- London was originally called Londini. Also, Londinium. That’s Latin for Swampy-Outpost-That-The-Romans-Really-Couldn’t-Care-About-That-Much.
- Why would you need platform nine and three quarters when you can have door eleven and a half? In olden times, the number-fraction entrance was earmarked for socially unacceptable visitors like mistresses and drug peddlers and the like.
- One particularly far-out conspiracy theory suggests that Lewis Carroll, the author of Alice in Wonderland, was Jack the Ripper- London’s most notorious serial killer who committed a series of gruesome murders in 1888, and whose identity sparks intense speculation till date. Don’t be startled to chance upon Alice in Wonderland murals in the shadowy alleys of Central London.
- Londoners, like all regular folks, have nicknames for their buildings. This is the Shard. Its pointy top is perfect to impale the villain of a superhero movie after he has destroyed half of London.
- Meet the Gherkin. That’s European for “pickled cucumber”.
- This is the Walkie Talkie. Its futuristic concave shape and mirrored glass caused sunlight to reflect in such a powerful beam on the street below that it peeled the paint right off luxury cars parked in London’s commercial headquarters. The glass windows were quickly fitted with sunshades. Now it’s called the Walkie Scorchie.
- Say hello to the Cheese Grater.
- And, of course, the Big Ben. It was originally called the Clock Tower and its official name now is the Elizabeth Tower. The clock in the tower has four faces and five bells, the biggest of which is the actual Big Ben that chimes at the hour. At the moment Big Ben- the bell, not the tower- has been taken down for repair and will report back for duty in 2021. In the meantime, it is working from home and chiming virtually on its twitter handle.
- This is a Lion, but dragons protect London. You’ll find them perched on obelisks all over Central London, clutching the flag of London in their claws, sometimes right in the middle of a busy street, baring their fangs if you please, which instantly brought to mind Hindu temples and Pipal trees all over Indian roads that stand their ground while the world just finds its way around them. The places where the dragons appear mark the boundary of the two erstwhile cities of Westminster and London.
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