This is a long post...but worth the readEi-ffel!
I graduated from University of Southern Mississippi in 2002. In 2001 I had the privilege of going on the British Studies program. This is a program the University offered every summer. You get to take a semester of classes in London. You stay at King's College in London and can choose the classes you would like to take. The University offered 12 different classes. I took the History of British Architecture & Interiors. It was amazing. We visited all of these English estates, and palaces. We were there around 7 weeks. We only had class 2 days a week, so during our free time we traveled all over. I went to Windsor Place, Hampton Court Palace, Buckingham Palace, Chiswick Estate, Kenwood Estate, Standen Estate, Osterly Park, Stonehenge, Dover, Dover Castle, and many more amazing places.
We had a mini break while we were there. The University offered 2 trips, one to Paris and one to Scotland. My friend Allison and I chose the Paris trip. Others went on their own mini trips to Majorca, Spain, Nice, France, or Greece.
I was so excited to get to see Paris! When we arrived that night I was bursting with anticipation. The city was unreal. Everything about it was amazing, the architecture, the lights....it was surreal.
The first thing that Allison and I wanted to see was the Eiffel Tower. We were staying in a hotel near the tower, so we decided to walk. We got to the tower around 8pm. If you have never seen the Eiffel Tower....you would be amazed at how big it actually is. It is 1,986 feet tall which is equivalent to an 81 story building, and the base is huge!
We started our journey up...thank goodness for elevators! I felt a little out of place at times, since neither of us speak French. I almost felt as if I were on another planet. I couldn't read anything, nor could I understand what anyone was saying. The funny thing is, that when you are in Paris, and you hear another person speaking English it is an instant bond! We met so many people from so many other states when we were on the elevator up.
We finally reached the top....and words cannot describe the view. Allison and I just stood there for about 30 minutes and didn't say a word. It was a sight to behold. We stayed on the tower until around 10:30pm.
A few of the workers started shouting out something...but we didn't understand. Finally an older couple from Greece came and told us that the elevator from the 2nd platform to the top platform had shorted out, so we would have to walk from the top to the 2nd platform. Now....the 2nd platform is 3/4 of the way down...by the time you walk to the 2nd platform you are almost to the ground. Allison and I decided we would wait and hopefully they would get the elevator repaired and we could take it down. The shut the tower down at midnight.
At midnight...the elevator was still broke. So we had to start our walk down. It had been raining that night, and the rain had caused the elevator to short out. As we were walking to the first flight of stairs down...I told Allison "would you die if someone fell down these stairs!".....I didn't even finish the sentence...and down a I went! I fell down the ENTIRE flight of stairs to the landing!
I landed toosh first on the first step, then I fell on my back and slid down like a slinky. My head had the pleasure of meeting and greeting every step on that flight of stairs. When I slid onto the landing...I was hurting. Allison was laughing so hard...she was crying. At first she thought I was ok. I was NOT ok. Allison grabbed my hand to pull me up and I couldn't feel her touching me or pulling on my arm. I told her that I couldn't feel anything. My entire body was numb, from head to toe. She grabbed my leg...couldn't feel it. She pinched me....couldn't feel it. Allison sat down next to me....and the panic set in. I thought I was paralyzed. I couldn't move any part of my body. I remember turning my head to look down. My face was about 2" from the edge of the fencing (the entire tower is covered in a protective fence). I looked down....and it was a LONG way down...at this point...80 stories down! My heart sank.
There was no one around...the tower was empty. And here we sat on this landing! There was no PRESS IN CASE OF EMERGENCY button, no phone to call anyone. Just us. I had no idea how we were going to get down. Allison was going to have to walk all the way down to get help. Just as she was about to leave, my body started to sting, like pins and needles poking me all over. A sting that is similar to when your arm or leg has fallen asleep and starts to "wake" back up. This went on for a few minutes, once this passed I realized I was not paralyzed and could move. Allison helped me up. When I stood up there was this loud...POP! Allison asked, "what was that", to which I replied "I think I just broke my tailbone."
We had to walk down 1,653 (there are actually 1,665 steps...but I fell down 13 of those!) steps. It took us about 4 hours...mainly because I had to stop at every landing and rest.
We stopped by a cafe near our hotel to eat because we were starving. I couldn't sit down so I had to stand at the table. The owner came out to ask what was wrong with me...I hesitated...but Allison told him. He said that he had lived in Paris his entire life and had never heard of anyone falling down the Eiffel Tower....much less breaking their tailbone. Joy!
It hurt. The next day when I woke up....my backside looked as though it was about to give birth! I couldn't fit into any of my pants, or shorts...I had to squeeze into a skirt.
That happened the first night there, and we still had 5 more days. I didn't let it slow me down. We went to the Louvre the next day, then on to Euro Disney as well as countless other places.
When I returned back to the U.S. some 4 weeks later I went to see an orthopaedic doctor. They did some x-rays on me. He came in with the x-rays and the first question was "what did you fall on?". I wanted to make up a story...because everyone I told thought it was hilarious...and well, it was hilarious. I told him that I fell down the Eiffel Tower. He sat there for a second and asked me if I was serious, and yes I was serious. He then burst out laughing and said " You fell down the Ei-ffel Tower!".
So there you have...out of the 6, 103, 987 visitors to the Eiffel Tower in 2001....I quite possible may be the only one of them that fell down an entire flight of stairs and broke my tailbone.
To this day...my toosh still hurts me...everyday. I broke the Coccyx completely off. It is somewhere in there still...un-attached. Everyday I am reminded of falling down the Ei-ffel Tower! I suppose it does make for a great story!