Monday, 17 October 2011

View Of A Bridge...Can't Take Any More

Gidday peeps!

Firstly, apologies if any of you received random emails 'from me' over the last 24 hours or so. A small hacking escapade has successfully been stymied and fingers crossed someone's on-line joy-ride has been brought to an end.

So, after a brief blog interlude, we are back in Prague, city of 1000 spires and the not inconsiderable Charles Bridge. Stretching over the Vltava River, Karluv Most (as it is known to the locals) was commissioned in the 14th century by Charles IV and joins the Old Town with the Little Quarter. It is 520m long, could originally accommodate four carriages across and is touted in every tourist guide as 'not to be missed'. Which made me desperately want to resist planning to see it. I know. It's perverse.

On the evening of Day 1, I fell across it from a slightly down river vantage point. 

Remember the postcard shot from Prague Post Number 2?
Feeling distinctly unimpressed by the Bridge itself, I decided to spend Saturday (Day 2) exploring Prague Castle and surrounds (which could constitute a whole other post but I am unsure as to how much Prague overkill you will allow yourself to be subjected to). The views are absolutely stunning from the top and the Bridge even managed a cameo in one of several panorama shots.

The rooftops of Prague with Charles Bridge, Old Town Tower and on the horizon, the spires of St Ludmila's
After several wonderful hours, I found myself descending to the cobbled streets of the Little Quarter where lo and behold, I fell across the Bridge again.

Charles Bridge Little Quarter Tower and entrance
There seemed nothing for it but to surrender to its call but as I passed through the archway, I noticed an ad for river cruises - weary and footsore by this stage, I was an easy mark for any seated distractions so I decided that this would be pleasant way to spend an hour. I even got a couple of Bridge shots in for good measure.

Charles Bridge before cruising beneath it...
...and after.
After the cruise had returned me to the shore, I did actually make it onto the Bridge but the Saturday crowds were out in force and it was not conducive to any sort of meandering or photo-taking. So I just went with the throng and made directly for the other side, determined to try again tomorrow.
Busy crowds heading for the Old Town on Charles Bridge
Tomorrow came all too quickly (as it always does when one is on holiday) and after spending a rather sobering morning in the Jewish Quarter, I ambled along more cobbled streets to find myself on the banks of the Vltava again but this time at the Manusov Bridge, a perfect vantage point for another go at capturing that other Bridge in all its glory.

View of Charles Bridge from Manusov Bridge
'It's my last day', I thought to myself. 'I cannot visit Prague having only had a cursory dash across'. And so began my purposeful stroll towards the Bridge's Little Quarter Tower.

Others clearly had similar stirrings...


Charles Bridge Little Quarter - are we there yet?
But finally I found myself ON THE BRIDGE.
The triumphant Tower shot which means...
...I am finally standing on The Bridge - with elbow room to spare!
Leaning over the Bridge I could see crowds gathered for a puppet show in the square below...
...but let's not get sidetracked. I am finally on The Bridge so let's turn our attention to it!

The Bridge is famous for its 'avenue' of mostly baroque statues. There are MANY statues (well thirty actually which is quite a lot for any bridge), all in various stages of dis/repair. Frankly after the first few, I got a little bored with the details and did not photograph them - I managed three and the one below is the best of those. If you are more interested and want the full run down, you can click here.

The Bridge is also a central point for entertainers and stall holders eager to take a few crowns from gullible generous tourists - here are a few of my favourites:

Ingenuity Czech-style
This one was particularly cute
These guys drew quite a crowd and much applause after each number
 Before I knew it the arch through to the Old Town beckoned.


Charles Bridge Tower - Old Town
  And with the Bridge finally behind me, I snapped a picture of it's namesake...

Statue of Charles IV in Knights of the Cross Square as you leave the Bridge
 ...before turning to see the sign opposite.


Do you think they mean that infernal Bridge?

So that's The Bridge post done and definitely dusted. If you are interested in checking out my previous Prague posts - and a big thank you to those of you that have - I've included a handy list below for you:

Prague Preview: Just A Peek
Prague...The Accidental Tourist (Trail)

They may just whet your appetite enough to inspire a visit.

Or not.
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