Have you ever said to yourself, "if only I could ______________"?
Thanks to a company aptly named If Only I had an opportunity for just such an experience, one of those once-in-a-lifetime adventures -- a tour of the catwalks and the bell tower at Grace Cathedral at the top of Nob Hill.
Four of us took part in the adventure, my husband and I, a daughter and my son-in-law. We were greeted by the Verger of Grace Cathedral, Charles Shipley III, who gave us a tour of the Cathedral, explaining many of the paintings, stained glass windows, construction of the building itself, took us to the basement to see the huge blowers that provide air for the pipe organs (there are two of them.) We had behind-the-scenes visits to the room where the chalices were laid out, ready for the morning service.
And then the pace of the adventure ratcheted up, first with an elevator ride to the third floor, followed by our climb up, up, up the south tower, and out onto the tower platform before walking along catwalks to the north tower, the bell tower.
Next came longers walks along the catwalks, high above the floor of the cathedral - quite a different view than on my yoga nights when I'm looking up at the ceiling so far above my head -- about 95 feet if I remember correctly.
Just when I thought the tour would be winding down, we stepped out onto the narrow (about 24-36" wide??) parapet, and began a slow walk from the north, to the west, to the south. The day was sunny; the views spectacular, and the thrill amazing.
Finally our time to descend had come, and we walked down, down, down to the choir loft level, and then the elevator took us the rest of the way down.
For 90 minutes, Mr. Shipley gave us lots of information without overwhelming us and answered questions graciously and thoughtfully. He was the pefect guide for a grand adventure, and we're all very grateful to him for helping to make our once-in-a-lifetime tour of the catwalks and bell tower of Grace Cathedral so very grand.