Alone perched upon a ragged red boulder I looked out towards the ocean, oblivious to the waves which menacingly splashed around me. It was if a sea of white foam coursed all around, engulfing everything in its path and then retreating albeit hesitantly into the depths of the Ocean. The winds danced wildly amidst the boulders rising occasionally into a crescendo at once in harmony with the sound of waves splashing around me. I was all alone yet an inner peace gripped my soul, awesome to behold. There are moments of sheer beauty when one must pause and be silent, for only in silence can one even dare to contemplate true beauty. A silence which commands our every sense and manifests the magnificence of Creation in all its splendour. I sat in silence for long moments; deep from within my mind, heart and soul resonated the psalmist “Be still, and know that I am God”
Walking along the isolated beach, I couldn’t help but admire the simple creative beauty of nature. As I cast my eyes along the sand lining the seashore, occasionally lapped by the rhythmic movement of gentle water, I admired the beautifully coloured rocks everywhere to be seen. A myriad of earthen coloured weaving a natural rich and vibrant tapestry made me pause on occasion, reminiscing childhood moments where excitement was to be found in the most simple of things. I fleetingly yearned for those moments of innocence and wonder at what the world had to offer. Eventually walking along the seashore, I climbed an apparently barren gigantic rock formation keen to once again ignite that childlike reckless spirit of adventure. As I bounded up the last few steps leading to the summit I looked out yonder, mesmerised in pure joy at what lay before me.
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.