A kiss is just a kiss……until you have been kissed on the Charles Bridge in Prague, the Czech Republic. It is probably one of the most famous bridges in Europe. It is a bridge for lovers and kissing.

Built of sandstone blocks, this historic bridge is the city’s oldest, flanked at each end by fortified towers. The Stone, or Prague bridge, was begun in 1357 by King Charles IV and completed in 1402 after an earlier bridge was destroyed by a flood in 1392. It crosses the Vitava River and ties the two parts of the city together. It has been called Charles Bridge since 1870.

A total of 30 statues of saints were originally carved to decorate the bridge around 1790. Now, most are copies, as floods and catastrophes over the centuries damaged the originals. The bridge appears to be under constant repair.

As you stand on the cobblestones of this ancient bridge, you can visualize the kings in their royal carriages, pulled by horses, their hoves clip-clopping over cobblestones, riding to their castle on the hilltop beyond.

Today, the bridge is full tourists, vendors, and musicians filling the air with voices and music. Prague has become my most favorite city in the world.

I love it for two reasons: it is a beautiful old city, basically untouched by two world wars with a few buildings going back to medieval times. I love the many beautiful old churches and this bridge. Second, my mother was born in a small village outside of Prague and immigrated to this country with her mother and siblings when she was just three years old.

As you have probably guessed by now, the accompanying photograph was taken on the bridge. Our hotel was only a block away. On this afternoon I took my camera and went for a walk on the bridge. There were puppeteers, musicians and many vendors selling jewelry, art prints, and many other souvenirs. There were artists sketching and painting scenes…and of course, there were tourists and lovers, of all ages, walking hand in hand or their arms around each other.

I was walking back towards the hotel when I spotted this couple a short distance away, obviously to the world around them. Beating hearts added to the wonderful feelings of this great bridge that afternoon.

Yes, a kiss is just a kiss, until you have been kissed on the Charles Bridge. I speak with experience on that matter.

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