We had delicious plentiful hotel breakfast in the “winter garden” after watching the sunrise on the beautiful famous bridge in this heart of the “Old City”, a great way to start the day. Our hotel is just 3 minutes walk to the bridge, and only 20 minutes walk UP to the castle. LOCATION LOCATION LOCATION.
Our first stop after just a 10 minutes walk, past the hundreds of shops and touristy snack to Starbucks shacks, is the special gorgeous Baroque St. Nicholas Cathedral – oh the opulence of ornateness – Marble prettier than Gold, and trust me there’s a lot of Gold! And Silver!
Church visits here are a MUST see. Many/MOST people don’t go to regular church, but tourists flock to these scenic ones… This one amazing is decorated and created old Baroque to the max. Worth the minimal entrance fee. Priceless are the views that don’t cost an arm and a leg to see, plus the exchange rate is so good, that the four star hotel is “inexpensive” in American standards – and breakfast is included. And each castle/church entrance fee has been less than $10. WOW.
I absorbed the energy of the effort put into creating this cathedral but the spirit was not in the marble only in the marveling. And then UP the steep hill we climbed to main attraction of the day – the 14th century Castle – WOW! We and many many people visit the church chapels and cathedrals within the inner castle as well as the golden lane of inner village and the vast old royal residence (extraordinary coat of arms paintings on the ceilings). Although you feel like on top of the world already in views, we made it UP the 287 steps within the tower, whew… Breathtaking views and steps.
OH THE VIEWS! Made us extra hungry for dinner – stylish fancy good, yummy, BEST cheeseburger I think I ever had, and those sweet potato fries! I have a spiritual connection to sweet potato fries, LOL.
I wondered on our way back and forth walking, while wandering across the bridge sunrise and at peak tourist volume: What exactly IS the attraction to just a bridge? It IS historic 1300’s and it IS a nightlife and daytime hotspot! Tourists tourists tourists! A must see and must be. And yes the sunset was as special as the sunrise. But what’s SO special? If there’s anything that the stealth and open Holy Spirit understands, it’s that these Holy Statues DO teach a story, a story of Jesus and of FAITH. Also the castles teach perseverance and preservation, the castles all seemed to have a Cathedral or Chapel. These ornate stained glass windows do tell stories, if we seek to know what is pictured, otherwise we just marvel at the colors. The gold leaf paint does cover leaves of Bible Truth if we look past just the shiny gloss. There’s a connection to opulence of course (and perhaps the money back then could have been spent on something else more fruitful), then again the preciousness of all these works keeps them preserved today. These treasures can’t be taken up to Heaven, but perhaps some Holy Spirit connection can be squeezed into the view of the people seeing them today. Who knows what this person or that will gather from the grains of gold. We do know that each person has a Holy Spirit connection and Jesus bought their ticket.
As for all the “uncoolness” of church these days or people’s “cold shoulder” approach after seeing church hypocrisy in their lifetimes – all I can say is my fellow visitors who number in the hundreds of thousands to millions are CHILDREN OF GOD, in various relationships with Him, AND that they took thousands and thousands of photos of Jesus today, of God’s devoted saints, of mother and child, of Jesus’s anguished face, and of His angels JOY. Even a photo of a bird on a saint tells a story of anguish in people not knowing, not understanding.
LOCATION LOCATION LOCATION – stained glass and these ornate story statutes ARE memory makers – maybe someday Jesus will appear to them and they will remember the smallest thread of faith from a facebook scroll or instagram instant. OLD BRIDGES are on which people can NEWLY WALK WITH the HOLY SPIRIT, when they realize that call of God as His Children. If anything, we know that it was important enough then that these medieval and Renaissance people both built and protected these earthly treasures of thoughts divine – and that we preserve and persevere in trying to understand how something so ornate is just a vision now rather than a worship place. These are just flat rocks and gems without the spirit. No, I DON’T feel Holy Spirit in inanimate objects or marble – or gold – but because God has made that gold, and we have knowledge of it, let us now use it and all these items as lessons for faith. Now, let us connect the dots of teachings and items, of love in action because of our faith that can reach back into time before time began.
Yes, St Nicholas (formed later into Santa Claus), there IS Faith and our Holy Spirit fosters Faith. Yes Virginia, there is a FAITH TO FOSTER.
It is said that the CROSS stands up and down to remind us that we connect to God in love, the CROSS left and right to remind us we connect to His PEOPLE in love. Let’s cross in our faith as a bridge.
The bridge of Faith is well worth maintaining.