The mist was everywhere to behold, surrounding me, a sea of white cloud, mystical and ethereal yet at once calming, pervading my every sense. The mountain trek was long and arduous, the cold air clung desperately onto my clothes, forming minuscule icicles. My muscles ached as I climbed up the steep incline; step by step urging myself to continue beyond my physical capacity past the point of exhaustion, when one’s muscles are about to surrender. Ultimately, one searches deep within ones heart for inspiration. The mind takes over, steadily assuring and motivating ones will to continue beyond the realm of reality and push beyond the boundaries of what the body is willing to do. Hunched forward, burning with fatigue, urging myself forward, barely able to distinguish silhouettes of trees lining the mountainside through drifting clouds, my mind’s strength had reached its limit. Sensing that I was nearing the mountain summit, I envisaged a moment of rare beauty, one that I would cherish for all time. Delving deep within myself, that place where silent prayer kindles the embers of courage whose flames give birth to faith and hope, the place where dwells the indomitable human spirit, my strength renewed, I continued on my journey.
Looking up from my reverie at the edge of the pier on a pebble strewn shoreline, I looked upon a ring of mountains, embracing a most beautiful tranquil lake. The brilliant snow capped and forested Bavarian Alps provided a wonderful backdrop, yielding to the expanse of the clear blue heaven and narrow sand shores below at the edge of the lake. Clear, blue water, occasionally punctuated by gentle ripples sending out waves across the otherwise calm surface and sound of waves lapping the shore reminded me of the Mediterranean Sea. The numerous piers, moored with brilliant coloured green fishing boats contrasted brilliantly against the blue water and snow covered shores during this warm and sunny day in autumn. I paused for long moments in silence, a moment of quite exaltation; words are inadequate to describe the serenity that filled my mind, heart and soul.
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.
It is a rare experience indeed when one walks about a medieval town, resplendent with archaic cathedrals and ramparts, winding alleyways and water filled canals or Bächle, yet coupled with hippie looking locals, smiling street vendors and mad cyclists, all in the one place. Wondering how to capture the essence of what was unfolding before me, I stopped by a narrow street with an archaic cobblestone pathway, in front of Bächle, and a row of old traditional Germanic buildings. Perfect setting; all I had to do was wait for an opportune moment. Moments later, I heard someone shouting “Juhu” a German expression of exhilaration and joy, as a crazy cyclist turned facing towards me with outstretched arms while balancing on his bike and continuing to ride along the street. I smiled and laughed as I clicked the shutter; this cyclist with so much character instantly entered into the gallery of my most beautiful experiences and fondest memories within my heart.
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.
Ascending the steep narrow road that led to the summit, I paused in silence, and looked up towards the town church, whose white walls were beautifully contrasted against the sky. It seemed as though a majestic hand had cast a magnificent blue veil across Heaven itself, such was its beauty. I looked heavenwards with childlike joy as the evening light illuminated the picturesque town and the smell of wood fires with on a cold winters day manifested an air of nostalgia. Suddenly I smiled, remembering the winding roads and pathways meandering into the heart of the town with its little footbridges over the Kander River. Walking through the town centre, I recalled vibrantly coloured and adorned buildings, and charming artisan stores delightful to behold. I spent many long moments experiencing the beautiful scenery that unfolded before me; the church, sky and forested hills surrounding this beautiful town, in a loving embrace.
Looking yonder, admiring the brilliant forested green hills plunging into the valley below, wisps of smoke gently climbed heavenwards from chimneys and ice capped tiled roofs. The smell of wood fires permeated the air, while the singing of birds heralded sunrise. The serene picturesque town slept quietly on this cold winter day, nestled in the loving embrace of the valley. As the fog began to lift, the tall church spire towering over the brightly coloured buildings complemented beautifully the surrounding landscape. I turned around and continued climbing. Approaching the wooded hilltop at the footsteps of the Black Forest I paused to rest, admiring the beauty of my surrounds; suddenly, a scurrying sound from above, disturbed my reverie. Scanning the tall beech trees, I discovered to my delight a red squirrel with long tufted ears and bushy tail leaping nimbly from tree to tree. I paused for a long time deep in thought, smiling. My only companions, the morning song of birds and a proud acrobatic red squirrel. It truly was a beautiful and peaceful day.