With the crisp crunch of fresh snow under boot I made my way down to one of Prague’s signature landmarks. It was 1:30AM and the temperature had dropped to about -10 degrees Celsius. It was cold. Brutally cold. Luckily, the light wind had died down and all that was left were brief waves of light snowfall. Snowfall so sporadic and with flakes so light that they slowly drifted to earth, seemingly defying gravity all the way until the last moment when they threaded their crystalline structure in with the myriad of beautiful shapes already decorating the bridge’s cold stones. There were only a few of us willing to brave the late hour, cold and snow – a rare opportunity and occurrence for one of Prague’s most popular landmarks.
So it was that I stood huddled behind my camera and tripod snapping photos and waiting for half-drunk, star struck lovers to wander their way along the bridge, pausing periodically for a deep kiss. If not couples, it was small groups of party goers slowly wandering their way back to their hostels. Perhaps the most colorful was a young man in his late 20s who was completely sloshed, had a red rose with long stem in one hand along with a cigar. In the other, he delicately held a nearly full wine glass. As he passed he smiled and nodded, almost skipping as he walked – caught completely in the moment. He looked the part of a dandy, fashionable dress shoes, long light colored scarf, and jacket hanging open in apparently defiance of the weather. Shortly after passing me he slipped on the ice, and went down in a roll, somehow managing to not only keep his wine glass in hand but to keep it from sloshing too much of the wine onto the snow. An impressive accomplishment
Charles Bridge is a beautiful structure. Lined by imposing statues, and with two large guard towers standing vigil at either end it embodies everything a historic bridge should be. It stretches across Prague’s Vltava River and is was built over a 60 year period in the late 1300s and early 1400s. If you find yourself in Prague, don’t just settle for a mid-day viewing when the bridge is covered in vendors, buskers and tourists. Bundle up and head down to catch it in its empty glory. It is a beautiful and memorable site!