We’re crossing the Thames in a black cab, speeding over Westminster Bridge. On our left we see Westminster Palace, the centre of political life in the United Kingdom. The taxi driver turns around and says: “Its Clock Tower, known as Big Ben after its main bell, has become the iconic landmark of London… and the United Kingdom in general.”
We take a right on Parliament Street and drive in a northerly direction.
“That’s Trafalgar Square,” the taxi driver says, pointing out the front window. “And up there is the Viscount Nelson, who won the battle of Trafalgar.”
I look out of the window and then turn to the driver, “Could you please hurry, we don’t want to be late.” The cab turns right onto Strand and drives parallel to the Thames eastward, we turn left, then right and pass St. Paul’s Cathedral on our left-hand side.
“The dome is 111 metres high,” our driver says, “it has dominated the London skyline for 300 years.”
Without looking out of the window, I bend forward towards the driver:
“It is a beautiful cathedral, but can you please step on it!” The cab makes a right turn on King William Street and turns left to exit on Tower Hill. “This is the Tower of London,” the driver says while pointing out of the right window. “It was built by William the Conqueror in 1078. It was the home of the Crown Jewels of the United Kingdom in a certain period.”
“Sir,” I say to the driver, trying my best to remain polite, “we’re not here to make a sightseeing tour of London. We’re here for the opening ceremony of the Olympic Games, which will start in 45 minutes.
Could you please hurry!” The driver nods without saying a word and accelerates.
After 30 seconds of silence he turns around and says: “Did you know that the London Olympic Stadium is the most sustainable ever built? It features a low-carbon concrete, made from industrial waste.”