Saturday, May 28, 2011

Road of the Solar Wind, 8: White knuckles at the Phare d'Eckmühl


Eckmühl lighthouse(at the bottommost point of the Bay of Audierne): 65 metres (213 feet), 307 steps to the top.  Which isn't much compared to the Burj Khalifa, or even the Eiffel Tower, but makes it (apparently) the second tallest lighthouse in Brittany, the 5th tallest in France and the joint 14th tallest in the world, and it certainly feels a long way up, both when you're climbing it and when you get to the top and look down. There is a notice exhorting people not to carry their small children on their shoulders, the thought of which makes my insides squirm with horror.

It must certainly have one of the most photographed spiral staircases in Brittany.  Which didn't stop me from adding to the stock.  The joy of acrophobia - lean into your pathology, only not too far...


That's our car down there.


~~~

Time to call time on the Finistère photos, at least until the next Nablopomo general turning out and using up of the old stuff, I guess, as I still have some left, but freshness and seasonality still seem to be important, and one can always salt away for the winter. 

Now to sorting, doing the sums and writing the thank you e-mails after the English trip.  This blog seems rather to give the impression that my life is just one long jaunt, which isn't quite the case, but I don't do so badly. 

21 comments:

zephyr said...

magical images, like being in a swirling shell (chamber nautilus).

i empathize with those white knuckles!On my last visit to the wild wild west of my childhood, my niece took me to a rarely visited spot along the Grand Canyon. As we approached the edge, my imagination gripped me and my feet stopped moving. Had to turn around and take my cameras back to the car, then try again. There were no small children with us--thank heavens--or i would have refused to let them out of the car!

i finally crept to a large, flat rock about 10 feet from the edge--there were no guard rails of any sort, it was that remote--and could not get any closer.

i would have clung to the railing in the light house, and probably kept my back against the wall at the top!

zephyr said...

oops, omitted the image that gripped me: i could not shake the vision of seeing my cameras fall from my hands and down, down, down...and them me following, of course. And, i don't regret, not even for a moment, that i have no photos from the outing...the visuals are crisp and clear in my memory. Possible more vivid than most others!

Zhoen said...

Marvelous. I'm still marveling.

marja-leena said...

Oh, just gorgeous, but like Zephyr, this would definitely give me an attack of vertigo!

I'm curious about the umlaut in the name Eckmühl, as I did not think that is common in the French language.

marly youmans said...

Nautilus dreams, for sure! Impossible not to think of a chambered nautilus...

(And Oliver Wendell Holmes's "lustrous coil"--"Build thee more stately mansions, O my soul!")

rr said...

I love the knuckles in the middle enhancing the vertiginous :-)

Rosie said...

not too keen on heights myself...worth it for your photos though. Lets go and explore some nice flat places when the work dies down.
But then, oh no, there might be quicksand!

Setu said...

So, now you are ready for the annual summer race up the stairs of the Eckmühl lighthouse... There were lots of runners last year.
I'm sure you saw my family house from the top of the lighthouse. We used to hear the "Eckmühl cow" -a very strong Muuuuuuh- close by on misty days. Now the noise of the warning siren on the lighthouse is more civilised.

vivinfrance said...

Lucy, I just found your marvellous blog via Earlybird of Mangetout, and read back several miles, a-goggle at the magnificence of your photographs. Two years ago we stayed in Finisterre, and if I couldn't live where I do, in Manche, that is where I would like to be. We visited that lighthouse, but having a dodgy heart, I didn't go up all those stairs!

I am full of admiration for your collages, and shall take myself to Picasa to see what I can do.

YourFireAnt said...

LOVE the spirally photos! We had a stamp here a few years ago, of one of those kind of stairs in the Library of Congress. Lovely.

Book is coming out sept. 10th. Cover looks great.

;-)

YourFireAnt said...

Thanks for comment on my blog, though I can't get the link to insert.

Bah!


;-)

Lucy said...

Thanks all, welcome Viv, welcome back Setu, welcome news FireAnt!

Regarding the Germanic name and umlaut, it was named after a general,Louis Nicolas Davout, who was called the 'Prince of Eckmühl' after winning the Battle of Eckmühl in the Napoleonic Wars, and whose daughter provided the money for the lighthouse. At the room at the top of it, there is a bronze of him, looking very paunchy and pompous in the clothes of the time, and a plaque about it! I've got a photo of that too, so perhaps I'll post it...

Lucy said...

Sorry, T, you crept in there! Not to worry, wonderful Google Chrome supplies an automatic link with a right click anyway!

YourFireAnt said...

I finally figured it out. The secret seems to be: keep your link short.

;-)

Barrett Bonden said...

Yes, I too was surprised about the unlaut. So punctilious about their own language the French are frequently somewhat cavalier about others'. Hence the famous German racing driver: Chou-ma-aire. Photos often betray steep gradients and great heights but the montage of spiral staircase shots, viewed as a whole, communicates vertigo perfectly. Don't forget to visit the scene of the Damascene techno-moment when in Wiltshire.

Anonymous said...

Oh, reading this takes me back to the Duomo, creeping up those last few spirals and then looking down. Argh! Thank you for this lovely series of travel posts.

(My favorite line of this one: "This blog seems rather to give the impression that my life is just one long jaunt, which isn't quite the case, but I don't do so badly.")

- Alison

marlyat2 said...

Lucy, thank you for leaving that riotous link! How utterly silly!

christopher said...

I join with Alison in my love for the idea of you on one long jaunt forever. The fact you live in France ever delights me and I love your photos which show this to us all.

You know of course, someone has to do it. Someone has to take your journeys.

Anne said...

As usual I got here late. And since I always want to say the obvious, someone has already mentioned how like a lovely nautilus the spiral stair looks in your beautiful photos.

As to the umlaut, I wish I knew how to make one with a computer.

Bee said...

What beautiful vertigo!

This is a stunning collage, Lucy. I was going to make exactly the same point as Zephyr about the shell resemblance. I like your toy car, too.

Dick said...

Breathtaking. Literally.