The End End End

After three weeks in London and chasing the torch from Buckingham Palace, the Beatles Abbey Road tour, the Big Bus Tour, the Sherlock Holmes tour, riding on the London Eye, running in Hyde Park, Regent Street shopping, Covent Gardens and all kinds of activities in Victoria Park, and countless trips on the tube, one might wonder what there is left to do? The answer is SO MUCH!! We can’t leave England without seeing Harry Potter and Shakespeare!

Yesterday, Jake, Ryan and I went to Warner Brothers Studio in Hertfordshire.  It was a little more then an hour away and we had to take two Underground lines, a train and a bus to get to the studio.  When we got off the final train we saw the “Harry Potter Bus.”

Decorated to look like Diagon Alley, this bus took us right to the studio.

The tour was amazing.  From the exact replica of the Great Hall, Gryffindor common room, Burrow, Hagrid’s Hut and more. To the props, the costumes, the creature replicas, everywhere we look there was something else to see.  The set replica’s were amazing.  Everything seemed so real and just as big in person as in the films.

     

One of my favorite rooms was where the magical creatures were explained.  Voldemort as the baby was electronically activated as was the Monster book that Hagrid required for his class.  My favorite item was Buckbeak the hippogriff.  This magical creature turned his head to the crowd and bowed.

Finally after walking through Diagon Alley, past Ollivander’s and Weasley’s Wizarding Wheezes, we turned the corner to the best surprise of all.  The replica of Hogwarts.  This replica was lit up and transitioned from night to day as we watched.  There were computer screens around the castle with very interesting facts about the making…but you’ll have to go see those for yourself. 🙂

Then today we went to the Imperial War Museum.  The exhibits were so informative and vivid, especially the Holocaust Exhibit.  The five floors took us almost three hours to go through and there was still so much more to see and read.

Then this afternoon we went to the Shakespeare Globe Theater.  We didn’t go in but just being outside of such a historic and beautiful recreation was an honor.

 

Tomorrow, we plan to finish our adventure by watching the Changing of the Guards at Buckingham Palace.

I can’t believe how fast this trip has flown by.  Every minute has been so much fun because of these five other people with me. Without the connection we made with each other, this trip would have been so different.  As Izzy has said many times, we really gelled as a group.  Not only as a production team but as a family.  I am really going to miss being with Izzy, Jake, Ryan, Quinton and Bill everyday.

The End End – Isabel Garcia

Last night was the final show for Temple@The London Olympics. Words cannot describe the feelings I, myself, and I am sure my fellow participants, are experiencing. After we had the official “OK” from Philadelphia that we were clear, we all huddled together and smiled and hugged. It was the ultimate feeling of success mixed with a pinch of sadness for the work would now be over. The entire time I have been in London, I anticipated time would pass by quickly; it did and it didn’t. From the Big Bus Tour to the James Bond Exhibit, from The Dark Knight Rises to our Olympic Walk, there are an endless number of memories I will cherish for the rest of my life.

I have learned many things in my journalism classes at Temple University, but one of my favorite pieces of advice is that people may not always remember what is said, but they will remember how the story made them feel. In the beginning of this trip, Professor Mooney gave me some guidance which I believe correlates with that advice: “You must focus on living in the moment; live in the here and now.” For someone who plans their day out by the hour, that really stuck with me.

Sometimes I find myself trying to hold on to each moment so that I don’t forget it, but memories do fade. My best and most cherished memories I will take with me from this program will be the laughter. All of us just “clicked” as a group (including Professor Mooney, of course!), and whether it was over family dinner or just walking around London, there was always laughter and smiles.

Isabel Garcia, Hope Janelle Berninghausen, Jake Rasmussen, Ryan Geffert, Quinton Bosman, [Professor] Bill Mooney

As we took apart Studio 8, which had become a “home base” to us, all of the memories rushed over me; it almost seemed surreal, dream-like. The last item we took down was the backdrop. After each member of the London team signed it (in pink, it was all I had!) and I wrote “Original Cast, July 23 – August 13, 2012”, I truly felt like we left our mark. My final thoughts: I am proud. I am proud to be a part of this team and to have worked with the best people in the television news industry. For a final time I will say, “Live from London, I’m Isabel Garcia.”

Cost For Olympic Gold Editorial

August 7th, 2012

Cost For Olympic Gold

By QUINTON E BOSMAN.

LONDON- Tourism is not a new concept to London. Each year millions of visitors come to visit the world famous city to experience a multitude of historic sites and British culture. With a recent spike in popularity from the royal wedding, England once again has taken center stage in the world as it hosts the Olympic games for the third time. As a town known for pomp and circumstance, the Olympics are sure to bring bragging rights back to the rainy city. Pride does come at a significant cost however. With a substantial increase in tourist foot traffic, that means more hotels, restaurants and stores accommodating the masses. This should translate into a sizable gain for England’s economy. There are many factors however, that go along with making sure the risk of hosting the Olympics is worth the reward. Considering shaky trends from cities who have hosted the Olympic games in the past, London is no exception. Vendors may see a temporary increase in revenue, but what is the lasting effect for other facets of the city?

