287 Steps Later

I love the cobblestone streets and sidewalks here. I look at them from one angle then another, seeing different patterns from various perspectives. The designs are so intricate; I’m amazed such care was invested to create something people walk or drive on every day. Cobblestones aren’t easy to walk on, so they force me to slow down and see more of what’s around me.

I followed the cobblestone path up to the Prague Castle this afternoon. I was greeted by multitudes of enormous buildings and palatial courtyards. I ducked into St Vitus’ Cathedral and admired stained glass windows and vaulted ceilings. I eavesdropped on English-speaking tour guides explaining the history of the church. I saw a sign boasting excellent views from atop the South Tower, along with a warning sign there were 287 steps to climb. 287 steps? Not a problem.

Not a problem unless they are 287 steps in a circular stairway about two-feet wide, with people ascending and descending at the same time. Much to my surprise, I learned that I get dizzy very easily. It was impossible to see more than a couple of feet in front (or behind) as I climbed, so meeting others was a surprise, causing each of us to squoosh to the inside or outside of the narrow staircase.

I arrived at the top, breathing heavily, to which another tourist told me, “Only one more flight to go,” then laughed at the expression on my face. I was at the top and it was stupendous. I looked down at the courtyard in which I was recently standing, tourists scurrying around like tiny ants. I saw the river and multiple bridges. I saw waves of endless red rooftops. I saw spires of cathedrals. Well worth the climb.

Looking up at the South Tower

287 steps higher, looking down at the courtyard