The City of Stairs

I looked up at the stairs that seemed to rise to the sky. Panting. We had made it up the first few sets of stairs, me trying to balance the very unsteady bag I had on my back. I had specifically taken this piece of luggage for  my trip because it had wheels (!) and straps to turn into one massive backpack. But, it really wasn’t made to be balanced on a back. I could barely stand up straight, and when I was upright, it felt like the weight of the bag would have me topple over, down the stairs and back to Square One.

“Nope. No way,” I said, turning to Chopper, who was taking in the monstrosity of stairs beside me. “There is NO WAY I can carry my bag up those thousand stairs to the hostel. Let’s just go to your hostel instead. I don’t need to stay in the old city of Dubrovnik.”

“Come on, D,” he said. “You can do it.”

I had tried. Sweat was beading up on my forehead, my frustration with my ability to master those stairs with bag in tow was building to massive proportions.

“Chopper,” I said, trying not to seem whiny, “I really can’t do this.”

Instead of agreeing with me to turn back, he grabbed my bag and carried it up the rest of the stairs. I had been thankful for his company the entire time I had known him, but that moment, damn, the gratitude was  overwhelming. I knew if I had been by myself, there was no way I could have done that. There were A LOT of stairs. More than the cathedral towers I had climbed. More than the stairs up the mountain I had climbed in Israel.

Dubrovnik, this beautiful walled city in Croatia, was essentially a town of stairs. Restaurants had outdoor seating on the stairs; bars opened to them; stores lined them. All of these places were situated like they were on a normal walking path, except they were growing up the stairs.

And, even though I was in pretty decent shape, it kicked my glutes into high-gear. And my legs.

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