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Front Entrance of Cathedral and View of Both Spires

 

One of the attractions in Basel that everyone recommends is the Meunster Cathedral.  I love going into Cathedrals and old churches so this was definitely on our list of things to see.

 

 

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One of the Stained Glass Windows

 

We were able to tour much of the Cathedral, which was absolutely beautiful.  This particular Cathedral has 2 spires and we were able to climb one of them – 250 spiral steps.  We stopped at several points on the way to the top and walked around the spire on a narrow walkway.  The view from the top was breath-taking.

 

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Just starting the climb

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Part way up and looking up at the other spire

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At the very top and looking directly across at the other spire

 

It was amazing to see the entire town of Basel from this vantage point as well as looking straight across at the other spire.  Luckily I have no fear of heights so it was sheer joy and pleasure for me.  The walk down was tricky at times, but we made it back to the main sanctuary safely.

 

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The organ…AMAZING!!!

 

After coming down we discovered there was an organ recital about to start so we took a seat and waited for the organist to begin.  As we waited I noticed an elderly gentleman sitting across the way talking and gesturing to himself and my first thought was that he must be a little senile.  After watching him for 30 seconds I realized that he was praying – having an honest, heart-felt conversation with God.  He was experiencing deep emotion and it was very evident that he does this often.  He didn’t care who was around him or what they thought – he was spending time with his Lord. It was clear that his prayer was very earnest and he was listening as well as talking.

As the organ music began he closed his eyes and I could see that he wasn’t just hearing the music, but he was FEELING the music.  He would lift his hands at times and move them to the music much like a conductor would.  He was still moving his lips at times and putting his hand to his head as if overwhelmed by a thought/emotion.  He was enjoying the music with the one he had come to spend time with.

At the end of the recital people began to clap and he put his hands over his ears.  Only the Lord knows why he did this, but I couldn’t help but think that either the sound of the clapping was interfering with his worship or he was offended that people were giving praise to the organist instead of the Lord.  As everyone began to leave I watched him slowly rise from his chair and walk out of the church holding on to his cane and he was fairly stooped over.  He had a look on his face like he had just had the most wonderful time communing with someone he loved very much—the God of the Universe.  He may be feeble of body, but he has an extremely healthy soul.

 

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Empty chairs after he had left

 

Often just being in a cathedral and sensing the Holiness brings tears to my eyes, but watching that man was more beautiful than any grand tower or stained glass window. I can’t help but think that I’ll never see a sight as beautiful as that no matter how many cathedrals I tour.  I hope to someday have that kind of relationship with God that I can freely worship in whatever way I am moved, regardless of what others think.  I guess when you are staring into the face of someone you truly love everything else fades away.  I’m going to keep praying that God will help me to feel that kind of love for him/her.  I hope you might pray the same.

 

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View of Swiss Alps from top of Mount Pilates

I’ve just started my first trip to Europe and I’ve already seen and experienced many new and exciting things.  We spent a day in Lucerne, Switzerland where we saw breath-taking views of the Alps from the top of Mt. Pilates.  We ascended the mountain on a cog railroad,  walked around the top of the mountain and then descended in a gondola.

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Riding up Mount Pilates on Cog Railroad

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Descending down Mount Pilates in a gondola

While many of these sights were astoundingly beautiful, there was one I will always remember…..the Lion of Lucerne.  The Lion Monument is a giant dying lion carved out of a wall of sandstone rock above a pond at the east end of the medieval town. It was designed as a memorial for the mercenary soldiers from Switzerland who lost their lives while serving the French king Louis XVI during the French Revolution.

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The Lion of Lucerne

While I did find the history of the statue interesting, I had no idea that a piece of stone could evoke such strong emotion.  As I walked up to the lion I was immediately drawn to the details which the artist had been able to render in stone, but when I looked at the lion’s face my heart broke.  The look of pain and agony was so real that tears began to flow out of my eyes.  I found myself wanting to wade through the pond and wrap my arms around the lion.  I know, a bit crazy considering it’s a piece of stone, but the power of the lion’s expression is unbelievable.

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The face of pain

Mark Twain described the Lion of Lucerne with these words:   “the saddest and most moving piece of rock in the world” and  I have to agree with him.  As I stood among a crowd of strangers staring at the lion, I finally had to look away….It just hurt too much to keep staring at that look of pain.

***If you want to know more about the history of the monument, click on this link: Lion of Lucerne

 

 

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