The spring I graduated from university, I organized a special solo trip to Europe calling it my “grand tour.” Among the places I visited was Paris, France.
I stayed at my friend’s house in the outskirt of Paris, and I spent about five days exploring this famous capital city of France. Unfortunately, my friend could not accompany me since she had classes to attend, but she gave me a lot of advice on where to visit and how to get there.
On my last day in Paris, I decided to visit the famous Eiffel Tower.
As I got off the metro and entered the park, the familiar shape of the tower came into my sight. It looked taller than in pictures.
Once I completed the security check, my journey upward began with other tourists. We first walked up a few stories by staircase, and then we took an ancient elevator to move to a higher spot. I was intrigued by the way the elevator carried us not vertically but diagonally upward.
Once we got off the elevator, the rest of the journey was to be done on foot.
There was a group of school girls from England in front of me. I greatly appreciated their cheerful presence since walking up a staircase just by myself would have been lonely and scary at the same time.
Soon after I started to walk up the staircase, my legs started to shake. Not because of fatigue, but because I could see the world through the gap between steps. In Toronto, there is a tower called CN tower, and near the top, there is a room where a section of the floor is transparent and one can see below. But on Eiffel Tower, there was no glass in the gap between steps. I could feel the wind, and I could see the city directly through the gap.
Each step I took, I felt more and more shaky. Never before had I had such a hard time moving up a staircase.
In front of me, the group of school girls were also having a hard time. “Just keep moving your legs!” shouted one of them. “Don’t look down! That’s what I’m telling myself!” It was good advice. I focused all my attention solely on moving my legs.
I was almost crouching when I finally came to the lookout on top. Standing on the solid floor, my legs finally stopped shaking and I let out a deep sigh of relief. The view was fantastic. The city of Paris stretched before my eyes, and it even made me forget about the nerve-racking journey for a moment. I asked the group of school girls to take a photo of me as a proof for myself that I actually climbed this famous tower.
Strangely enough, I don’t recall the detail of the journey downward. All I remember is that it was not scary, and in no time, I was back on the ground looking up the Eiffel Tower just like when I first arrived. The only difference was that now I knew how much nerve it takes to climb the staircase of this tower.