Tuesday, February 17, 2015
Stumbling Upon Diagon Alley
The architecture along one Florida road reminded us of England. After passing several shops, we noticed people entering and leaving a break in the brick wall. Intrigued, we followed them through, and found more shops selling attractive wares. Upon questioning a passerby, we learned that this hidden marketplace was called Diagon Alley. Imagine finding such an English-looking place in Orlando!
One structure, which seemed afflicted by Florida's famous sinkholes, was Greengotts Bank. Either that, or the weight of the dragon atop it had caused the building's support pillars to lean diagonally rather than perpendicular with the ground.
As we wandered the cobblestone streets, pleasant aromas led us to a pub called the Leaky Cauldron. Peering inside, we saw long wooden tables, over which hung flags denoting four different Magical Houses. Their names, if I'm remembering them rightly, were Griffendoor, Hufflepuff, Ravenclaw, and Slytherin. It was well before noon, and even if we had been ravenous, the staff had not started serving lunch yet. Still, it was hard not to linger there a few minutes, and smell all that food cooking.
Diagon Alley hosted lots of shops for local craftsmen. One that was advertised as a Farriers, yet seemed more inclined to forge weaponry and armor than shod horses, was surrounded by a crowd of people. Some of them must have been competent wizards, or at least promising students. How else could I explain how the displays shook and moved when they cast their spells?
Lingering too close to a water fountain, a stone mermaid suddenly arose, and spit a long stream of water at me! It was a cool morning in Florida, and I found the wet clothes irksome. Disinclined to linger, I wandered off, ready either to explore more of Diagon Alley, or escape it somehow, if this was the manner in which its residents chose to welcome me.