Naturally, hosting the Olympic games brings an opportunity to see increased revenue from tourists. Arguably the biggest to benefit from the increase are street vendors and local shop owners. Vincent Branfield, a local vendor expresses early concerns about the Olympic crowds and the effects on business:

“At first I was pretty nervous for the games to get here with all the crowds and everything. I wasn’t sure if that would scare away customers but it definitely hasn’t. It’s crazy how many people I’ve seen in this past week alone.”

Branfield, who sells London souvenirs made it clear that part of his increase comes from tourists who are looking to bring home keepsakes from London but not pay prices for official Olympic souvenirs. As the official Olympic gear has been trademarked, many vendors have opted to sell more traditional souvenirs, a tactic that according to Branfield, may be the only way to survive.

Seeing an increase in revenue from souvenirs does not necessarily translate into a substantial gain for the city or its residents. Many commuters, shop owners and local residents have become more complacent due to the increase in tourist spending. While vendors can go to where the action is, shop owners cannot. Instead they must promote the Olympics wherever they can. This also adds to a false sense of revenue gain for the city. Outward gains are concentrated on Olympic apparel and London souvenirs, which leaves businesses who have no ties to the games, out in the cold. The BBC recently referenced a figure from Experian that showed on Tuesday, foot traffic in East London had fallen by 9.6% from last year and West London by 4.5%. This does not mean that retailers have not tried different tactics. Throughout Regent street storefronts are completely decorated with Olympic decorations and even supportive flyers for team GB. Apple has even gone as far as to release free Olympic iPad and iPhone pins everyday during the games. These tactics should offset tourist concentration in East London, however they have not completely held successful as of yet.

Now consider local employees who have even less ties to the games than shop owners. Many of the business districts in London become overcrowded with tourists, mainly sightseeing or using public transportation. Deniz Karatepe, a London press officer recounts past struggles with getting to work.

“There are times where people can’t even fit on the tube. I’ve never seen that before. It’s just an extra hassle for everybody, and are we really making that much money off of it?”

The games have brought massive attention to London, however it seems to be concentrated in particular areas only. Vendors have garnered much of the tourist attention while local shops and retailers have seen a drop off. Only after the final medal count and when the flames of the Olympic torch are extinguished will we see whether hosting the Olympic games was a major win or loss for London.

Olympic Tourist Surge Drives Locals Out

August 4th, 2010, 1:10 pm

Olympic Tourist Surge Drives Locals Out By QUINTON E BOSMAN.

LONDON- Where would you go if your city was about to be invaded by tourists? Would you stay there and get swallowed alive? Or would you run for shelter in the nearest suburb or town? This is a question that many Londoners have been faced with. The excitement and fireworks that have always surrounded the Olympic games can sometimes translate into doom and gloom for the host city. Images of overcrowded streets and transportation, violence, terrorism, and overall inconvenience plague the minds of those who would like to enjoy their everyday life. For many, the Olympics is as much a chore as it is a celebration.

The Telegraph reports that in 2010 London saw nearly 14.6 million visitors, a normal amount even in times of economic uncertainty. While London has always been a busy city, the traffic is still bearable according to Nisha Mehta a London native who recently moved to America.

“I came back to London during the Olympics but not for the Olympics. Honestly I was dreading it. I knew it would be more crowded than usual and definitely more frustrating. I have never seen so many crowds! This is a mad house!”

Mehta, who would be leaving shortly to avoid the intense crowds also alluded to a fear of terrorist plots.

“They say it every Olympic games and nothing usually happens but London is at the center of everything, I don’t think its smart to think that nothing will happen on the streets or on the tube.”

So far most residential areas of London have been virtually un-bothered by tourists but according to the BBC, the Tube, London’s world renowned underground transport system, carried a record breaking 4.4 million passengers on Friday. London overground transport system carried nearly 2.86 million passengers in one week. Still no major violence or terrorism has been reported in London. Small traces of pickpocketing have been witnessed, however this is nothing new for European countries.

So where have all the locals gone? So far there has been a strong mix of locals migrating to the countryside and to less busy suburbs, other European countries, and staying put in London. As Minkee Kim, a London native states:

“This may be the only time the Games are in my city during my lifetime. I don’t care as much about the stresses of crowds, its London, if you don’t like crowds, you probably shouldn’t be here.”

While this is true the Olympics may not be in London again for a long time, the current track record states otherwise as it is London’s third time hosting the games.

It is residents like Minkee who British Airways would be pleased with. Recently they launched a “tongue-in-cheek” campaign with the slogan, “Don’t fly. Support team GB.” Great Britain wants residents to stay in the country during the games to experience Olympic excitement and to reinforce British pride. The advertisement is placed all over London with a main focus on the Tube. The campaign also focused heavily on social media. This type of campaign may seem unusual as it would lead to lesser profits for the Airline however Washington Post reports that British Airways saw a 6.9 percent gain in revenue passenger kilometers.

