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.
As I climbed along the coastal cliffs, skirting the summit and disappeared over a cluster of huge outcrop of boulders, I was immediately overcome by the sheer beauty of the ocean stretching in every direction. Mounting a massive boulder with childlike enthusiasm, oblivious to the sheer drop, I looked out towards the seacoast and vast mysterious ocean. Standing upright, I stretched out my hands and closed my eyes; suddenly, the wind buffeted me wildly wrapping around my body in a rough embrace. I cried out in exhilaration, magnificent rocky slopes, ocean and heaven lay before me; outstanding beautiful and awesome to behold. At that instant I experienced pure joy, rejoicing in the sheer beauty of Creation. It was a moment of inspiration, gratitude and peace born of love. Words are a mere tears in rain, compared to that which touched the essence of my being. I paused, deep in thought at the beauty that unfolded before me. I felt at peace, my heart was at ease and my soul rejoiced. Then, the words “Heaven on Earth” echoed within the depths of my soul as I recalled the psalmists words.
The heavens declare the glory of God; And the firmament shows His handiwork. (Psalm 19:1)
“Walking along the narrow cobblestone street I paused before an old wooden brown door decorated with cast iron adornments. “I wonder what lay beyond?”. I had heard tales of merchants long ago who used hidden passages to transport their expensive silken wares through the heart of the city. Unperturbed and filled with the excitement of the unknown 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; the walls on either side had faded, cracks had wound a tapestry on either side. Light began to suffuse the corridor which opened up into a picturesque courtyard. The combination of rich colours, green plants crawling along walls, beautiful archaic facades and doors plunged one back into an era long ago. Turning around in wonder I suddenly paused. A magnificent red tower, elegantly framed with arched windows and a spiral stone staircase rose up into the sky. The passage of time had merely added to its beauty.
Walking along the isolated beach, I couldn’t help but admire the simple creative beauty of nature. As I cast my eyes along the sand lining the seashore, occasionally lapped by the rhythmic movement of gentle water, I admired the beautifully coloured rocks everywhere to be seen. A myriad of earthen coloured weaving a natural rich and vibrant tapestry made me pause on occasion, reminiscing childhood moments where excitement was to be found in the most simple of things. I fleetingly yearned for those moments of innocence and wonder at what the world had to offer. Eventually walking along the seashore, I climbed an apparently barren gigantic rock formation keen to once again ignite that childlike reckless spirit of adventure. As I bounded up the last few steps leading to the summit I looked out yonder, mesmerised in pure joy at what lay before me.
My footprints stood out starkly against the fine grains of yellow sand that lined the shore. Walking in silence, I paused by a group of red earthen coloured rocks spread out across the water, and looked out towards the horizon. The sound of a lone seagull drifting upon the gentle wind caressing my face, mingled with the waves surging and breaking against the rocks, were my lone companions. Climbing a boulder I steadied myself and looked afar in awe. A mosaic of pure beauty, both serene and mysterious was everywhere to behold. The brilliance of the sun’s rays burst from Heaven, casting its rays upon the Earth, illuminating it with a gentle radiance. For long moments I stood upon that boulder, a lone figure still and silent. It was as if I wanted to capture the experience of this moment for all time and engrave it within the depths of my heart.
Looking up from my reverie at the edge of the pier on a pebble strewn shoreline, I looked upon a ring of mountains, embracing a most beautiful tranquil lake. The brilliant snow capped and forested Bavarian Alps provided a wonderful backdrop, yielding to the expanse of the clear blue heaven and narrow sand shores below at the edge of the lake. Clear, blue water, occasionally punctuated by gentle ripples sending out waves across the otherwise calm surface and sound of waves lapping the shore reminded me of the Mediterranean Sea. The numerous piers, moored with brilliant coloured green fishing boats contrasted brilliantly against the blue water and snow covered shores during this warm and sunny day in autumn. I paused for long moments in silence, a moment of quite exaltation; words are inadequate to describe the serenity that filled my mind, heart and soul.
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. Having crossed an archaic bridge I could still hear the churning of the river as it meandered around this beautiful Alpine town, gateway to the European Alps. As I walked amidst the rows of magnificent coloured houses, the silence manifested a powerful impression as vivid as the array of beautiful coloured houses. Walking along the main road, I was greeted by 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 German buildings decorated with a lovely array of complementary vibrant Mediterranean colours, a hallmark of the cultural splendour of Germany’s culture and medieval heritage.