How I Almost Talked to the Top of La Tour Eiffel: FavD in PARIS

24 07 2009

en route

They got to Paris from Rome via night train (15 hours in a couchette compartment, incommunicado of course) and then, instead of updating their blog to let us know they were safe and sound, they had an audacious plan to call home from the top of the Eiffel Tower and surprise us. So they stood in line for hours, eagerly anticipating our delight, until just as they got to the front on the queue about to buy their tickets to ascend . . . it rained. Sorry folks, not today.

So they called just now from their hostel instead. And it was just as sweet for me. 🙂

What La Tour Eiffel Looks like When It's NOT Raining

What La Tour Eiffel Looks lIke When It's NOT Raining

(Especially since I’ve been sitting here in suspense for hours, refreshing the site every few minutes . . .I’m really not neurotic but this is HARD!)

So now I’m amusing and distracting myself, starting with:

A French mathematics professor predicted that when the structure passed the 748-foot mark, it would inevitabl[y] collapse; another “expert” predicted that the tower’s lightning rods would kill all the fish in the Seine.

The Paris edition of the New York Herald claimed the tower was changing the weather; the daily newspaper Le Matin ran a headline story claiming “The Tower is Sinking”:
“If it has really begun to sink,” Le Matin pontificated, “any further building should stop and sections already built should be demolished as quickly as possible.”

As the tower’s progress continued unabated, however, a sense of awe began to replace the fear.

Most advances in architecture and engineering are incremental. If, for instance, you wanted to build the world’s first 10-story building, you’d expect to study the construction techniques of 8-and 9-story buildings first.

But Gustave Eiffel didn’t have that luxury. No one had ever built an iron tower like his of any size…let alone one that was twice as tall as the tallest building on earth.

AN ENGINEERING GENIUS

To accomplish his task, Eiffel devised some incredibly ingenious techniques . . .

Unschooling Europe tag

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One response

24 07 2009
Beta

I have a secret — I’m terrified of heights. And yet I’ve climbed la Tour Eiffel at least ten times. The secret: wide, completely-enclosed stairs. If you fell, you’d really have to be working hard to THROW yourself off. I have a picture, somewhere, of me at a fresh-faced 26-or-so, white-faced but at the top of the tower for the first time. Since then, it’s been not a big deal.

Going up in the elevator, though, COMPLETELY a big deal. Something about the sideways movement…. trust me, if you aren’t comfortable with heights or roller coasters or the like, you’d rather climb than take the elevator.

We went to Paris a few months ago. It was to be Gamma’s first time climbing the tower on h is own. The predicted wait in line: 3 hours. We decided to return in the fall, when lines are shorter, weather is cooler, and Alpha’s patience is less-taxed.

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