Hello, Sweetie

Cardiff revisited: a nerdy day trip

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Did someone call for the Doctor? Doctor Who Experience, Cardiff, Wales. January 2016.

As I wrap up my nerd-tastic week following Gallifrey One, the annual Doctor Who convention in Los Angeles, I feel it is only fitting to revisit another geek-centric trip I recently conducted: a quick day trip to the Doctor Who mecca: Cardiff, Wales.

If you haven’t been, this is in no way an exaggeration.

The amount of questions which started with “As you may or may not know, Doctor Who fans regularly make pilgrimages to Cardiff…” And if you are a Doctor Who fan, this is a trip you will truly want to make.

A few years ago, during Matt’s time as the eleventh Doctor, I was able to go to BBC’s walk through show and exhibition- The BBC’s Doctor Who Experience – which was great fun for fans of all ages.

But for our older fans (well, fine, the young one’s too), the tour has stepped up its game. As the twelfth Doctor has taken over our screens, Capaldi has taken over Doctor Who Experience, making it a darker and much more sarcastic ride through all your favorite monsters.

I won’t write much more than this here as I don’t want any spoilers slipping out, just get here and trust me.

TXAV9005As a fan of fashion and cosplay, I am also a huge fan of the museum half of the tour which is currently flooded with Clara Oswald costumes. This is the half where you can take as many pictures as you want and get great cosplay ideas – trust me the pictures and first hand viewing helps – for a variety of characters.

And again, for us older fans (and this time I mean it!), find and watch Torchwood then give yourself some time to wander the varied locations across Cardiff Bay, especially Ianto’s memorial wall. This is one stop we hit every visit as the memorial changes constantly – as a fan, it really is quite the experience.

If you are interested in the other Doctor Who experiences – the unofficial kind like filming locations – there are a million and one lists of Who universe  locals to search out, however, you will need a car to get to many. For some ideas check out my other Doctor Who posts where I detail other locations.

But until next time, keep your nerd flag high.

This is Leave on the Wind, helping you soar.

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Hello, Sweetie

So here comes the Geek-out…

…like, a whole mess of it.

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Hogwarts Castle, Film Model. London, England. Summer 2013.

So, I know back in March (wow that feel like forever ago!) we were talking about planning and themes. I ran a through a few but here we’re going to delve in a little deeper; a little further into the levels of geekdom and where it can take you.

Once again it just has to do with research… though at other times it seems to be simple dumb luck. And of course geeking out can and often does has to do with much more than tv shows and movies—we hit cemeteries and “murder tours” because my sister is a criminology student who is a geek about her major as well as literary locations because I’m a geek for all things language and literature. But following are a few of our big geek-outs that range in widespread notoriety and we’ll talk what we saw and how to find your very own Nerd-spaces.

So the picture above is one of the exhibits you can see as part of the Warner Brother’s Studio Tour London—Making of Harry Potter. This is one of the filming models and I swear I almost cried upon seeing it. I mean a serious nerdy moment of awe. If you are a fan of a specific tv/movie/book/ect, most of the big tours through official channels are worthwhile to visit. They also tend to be very easy to find. I suggest (before simple googling the title + film locations) going straight to the main studio or company who produced them and see what they have on their websites; official source means official products/ tours. However, they can cost… a lot; I mean, more than an individual’s budget may allow for. Each person has to weigh their options, but what I can say about this tour (equally, if not more than, the BBC’s Doctor Who Experience; the Doctor Who equivalent though to a smaller scale) is that you get to see tons of real props and costumes as well as screen and audio commentaries that really make the cost worth it, at least for a girl who grew up reading (read: devouring) the novels.

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Ianto Jones’s Memorial. Cardiff, Wales. Summer 2013.

Once you’ve checked out the official channels for your geeked-out travels, go ahead and work on that Google search (country/city + title + “film locations”). You’ll find tons of lists, especially if you are visiting one of the cities you are aware of your interest being filmed in. For example, if you like BBC shows, Cardiff has tons of stuff to see as well as most of wales as it has become like the US’s Canada… an area where you can live, film and produce easily and cheaply while making great tv or movies. Then work through some blogs—we talked about this approach when we were working with “walking like a local”—to see fan based locations. Thinking about it, looking through travel and your fandom on sites like Tumblr will probably give you tons of ideas as well (beware of being sucked into that black hole, of course).

For our trip, these location really focused on Torchwood locations in Cardiff, Wales. You can do tours for these locations (unofficial usually) but they tend to range in both price and quality. Once you have the list of locations (go marathon the scenes before you head out, if you need to jog your memory), go off on your own; at least that’s my suggestion. It was when we were looking for Ianto Jones’s entrance to Torchwood Three headquarters when we ran straight into the wall above. Ianto Jones was/is a beloved character in the show who (spoilers!) died saving the children of Earth in 2009. This memorial was erected and was still being kept up and added to when we were visited in 2013 and is still standing strong. That’s the fun of going to these filming locations; you never know what fantastic nerdy adventures and monuments you’ll be able to experience!

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Tombstone of John Winchester—no, not the Supernatural one! Necropolis, Glasgow, Scotland. Summer 2013.

Which leads us to one of my favorite fan experiences you can have while traveling (you know, besides stumbling onto a set where all of your favorite actors happen to be… You know, accidentally.), the totally surprising and (yes) accidental ones. These are the ones you can’t or don’t research and you don’t see coming. Instead you turn around and BANG, there it is. We had this a few times on our trip. Ianto’s Wall was one, but it wasn’t as subtle and hard to come by as others.

One we almost missed but had my sister running through a Scottish cemetery excitedly is featured in the image above. We were in Necropolis—Glasgow’s huge city of the dead (a little morbid but a really lovely place)—just wandering and looking out for Angels (as Who fans are wont to do and, no, we did not take pictures of those!), when Bex did a double take. John Winchester is the father of the two protagonists on the Warner Brother’s show Supernatural and Bex is a huge fan. Yes, it was sad that the name was on a tombstone, but what were the chances of walking past and actually reading that one out of the thousands surrounding us? That’s what made it so special.

Then, as we exited the cemetery, we got another fan moment. Across the street, just sitting on the corner, was an old blue box; a police box. To say we ran toward it is an understatement. For anyone who does not understand the significance, The Doctor (the namesake of the BBC’s Doctor Who) travels around time and space in an old blue Police Box called the TARDIS. To say our hearts broke a little seeing it sitting outside a graveyard is an understatement but we also were more than ready to jump on in and go on adventures with the loveable (if not incredibly broken) Timelord. Alas, the Doctor was not in but it was a huge moment of unscheduled fandom hysterics that seemed to amuse the passersby.

The only advice I can give when it comes to these experience is: Just keep your eyes open! Oh, right, and of course, embrace them.

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We found the TARDIS! Outside Necropolis, Glasgow, Scotland. Summer 2013.

So below let me know where you have found/seen/discovered some awesome nerdiness on your travels or those spots you really want to see! Also, if anyone has a specific question or topic the want to see covered in the next few weeks, feel free to drop a line about that as well.

Anyway, until next time, let your freak flags fly and I love you awesome nerds,

I’m Leave on the Wind, helping you soar.

So here comes the Geek-out…