Now that the rain had stopped we walked along the quayside as far as the old medieval castle that stands guard (or at least used to stand guard) at one end of the island. It wasn’t open so after walking around the walls we headed directly back to the centre of the town where it started to rain again. It was time for more shelter so we chose the grandest building in the town, the thirteenth century church of St. Lawrence, which is the most significant work of the Romanesque-Gothic style in Croatia.
After paying the entrance fees I was delighted to spot a door to a spiral staircase and a climb to the top of the bell tower. There was a large sign that stated that going to the top was at the visitors own risk and absolving the church of all responsibilities. We were about to find out why!
The first third of the climb was straightforward and uneventful up the sort of staircase that we have negotiated many times but then the stone staircase stopped abruptly at a first level and the next part of the climb was up a set of precarious wooden steps that had a handrail but nothing else to prevent a careless visitor falling through and ending up in a tangle of broken bones on the stone floor at the bottom of the tower.
Worse than that was the prospect of slipping and falling the other way which would have involved a fall through an open stone window and onto the court yard below with little real prospect of survival. During the fatal fall however there would have been some excellent views because the higher the steps climbed the view over the roof tops towards the sea on one side and the mountains on the other got better and better.
This was more like the Tower of Terror than the Tower of Trogir. At the top of the hazardous wooden stairs was a second level where the bells were and then some even more dangerous iron stairs to negotiate to complete the climb to the very top of the tower which involved a struggle through a small opening without any handrails at all and which opened out into the final level where there was time to enjoy the spectacular views and to contemplate and reflect on just how perilous this climb was and to worry about getting back down again.
This was even more unnerving than going up because it was now possible to see just how precarious the decrepit steps were. The iron was rusting away, the wood was decaying and holding all of this lot up was a series of concrete plinths that looked as though they were in imminent danger of collapse. Generally I like climbing towers but I wouldn’t tackle this one again in a hurry and I can confess to having been genuinely concerned and very, very pleased to get back to the bottom.