The camera is back in action, and just to prove it, here is a record of my journey up the one hundred and twenty-six steps to my room. We begin at ground level, outside the Chapter Hall. The cupola is on the roof of the Founder’s Chapel in the Basilica. To the left is the part of the monastery known as the Torre Spada (the Spada Tower), called after Cardinal Spada who spent the last years of his life there – not the fictional Cardinal Spada of The Count of Monte Cristo, but a real one of the same name. (Between the two is the highest magnolia tree I have ever seen.) We enter at the left of the picture and begin at the ascent.
Four flights of stairs up from base camp, we stop to build up our energy; fortunately, the refectory is on this floor.
The ascent continues. At the next floor, a communications base has been established in case climbers are beginning to lose their way.
After another four flights of stairs, we finally reach the summit, only to discover that others have gone higher still. This out-of-breath picture taken near the last of the one hundred and twenty-sixth step shows, unfortunately, that my room is not at the highest point in the building; there is another large attic above, and the bell tower above that (but I’m not going there today).