“The sound of my footsteps and wisps of breath ascending into the cold winter air”

Walking down the main road of Vienna, a dimly lit street caught my attention. The night was cold; the harsh winter had driven the city folk into the warm comfort of their homes. Turning into the cobble stoned street, I was dimly aware of distant conversation. The sound of my footsteps and wisps of breath ascending into the cold winter air. Illuminated by the golden glow of lamps, a worn facade of simplistic beauty caught my attention. There I was, a lone silhouette in the profound silence of the night.

“The picturesque and archaic surroundings manifested a feeling of nostalgia…”

Walking slowly through an old narrow lane way in the Altstadt, I paused in awe. Unique facades unlike anything I had experienced, lined narrow winding paths. The street, almost hidden, renown for its archaic goldsmiths peddling their antique craft connected numerous arcades to the Old Marketplace. Beautifully designed and decorated medieval and baroque facades complemented by colourful bouquets lined the elegant buildings. The picturesque and archaic surroundings manifested a feeling of nostalgia, a sense of timeless beauty whispering within one’s heart.

“Spellbound, the elegance and sophistication of the city forcefully imprinted a scene of rare beauty within my mind”

Pausing on the bridge oblivious to the sound of traffic, I looked out yonder towards the “Altstadt” nestled by the banks of the serene river. I stood in silence for long moments surveying the amazing scene that unfolded before me. Spellbound, the elegance and sophistication of the city forcefully imprinted a scene of rare beauty within my mind. A radiant sunny day cast forth its rays, illuminating an amazing mosaic of clouds that decorated Heaven itself. Below, archaic beautifully coloured Baroque and Rennaisance buildings, vibrant  beautifully complemented the surrounding landscape. The brilliance of European architecture was truly beautiful to behold.

“Life has taught me that there is beauty and grace to be found even in the most difficult of times”

The trials that we face in life are many, at times seemingly insurmountable, threatening to engulf us. The narrow path, however difficult and fraught with sacrifice is the mirror that reveals what we believe in and what we live for. Pain and suffering strip away the mask that represents the fragility of our lives. Life has taught me that there is beauty and grace to be found even in the most difficult of times. A gentle word, a kind thought or an act of compassion during such trials manifests a spirit of hope and gratitude. The ability to love with courage beyond human strength and understanding, to show fortitude in times of adversity reflects what, and more importantly in Whom we live for. Yet how many pause to acknowledge that silent voice that forever knocks at the doorstep of our hearts, that has always beckoned us stirring within the depths of our soul.

“Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.”.

“The simplistic beauty of a white domed church…”

Gazing out towards the endless beauty of the Aegean Sea, I slowly looked back. The simplistic beauty of a white domed church perched on the cliff edge overlooking the town was perfectly balanced with the warmth of the morning sun and blue sky. The beauty of Greece pierced me with profound clarity. This ancient land and its people, despite experiencing adversity and hardships over the centuries, had the courage to treasure its traditions and gift of hospitality, balanced by a spirit of hope and fortitude. The character of the nation was reflected in the land and its architecture; faded and worn yet proud, warm and truly beautiful to behold.

“I paused in awe and looked out yonder in profound reverie”

The Venetian bay was calm, as the sun cast forth its luminous rays upon the quiet town stirring in the early hours of the morning. The beauty of the Renaissance era was manifested splendidly against the calm deep blue of the ocean. I paused in awe and looked out yonder in profound reverie. In a moment of serenity, I pondered, how the creative beauty of mankind blended so perfectly with the majesty of nature.

“The faint echo of my footsteps disappeared into the silence…”

The faint echo of my footsteps disappeared into the silence. An aura of sanctity so profound manifested itself within the monastery. The buildings seemed archaic, yet the passing of centuries had merely enhanced their beauty. Decaying yet dignified, the monastery walls and church were marvellous to look upon in their simplistic beauty. As I stood looking upon an archaic facade, a monk with flowing black robes suddenly came up to me full of joy and smiling. His speech resonated with a beautiful melody, rich and resonant. I could not help but look upon his face in wonder. The thought fleetingly crossed my mind “Is he slightly mad?”. After a few moments, looking upon the purity of his disposition, I felt ashamed of my thoughts and merely stood in silence. The monk radiated a childlike innocence and joy, yet his words were filled with wisdom and love as he gave me his blessing and wished me well upon my journey. I stood for a long time in silence, not wanting to leave, sensing that I was in the presence of someone special. It was with a heavy heart that I eventually walked away deep in thought. I often think of this unknown monk. The purity of his warm eyes and loving words have left me a lasting impression. A monk living a simplistic life dedicated to prayer and fasting yet somehow filled with profound peace and joy.

“The monastery was silent, yet there was a profound beauty in such silence.”

Looking up at the archaic wooden door of the monastery, I read with a sense of reverence the ancient Greek and Latin inscriptions chiselled into the archway. An inscription carved in the entranceway in ancient Greek read, “Let the love of Christ be the light of your life that guides you”. I stood in awe and silence. The words resonated within the depths of my soul and my heart stirred with sheer love for whom I loved most, Christ Jesus. Eventually passing through the doorway I felt an immense sense of tranquility, as though I had stepped from modernity into a bygone era devoid of superficial distractions. The monastery emanated serenity and an aura of reverence. Besides the rustling of leaves and the wind dancing amidst the treetops, I was all alone. As the sun hid behind the clouds I gazed upon the facade of the monastery. Forlorn, decaying yet defiant in it’s timeless beauty, it captured my imagination.

“The scent of fresh air following rainfall was still lingering in the cold winter wind”

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. Archaic pathways opened up into splendid squares, surrounded by elegant buildings decorated with a brilliant array of vibrant colours, emphasising the cultural splendour of Germany’s medieval cultural heritage.

“Simplicity and elegance in the architecture reflected a bygone era of sophisticated flair…”

Pausing by the footpath, I surveyed the centuries old road disappearing into the distance beneath a beautiful classical arch bathed in sunlight. Simplicity and elegance in the architecture reflected a bygone era of sophisticated flair, manifested in the splendour of buildings and facades characteristic of this elegant city.