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Every mountaineer tries to get to the summit, in other words, to reach that place that requires a lot of strength and sacrifice. Well known high mountains may be among their aims, however, as far as I am concerned they will always be out of my reach as long as it remains easy to reach the top of the highest buildings in some cities.
The highest spot in a city might be a church tower or a skyscraper. According to its definition, a skyscraper is an edifice higher than 100m, designed for office, commercial and residential use, there is one such building in Seville; it was built not without controversy and considered a blot on the landscape by some people. Like many tourists, I have enjoyed the view of the city from the top of Giralda several times while access to the top of the controversial Torre Pelli is not allowed yet.
As tourists, the visits to the uppermost part of famous buildings or skyscrapers might be celebrated in the same way that climbers reach summits. Even though I have never considered it the leitmotiv of my trips, whenever possible, getting to the top of buildings has brought about varying emotions.
Among my memories is Habana Libre in La Habana; Baiyoke Sky Hotel in Bangkok, and in New York, The Empire State and The Top of the Rock. They are impressive although they look like thumbnails in comparison to the highest building in the world depicted by the puzzle hanging on my wall. Of course, to go up to the top of the edifices mentioned, we took the elevator, so perhaps because it was more demanding and unexpected, one of the best memories of climbing is not related to a skyscraper but to a tower.
Through a staircase as beautiful as it was narrow we could reach the bell tower and the outer part of the vault of the Cathedral of Coria (Cáceres); from there we enjoyed the view of the Alagon river and its old bridge as well as the tranquil life of the town. Simple, unexpected, thrilling, and although less famous than world renowned towers and skyscrapers, absolutely breathtaking.
All in all, even if you are not a mountaineer, it is probable that you have reached a summit, whether it was at the top of a tower or the top of a skyscraper. Do you have any good memories of this?
You can find a selection of pictures here.