Sometimes science traveling can really take you up in the world, though spiraling around the globe can be a bit dizzying. At least that’s how it felt as I climbed the spiral staircase in the spire of the Church of Our Savior in Copenhagen.
Check that – not “in” the spire; outside the spire. This was (yet another) time that my mild acrophobia seemed not so mild. At least there was a railing.
The day began trying to figure out how to get around the line of 10,000+ marathon runners blocking our path. A very long detour got us heading to the strange spire we had glimpsed the day before. Two elevators and some stairs got us to the top of the tower in Christianborgs Palace and a great view of the city of Copenhagen. From there we could see this very intriguing spiral tower. Zooming in I could see there were people on it (look closely).
Finally ditching the running masses we hiked our way over the bridge into Christianshavn, the canal-laden neighborhood across the river. With the general direction of the spiral in sight we wended our way through the narrow streets where, in case you forgot to look up and might miss it, was a sign to the tower:
No elevators for this tower. For 45 Danish Krone each we began our climb conventionally, through the bowels of the church tower inside the dusty, and yet creaky, wooden steps, past the carillon (i.e., the bells, which thankfully weren’t pealing), and eventually up to a door leading outside. There the steps seemed more substantial, though they quickly narrowed…and narrowed…and narrowed.
It seemed the narrower the steps the more tired our legs until I turned the last turn into steps that actually came to a point. Okay, now the acrophobia kicks in – 295 feet from the street at a pointed step just a few inches at its widest. No problem. Look at the view. Got it, now turn around and slowly start working my way down.
Okay, it really wasn’t that bad (no, it really was that bad). But the view was gorgeous.
Once back on solid ground we went into the church where we were greeted with a pair of elephants holding up a massive organ. Of course. Elephants. What else should we expect in a church in Denmark?
This was the last major event in Copenhagen. A long, winding walk back to the hotel to pack up before heading to the train station for a nearly 6-hour speed train to Stockholm. More on that later; I’m still recovering from climbing the spiral tower.
David J. Kent is the author of Tesla: The Wizard of Electricity (2013) and Edison: The Inventor of the Modern World (2016) (both Fall River Press). He has also written two e-books: Nikola Tesla: Renewable Energy Ahead of Its Time and Abraham Lincoln and Nikola Tesla: Connected by Fate. His newest book, Lincoln: The Man Who Saved America, is due out in summer 2017.