Waking long the narrow street meandering path, I was pleasantly surprised as it suddenly opened up into a wide thoroughfare. To my delight, a delightful scene unfolded before my very eyes. 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 elegant 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, I imagined time long past, where the sound of horses hooves plodding along the cobblestones mingled with the clamour of shop keepers bartering their wares, and peasants going about their daily chores, as travelling musicians enchanted their audiences with stories and tunes to soothe the soul.
The narrow village paths, lined with colourful restaurants and intricate bouquets adorning the decaying medieval walls, straddled the river 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. This archaic town, lined with cobblestone streets, ramparts, archaic castles and cathedrals from the medieval and renaissance periods was 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. I stood in a silent reverie as flamboyant characters such as Molière and D’Artagnan suddenly come to life.
Walking hurriedly through the city square, I skirted the narrow walkway dodging the pedestrians while simultaneously glimpsing the diversity of their facial expressions, something which never ceased to amaze me. The smell of cigarettes and croissants, mingled with the aroma of coffee and sound of traffic as the city stirred from its slumber. I glanced up in the sky, noticing the soft radiant aura of sunrise and hastened quickly down the road, looking quickly left and right before madly dashing across the main thoroughfare. Suddenly, I found myself standing by a riverbank looking beyond a river of blue, fast flowing water towards the old city. The transition was amazing. As the sun’s rays cast forth their gentle light permeating the morning mist heralding sunrise, a myriad of vibrant colours illuminated the distant shoreline. Archaic buildings, resplendent with beautiful facades simplistically but elegantly ordained, created a truly picturesque scene, manifesting the creative splendour of the Renaissance.
The veil of darkness that clung on desperately prior to sunrise was broken by the soft moonlight that managed to filter through the treetops illuminating the earth beneath my feet as I slowly made my way up towards the mountain summit, weaving my way between an almost invisible mosaic of rocks, stones, tree roots and bushes. The cold winter wind was surprisingly gentle that night, and as I gazed up towards Heaven itself, bright stars and a full moon cast their beautiful glow. I momentarily paused to appreciate their beautiful radiance. They seemed as precious jewels strewn across the galaxy; a divine tapestry of celestial beauty. With difficulty I withdrew my gaze and resumed my trek up the steep incline with renewed vigour, anticipating the splendour of sunrise. As I neared a cluster of huge boulders I climbed the imposing rock edifice steadily; suddenly I reached the mountain summit. Standing in reverent awe, I looked out eastwards towards the horizon, stretching out my hands in praise. My heart stirred, full of joy; a silent prayer resonated deep within my soul, rejoicing at the beauty of God’s creation, as the first rays of sunrise cast forth their divine beauty across the face of the Earth.
Walking along the shore I pondered briefly at the set of footprints that disappeared in the sand before me, wandering fleetingly to whom they belonged. I was all alone, yet excitement mixed with a sensation of peace gripped me ever so strongly in its embrace. Looking up towards the horizon I hurried; there were only a few brief moments of precious light whereby I could experience the final setting of the sun. Quickly climbing atop a rugged boulder surrounded by water, I looked out towards the ocean. I lay still, overawed by such beauty. There are special moments when silence manifests such a forceful presence that it penetrates into the depths of ones soul. After long moments I stood up, a lone insignificant silhouetted figure, closed my eyes and stretched out my arms. The sound of the gentle wind and splashing of the waves upon the rocks melted away as I turned inwards to prayer, offering praise to God for His beautiful Creation. The solemn and reverent words of the Psalmist “The heavens declare the glory of God; And the firmament shows His handiwork” echoed within the depths of my heart.
Solemnly approaching the cliff edge, I was acutely aware of my insignificance as I peered out from the cliff face out towards the vast expanse of Heaven and Ocean. The gentle wind and sound of waves breaking were my only companions. There are times when words can not delve into the depths of one’s heart and soul. Somehow Dostoyevsky’s words “Beauty will save the World”, reflecting a loving God as manifested in the majestic beauty and gift of Creation resonated with vivid clarity. The calmness of the ocean, seemed to reflect the peace and serenity in one’s life, contrasted sharply with the turbulent clouds representing life’s many challenges and tribulations that one experiences in the deep valley of our struggles. Our lives at times seem vulnerable, an isolated island within a vast Ocean of despair. Nevertheless, the light piercing the clouds and illuminating Creation is the unconditional, unwavering love and mercy of Christ, walking with us amidst the storm, truly beautiful to behold. Words dear to me echoed within the depths of my heart.
“I am the light of the world. He who follows Me shall not walk in darkness, but have the light of life.” (John 8:12)
Walking along by the cobblestone road, I pondered the elegantly designed and colourful medieval buildings, germanic in design yet beautifully arrayed in Mediterranean colours. Turning the corner, I entered the main road; the transformation was amazing to behold, as I suddenly stumbled across numerous cafes, trade shops and street vendors selling everything from tulips to German sausages, much to my delight on a cold winters day. Walking through beautiful cobblestone streets, while dodging cyclists, avoiding trams and being careful not to fall into the Bächle or small water canals spread throughout the inner city, one is delighted by the numerous examples of Classical Romanesque-Gothic architecture. The thought of how a medieval city could suddenly instantly transform itself into a cosmopolitan Bazaar, never ceasing to amaze instantly made me smile.