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 morning air was fresh as I stepped out onto the street winding its way down to the harbour. The sound of my muffled footsteps disappeared amidst the gentle splashing of waves in the distance. As the first rays of sunrise cast its light upon the colourful facades I stopped by a beautiful sand stone wall with a bright red door. The passing of centuries had left their marks of decay, yet this only complemented the beauty of simplistic architectural and colourful themes blended naturally together.
The little winding side streets paved with blocks of stone wound gently through the quaint picturesque town. The street was lined by archaic buildings on either side, often decaying but truly beautiful to behold in their brilliant array of colours. I stopped by this gorgeous cafe, a green wooden door standing slightly ajar warmly welcomed the passerby. The aroma of traditional Mediterranean food mingled with the melodic sound of music beckoned one inside. Cautiously stepping inside, I glanced at the staff with their genuine warm smiles and open hearts ready to welcome a stranger with traditional Greek hospitality. Their warmth and generosity matched the beauty of the decor inside simple, elegant yet thoroughly authentic.
The smell of burning wood permeated the cool winters morning. Besides the numerous cats relaxing in the sunshine, there was a strange but welcome stillness, so profound that all ones sense were enhanced. Passing the stone courtyard a flurry suddenly caught my eye, or was it merely an inner sense; looking towards the upper level of the monastery I caught the glimpse of a monks’ flowing black robes as he disappeared into the dormitory. I looked for a few more moments yearning to catch another rare glimpse of the unknown monk; turning around I walked a few steps and came across a staircase. Archaic and worn with the passage of time it was nevertheless beautiful to behold in its antiquity.
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.
Looking yonder, admiring the brilliant forested green hills plunging into the valley below, wisps of smoke gently climbed heavenwards from chimneys and ice capped tiled roofs. The smell of wood fires permeated the air, while the singing of birds heralded sunrise. The serene picturesque town slept quietly on this cold winter day, nestled in the loving embrace of the valley. As the fog began to lift, the tall church spire towering over the brightly coloured buildings complemented beautifully the surrounding landscape. I turned around and continued climbing. Approaching the wooded hilltop at the footsteps of the Black Forest I paused to rest, admiring the beauty of my surrounds; suddenly, a scurrying sound from above, disturbed my reverie. Scanning the tall beech trees, I discovered to my delight a red squirrel with long tufted ears and bushy tail leaping nimbly from tree to tree. I paused for a long time deep in thought, smiling. My only companions, the morning song of birds and a proud acrobatic red squirrel. It truly was a beautiful and peaceful day.