A Hungarian Stairway To Heaven – Friday’s Weekly Travel Photo

Inside Saint Stephen's Basilica

I’ll confess, I can be pretty lazy.  On more than one occasion I’ve looked at a long, winding flight of steps…let out an “oof” and sat down with that, “I’ll see you when you get back” look on my face.  I find this to be especially true in places that like to advertise the number of steps.  Things like, “600 steps to the top!” may seem like great inspiration…but they’re really only good for bragging rights and illiciting the ire of pale-faced friends later down the road. That said, after a few minutes to huff and puff I inevitably find myself trudging up whatever large staircase I’ve found before me.  Some spiral in graceful arcs, others are tight tunnel-like staircases that leave you dreading the inevitable traffic jam when you meet someone heading back down on the same stairs.  Yet others, like in Nafplio zig zag up the exterior of a large cliff face.  Of all these different types I often find the graceful spiral stair to be the most beautiful.  Not because of the view out non-existent windows…never that…but rather, because a glimpse back down the stair’s spiral reminds me of of the swirling shape of a beautiful seashell.

The staircase featured in the photo for this post hails from Saint Stephen’s Basilica in Budapest, Hungary.  The basilica is a beautiful building that offers a commanding view of the surrounding city.  It provides a great opportunity to examine the multi-colored rooftops of nearby buildings, while simultaneously looking across at Buda Castle and the Palatial Hill. Oh, and for those of you who have an even more pronounced hatred of stairs than I do? I’ll confess that there is even an elevator, though I advise you skip it.  The view back down the stairwell is well worth a little added huffing and puffing – besides, it’s good for you…right?

Would you like to see previous Friday Photos? View past travel pictures here.

Friday’s Weekly Travel Photo – A Canine Adventurer

A Dog Resting Atop Sharkstooth

We’ve been making the pilgrimage to the top of Shark’s Tooth Trail in south western Colorado on a semi-annual basis for as long as I can remember. The hike is a stunning one and starts about halfway up the mountain. The drive to get there is almost as much of an adventure as the hike itself. Winding up and out of Dolores, eventually we split off and leave pavement behind for well maintained gravel. After another few miles we leave the well maintained gravel behind for a 4×4 only rugged, rocky, and pothole (small crater?) filled mountain road that winds up past beaver dams, beautiful high altitude lakes, past giant scree slides and across several small streams.

The hike itself is magical. It wraps its way up the mountain side past old growth trees so large you can’t get you arms around them, past wild strawberry and raspberry plants, then over a series of small snow-melt streams with crystal clear water. The view periodically opens up offering incredible sights of the nearby mountains and creating perfect spots to pause for a breather or light snack. The path also forks past an old abandoned mine and what is left of the old miner’s log cabin. The flowers in Spring and early Summer are always in full bloom and an explosive mixture of colors. Eventually though, both the trees and the flowers give way to odd plants and hardy grasses as you pass above the tree line. From there it’s just another final push before you reach the end of the trail head and the saddle offering a view over the back side of the mountains.

That’s where this photo was shot, as we rested and hid from the wind. One of our Canine hiking companions decided to pause his explorations long enough to join us as we laid back and enjoyed the view at 11,936 feet from the top of Sharkstooth Pass.

Love this photo?  Make sure to check out previous week’s Friday Feature Photos!