Vistula Souvenirs

At 1,047km (651mi) in length, the Vistula is Poland’s longest and largest river. It runs virtually the entire length of the country, from its source near the borders with Slovakia and Czech Republic in the south, northeast through Warsaw, then northwest to Gdansk.

I’ve seen it in Krakow, where it calmly meanders below Casimir the Great’s medieval Wawel Castle; in Bydgoszcz, where it suddenly veers north from its westernmost flank; in Gdansk, where it cries into a delta before emptying into the Baltic Sea; and now in Torun, where it forms the southern border of the city’s UNESCO World Heritage-listed old town, or stare miasto.

It’s here that it’s appeared at its most alive. Maybe it was the thin and thawing hunks of ice that lent that impression, singing as they occasionally crashed into each other or into the icy banks. Or the way it wailed into the wall of wind that sent the few gulls attempting to cross into retreat.

That’s the sense I got anyway during a short and brisk half hour stroll this afternoon, the only chunk of time I managed to find to take a break from work today and leave my hotel. It’s just as well since it was -10C out –knock off another 10 for the wind chill– along the neatly-paved path on the north side of the river, a multi-purpose trail that the chill left entirely to me.

The solitude was pleasant but its chill wore out the welcome quickly. Since I still can’t manage to take photos without gloves, I limited myself to six, all long exposures. Here are three, souvenirs of a river living in winter.

The lead photo at top (and again uncropped below), facing east, is of the Jozef Pilsudski Bridge

Jozef Pilsudski Bridge over the Vistula in winter

Specs:
ISO100
17mm
f/18
8sec
With an ND filter

Another shot of the bridge, also facing east.

Ice flows on the Vistula under the Jozef Pilsudski Bridge

Specs:
ISO100
55mm
f/18
2.5sec
With an ND filter

 

Facing southwest.

The Vistula River in Torun

Specs:
ISO100
37mm
f/18
2.5sec
With an ND filter

 

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For the record, the lead photo serves as today’s Pic du Jour, the site’s 1,133rd straight.

 

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