Tuesday, 17 April 2012

Stone towers, monuments and other stories....

Stone towers, monuments and other stories....

To start this entry let me begin by informing you that I have a rather interesting - although probably not always at the time penchant for climbing historical towers, monuments and cathedral domes or ascending modern towers when such access is permitted.
My list to date includes;
St. Paul's Cathedral - London Monument - London
Walter Scott memorial - Edinburgh
William Wallace monument -Scotland
Zadar tower - Croatia
Split Cathedral - Croatia
Trogir Cathedral - Croatia

Now in most cases long suffering Pam will accompany me on my jolly little jaunts up these edifices with not an undue amount of enthusiastic if not always strictly acceptable language, we have done St. Paul's twice, Monument, Walter Scott and William Wallace each once.

Now all of the historical towers/monuments are constructed of stone with in all cases a combination of stone and metal staircases .... so prior to this trip only one of significant incident to me was Walter Scott in which I got my self jammed - no I am not fat, I had a daypack on my back - in a stone spiral stair case and the unfortunate situation was the more I laughed the more I jammed - took a while to relax - exhale and deflate enough to extricate myself.

Enter Croatia and a whole new vista of towers to climb.....

The town of Zadar and along comes the 15th century bell tower of Zadar cathedral, the wind is blowing a fair gale and the tower is pretty much open to the elements, a little and I mean little sign warns that climbing said tower is entirely at your own risk... rule one...always ignore signs..... So we pays our money and up we go - Pam included.... Pam's language improves the higher we climb, the wind is howling through the tower and Pam finally grinds to a halt, not an inch further can I coax her, so ever onwards goes I, now as you will see I am climbing an open metal staircase inside a hollow stone tower - as I always say... a mere walk in the park..... some park, but the views were incredible, but unfortunately what goes up must come down and I am never sure which is worse the ascent or the descent, on the ascent you stare into the abyss and your possible untimely future.

But safely down and lessons not necessarily learnt when along happens Split cathedral, so who am I to look a gift tower in the mouth or doorway.
A whole new horror is presented to me, a beautiful metal stairway spiraling up the inside, dare I say walls, actually wide open pillars of the tower, Pam went up halfway before she was overcome by the delight of the climb and with a great bleating and gnashing of teeth had to stop and relax while she waited for me to return.
I would like to say I closed my eyes and soldiered on but my eyes for some reason seemed to bulge open from the shock and again with death grip on the paltry railings climbed onwards for the top, again I was rewarded with the most incredible aerial views of the city, others who also made it to the top seemed to have the oddest of caricature smile plastered to our faces, I can only imagine that mine was mirrored on their faces, then with dread we descended into the abyss again.

Don't ever learn..... Hell No!!!!
Trogir cathedral, Pam yet again accompanies me to the first level via a stone spiral staircase, but she seems to learn far quicker than me... and stopped as soon as stone gave way to metal and vast open spaces, now let me say this; even I was concerned for my continued existence, this staircase had all the promise of something
Each staircase had the smallest of stone landings just waiting for me to step on and promptly snap off after centuries of labouring under the weight of gawping tourists, let me not even mention the wind blowing through the tower, again followed by the now very predictable aerial view and decent, this time however with a blast from the past..... No you didn't see this coming..... Yes I got stuck at the top on said rickety metal staircase with the by now ubiquitous paltry handrails ( dont know why they even bother to install them other than for decoration or amusement) with said daypack and an abyss below me... bit of pushing and shoving - no there wasn't any laughter, nothing seemed funny this time round, and added to this scenario the stairs were quite far apart so not only was I given the delightful view on either side of the open staircase and out the tower but down the sides and between each step...
Down now, safe..... Would I do it again...... Hell yes, in a heartbeat

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