The boy in the tower

Do you see the lengths I go to for you people? Today, I climbed up to a little dot up in the clouds, at the top of a series of very large hills. The dot would turn out to be the Lookout Tower, from which, I had been informed by Nice Hostel Man, I would be able to see for miles and miles and miles…

That climb put the Eiffel Tower and the crazy Lyon steps to shame, I’m telling you. There weren’t even any steps for most of it – just dusty, rocky old paths with dodgy looking wooden rails to hang on to and (in my case) haul yourself up, gasping for breath. The higher you get, the warmer the air becomes – fortunately today was cloudy, for if it’d been as hot as the past few days have been, I quite simply would not have survived.

Anyway, here it is: a photo of my current surroundings, as promised.

I’ve been staying right down at the water’s edge, in a tiny little village. The Portrush of Hungary, if you will – it’s where all the Hungarians go for their summer holiday or weekend break. It is beautiful. I’m nicely rested and relaxed now, apart from the hill-climbing nightmare. And I even made a new friend!

This is Jeosef, who kindly accompanied me up the tower, chattering away in Hungarian and completely unphased by my English responses. It is much easier to communicate with a child than with an adult when there’s a total language barrier, because they don’t give up and go silent when they realise that you don’t have a single shared word in your vocabulary. Jeosef and I developed our own sign language and did the age-old “saying words in your own language very slowly and loudly as if that’ll help” thing. It worked fairly well. He taught me to say Hayley nak hívnak, and I taught him to say my name is Jeosef. An educational trip, as well as a scenic one!

I have a feeling that he and his father actually live in the Lookout Tower. His dad was a scruffy, slightly wild-looking guy, wearing clothes with holes in them and curled up on a pile of old sacks when I arrived. He supervised as Jeosef excitedly counted my entrance money and attempted to give me the right change, and seemed quite content to let the boy go leaping up the tower steps ahead of me as if he’d done so a million times before. I got the impression that father and son are allowed to shelter in the tower in exchange for collecting the small entrance fee from visitors – because let’s face it, that would be quite a hike to work every day.

Nice as the view is, you’d have to pay me an absolute fortune.

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