It seems each time my wife and I take a group to Europe, even though we visit many of the same places each time, there's always some new surprise that awaits us. Earlier this month, World to the Wise partnered with Journey Arts Collective to take 12 creatives to visit some of the world's greatest art, as well as meet local creatives and take time to reflect on their observations. After five full and rich days in Paris, we boarded the TGV (high speed train) for Lausanne, Switzerland, where we barely spent twenty-four hours before heading to Tuscany. Two special events were waiting for us: an evening with over 50 creatives from French-speaking Switzerland, including many old friends of mine from the six years I lived there; and the next morning, a private tour of the 800-year-old Lausanne cathedral.
A historian acquaintance of mine in Lausanne arranged this treat with the docent of the cathedral, a welcoming woman named Myriam. Twelve of us spent the next hour and a half in wonder as we were led first through the underground remains of the Romanesque church that originally occupied the site -- an area closed to the public. Myriam then led us around the nooks and crannies of the main level, and we ended up in the upper levels overlooking the nave, up close to the massive, world class organ.
Imagine you are a master craftsman such as a stone mason or a sculptor. You spend your entire career working on by far the most grandiose structure your city has seen or ever will see. And yet you are fully aware that you will never see the finished fruit of your labors. This cathedral took 105 years to build in all its stages.
I've visited many cathedrals in my travels, but never I have I been given the gift of winding through corridors, up ancient staircases and ducking under beams where relatively few people have been. It was almost like being invited by the craftsmen themselves to admire their handiwork up close -- 800 years after they labored to produce it.