March 27, 2015

Braving the Heights While Traveling

I've got a thing about heights.  Many of us do.  No matter how many times the brain tells the body that the odds of a giant gust of wind throwing me off the top of a lighthouse are slim to none, the body just doesn't believe it.  If it's going to happen, it's going to happen to me is the petrified mantra as vertigo-inducing scenarios run through my mind.

Cue the barf bag.
But I can't avoid heights when I'm traveling.  I mean, how often am I going to be in London to climb St. Paul's Cathedral?  Or when's the next time I can climb to the top of St. Vitus in Prague?  Um, my bank account tells me that it'll probably be a while.  So the only thing I can do is take a shot of whiskey clench my fists and don't look down as I wind my way up higher than man was ever meant to be.  I mean, if God wanted us to be at that altitude, he would've made us 100 feet tall.  Just sayin'.

Yet as soon as I make it to the top, the rewarding views take the edge off my anxiety.  I mean, just look at these scenes:

The Georgskirche in Dinkelsb├╝hl, Germany (2010).  I must've been feeling especially secure or brave to be right up against the railing in the top right picture.  The houses in the bottom right picture are on the street where we stay when in town.

The Danielsturm of the Georgskirche in N├Ârdlingen, Germany (2010).  Notice that in this picture my back is firmly against the wall.  I didn't particularly like how low the railing was at the top of the Daniel Tower!

St. Vitus Cathedral in Prague (2012).  The views were amazing, but the viewing platform was even better for those of us with acrophobia!  Look at those thick bars and pillars.

St. Paul's Cathedral in London (2014).  My whirlwind trip to London was a dream come true, although the climb to the top of St. Paul's was not quite as dreamy!  The open space of the Whispering Gallery nearly conquered me as I almost didn't continue to the top.  However, I'm glad I did.  The evening glow over London's skyline was perfect.

St. Peter's Basilica in the Vatican (2014).  This height was almost as difficult for me as St. Paul's.  Beyond the sideways-leaning climb up when walking beside the dome, the wind at the top and the open feel due to the thinness of the metal bars set my fear of heights on its head.  Danny coaxed me to the bars for one brief picture, but the rest of the time was spent inboard with at least one hand on the stone.

Nuremberg Castle in Nuremberg, Germany (2014).  Nuremberg Castle sits atop a hill above the city, making the towers of the castle all the more tall.  This tower bears the distinction of having been the first overseas place to set my heart arrhythmia haywire to the point where I was light-headed and nauseous.  The Vertigo-like stairs didn't help the situation either!  But the views at the top were superb. 

So while I may never be completely at ease at the top of a structure or even close to a cliff's edge, at least I'm able to conquer my fear and enjoy beautiful photo opportunities at the top.  Not to mention being rewarded with a tall cold one once I reach the bottom!


Do you have a problem with heights?  How do you deal with it when traveling?


  1. I've got my ticket for St Pauls but haven't conquered it yet; I need a helping hand to push me up the stairs and flat shoes!
    St Peters - that definitely put the fear of life into me, that staircase added stairs to my never ending list of fears and Nuremberg Castle; I was totally dizzy by the time that I got to the top - they definitely need a cafe half way up the tower!
    I've got a total fear of heights and avoid things that I know will scare the living daylights out of me and explore something else however saying that I'm totally happy to get into a hot air balloon; go figure

    1. I know the feeling! Although I have an anxiety about flying, it's not about the heights - once you're up a certain height, it doesn't really matter anymore! The one thing that gets me up the steps of these churches and tall buildings is the thought of "when am I going to be here again?" or "when's the next time I'd have a chance to do this?" Usually that'll get me up there even if my body is screaming against it!

  2. those are some amazing viewss!! but I need to know where the stairs you used to climb up St. Paul's Cathedral the same ones we see in the harry potter movies as the divination staircase? When will you be in Germany?


Thanks for stopping by! I'd love to hear your comments, feedback, and suggestions.