On day two we went to the Shire. But such an experience deserves –nay, requires— its own post. When I bought my ticket to New Zealand I thought the shire had been put peacefully to rest after the movies. I had seen old white hillside holes in pictures and decided I didn’t need to see them, only adding to the knowledge that such a place isn’t really real. Then I was chatting with Juliana about it and she said, “No! NO! They kept them after the hobbit! My friend went to them you have to, aaaaeeeeeee!!!!” Or something to that effect. (We were also in Hogsmeade, which suspended my disbelief in magical worlds even further.)
I’ll tell you the truth, I was skeptical until I saw it with my own eyes. They bus you in from a car park and take you through in tiny groups. I was thinking…Oh maybe it’s rubbish and they make you pay first so you’re trapped.
But you guys. YOU GUYS! Hobbiton is REAL! It is really truly there, with as many hobbit holes in different shapes and sizes to fill your own shire shaped hole in your heart. The entire town is all there. The Green Dragon is rebuilt after Saruman’s burnination, the party tree is growing along the lake, Farmer Maggot’s garden is being watered and tended to, and Bag End perches above it all. It is as green and lush and darling as can be.
I could hardly curb my enthusiasm, or my pictures. Sorry for not being more choosy!
Our lead hobbit said as we started in, “Now, I want you to take as many embarrassing pictures as possible popping out of hobbit holes. You’ll never see me or any of these other people again in your life.” And when giving us the options of beer at the pub, “The ginger beer is snappy enough to make you slap your grandma!” Heee!
And he also told me that Elvish is closest to Finnish. If you speak Finnish, you’re halfway there. (When we later met a tall blonde Finnish girl on our trip I was as giddy about it as Merry and Pippin with fireworks, believe you me! But that’s for another post.)
The best part for me? It reminded me of Ravenna, and my own red hobbit hole. To think that I have found a place as hobbitish as can be found in my own corner of the world made me more glad than words can say.
I think The Burrow would fit in, don’t you? Maybe the next town over, halfway to Bree :)