Saturday, 28 February 2015

Conquering my fear of heights at the Eiffel Tower

When Gustave Eiffel’s company built Paris’ most recognizable monument for the 1889 World’s Fair, many regarded the massive iron structure with skepticism. Many considered it to be an eye sore. The novelist Guy de Maupassant hated the tower so much that he went to its restaurant every day, because it would be the only place in Paris from where he could not see the Eiffel Tower! The structural marvel that it is, the iconic “Iron Lady of Paris” is now the most-visited paid monument in the world.


I have to admit that the Tower did not get me on my knees the first moment I saw it (sorry Eiffel Tower). I stood there, on a windy chilly and misearable day, and stared on this gigantic mass of iron with a mixture of mild disillusionment and puzzlement. But ....once I got into the elevator and went up this magnificent metallic structure I was so thrilled that I grew to like the Eiffel Tower! We changed lifts at the second floor and went to the very top (276m). The views stretching from the top were spectacular and absolutely breathtaking. I chose to come down by foot from the second floor - a relaxing walk that allowed me to explore the tower from every angle. Exploring the Eiffel Tower from inside and outside was an unforgetable experience and quite unlike anything else. 

 The Tower looks particualry captivating at dusk and at night. Illuminated with thousands of spotlights it casts its daytime grey iron image and turns into a magnificent and luxurious Gold Lady.

Some interesting facts about the Eiffel Tower:
  • Construction time: 2 years, 2 months, 5 days.
  • It was the world's tallest structure for 40 years, until 1929.
  • The Eiffel Tower is twice as high as the Pyramids in Giza.
  • Base: 410 ft.
  • The base pillars are oriented with four points of the compass.
  • Elevators travel on a curve.
  • Until 1909 the tower was lit by gaslights.
  • The tower can sway up to 5 inches in heavy wind.
  • The tower coded messages by Nazis in WWII
  • Today it is still a vital communication link with 120 antennae.

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