I actually have very strong memories of reading a specific book start to finish, laying in a hammock on a beach on a restorative beach vacation. I remember the characters, the emotions I felt while I was reading, along with the perfect temperate weather. The vacation and that book are tied in my memory, even though it was 8 years ago.
I know my kids feel the same way about reading certain books or series in those extra magical vacation hours (or as they see it — hours stuck in the car or on a plane).
This month we experienced another way a vacation and a book can be tied together in our one-day visit to Universal in Orlando. The bulk of our vacation was spent at Disney, but we wanted to take a day to see Universal, specifically Marvel and Harry Potter.
Walking into Daigon Alley is truly a once-in-lifetime experience. Hearing people around us proclaim, “It’s so real!” reinforced to me how beloved these books are to people — that they ARE real.
Of course we had to find platform 9 3/4 to take the Hogwarts Express to Hogsmeade.
Hogsmeade was equally magical (though considerably more crowded a few hours later):
We went to Ollivanders wand store, and Kyle was chosen to select a wand, or more accurately, have it select him. It was a pricey souvenir ($50!), but he wanted to try his hand at the magic all over both parts of the worlds, and it was worth it for providing more experiences for him.
I think what he most looked forward to was trying butterbeer. When you read about these things that are totally a part of an author’s imagination, and then someone brings it to life in an authentic way, you have to try it. He asked that I record his first taste on video:
We went back for butterbeer ice cream later, a soft serve with that same flavor, and it was delicious as well.
I can’t describe it. You can’t know what it’s like from the video. You have to create your own experience in your mind from the pages or on your very own visit.
When has a vacation helped to bring a book to life for you?