To travel the Starry-Eyed way, you don’t need much; just a thirst for curiosity, a good dose of spontaneity – and a head for heights. It doesn’t matter where I am; out in the desert, deep in a jungle, in the midst of a metropolis, or in a small town by the sea, there is one thing I just have to do in every single place I visit. And it involves going up.
I have always wanted to be close to the stars. As a child, I had an attic room with a slanted roof window. Without my parents knowing, I often used to clamber up and out of that window, and sit with a book in the ‘V’ of our roof and next door’s, dangling my legs in the nothingness below. It was the most delicious feeling of a half-forbidden freedom.
So perhaps it’s no surprise that, wherever I go, I head for the nearest rooftop, clifftop or mountaintop.
The moment I fell in love with Chicago was when I saw it from the Hancock Tower.
In Coroico, Bolivia, the steep climb to the guesthouse I was staying in was made utterly worthwhile thanks to the views.
Arica, Chile, is a pleasant enough border town, the kind of place you just pass through, but from the top of a cliff, it reveals itself as a man-made oasis in the desert.
Languedoc-Roussillon, France, becomes a place of myth and legend the moment you ascend into the mountains.
But it doesn’t have to be quite so high or quite so dramatic to take my breath away: one of my favourite ‘high’ spots is not that high at all, but the rooftop terrace of the One New Change Centre in London is quietly spellbinding.
To quote Mary Poppins – ‘The rooftops of London… oh, what a sight!‘
Do you prefer keeping your feet on the ground or going to dizzying heights?