Sunrise over the Vltava

Since I’m trying out this whole “having hobbies” thing, I wanted to get an early start to my morning and take the camera out for a walk and maybe, just maybe get some pretty morning photos as Prague woke up and started its first New Year’s workday. My target vantage point was just along the banks of the river, next to the Charles Bridge, facing East. It would take me thirty minutes to walk from the hotel with no stops.

This is Most Legii, the Legion Bridge
This is Most Legii, the Legion Bridge

Walking alone in a city is always a bit of a risk, regardless of the language spoken. However, if I took a taxi I would have no chance of good photographs along the way. I gave myself an hour so I could take my time and stuck to well-trafficked routes, taking pictures of whatever I happened upon.

Luckily, the bridge I crossed was busy with streetcars. I just can’t get enough of these things.

I think I have a hundred photos just of the streetcars.  This is my favorite.
I think I have a hundred photos just of the streetcars. This is my favorite. I think I’m in it, even.

Protip: Don’t call these things streetcars in front of the locals.  They’ll think that you’re A) crazy and B) talking about taxis.  All cars are on the street, you fool.  What do you think this is, Sicily?  Anyway, stick with “tramway”, and you’ll always get what you’re looking for.

Legion Bridge from the waterfront.  There's another tram.
Legion Bridge from the waterfront. Look, another tram!

Crossing the river, I turned North and passed through a park.

I'm not sure what the penguins are for, but according to some overpriced postcards, they light up in the evenings.
I’m not sure what the penguins are for, but according to some overpriced postcards, they light up in the evenings.
I'm... not sure.
I’m… not sure.

I kept walking, and I found my spot behind a hotel and a bakery just as the pre-dawn light started. The morning was foggy, giving the whole scene a very eerie, mysterious feel.

Paydirt!
Paydirt!
Now, all I need is some sunshine.
Now, all I need is some sunshine!

The Charles Bridge was once the only bridge in Prague, and is definitely the oldest still standing.  It is named for King Charles IV, the Bohemian King who ordered its construction. The completion of this bridge ushered in an era of prosperity for the city of Prague, as it became a land-based trade route connecting East to West.

prague-charles-bridge-8 I hadn’t really counted on fog, but it made for some dramatic and mysterious pictures I think.

prague-charles-bridge-10

prague-charles-bridge-14

King Charles IV eventually became Holy Roman Emperor, so it’s no surprise that the walls of the bridge are peppered with saints.

After a while, I noticed a lot more birds showing up, and I looked to my right to find what must have been the local baker out throwing yesterday’s bread to the birds.

Where are all these birds coming from?
Where are all these birds coming from?
This lady.  It's plainly obvious that the birds know this is a daily event.
This lady. It’s plainly obvious that the birds know this is a daily event.

I watched her feed the birds for a while, and made my way up to the top of the bridge and crossed back over to the other side, taking photos as I went.

Still looking west-ish, up at what might be Prague Castle, I'm not sure.
Still looking west-ish, up at what might be Prague Castle, I’m not sure.
Facing East, towards the oldest part of Prague.
Facing East, towards the oldest part of Prague.

And of course some locks…

This has somehow become a photography tradition.  We still haven't remembered to bring our own lock.
This has somehow become a photography tradition. We still haven’t remembered to bring our own lock.

I wonder if every bridge in Europe has them?

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