When you take the first of 355 steps to the top of the bell tower of the Cologne Cathedral, you hesitate.
But, the climb (at first on a narrow, two-way circular staircase and later on linear stairways) is not as difficult as you anticipate.
You are in the company of many people who move slowly and gently nudge you to take that next step.
Once at the top, you know the climb was worth the effort.
You might study the architecture including flying buttresses and ornamental spires topped with statues,
enjoy the panoramic view of the city dissected by the ever busy Rhine River flowing from its glacial origin in Switzerland to its destination in Holland,
note the ebb and flow of trains into the multi-track, bustling central station,
or watch the microscopic activity of people who populate the plaza below; some on a busy workaday schedule intermixed with travelers lingering to enjoy street entertainers.
The cathedral climb is not the same as a mountain climb. But it has similar feelings. And vistas worth tucking into memory.
Share your most breathtaking view in the comment section below.