Exiting Diagon Alley, we arrived by some inexplicable coincidence outside Kings Cross Station in London, England. Walking inside, we showed our identity documents, had our fingerprints scanned, and then traversed corridors that wandered in typical London Underground fashion--up and down, right and left, to and fro, this way and that, twisting and winding and turning--until we turned a final corner and slammed face-first into a brick pillar. Somehow, we passed through the bricks unharmed, and arrived at a loading platform: Number 9 3/4. There a steam locomotive, the Hogwarts Express, awaited us. We boarded, and were ushered into a comfortable, six-person compartment. Soon an alarm rang out, and the station attendants shouted in reply. We looked out to see the workers signaling the All Clear.
Inside our comfortable six-passenger compartment, we watched as the train steamed past London's narrow, crowded streets. Once we spotted a snowy white owl clutching a parcel in its beak as it flew by.
After awhile, we left the grand metropolis behind, and traveled through the verdant English countryside. At one point, a large, bearded man flew past our window in his motorcycle and sidecar.
Yes, you read that right: he flew by.
Who knew motorcycles could fly?
Through the frosted glass of our compartment, an old woman appeared, pushing a sweets trolley. Several students stopped in the hall in answer to her hails. I thought of surveying her offerings, but she never pulled our door aside to ask. She can easily be forgiven this oversight, however, given the dark events which then ensued.