Sunday, July 27, 2008

Killing Two Birds With One Stone

Those that know me best know that I have two major phobias - a fear of heights and a fear of closed-in spaces. Today I took on both and emerged none the worse for wear other than perhaps a huge adrenaline rush.

One of the left-over structures here in Eger is a minaret that used to be attached to a mosque that no longer exists. The minaret stands 40 metres tall (120 feet) with 97 steps. It is also VERY narrow. The diameter of the thing can't be any wider than about about 4 feet. I didn't realize how tight quarters the staircase was until I was about halfway up. Its so narrow, that only a handful of people are allowed to climb up at a time. Anyhow, I slowly crawled my way up there this morning and was rewarded with some great views of the castle and the basilica. Nothing says crazy tourist more than hanging off the side of a minaret 120 feet up while trying to snap a few pictures while fighting a moderate breeze. (I'm pretty sure its because of situations like these that life insurance was invented, though I strongly doubt my policy covers falling off the top of a minaret in Hungary.)

The viewing platform was also a pretty tight squeeze. From the side of the structure to the railing it was not much more than 18 inches I'd say. Lucky for me I'm a skinny guy. It was with a deep breath that I finally made my way down again and through the exit. I'm not sure if I'd rush out and do it again but I feel a bit empowered for challenging two of my biggest phobias at the same time. What a rush, is all I can say.

Oh yeah, the castle here was pretty cool too.


Amy H. said...

Hooray! Although I have to go google Minaret now so I know exactly what you are talking about...