The narrow village paths, lined with archaic facades and vibrant bouquets adorned the decaying medieval walls, straddled the river meandering through the centre of this picturesque town. Nestled at the footsteps of the Alps, a ring of forested mountains, complemented by a crystal clear lake embraced this medieval paradise. Cobble stone streets, castles and cathedrals connected by secret passageways plunged 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.
The numerous buildings with their colourful facades along decaying medieval walls straddled the meandering cobblestone path of this picturesque town. Archaic castles, cathedrals and merchant shops with their hidden passageways plunged one literally into the tales and story books of ones childhood, manifesting the sophistication and elegance of French Culture.
There is a unique allure about the Greek Islands. Uncomplicated, yet full of elegance and sophistication, the inherent natural beauty and rich culture are perfectly complimented by the warmth and hospitality of its people.
Walking along the deserted street, I paused, admiring the mediterranean facades of earthy hues decaying yet defiant in their timeless beauty. Scarlet sandstone walls with elaborate coloured wooden doors contrasted brilliantly against well worn blue cobblestones. In the distance the ringing of Church bells, slowing brought me out of my reverie.
Climbing up a narrow cobblestone street towards the summit, the thought of exploring the unknown treasures of the island stirred my heart with childlike enthusiasm. Walking along, admiring the white washed buildings precariously hugging the cliff face, my attention was caught by a splash of colour. Located on the cliff face overlooking the ocean, almost hidden, was a stone building with its white washed walls and blue staircase. Pausing, I admired the simplistic and elegant beauty of an era that my heart deeply yearned for.
The smell of burning wood permeated the cool winters morning. Walking a few steps, I noticed a staircase. Archaic and worn with the passage of time it was nevertheless beautiful to behold in its antiquity. A flurry of activity suddenly caught my eye or was it merely an inner sense as I caught the momentary glimpse of a monks’ flowing robes. There was a profound stillness and aura of peace pervading the monastery. In deep reverie, the poignancy of the psalmist’s words stirred my soul.
“Be still and know that I am God…”
The little winding paved side street wound gently through the quaint picturesque town. I stopped by this gorgeous cafe arrayed in radiant colours with its bright green wooden door. The aroma of traditional Mediterranean food mingled with the melodic relaxing sound of music. Stepping inside, I glanced at the staff, whose genuine warm smiles and open hearts were ready to welcome a stranger with traditional Greek hospitality.
The morning air was fresh as I walked along the street winding its way down to the harbour. The sound of my muffled footsteps disappeared amidst the gentle splashing of distant waves. Suddenly, I stopped by a sand stone wall with a resplendent red door. The passing of centuries which had left their marks of decay, merely enhanced the simplistic, elegant beauty of this colourful facade.
The old town’s cobblestoned paths meandered through whitewashed buildings, ascending towards the cliff. Reaching the summit, I looked out towards the ocean, overwhelmed at how effortlessly the magnificent splendour of creation blended beautifully with the elegant creativity of mankind. A white staircase ascended towards an abandoned windmill, simple yet striking to behold. It was as if time had stopped, reminiscent of a bygone era uncomplicated, yet timeless in beauty.
The distant lapping of the water splashing against the wooden moorings of the archaic Venetian bay, mingled with the sound of seabirds. As I walked along the cobblestones, the sun cast its vibrant rays upon the distant horizon. Pausing, I looked into the distance, yearning to capture the magnificence of this sunrise. Amidst the silence I perceived the beauty of a moment in time, powerfully engraved within the depths of my soul.
The precious jewels in our life are not wrought of metal and stone, but forged from ones life experiences of people and places, that have opened our mind, stirred our heart and enriched our soul.
The simplistic beauty of white washed walls and blue domed churches forever beckons at the doorstep of ones heart, when one dares to experience the splendour of Santorini