What makes a bridge remarkable? Well in some cases, it is simply because it is famous, beautiful or unique. But in other cases it is due to the location, purpose, size or design. All of these bridges we have walked across, driven over (or under), or stopped and pondered over. Join us as we travel around the world, sharing some of the most interesting and impressive bridges we have seen.
1. Inca Bridge, Machu Picchu, Peru
The Inca Bridge is actually part of the stone path that heads west from Machu Picchu. The spot was considered to have been of vital strategic importance for the defense of the city.
The Incas left a twenty-foot gap in the carved cliff edge. The space was bridged by tree trunks over a 1,900 foot drop to the canyon below. In times of danger, the Incas could remove the trunks to make this part of the trail impassable.
2. Golden Gate Bridge, San Francisco, California, USA
Needing no introduction, this mile-long suspension bridge is probably the most photographed in the world.
Often shrouded in fog, the twin towers reach 746 feet tall, and the bridge is 1.7 miles in length. The cables that support the bridge are 36.5 inches in diameter and are made up of 27,572 wires the thickness of pencils. Here is what a cross-section of the cable looks like:
3. Bosphorus Bridge, Istanbul, Turkey
What makes this bridge so unique is that it actually connects two different continents, Europe and Asia. I took two separate pictures that show the end of the bridge and the contrast in architecture surrounding each one.
4. Bridge of Sighs, Venice, Italy
The bridge connects the courthouse section of Doge Palace with the prison. If convicted, prisoners walked across this bridge and could get their last fleeting view of the sea, canals and freedom before being confined in windowless cells. Hence the name, as they gave a sigh seeing the outside world, often for the last time.
5. Lock Bridges
This one is plural, because we saw several of them while traveling through Europe. The tradition is for you and your partner to write your names and/or a significant date on the lock, connect it to the fencing on the bridge, and then throw the key into the water. This is especially common for a new bride and groom to put their wedding date on the lock. It is supposed to prevent the marriage from being broken.
6. Charles Bridge, Prague, Czeck Republic
I knew I wanted to walk across Charles Bridge. A Gothic masterpiece and a UNESCO World Heritage Site, it connects the Old Town with Lesser Town. It is a place for people to stroll, admire or purchase local pieces of art, jewelry or other handicraft item, listen to some music and soak in the view.
Huge statues and religious icons are mounted along both sides of the bridge on the railing.
7. Forth Bridge, South Queensferry, Scotland
Opened in 1890, the Forth Bridge is a Scottish icon that is recognized the world over as the most famous of cantilever designs. In July 2015, UNESCO inscribed the Forth Bridge as the sixth World Heritage site in Scotland. It is the world’s first major steel structure and has the record as the longest cantilever bridge.
8. Covered Bridge (Kissing Bridge), Vermont
Do you know why a covered bridge is sometimes called a kissing bridge? According to a sign on the side of the bridge:
“Back in the horse and buggy days, a covered bridge was a place for young lovers to grab a quick hug or private kiss. Because of this, the Vermont covered bridges got nicknamed “kissing bridges”. A slow horse, a long bridge and a willing girl could even produce two kisses.”
And here are a couple more covered bridges captured along the Kancamagus Highway, New Hampshire:
9. Amsterdam, Holland, The Netherlands
This one is not so much a specific bridge, but to note the shear number of bridges. Called the Venice of the north, this is a city of canals, It is no wonder that there are bridges everywhere. In fact, there are over 1200 bridges in Amsterdam.
10. Natural Bridge, Southern Oregon Coast, USA
Yes, I know that there are a lot of other natural bridges all over the world, but I happen to think this is one of the most beautiful. And yes, growing up in Oregon, I may be rather prejudiced.
11. Long Tri (Dragon Lake), Vietnam
There are two old stone bridges that connect the island on each side with impressive names of Nhat Tien and Nguyet Tien, but I have no idea which was which.
12. Animal Crossing Bridge, Canada
In 2017, we drove part of the Trans Canada Highway between Banfff and Lake Louise. It offered up some truly spectacular natural scenery. We were taken in by the clear, fresh air, numerous sparkling blue lakes, and rugged mountains. We were impressed by how our neighbors to the north take such good care of their land. They even take extraordinary measures to protect their wildlife with massive arched bridges across the highway for the animals to cross from one side to the other.
We were happy to later see similar bridges in the USA. This one was on the drive between Polson and Missoula, Montana
13. Royal Gorge Bridge, Colorado
The Royal Gorge Bridge and Park is the home of America’s Highest Suspension Bridge and Zip Line!
There are several ways to get an adrenaline rush here if you are so inclined, from taking the Cloudscraper Zip line, Aerial Gondolas, Royal Rush Skycoaster, or walking across the Royal Gorge Bridge – all located 956 to 1200 feet above the Arkansas River.
Tim and I opted to take the gondola across the canyon and walk back across the flag lined bridge.