Other European countries however have taken advantage of the expected exodus from London. Hostels and hotels have seen a major increase in revenue from London tourists. Even transcontinental transportation has raised prices. A Eurostar train ticket from London to Paris in October is roughly 68 pounds round trip as opposed to 79 pounds one way during the Olympics.

While it is a hassle for any city and its natives to host the Olympic Games, within Europe it may be just as strenuous to leave. If plans to leave London during the Olympics were not made far in advance, it may be worth it to stay in the madness.

London: A Look Back – Jake Rasmussen

This is my last blog entry, and I felt that I should take this opportunity to look back at all the things we have done through a slideshow. Pictures of us working, exploring the city, stores we’ve seen, food we have ate and activities that we have done are all included.

Of course, I’m going to miss this program a whole lot. I will come away with new experiences, new friends and new memories! Tonight is our last show; time sure flew by. Thanks to everyone who made this trip possible!

A Fire Will Rise – Quinton Bosman

I can’t say I knew we were this close to the 20th Century Fox building, but what a fitting discovery for the day! The building is located in the Soho section of the city and to be honest it seems pretty normal. Nothing special, just employees in cubicles staring at pictures of their families.

Today was a more relaxing day, we have set ourselves up for success by doing a lot of our work during the earlier weeks. We got treated to a special showing of The Dark Knight Rises by Professor Mooney today at the Science Museum. Best theatre lobby ever.

Also found this guy at Covent Garden…

This is Bond … James Bond – Hope Janelle Berninghausen

Well today was another fun filled day.  After I woke everyone up (like the mother) we got ready and headed off to The Barbican Centre’s exhibit “Designing 007: Fifty Years of Bond Style.”  There were 12 different rooms, each with different memorabilia in them.  We weren’t allowed to take pictures in the exhibit, but I’ll describe several rooms.  The girl’s favorite room was one that had all of the costumes from each casino scene.  There were dresses dripping in diamonds and tuxedos from most of the movies.  There was a room that told the story of Ian Fleming, and a recreation of M’s office.  Another really interesting room had a ton of gadgets that Bond has used in the movies, from a replica of the underwater car, to guns and cell phones.

Tomorrow, we plan on going to Regent Street, and then to the Science Museum to see The Dark Knight Rises!! We are starting to realize that our time is very close to being over. There are still so many places we want to see and so many different kinds of food we want to eat. Hopefully we can get it in in the few days we have left!!

¡Barcelona! – Quinton Bosman

In the midst of the Olympic craziness, I decided to escape to Barcelona for a little while. The city known for it’s inventive architecture and beautiful beaches was still buzzing with Olympic fever. There is no escape! Honestly who would want to escape the Games? Everyone was talking about them. There wasn’t a bar or cafe that didn’t have the events on the television screen.

I did notice a large number of British tourists who claimed that they had been country hoping to try to avoid the madness in their hometown of London. I noticed them in the Barceloneta section of the city which featured a dock full of ships and restaurants. It also had an amazing view of the Monseratt.

I couldn’t help but compare Barcelona to London, the entire time I was there. I have always loved Spain, but now England has a special place in my heart. One major difference however is the beach. Nothing beats a great beach. Barcelona has seven. Sorry London.

Controversial Harrods – Quinton Bosman

One of the places that is a few blocks away from our flat is Harrods department store. It is famous for luxury brands, a vast food court and amazing architecture. I have never seen anything like it in my life. I can’t believe people actually buy things from this place, but they have been in business since 1849 so they must be doing something right.

The prices were astronomical. We saw a couch worth $32,000. The mirror below cost $17,000.

One of the most interesting things I found in the store was a small memorial to Princess Diana. In all honesty there are plenty of times where I have forgotten that she is no longer with us. A book was laid out for patrons to sign along with a beautiful statue created in her honor.

Harrods, along with many other vendors, is displaying a tribute to the Korean culture festival with a set of Korean robots in the window. The festival is meant to showcase Korean culture such as art, technology, religion and politics. The robots may have been the strangest things I have seen so far in London. They reminded me of the episode of “Family Matters” where Steve Urkel turned into a robot. The robots in the display were all sad for some reason and they made the slowest, most awkward movements possible.

So lets get to the controversial part…

We all know and love Harrods for their luxury design and amusement park-like experience but what happens when protests begin outside of the beloved establishment? While it is clear that Harrods continues to sell fur in their store, it is unclear how that fur is obtained. Animal lovers around the world will of course side against the use of fur anywhere but even more shocking is the idea of who the trades are affecting. In what protestors call the “bloody fur trade” Harrods is accused of trading with Qatar. Harrods is the only department store in the UK to still sell real fur since it has been banned. Technically the fur is not “made” in the UK so it is still legal, however most stores have chosen not to sell at all.