|La Merced Bell Tower, Granada, Nicaragua|
You see, my family has an issue with towers. One of us doesn't like steep flights of stairs. One doesn't like stairs with no handrails. One of us gets claustrophobic. And the fourth doesn't like towers one bit, for all these reasons.
And yet, that's rarely stopped us from climbing them.
Every city in Europe has at least one. The bell tower, the church tower, the city hall tower - each promising a breathtaking view. And in every new city, we think, "This time will be different. There will be a sturdy handrail all the way up, and the steps will be of uniform height. Maybe there's even enough room on the stairs for people walking up to pass those going down."
|Views from St. Vitus|
|Me, with The One Who Would Climb|
The most difficult ascent, however, was the Bell Tower in Granada, Nicaragua. It hit the trifecta of difficulty - crowded, steep and impossibly narrow. As we climbed the stairs, we stopped dozens of times, backs pressed against the wall, to let descending tourists pass. It was a hot day, and the rising temperature did nothing to encourage us. When we finally got to the top, my youngest daughter announced she wasn't going back down.
I was beginning to picture us rappelling back to earth, when she came up with her own solution. She wasn't going to walk down, but she wouldn't mind sitting, and bumping her way down the stairs on her backside. She received a few odd looks, but those on the way up were happy to make room for her. We reached the base in no time at all, a mere 72 bumps down.