Fictional and fierce – the female film characters inspiring us to travel
I love travel, I love movies, and I love female heroes. I decided to mush them all together, and use my favourite ‘sheroes’ to create a story of brilliant places to visit if you love the same things I do. Grab your popcorn, get a Netflix subscription and talk to your travel agent because you are going to want to grab your passport and run…
Hermione Granger, Harry Potter
School nerd turned saviour of the wizarding world? Even if we can’t relate to Hermione Granger, we all want to be her. She is the ultimate makeover story. Not because her frizzy hair somehow tamed itself (although I would also use magic to fix my hair if I could), but because she used her mind, tenacity and strength to become one of the most powerful wizards in the wizarding world – with a side of sass.
If Hermione is your heroine, it’s time to make a stop in Florida, Universal studios. The Wizarding World of Harry Potter will completely blow your mind. Experience the thrill of rides designed to take you into Hermione’s world, and top off your day with a crisp Butterbeer at The Leaky Cauldron. The Wizarding World of Harry Potter is not your conventional travel destination, but boy is it worth the visit. The rest of Florida is pretty cool too… when you need a break from being magical.
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Anna Scott, Notting Hill
Anna Scott is the star that has it all (well, almost). She is talented, feisty, and a little spoiled. How can we not be in love with a power-woman that has the world at her feet? Although she seems perfect, Anna also has a vulnerable side. She is constantly wrestling the need to be loved with a somewhat skewed perception that she is always being taken advantage of. In the end, she finds the balance (and love) and everybody lives happily ever after.
Taking a trip through Notting Hill is such fun. The bright, playful streets bring the characters from the movie to life, and you will almost certainly be on the lookout for the people that came out of that salon looking like a cookie monster, ‘even if they didn’t want to.’ From brilliant theatre to quirky galleries, there is no way you will find yourself in a patch of boredom in this unique part of London. If culture is not your thing, then maybe indulge your stomach in some world-class cuisine, or enjoy a quiet pint with your new local friends in one of the many pubs scattered across Notting Hill. Personally, my favourite part of this vibrant hub is the Portobello Market. I think Anna may have fallen in love with Will just so that she could live in Notting Hill, but you will have to take a visit there and see for yourself.
Agatha – The Grand Budapest Hotel
If you haven’t seen The Grand Budapest Hotel, you have denied yourself a visual feast. This movie, with its fun plot and colourful characters had me completely enraptured, but my favourite part was meeting Agatha. Other than the fact that she is gutsy enough to break a bunch of cons out of prison for the love of her life, she is confident, talented, and wears her birthmark with the pizazz a Mexico-shaped beauty spot deserves. When she is not busy rescuing Gustave and Zero, Agatha is a confectionary queen, creating masterpieces out of pastry. Mendl’s is the gorgeous bakery that everybody swooned about when The Grand Budapest Hotel came out, but did you know that the interior is actually the inside of Pfunds Molkerei in Dresden?
The hotel itself is fictional, and the gorgeous locations that you see in the movie were filmed mostly in Eastern Europe and Germany. The hotel was inspired by Grandhotel Pupp, which can be found in Karlovy Vary in Czech Republic. 180 km east of Prague, Karlovy Vary is an exquisite spa town and is the second most visited destination in the Czech Republic. It’s pretty easy to get to if you need a little visual inspiration (or a great back rub)
RELATED: 5 QUIRKY THINGS EVERYONE SHOULD KNOW ABOUT PRAGUE
Sophie Sheridan, Mamma Mia
Sophie Sheridan is delightful. Her innocent approach to simplifying very complicated matters is refreshing and fun. In the end, Sophie realizes that she is getting married for the wrong reasons, and calls her wedding off to travel the world with her fiancé. Swapping out being married for traveling the world is a pretty good trade off, especially if you still get to stay with the guy you love. For me, Sophie is a total ‘shero’.
Film locations of Mama Mia are magnificent. Bright pink bougainvillea rest cheerfully around entrance ways, contrasted by the vivid blue ocean and gorgeous greys of the flag-stoned floors. Just watching the beach scenes of this movie made me want to crawl into a swimsuit and fly to Greece. If you are hoping to see the exact locations of the film, you will need to catch a domestic flight from Athens to Skiathos, and from there, a ferry to Skopelos. Skopelos’ initial charm was that it was a peaceful, beautiful island, but since filming, it has become exceptionally busy. The locals, however, are as accommodating and charming as ever. If you are unconcerned at seeing the exact spot Meryl Streep sung to Pierce Brosnan, and you would just like to live in the rapturous glory of a Greek island holiday, you will be able to capture the same charm and beauty on any of the Greek islands.
Bridget Jones, Bridget Jones’ Diary: The Edge of Reason
Bridget revolutionized being a singleton. She didn’t settle just because all her friends were getting married and having kids. She waited for something really special. Like a disastrous love triangle between a man-whore and the bloke obsessed with folding his underpants. Or falling into a batch of pig poo. Or accidentally painting her face like a clown in the dark. Or… Well, you get the picture. It’s not perfect, but dammit it’s real! She’s just a normal girl, battling with smoking and drinking and weight and men and heartbreak and calorie-counting. She’s funny, and makes us feel OK about not being the perfect 20-something year old Instagram mom with a Ferrari pram and a six pack.
In Bridget Jones: The Edge of Reason, Bridget toyed with the (terrible) idea of a night with Daniel Cleaver in the fisherman’s village of Ko Panyi. Ko Panyi is a unique tourist attraction because it is all built on stilts. It even boasts a floating football pitch. It’s pretty cool to see, but even cooler is the stunning northern part of Nai Yang beach. The Northern part of Nai Yang beach is undeveloped, because it forms part of the Sirinath National Park. It’s also a pretty quiet spot, if you prefer a relaxing, immersive experience. Locals love this spot, and you will find that they often hang out here on weekends. If you prefer a party vibe, there is great nightlife further south, and you wont be disappointed by the fun to be had.
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