I am so not an adventurous person. No siree, no adrenaline rushes for me. I am not great with heights so any activity demanding I look down from on high is ruled out, pretty much instantly. Climbing to the top of a church tower is my usual limit.
I have walked up the Eiffel Tower in Paris – the queues for the lifts were way too long – and it was pretty hairy! The staircase is fine but you can see out across Paris as you climb ever higher and it seems you are only separated from the ground by a bit of wire. Okay, it’s pretty sturdy, but when you don’t like heights, it can seem jolly flimsy to the mind. I mounted those stairs gripping the central hand rail like a mother afraid of losing her child in a crowd. I positively ran (and I don’t do running) up the stairs between landings so I could cling to the railing to keep me safe. Woe betide anyone coming down who wanted to use the hand rail!
Thankfully you are only allowed to walk up to the second level and can take the lift up to the top one. I’m not sure my legs wouldn’t have given out part way up, otherwise. Luckily for me, my visit was at the end of the day so in order to speed up the closing process, everyone had to go down in the lift rather than walk. Quel dommage! Much quicker, much less traumatic, kinder to my knees.
I got to thinking about heights, adrenaline rushes and things through a colleague at work. We were waiting for the other participants to turn up to a meeting so we chatted about his recent holiday. It turns out he and his family had been to Wales and had tried out the UK’s longest zip wire. A zip wire of a mile long where you reach speeds of at least 70 miles per hour. Oh and for good measure, you tackle it lying down head first! So not me!
I looked the place up on YouTube later. As this clip shows, the location has history but you get to see just how fast it can be. I can see why my Blue Peter presenter application came to nothing!
I have a friend who used to sail dinghies in her youth and she keeps promising (threatening?) to take me out sailing one day. So far, I’ve more or less managed to escape. As you’re no doubt working out for yourselves, I don’t do exciting. The problem with sailing as I see it is that it takes place on a surface which goes up and down, up and down. And then for a bit of variety, down and up.
Many years ago I went across to the Isle of Wight by catamaran. Which dropped like a stone into the troughs between waves. A sudden lurch and plummet which left the stomach behind such that by the time it caught up, we were at the top of the wave again. Repeat ad nauseam. Well, hopefully not too much of the nauseam.
I did let this friend take me out on a Hobie in the Caribbean. I have to say it didn’t go too badly. Although I’m not sure I was given all the relevant information before venturing forth. I managed to climb on board and clung hold with a vice-like grip, prepared to hang on in there until the end of the ride. So when I was told I’d have to haul myself across the trampoline to the other side so we could turn round (jibe I think it’s called) I was somewhat dismayed. It was only the thought of continuing indefinitely out into the wide blue yonder that made me summon my courage and throw myself across the boat at the relevant command.
Ah yes, the trampoline. This is the bit you can see the sea through. The bit you have to crawl across just above the waves below (well, crawling was how I did it) to get to the other side. I kind of prefer something solid beneath me, something I can’t see through.
It’s the same with staircases. I am not a fan of the open-tread staircase, particularly when you get to more than a few steps off bottom. Why on earth does anyone want to see through the gaps back down to the floor you’ve just left? It’s just a disaster waiting to happen.
Anyway, that brings me full circle back to the Eiffel Tower where next time, I’ll wait patiently with everyone else for the lifts.