Weekly Photo Challenge: Victory

Victory!  I made it to the tippy, tippy top of the Ulm Münster, the tallest church in the world.

Our theme for the Weekly Photo Challenge this week is:  Victory.
Our instructions:  Forget the sad times. This week, it’s all about revelling in a win.

DSCN6775-1The first stone on the Ulm Münster was laid in 1377 (on the heels of the Black Death in Europe).  It started as a Roman Catholic church, but during the Reformation, the congregation converted to Protestantism (today, Ulm Münster is a Lutheran church).  Construction came to a halt in 1543 (due to a variety of economic and political factors), restarted again in 1817, and was finally completed in 1890.  During World War II, the city of Ulm was heavily bombed, leveling most of the old city, but the church and its spire were left unscathed.  Sidebar:  the organ inside the church was once played by Herr Mozart himself (wish I had a ticket to that concert!).

There are 768 steps to the top of the spire at Ulm Münster (that’s 161.5 meters, or 530 feet for the metrically declined).  You probably think I’m going to tell you I’m scared of heights, but heights don’t bug me.  Tight spaces bug me.  And tight spaces filled with crowds?  No.  Just, no.

If you’ve ever done any cathedral climbing (or castle scaling) in Europe, you know about the stairs (a claustrophobic’s dream).  Hundreds and hundreds of stairs.  Spiral-y, incredibly narrow, and most likely stone, built sometime around the year 1 (if you’re really lucky, you’ll find a wooden staircase, and with each creaky step wonder, is this the one step to end us all?).  There’s barely enough room for one person to ascend and descend these stone relics, but you can bet money someone will be coming down when you’re coming up, and vice versa.  You think the battle for the airline armrest is critical??  Try the battle for who gets the wide part of the cathedral steps.

I almost turned back after the first 34 panic-inducing steps (would you believe I left my Xanax in my other purse?!? 😉).  My family was a few dozen steps ahead of me (keenly aware of my impending freak out) and assured me there were windows further up (I usually do OK if I can see out).  So, I took about 527 deep breaths and forged ahead.  There were indeed windows further up (along with a spate of graffiti — why do people think it’s OK to carve their names into centuries old structures?).  And just when I thought I was done climbing, I wasn’t.  The finish line was still 120 über-steep, narrow steps away.

The final ascent.

Is it really necessary for me to make it to the tippy tippy top?!?  I was ready to declare victory right there, but my kids insisted I’d regret it later if I didn’t make it to the finish line.  (Hindsight being 20/20, they were right.)  You can see the spiral-y steps through the windows in the photo, and you betcha, people were coming down as we were going up (I won the battle for the wide part of the steps, btw).

C’mon, Mom!!  You can do it!

DSCN6812-1

And . . . I did!

Wait.  I have to go down now?!?

Salud!

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