don’t climb mountains, but I do climb stairs!
Whether they are marble or wood, winding or straight, steep
or shallow, I am determined to see what’s at the top. Climbing stairs can
produce a voracious appetite.  Come along with me as together we revisit
my favorite sites and bites.
Rocky Steps/Philadelphia, Pennsylvania: Five
“Rocky” films have featured the 72 stone steps of this iconic staircase at the
entrance of the Philadelphia Museum of Art in Philadelphia,
Pennsylvania.  After touring the museum, when it’s time for a lunch
break, head to the Famous 4th St Delicatessen.  Since
1923, the white-tiled Famous Deli has been a living museum and a tradition in
Philadelphia.  It is a place to nosh a little, kibitz a little, and
enjoy a lot.  It is also the place where the chef whipped up French
fries for Jennifer Lopez, and chicken potpies
for Ben Affleck when they took over the place during the 
of “Jersey Girl” on September 6, 2002.  Famous
Deli is equally famous for its 
delicious, award-winning cookies
that are baked fresh daily in the 90-year old delicatessen.

Mont Saint
Michel/Normandy, France
: 562 steps
will take you to the top of the Benedictine Abbey of St. Michel at the peak of
this UNESCO World Heritage site located on a small island just off the coast of
Normandy in Northern France. You will need to climb 365 steps just to access
the Abbey and 197 steps once you’re inside the Abbey.  Of course, by
then you will have worked up quite an appetite.  Descend the stairs
and head straight to La Mère Poulard for one of their
world-renowned omelettes.  Beaten, blown, and beautiful!
Old City Wall Stairs/Dubrovnik,
 Having climbed the stairs to the top
of the Old City Walls in Dubrovnik, you will be awarded a bird’s eye view of
this fortified Old City that is framed by its ancient walls, soaring limestone
cliffs, and a dazzling Adriatic Sea. The thick, medieval, stone walls, and the
system of turrets and towers that encircle the city, once protected the
vulnerable city from would-be conquerors.  Moats ran around the
outside section of the city walls.  The medieval town center, a
UNESCO World Heritage site, is known locally as Stari Grad.  After
your climb, head to the Dubravka Restaurant adjacent to the
Pile (pronounced pea-lay) Gate.  Dubravka is a huge
reasonably priced restaurant with magnificent terrace views of fortresses and
the Adriatic Sea.  It offers a great selection of fresh seafood and
Croatian specialties.



Spanish Steps/Rome,
 The 138 Spanish Steps
(Scalinata di Spagna) and the Piazza di Spagna at the foot of The Steps, both
get their name from the Spanish Embassy to the Vatican that is located in the
piazza.  Built with French money in the 1720s, the tiers of steps lead
to the French church Trinita dei Monti at the top of the
steps.  On the piazza at the base of the Spanish Steps is Barcaccia a
boat-shaped fountain by Pietro Bernini, father of the renowned sculptor Gian
Lorenzo Bernini. For over a century the Hassler
Hotel,  at the top of the Spanish Steps has been recognized as one of
Europe’s legendary five-star luxury hotels. Imàgo, the Hassler’s 6th floor
panoramic restaurant creates a magical atmosphere, a sense of being in another
time and space.
Stairs/Odessa, Ukraine:
The 192 Potemkin Stairs, the symbol
of Odessa, are considered the formal entrance to the city from the
sea. The staircase is an optical illusion.  If you stand
at the top of the stairs and look down, you will only see the ten landings, but
not the steps. If you stand at the bottom of the stairs and lookup, you will
only see the steps and not the landings. An Haute French Cuisine dinner at Le
Grand Café Bristol, in the 5-star landmark Bristol Hotel, is the perfect place
to land after climbing 192 steps. Located in the heart of historical Odessa,
the Bristol Hotel has been recognized as one of the most magnificent hotels in
Europe for more than 100 years.
Shipwreck Museum Tower/Key West,
During the golden age of sailing, at
least one ship per week would wreck somewhere along the Florida
Reef. Wreckers, the term given to men who watched the reef from the observation
tower at Mallory Square, profited from the sale of the salvaged wrecks they
spotted.  Climbing the stairs to the top of the tower, you can almost
hear their cry of “Wreck Ashore”.  Follow up your climb with a
cheeseburger and beer at Jimmy Buffet’s Margaritaville.
Redentor/Rio de Janeiro, Brazil:
 To reach the Christ the Redeemer statue atop Corcovado
Mountain from the road, one must climb 222 steps. For those opting for the easy
way up, the statue is reachable by escalators, elevators, and cars. The Christ
the Redeemer statue, one of the most famous landmarks in the world, provides an
awesome view of Rio de Janeiro and Sugarloaf Mountain.
The Fasano Al Mare Restaurant,
in the Philippe Starck-designed Fasano Hotel, has established itself as one of
the best dining experiences in Rio.  And the bar is glorious.
Eiffel Tower/Paris, France: The
Eiffel Tower, in “The City of Light”, houses the granddaddy of all
staircases.  From ground level, to the top of Gustave Eiffel’s iron
lattice masterpiece, there are some 1665 steps.  After you’ve enjoyed
the most incredible view in all France, ascend the stairs (or elevators) and head
for the Seine River.  Although I usually avoid tourist attractions
for dinner, I will make a recommendation that may sound hokey, but is worth the
time and money. Bateaux-Mouches, a series of riverboats that
operate on the Seine, may be tourist attractions, but they are not tourist
traps.  The boats offer dinner cruises that are elegant, romantic,
informative, and give a whole different prospective of Paris, from the Seine
looking up.  Seine-sational!  For dessert you might head to
a late night show at Moulin Rouge, the word-renowned cabaret perched atop
Montmartre.  Sin was not invented in Montmartre; it was only
perfected there.
Janet Steinberg is an award-winning Travel Writer and
winner of 38 national Travel Writing Awards.  She is also an Independent
Travel Consultant with The Travel Authority in Mariemont, Ohio.