My Awakening City

I’m a sucker for cities on a weekend morning. With nobody rushing off to work, the restless streets are hushed and vacant.

I started a new Saturday morning tradition.

I drag my ass out of bed, then get dressed in mismatched Yoga clothes. I wander over to the boulangerie right when they open, before the line goes out the door.

I grab a fresh chocolate hazelnut croissant and a latte. Their comforting smells warm me.

This morning I felt inspired to capture my awakening city.

I took the kind of photos I could never take during the day, without people thinking I’m Crazy Stalker Lady.

If any of the local businesses in my neighborhood look at their security cameras, they’ll either think I’m planning a heist or just another starry-eyed tourist.

Let them think what they want. I had to share this beautiful secret.

Sleepy bakers are preparing for the pandemonium, not yet cloaked in flour or sweating beneath their aprons. Though that will all change soon enough.

St Honore Bakery

A couple shares a quiet cup of coffee together, enjoying the empty cafe before they begin their day.

St Honore Bakery long table

The library on the corner awaits the invasion of eager minds. The chairs sit still, watching over the books as they sleep.

Multnomah County Library Northwest

Cutlery echoes from the restaurant opening for brunch. The sandwich board sign is set out, directing crowds inside for hot food and cozy conversation.


The tavern is unusually silent and clean. Liquor bottles rest against one another behind the bar. The old fireplace is cool, but you can still catch a hint of wood in the air.

McMenamins Pizza

Slowly, darkness succumbs to morning light. A runner flies past me, more cars ease down the street, and doors swing open to welcome the day.

My city is awake.

McMenamins Tavern and Pool


43 thoughts on “My Awakening City

  1. Letizia says:

    I like that the chairs look over the books. So sweet. There is something special about those early weekend mornings. The black and white photos really capture the mood.

    • Britt Skrabanek says:

      Aww, I knew you’d love the little library. I took that one for you.

      It’s funny because A) I worked weekends for many years and B) When I didn’t work, I slept in and didn’t get dressed until the afternoon. So, I have totally missed out on those lovely mornings.

      Can’t go wrong with black and white! Makes everything look cooler.

      • Letizia says:

        I’m touched that you thought if me when you took the one of the library.

        Early mornings have their own magic – when they are not forced upon you 🙂

    • Britt Skrabanek says:

      I know, right?! That’s what makes it so magical. The city is quiet, but you can feel it preparing for the day somehow.

      6am…wowza! I must admit when I was working the front desk at a hotel, I often had to be at work at that time but I loathed it. I was also at the end of my sullen teenage years though. 🙂

  2. Zen A. says:

    I love this! The black and white photos really are the way to go. And thank goodness we have you to capture these moments for us because I’m usually one of the last to wake up in my city. xD

    • Britt Skrabanek says:

      Yeah, the black and white filter was a no-brainer. I tried one and that was that. Haha! Believe me, I was not a morning person forever. Something changed a few years ago and I love mornings now.

    • Britt Skrabanek says:

      Hey thanks, Mike! The cafe is amazing. If I don’t get there at the ass crack of dawn, I’ll be standing in a line for a half hour sometimes. The coffee and goodies are totally worth the wait though.

  3. Karin Van den Bergh says:

    Aha! “The early bird catches the worm” 😉 It starts with an intention and I have it… lol
    Love the black & white photo’s!! You inspired me. Thx hon xx

  4. Minuscule Moments says:

    Far from the city lights I read this and remember waking up at this hour in the inner city of Sydney. You brought back some precious memories. Although your city and part of town looks very up market. Stunning captures Britt and a gentle word to finish it off. I really enjoyed this thank you.

  5. jmmcdowell says:

    The chance for a fresh-from-the-oven chocolate croissant would get me moving on a Saturday morning, too. 🙂 I love the photos, and as others have already said, the black-and-white images really set the mood for your words!

    • Britt Skrabanek says:

      Haha! Waking up early on a Saturday morning and zipping out of the house is a new development for me. You should totally try it!

      That was my introduction to Paris actually. I took a night train there and arrived on a weekend morning. I was a cranky college kid at the time, but it was still magical even then.

  6. Kate Johnston says:

    I used to walk downtown before it “woke up.” I love being in the middle of a city before the stores are open and traffic is all I can hear. I love your pictures. Makes me want to take an early morning walk tomorrow. Except, we just got dumped with 3 feet of snow, so maybe next week!

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