times. As I packed, I snuck it into my bag, leaving new, unread books behind. It’s not a coincidence that this slightly melancholy moment in my life unfolded between the pages of a Harry Potter book. When I first started university, I took Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone with me to deal with homesickness. And the more MA coursework I got stuck into this year, the more re-reads of the series I did.

Over the years, Harry Potter has become a source of comfort. Last January was such an occasion. The New Year’s festivities were behind us, leaving the world slightly deflated of energy, as if everyone were thinking, ‘What now?’. The days seemed comprised of darkness and frost. My friends and I decided to bring a bit of magical cheer into one dismal winter day by planning a Harry Potter tour of London. Here are the locations we risked frostbite to visit:

1. Platform 9 3/4

We started the day at none other than the iconic platform 9 3/4. Here, you can take a picture with the trolley, take a look around the shop and if you’re lucky, go through the barrier and spend the rest of the day in the wizarding world.

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Visiting Vatican // Letters to October (5)

Dear October,

In the quiet moments — a few seconds before opening my eyes in the morning or just glancing out of the corner of my eye — Rome felt like Calcutta. All memories of my birthplace are tied to my grandmother’s house. The barking dogs, narrow alleyways, even the way the rays of sunlight fell in the early afternoon — all brought me back to the place I spent my holidays, playing and napping and eating to bursting point.

I liked Rome especially in those moments. It felt like being home.

Day two of our visit to Italy, my parents and I visited Vatican City. We took a hop-on hop-off bus, which took us on a beautiful route around Rome as well. The streets bustled with life and energy and for the third time in my life (after living in New Delhi and London), doubt flickered in my mind about New York being the only city that never sleeps.

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Roaming in Rome: Day 1

My day started earlier than usual today. Rubbing the sleep from my eyes, hastily pulling on clothes laid out the night before and shoving my toothbrush in the suitcase before bolting out the door to the waiting taxi. I’d been at the airport a day before, on my way home from university. It felt tiring to fly again so soon but once the plane landed and warm air washed over me, the fatigue lifted.

I’ve been dreaming about visiting Rome for years. A place so steeped in history and extraordinary stories. And now we’re finally here. My family and I are in Italy for the next few days and I’m going to document our adventures in a mini travel/photography series. It’s something I haven’t really done before on this blog, but I hope you enjoy reading it!


Day 1: Arrival in Rome

We got to Rome around mid-afternoon, and the first stop after our hotel was food. We found a local restaurant and of course, tried some pasta. I wanted to try some limoncello but was too shy to ask what it was — maybe tomorrow.

Next, we decided to walk around the neighbourhood. Here you can see some of the splashes of colour around the city.

Our first stop was the Piazza dell’Esquilino. Nearby was the Basilica di Santa Maria Maggiore. The amount of detail on these buildings was stunning.

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