The scent of fresh air following rainfall was still lingering in the cold winter wind, as I ascended the winding cobblestone road leading into the heart of the city. Having crossed an archaic bridge I could still hear the churning of the river as it meandered around this beautiful Alpine town, gateway to the European Alps. As I walked amidst the rows of magnificent coloured houses, the silence manifested a powerful impression as vivid as the array of beautiful coloured houses. Walking along the main road, I was greeted by Gothic cathedrals, half-timbered fachwerk houses, castles and towers manifesting the true beauty and charm of traditional German culture. Winding cobblestone streets opened up into splendid squares, surrounded by elegantly designed German buildings decorated with a lovely array of complementary vibrant Mediterranean colours, a hallmark of the cultural splendour of Germany’s culture and medieval heritage.
Pausing by the footpath, I surveyed the centuries old road before me disappearing into the distance beneath a beautiful classical arch bathed in sunlight. Surprisingly I stood there all alone, dimly aware of the distant clicking of someones shoes on the cobblestones. The temporary flash of a lady and her black coat swishing hurriedly across the street on a cold winters momentarily distracted my attention. Entranced by the beautiful simplicity and elegance of the diverse architecture, every street reflected a specific era and cultural flair. Especially predominant were the Classical and Gothic themes, manifesting the Renaissance and Counter Reformation period in all its magnificence. Streets lined with various artisans, cafes and food stalls open up into squares that blend in with the beautiful array of architecture as manifested in the magnificent churches, statues and buildings that are characteristic of this sophisticated and elegant city.
The light shower of rain had settled over the picturesque town quietly nestled at the footsteps of the Alps. As the grey clouds stretched out across Heaven, their soft glow glistened on the ancient cobblestones that lined the deserted street. I stood for a long time alone, deep in thought, contemplating the beauty of past centuries. Elegant and sophisticated Germanic buildings lined the roads and winding hidden pathways throughout the town. A majestic cathedral resplendent in classical Baroque architecture of the Medieval period was beautifully complemented by a river passing through the town. In the background forested hills surrounded this picturesque alpine jewel within their strong embrace manifesting a majestic setting. Walking about the cobblestone streets, I felt enchanted and at peace surrounded by the charm and elegant beauty of this alpine town.
From the shore I gazed out towards the magnificent cast iron bridge spanning the great distance of the river. The old part of the city was lit up by streetlights, giving a warm light reflected in the calm but steady flow of the river. I could hear the whirling of the wind intermingled with the gentle sound of waters flowing. The underside of the bridge was dimly lit by the soft glow of distant lamps. As the cool wind played about me, my thoughts drifted from the bridge towards the old city with its magnificent blend of medieval and renaissance architecture, unlike anything that I had previously experienced. It seemed that the bridge and city were connected by the inherent drive of mankind to surge forward and strive towards the future while establishing tenuous hold with the past. For long moments I stared out from under the embrace of this magnificent steel structure; my thoughts were entranced and calmed by the beautiful golden glow on the mysterious waters.
The archaic intricate wooden door before me aroused my curiosity. I was vaguely aware of the creaking hinges as I opened the door and passed excitedly through the dimly lit winding corridor. Walking slowly in awe, I glanced at the crumbling walls contained within the hidden tunnels whose beauty was only enhanced by the passing of centuries. Slowing momentarily, I ran my fingers tenderly along the walls; the surface was cold and as my fingers graced over the worn lines and crevices I imagined an era of classical and vibrant artistic beauty; a European, Christian spiritual movement originating in Florence, inspired by the intellectual, artistic and spiritual expression of Byzantine Greek scholars fleeing the fall of Constantinople, capital of the Roman Empire. The corridor suddenly widened and light flooded into an archaic and beautifully adorned courtyard. Vibrantly coloured facades manifested an aura of a bygone era that I found yearning for deeply; an era of sheer elegance, sophisticated simplicity, cultural vitality and artistic beauty.
The narrow village paths lined with colourful restaurants and intricate bouquets adorning the decaying medieval walls, straddled the main stream meandering through the centre of this picturesque town nestled at the footsteps of the Alps. The surrounding landscape, comprising a ring of forested mountains and complemented by a crystal clear lake embraced this medieval paradise. Centuries old towns with cobblestone streets, ramparts, archaic castles and cathedrals from the medieval and renaissance periods unique to European were truly fascinating to behold. Exotic buildings and streets with colourful facades, magnificent cathedrals and richly decorated buildings connected by secret passageways plunges one literally into the tales and story books of ones childhood. Flamboyant characters such as Molière and D’Artagnan suddenly come to life. France manifests architectural sophistication and elegance, a rich diverse and vibrant culture and is blessed with geographical beauty renown throughout the world.
The narrow street widened into a wide thoroughfare to my delight; I was now able to gaze upon a delightful scene. A radiant yellow window decorated with blue wooden panes set against red bouquets of flowers adorning window sills, contrasted brilliantly with the sandstone coloured archaic wall and blue tinged cobble stone street. I stood admiring this most beautiful facade resplendent with such simple yet beautifully blended colours. Looking about in childlike wonder I thought “What would it have been like to have lived so long ago in a town such as this?”. My thoughts deep in reverie, a gentle smile slowly crept across my face as I pondered one of my favourite characters; D’Artagnan from The Three Musketeers, walking down a street such as this in his swashbuckling style, an air of bravado, the hallmark of a proud and fiery young Gascon in the prime of his life.