London’s History Map: Discovering History at Every Corner

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London is one of my favorite European countries and I’ve visited it many times. Of course, the first two times in the town I went straight to the most famous places, like The Big Ben or Victoria and Albert Museum. But then I wanted to see more, to find out more about London’s amazing history. And I was not disappointed, because you can find history at every corner in this amazing city. You can literally walk past something interesting daily. Here is my list of interesting, history-rich places in London.

The final resting place of Joseph Merrick

Whitechapel is famous for being the hunting ground of the infamous Ripper, but it also offers other interesting and history-rich places. One of them is the Royal London Hospital, which is the last resting place of Joseph Merrick, known as the “Elephant Man”. He suffered from an unknown medical condition which deformed his face and skull. After he was paraded around Europe in a curiosity freak show, he ended up in the Royal London Hospital, where he died in 1890. A replica of his skeleton can be seen at the hospital’s museum, located in a small church, along with other interesting exhibits. The museum is across the street from the actual hospital, downstairs in the former crypt and is very easy to access from the Whitechapel underground station.

Trafalgar square’s smallest police station

Walking along Trafalgar Square you will see a large post for a street lamp, equipped with a black door. Well, I found that it was actually a Police post. The smallest in London, installed in 1926 and kept in use for some time. A policeman was sitting inside the tiny post to watch the people in Trafalgar Square. If things went wrong, they could intervene on the spot, after they called for backups from the Scotland Yard. The little post has windows and when I peeked inside I could see a lot of cleaning materials and mops… Strange, but the actual post is cute.

Farting Lane

We all know that joke when someone farts on a lamp and it lights it up, but London actually has its own version of this joke. Welcome to the Farting Lane! The real name of the road is Carting Lane and nearby the Savoy Hotel you can see the last sewer lamp. They were all around London in the 19th century and they were used to burn off the horrific smell from the sewers and to light up the streets. The lamp is lit 24/7 and is said to be fueled by the guests of Savoy. Truth or fiction, the lamp looks very fashionable and is not far from Trafalgar Square.

The cholera-giving water pump

If you become thirsty in London and you have a strong stomach you can try to drink water from Dr. John Snow’s water pump, on Broad Wisk Street, in Soho. The pump helped Dr. John Snow realize that illnesses are spread by contaminated water, not miasma, how it was previously thought. In 1850s, there was a cholera outbreak in Soho and that water pump was blamed by Dr. Snow to be the center point of the entire epidemic. The doctor is now known as the parent of epidemiology and modern medicine. As for the water pump, I didn’t try to use it. Who knows? I don’t want to wonder if I got anything from drinking water from it next time I get a cold.

How I fall for Paris – My Experience in the Most Romantic City in the World

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Yesterday I was looking at some photos and I found some pics from my trip to Paris. Oh, Paris! I remember how I woke up on the first day in the city, looking at the Eiffel Tower against a bright blue sky. This is a scene one can never forget! And there are many more lovely things about Paris. Yes, it is dirty and filled with beggars, but it also has a unique charm. Here are some of the places I’ve been which made me fall for Paris.

 

Eiffel Tower

You can’t go to Paris and skip  Eiffel Tower. However, I almost did. One can imagine perfect pictures with the Tower and a great view from its top. But the queue for entering  Eiffel Tower is huge and the grass below it is packed with tourists who are enjoying the view. So, I simply took some photos and enjoyed the atmosphere, then went on to see more of Paris.

 

Musee de la Mode

Musee de la Mode translates into Fashion Museum and it’s definitely worth visiting. The building which houses the museum is a 19th century Renaissance Palace with beautiful mosaic floors and tall ceilings. The building is an attraction itself. After admiring the museum, one can look around. At the time there was an exhibition featuring 1950s fashion. Each dress and outfit was a true fashion statement. The ample skirts and the tiny waistlines create a perfect hourglass shape on every woman. They were oozing 1950s style, being so elegant and glamorous. Yet, there was something more about them. They looked like a strong woman’s response to the daily hardships of the war and post-war years. Times were changing and the war was finally over and these outfits scream this to the viewer. Or, at least, this is what I felt.

 

Point Zero

Near Notre Dame Cathedral there is an octogonal plate embedded on the floor, which marks Paris Point Zero, the place from where all routes from Paris to other places are being calculated. This place is special because people tend to use it as a wishing well. The small plate is filled with coins, as people make a wish and throw a coin on the floor, on the Point Zero. I did it myself too and I must confess the wish came true.

 

Notre Dame de Paris

Notre Dame de Paris is a Gothic style Cathedral and one of the most famous landmarks of Paris, along with the Eiffel Tower. Given the number of tourists around the cathedral, one can easily take it as a movie set rather than an actual religious place. The building is stunning. At the exterior there are thousands of details, which can also be found inside the cathedral. One can spend hours just analyzing the building and wondering how could someone build something this large in 1100s. It was noon when I went and the bright sunlight was lighting the stained glass, revealing its amazing details. One single window is so complex that you need to look at it for minutes on end to check out all the details.

 

Montmartre Vineyward

I never expected to see an active vineyard in the middle of Paris, but then I discovered the Montmartre Vineyward. It is the last active vineyard in the city and it looks like a lavishing garden. Along the grapes, there are other plants as well, which make the entire place look like it just jumped out of a Disney movie. The buildings near-by also help with this amazing look.

Paris is an amazing city and has a lot to offer, so I will definitely write more about my trip in the capital  of France.