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.
A rugged path hewn out of solid rock meandered its way down the quaint old town. Various paths, as if out of a children’s fairytale seems to pop up when least expected to my delight. Turning back, I was struck by the brilliant blue widow shutters contrasted against a faded stone wall. Pausing for long moments, I pondered how the architecture blended beautifully with the sky and land, simple, rugged yet naturally beautiful.
There is a simplistic beauty and warmth about the Greek Islands. Uncomplicated, yet full of elegance and sophistication, my mind, heart and soul were won over by my experience of Greece. Inherent natural beauty, a rich culture, complimented by the warmth and hospitality of its people. For a country that has endured so much, the ability to show warmth and compassion was one of those experiences that I will forever cherish.
Walking down the main road of Vienna, a dimly lit street caught my attention. The night was cold; the onset of winter had driven the city folk into the warm comfort of their homes. Turning into the cobblestoned street, I was dimly aware of distant conversation. The sound of my footsteps and wisps of my breath ascending into the cold air. Illuminated by the golden glow of lamps, a worn facade of simplistic beauty caught my attention; a lone silhouette in the profound silence of the night.
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.
Walking slowly through an old narrow laneway in the Altstadt, I paused in astonishment. The facades of the buildings were unique and unlike anything that I had experienced. The street, almost hidden, barely noticeable connected numerous arcades to the Old Marketplace. The street renown for its goldsmiths that long ago peddled their antique craft in the many shops that line the roadway. Beautifully designed and decorated medieval and baroque facades adorned with religious ornaments and intricately designed cast iron signs of artisans selling their wares were everywhere to be seen. Bouquets of neatly arranged colourful flowers lined the elegant buildings. The picturesque and archaic surroundings manifested a feeling of nostalgia.
Pausing along the banks of the old town I looked out across the river. The night air gently caressed my face as the sound of the water flowing soothed my thoughts. The golden glow of lights illuminated the bridge brilliantly as it stretched forth, traversing the great expanse of water decorated with dancing lights. A sense of adventure stirred my heart, as I crossed the vast iron bridge, stepping onto an archaic cobblestone road. The transformation was immediate as I entered the old section of the city. Disappearing into a secluded street, I paused and looked down the empty street, illuminated by the warm glow of street lamps. Beautiful facades of buildings from a bygone era manifested their magnificence in the stillness of the night.
The large wooden door simplistically adorned beckoned me to enter the deserted street. It was late in the evening; the glow of lamps cast a golden haze across the cobblestone pathway and archaic buildings. The stillness of the night was as profound as the smell of winter rainfall, lingering in the air. Walking along, I noticed the various cracks across the facade of buildings, a historical tapestry weaved from the renaissance to the present day. The scene was forlorn, yet it seemed as though the harsh passage of time could not entirely efface the beauty these stones, heralding a bygone era.
Yonder, across the great expanse of water an archaic building guarded the entrance to the old city along the river bank. Illuminated by the golden glow of street lamps, a warm light reflected in the calm, steady flow of the river. The whirling of the wind intermingled with the gentle sound of waters flowing. My thoughts drifted from the nearby bridge towards the old city with its magnificent blend of classical and renaissance architecture, unique and mesmerising to behold. I pondered an era, long ago that somehow I deeply yearned for. For long moments I stared out from the river bank, silent, a lone silhouette in the stillness of the night. Deep in reverie, my thoughts were entranced and calmed by the beautiful golden glow on the mysterious waters.
From the shore I gazed out towards the magnificent cast iron bridge spanning the great breadth of the river. The old part of the city, lit up by streetlights, emanated a warm light reflected in the calm but steady flowing river. The whirling of the wind dancing around me, intermingled with the gentle sound of running water. Entranced by the soft glow of distant lamps I looked out yonder towards the old city. It seemed the bridge and city were connected by the impulsive drive of mankind to surge forward towards the future while establishing a tenuous hold with the past. For long moments I stared out from under the embrace of this magnificent steel structure. My thoughts were entranced and calmed by the golden glow upon mysterious waters.
The faint echo of my footsteps disappeared into the profound silence that manifested an aura of sanctity about 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. He talked in such a beautiful melody, rich and resonant. I could not help but look upon his face in wonder. The thought 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 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 vibrant 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.