I know…not exactly the post title you’ve come to expect from yours truly.
Nevertheless if you find yourself in Copenhagen I will have to insist that you find your way over to this church.
Not for the beautiful interior, or for the organ music that’s played live (or at least was on the day we visited) or even for the way the early afternoon light comes in through the windows.
No, I insist you come here so that you can climb up 400 steps and view the tops of Copenhagen.
But wait, there’s a catch: these steps are on the outside of the church and spiral up around the external of the steeple.
What a crazy and unique way to get a vantage point over the city. I had read on several TripAdvisor posts that the climb is not for the faint of heart. That if you have a fear of heights you may want to sit this one out. That the steps become so narrow and winding at the top that only one person at a time can ascend to the very point but those same steps have two-way foot traffic for the folks climbing up and down.
Fear of heights? Check.
Natural fear of plummeting to my death? Check.
…but I really really wanted to climb this thing. I mean, how many times can you say that you’ve climbed around the outside of a church steeple some hundreds of feet in the air? Not too many.
And so my determination was set. We set out on our last day in Copenhagen. Perhaps this was a subconscious decision so that if we died we’d have at least seen all of the rest of that beautiful city before hand. I’ve been known to make decisions based on ridiculous assumptions before.
We had rented bikes the day before and made our way over to Christianshavn (“Christianshoun”…I think) where the church towers over the surrounding areas – including Christiania – the free-people’s city that I’ll write about later, promise.
We checked out the interior where we heard the beautiful organ music and admired all the gilt and decor.
But then it was time to climb. The start was pretty typical – climbing up winding stairs which quickly turned into ladder-like climbs – past the belfry where two rather sinister lights, we’re told, would start blinking before the bells sounded that way you wouldn’t go deaf. Quasimoto, the Hunchback of Notre Dame quickly appeared in my thoughts and I imagined getting stuck in the belfry, becoming deaf, and then needing to spend my remaining days tending to the bells. As I said…I’ve made decisions on crazier ideas than that.
Regardless I hurried us through this area, convinced that the bell lights wouldn’t work and, well, I’ve already described what was sure to happen as a consequence. The door that leads you outside has warnings of climbing at your own risk in every language possible. I step outside and immediately notice that wooden planks have been laid down to allow tourists like myself to walk – otherwise the roof of this area was rather slanted…could it be that the architect didn’t intend for thousands of people to ascend his staircase?
Before that thought became too rooted in my mind I started up. Thankfully the golden staircase railing is quite high (or I’m rather short) so only your head is exposed to the dizzying heights as you wind around. At the top I waited my turn and then finished the climb until my head was even with the orb placed at the top of the steeple.
It was amazing to be standing up so high, so exposed, and looking out and down over the city.
Several goofy pictures later I decide to let the next nutter take their turn at the top. Well, I guess the next nutter would’ve been Adam, but sure!
We made our way down – much easier than going up…
…and my maniacal smile never left my face.