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. Archaic pathways opened up into splendid squares, surrounded by elegant buildings decorated with a brilliant array of vibrant colours, emphasising the cultural splendour of Germany’s medieval cultural heritage.
Walking along the narrow cobblestone street I paused before an old wooden brown door decorated with cast iron adornments. Unperturbed, I pushed the door, which groaned heavily and proceeded up the dimly lit passageway. The sound of people walking in the street dwindled as I wound my way up a narrow ancient corridor, until arriving at an archaic stairwell. I looked up in wonder at the winding staircase; the yellow glow along the walls was penetrated by the gentle blue of the sky breaking through in the distant heights. Faded walls with a multitude of cracks permeated their surface forming an archaic tapestry. Every line seemed to manifest a mysterious tale, centuries old. The simplistic beauty of this renaissance stairwell stirred the depths of my imagination, making me yearn for a bygone era.
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.
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 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.
Walking hurriedly through the city square, I skirted the narrow walkway dodging the pedestrians while simultaneously glimpsing the diversity of their facial expressions, something which never ceased to amaze me. The smell of cigarettes and croissants, mingled with the aroma of coffee and sound of traffic as the city stirred from its slumber. Suddenly, I found myself standing by a riverbank. The transition was amazing. On one side of the river, cafes, bookshops and artisans peddled their wares. In stark contrast, across the bridge, archaic buildings, with beautiful facades reflected the creative splendour of the Renaissance mysteriously lined the river.
Walking hurriedly through the city square, I skirted the narrow walkway dodging the pedestrians while simultaneously glimpsing the diversity of their facial expressions, something which never ceased to amaze me. The smell of cigarettes and croissants, mingled with the aroma of coffee and sound of traffic as the city stirred from its slumber. I glanced up in the sky, noticing the soft radiant aura of sunrise and hastened quickly down the road, looking quickly left and right before madly dashing across the main thoroughfare. Suddenly, I found myself standing by a riverbank looking beyond a river of blue, fast flowing water towards the old city. The transition was amazing. As the sun’s rays cast forth their gentle light permeating the morning mist heralding sunrise, a myriad of vibrant colours illuminated the distant shoreline. Archaic buildings, resplendent with beautiful facades simplistically but elegantly ordained, created a truly picturesque scene, manifesting the creative splendour of the Renaissance.
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 the town. A ring of forested mountains complemented by a crystal clear lake embraced this medieval picturesque town huddled within the footsteps of the Alps. Centuries old towns with cobblestone streets, ramparts, archaic castles and cathedrals from the medieval and renaissance periods with colourful facades and hidden passageways plunged one literally into the tales and story books of ones childhood. Flamboyant characters such as Molière and D’Artagnan suddenly came to life, manifesting the sophistication and elegance of French Culture.