So many of you fortunately know me as my adrenaline junkie self, rather than the girl who is afraid of heights. I’ve worked hard to maintain this image, since it is one I would rather be and believe in, and thus the one I actively promote. My family, however, knows a different story.
Back in the summer of 2005, before my first experience studying abroad in the wonders of Burgos, Spain, our family took a vacation thru Morocco, Portugal and Spain. One of the places we stopped for several days was Barcelona. And one of the famous places we stopped at was Gaudi’s well-known unfinished cathedral, La Sagrada Familia. Those who are familiar with this cathedral may also know that visitors can pay to climb to its top, and though exceptionally well-carved and absolutely beautiful, it is terrifying high, with breathtaking views of the city, and plummeting sights of the entire way you’ve climbed up. For whatever reason Gaudi thought it was a great idea to show you, via the teensy staircase you were currently climbing up, all of the vertical space which you’d just climbed…via a hole through the center of the staircase you were climbing. Brilliant.
Unfortunately for people like me, this doesn’t sit well, and during that summer of 2005, I had my first of few panic attacks I’ve ever had. I freaked out at the top of La Sagrada Familia. Thus began my thoughts that maybe I was scared of heights.
As my friends from the New Zealand trip know, I decided to face this fear head on – by bungy jumping, canyon swinging, and otherwise jumping off of any and everything I could pay to jump off of relatively safely. Yes, highest canyon swing in the world, I will definitely pay to do you. And yes, Nevis high wire bungy jump, I will definitely pay to jump off your 134 meters/10 seconds of free falling glory.
So when my sister and I came to St Olav’s, a church that (at one time), used to be the tallest church in the world (until it wasn’t…hilariously unspecified), I didn’t balk. I’ve done scarier things than this. Pffff. (Btw it was so tall that lightning hit it and burned it down eight times throughout history…no joke. Look guys, if it keeps burning down, maybe it’s a sign it shouldn’t be built that way???...just a suggestion).
But as I climbed the little staircase through the tower up to the top, I kept remembering my experiences with La Sagrada Familia, not the exhilarating ones of New Zealand. Damnnnnit.
Luckily I (albeit sweaty palmed…more than I’d like to admit) made it to the top, sans panic attack. And the views were breathtaking. You could see the entirety of Tallinn Old Town from the top, all 360 degrees of it.
Thanks St Olav’s, for reminding me what it’s like to pay 2euros to scare my own pants off. I’d almost forgotten what being an adrenaline junkie with a little fear, is like.