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 broke my reverie. Entranced by the beautiful simplicity and elegance of the diverse architecture, Classical, Gothic and Renaissance themes were manifest in all their magnificence. Every street reflecting a specific era and cultural flair was lined with various artisans, cafes and food stalls opening up into squares that blended in with the splendid array of churches, statues and facades characteristic of this sophisticated and elegant city.
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. Crossing an archaic bridge resplendent with ancient Roman arches, I could still hear the churning of the river as it meandered around this beautiful Alpine town. Wandering along the main road, I experienced 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 buildings decorated with a lovely array of complementary vibrant Mediterranean colours, a hallmark of the cultural splendour of Germany’s culture medieval cultural heritage. Standing amidst the rows of magnificent houses, the silence manifested a powerful impression as vivid as the array of beautiful colours adorning them.
The light shower of rain settled over the picturesque town quietly nestled at the footsteps of the Alps. As the storm clouds stretched across the expanse of Heaven, the soft glow of raindrops glistened on the ancient cobblestones of this deserted road. I stood for a long time alone, deep in thought, contemplating the beauty of past centuries. Elegant and sophisticated buildings lined the meandering pathways winding throughout the town. A majestic medieval cathedral resplendent in classical Baroque architecture was beautifully contrasted against a churning river passing through the town. In the background forested hills surrounded the picturesque town within their embrace manifesting a beautiful setting. Walking about the cobblestone streets, I felt enchanted and at peace surrounded by the charm and elegant beauty of this alpine treasure.
Walking down the ancient road meandering through the town centre I noticed a secluded side street; barely noticeable yet inviting one to explore what lay beyond. A tinge of excitement stirred within me; the thirst for adventure never waned within my heart, so I unhesitatingly turned into the path which seemed to ascend quite steeply. I was transported instantaneously into a period centuries ago. The tales of my childhood manifested from children’s stories suddenly came to life , as I walked in the footsteps of peasants, traders and noblemen from the medieval era. I imagined the robust haggling of traders selling their wares in the market place, artisans busy at work and musicians mingling with townsfolk in carnivals. Pausing for long moments I couldn’t help but yearn for a time of creative beauty and simplicity, filled with uncertainty and romance.
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.
Winding my way along the banks of the crystalline lake flanked by an adjacent park adorned with evergreen trees at the doorstep of this beautiful French alpine town, I came across a wrought iron bridge. Simple and stoic in architecture it nevertheless bore testimony to the elegant beauty of artisan creativity of the past. I walked slowly along this rather quaint bridge and paused in the middle. The cool autumn air was invigorating. Somewhere in the distance the call of birds permeated the air. I looked out yonder towards the canal that fed into the lake and observed the boats gently bobbing up and down gently as a line of pure white swans slowly swum upstream. In reverie, I pondered the beauty of silence and simplicity, a treasure often buried amidst the thick layer of dust of our everyday lives.
The climb up the mountain was steep, even the electric carriage we travelled in seemed to pause momentarily. I looked over at the driver smiling as I listened to his pleasant Swiss German dialect, which sounded like German spoken with a rhythmic singing Irish accent. I thought to myself “Gaulish tribes definitely must have lived here long ago”. His long moustache, jovial manner and generous build reminded me of my beloved characters from Asterix. Finally, we reached the summit. Exiting the station I ventured outside and was immediately blinded by light that surrounded me from every side. The cold air instantly revived, and as my eyes became accustomed to the light I looked out beyond, transfixed in absolute wonder at the most beautiful sight I had ever experienced in my entire life. As far as the eye could venture, majestic clouds stretched out paying homage to the grandeur of the Alps on the horizon. “Heaven on Earth” were the words that echoed deep within my mind, heart and soul. Never before had I known such peace, serenity and beauty.