The narrow village paths, lined with colourful restaurants and intricate 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, lined with cobblestone streets, castles and cathedrals truly fascinating to behold. Exotic buildings and streets with colourful facades and richly decorated buildings 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 muffled sound of my shoes on the polished stone blocks lining the street rose into the cold winter night as I meandered my way into the heart of the old city. I pondered childhood memories as my breath rose like mist into the evening air, momentarily taking shape before vanishing as quickly as it had appeared. I paused within the almost deserted street as the golden rays of the street lamps bathed the surrounding buildings in an aura of subdued gold. The elegance and sophistication of a bygone era caught my imagination as manifested in the splendid architectural facades that lay before me.
Walking slowly through an old narrow laneway in the Altstadt, I paused in astonishment. The facades of the buildings were so archaic, unique and unlike anything that I had experienced. “. The street was almost hidden, barely noticeable connecting the arcades to the Old Marketplace, 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 in this romantic picturesque thoroughfare, manifesting an atmosphere that was at once archaic yet romantic to behold.
Passing through the domed gate of the castle wall, I walked around the magnificent ramparts that rose high above the city, perched on an exceedingly steep cliff. Walking up the steep cliff face had been long and arduous, however the experience was breathtaking to behold. The view overlooking the “Alt Stadt” was truly amazing to behold. Resplendent green domes of magnificent churches, blended beautifully with the brilliant Baroque and Classical designed buildings painted in a myriad of earthy colours. The soft light of the late afternoon, diffused by clouds manifested a dreamy almost mystical atmosphere. Yonder, a river wound its way through the city, marking its downward journey from the distant mountains, far away on the horizon. I paused for long moments in silence; my reverie cast me back centuries as the cool wind played about my face, oblivious to the distant sound of muffled footsteps.
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. Having finished exploring the picturesque lane ways and brilliant Baroque facades of buildings dating back to the Medieval and Renaissance periods, 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 buildings, vibrant church domes and spires beautifully complemented the rolling hills, richly coloured trees and blue sky with its brilliant clouds. It was one of those rare and beautiful moments forever imprinted within my heart, as the brilliance of European culture manifested in all its glory.
The cold winter wind chilled my body as I wound my way through the heart of the old city; the muffled sound of my footsteps mingled with the whirling of the wind dancing amidst the tree tops. Stopping momentarily, I pondered briefly before wandering off the cobblestone path adjacent to the brilliant renaissance facade of a bygone era into a picturesque park. As I wandered about the soft dew damp green grass, the wind suddenly in a crescendo swept up in its embrace a trail of leaves, which hung momentarily in the air. With childlike nostalgia, I beheld in a moment of sheer beauty, a veil of shimmering gold, as the last remnants of sun glistened on the leaves before gliding gently down once more upon the ground from whence they came.