When Fact Is Better Than Fiction

Words by: Simone Kealy
Art by: Ashley Scott

While many of us have escaped into fiction during quarantine, there are numerous places across the globe that bring these stories to life. Here are a few that have inspired me to travel after this madness is over.

Harry Potter

Harry Potter was an integral part of my childhood. It was the first proper book series I read, and I remember sitting by myself during lunchtime reading them as an escape from my bully-ridden primary school years. The series held such a special place in my heart, so to be able to visit any of its locations would be a dream come true. Platform 93/4 at King Cross Station in London is one of those places. Here, a luggage trolley that Hogwarts’ students used is inserted into the platform’s wall. If I could go, I would definitely be the first in line to get my picture taken, wearing my Ravenclaw scarf and waving a wand. Another place on my Harry Potter bucket list is Alnwick Castle. It was used for the first two Harry Potter films and is recognised as the place where Harry and his friends first learnt how to fly broomsticks. Fittingly, Alnwick Castle also offers flying lessons.

Doctor Who

I was first introduced to Doctor Who when I was 12 and I have loved it ever since. Seeing the adventures that the Doctor had with companions across time and space, in places that I could only ever dream of, inspired my desire to travel. I remember I hoped that I too, like Amy, would find the Doctor crash-landed in my backyard so that I could join him in his escapades. The Doctor Who Museum in London inspires such fantasies. To get into the museum, visitors must first enter a TARDIS replica. So yes, it is indeed bigger on the inside! You can find over 120 Doctor Who-themed items, props and costumes in the museum, such as an authentic costume worn by the 11th Doctor, a genuine Vincent Van Gogh costume and original scripts. Both my 12-year-old and 20-year-old self are longing to visit so that I can feel that small bit of magic I experienced when watching the show.

Twilight

Whilst others have learnt how to bake bread or started a side-hustle during quarantine, I recently read and watched the entire Twilight Series for the first time. Despite never reading them before, I felt a sense of nostalgia for when I was in high school and obsessed with teenage drama novels such as The Hunger Games
and Divergent. To experience those feelings again were a welcome release from the reality of our current
world. One of the most captivating aspects of Twilight is its breathtakingly beautiful film settings, fitted with lush green forests and rugged yet majestic beaches. Fortunately, the set is based on a real place called Forks, in Washington State in the US. There are tours that take visitors to see Bella and Edward’s houses, the character’s high school and the infamous red truck, but what really interests me is hiking through Olympic National Park and walking along La Push’s beaches. The setting seems so magical, I can nearly imagine vampires running through the trees, or Jacob walking along the beach. Not many works of fiction have a real-life place where fans can visit, so Forks is truly special.

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