Falling in love with the Charles Bridge

I have always felt an affection toward bridges.  My guess is that it started when I was just old enough to walk and my Mom would take me to a bridge close to our house so I could watch cars pass on the highway below.  It’s no wonder that one of my first stops in Prague (once I got over a wee bit of jet lag) was the Charles Bridge.

When I think of Prague, “romantic” is the first word that enters my head.  Nowhere was this more tangible that along the length of one of the most famous bridges in the world.  One look and it’s pretty easy to tell why:

Charles Bridge

A chilly, damp late August night only added to the mystique of this bridge to me.  The views at anytime are stunning, but looking out toward Prague Castle and St. Vitus Cathedral as the lights just start to come on is a special kind of magic:

View from Charles Bridge

As the light grows dimmer, the view only becomes that much more spectacular:

View from Charles Bridge

In total, I think I crossed the bridge five or six times over the two weeks, and gazed upon it from all angles almost an uncountable number of times.  The bridge takes on a host of different complexions.  On a beautiful evening, it is jammed with crowds being entertained by street performers, people shopping for souvenirs and young lovers enjoying each others’ embrace.  The energy on those nights is palpable.  But my favourite time on the bridge was very early morning.  Freed from the crowds, the physical beauty of the bridge shone.  The space and quiet of morning gave you a chance to take in the majesty of the Old Town Bridge Tower:

Charles Bridge Tower

…to appreciate the intricate cobblestones and the dance of the low-angle sunlight against their smooth surface:

Charles Bridge, early morning

Charles Bridge, early morning

…to contemplate the symmetry of the statues and the sheer size of the bridge, often hidden from view when filled with the crowds soon to arrive:

Charles Bridge, early morning

But of all the views, the people watching, the sense of connectivity between the Old Town and the Lesser Town, my favourite memory of the bridge?  It was walking across it hand in hand on that rainy August night with my wife and stopping in the middle to linger for a kiss.

On the Charles Bridge


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