14. Low Bridge, Moselle River, Germany
Taking a river cruise has become one of my favorite ways to travel. It is relaxing, convenient, and I love being spoiled while slowly motoring down the river between our stops at both quaint and historic small towns. One such afternoon, we were enjoying the sites, while soaking up a bit of warmth on the sundeck, as we cruised with Uniworld along the Moselle River.
At one point, the crew took down the shade canopies as we approached a very LOW BRIDGE that we needed to pass under. The crew made sure that everyone on deck remained seated – in fact many ducked!
15. Peace Bridge, Calgary, Canada
According to Wikipedia, it has the “popular nickname “Finger Trap Bridge” due to its visual similarity to the finger trap puzzle”.
16. Natural Bridge, Yoho National Park, Canada
There are many natural bridges around the world, but this is another one that stood out for me.
17. Pont Saint-Bénézet, aka: Avignon Bridge, Avignon, France
“The bridge’s construction was inspired by Saint Bénézet, a local shepherd boy who (according to tradition) was commanded by angels to build a bridge across the river.
Although he was ridiculed at first, he dramatically “proved” his divine inspiration by miraculously lifting a huge block of stone. He won support for his project from wealthy sponsors who formed themselves into a Bridge Brotherhood to fund its construction. After his death, he was interred on the bridge itself, in a small chapel standing on one of the bridge’s surviving piers on the Avignon side.
“The bridge originally spanned the Rhône River between Avignon and Villeneuve-lès-Avignon on the left bank. It was built between 1171 and 1185, with an original length of some 900 m (2950 ft), but it suffered frequent collapses during floods and had to be reconstructed several times. Over the centuries, it became increasingly perilous as arches collapsed and were replaced by rickety wooden sections.
The bridge was finally put out of use by a catastrophic flood in 1668, which swept away much of the structure. It was subsequently abandoned and no more attempts were made to repair it. Since then, its surviving arches have successively collapsed or been demolished, and only four of the initial 22 arches remain intact today.” ~ bonjourlafrance.com
18. Carrick-a-Rede Rope Bridge, Northern Ireland
The story here is more about the scenery than the swinging rope bridge that hangs 100 feet above the water. The bridge connects the peninsula to the closest small island.
A brisk 15 minute walk mostly downhill from the parking lot brings you to the end of a jutting peninsula. To reach the almost touching island, you wait in line until you are given the OK by monitoring park attendants. They let traffic through in one direction for a minute or two and then stop the line and let those returning from the island proceed back. Only 8 people are supposed to be on the bridge at any one time, but frequently they allowed 14 or more.
19. Bridge over the River Kwai, Thailand
The movie that many of us are familiar with was actually filmed in Sri Lanka, not here in Thailand. This is the actual bridge that the movie was about.
20. Entry Bridge, Angkor Thom, Cambodia (Part of Angkor Wat complex)
Dating from the late 12th century, this was the newest of the major temple sites and has several features that allow it to stand out from the rest, including bridges across a moat that you must cross to obtain entry. All adorned with dramatic bas-reliefs.
On either side of the bridge over the moat are giant stone statues. One side representing good, the other side evil.
21. Chapel Bridge, Lucerne, Switzerland
Kapellbrücke or Chapel Bridge is a covered wooden bridge that runs diagonally across the Reuss River and is the symbol of Lucerne.
“…the bridge is unique because it contains a number of interior paintings dating back to the 17th century, although many of them were destroyed along with most of the centuries-old bridge in a 1993 fire. Subsequently restored, the Kapellbrücke is the oldest wooden covered bridge in Europe, as well as the world’s oldest surviving truss bridge.” ~ Wikipedia
22. Ourica Valley, Morocco
The river was moving much faster than normal after the rain storms of the previous few days. Precarious wooden walkways bridge the gap from one side to the other. This valley is a favorite weekend get-a-way for the wealthy of Marrakesh.
23. Dragon Bridge, Hue, Vietnam
24. Kompong Krei Bridge, Vietnam
The thousand-year old Kompong Krei Bridge (aka Spean Preah Toeus), dating from around 1181-1220, is still in use today.
25. Swinging Bridge, Kauai, Hawaii
26. Chain Bridge, Budapest, Hungary
The Chain Bridge spans the River Danube between Buda and Pest.
NOT MY PICTURES
The remaining bridges are all ones that we have visited, but prior to 2013. They are too important or famous to leave out. When we sold our home to travel, I put my earlier pictures into storage, and I do not have access to them here at the cabin, so I will find some royalty free on the internet to provide context.
27. Tower Bridge, London, England
Tower bridge crosses the River Thames close to the Tower of London and has become a world-famous symbol of London. Often mistakenly called London Bridge which is actually located 1/2 mile upstream.
28. Sydney Harbour Bridge, Sydney, Australia
In 2002 we took a Princess Cruise to New Zealand and Australia that terminated in Sydney. I booked a bridge climb for Tim and I, not knowing at the time that he was afraid of heights. Well, thankfully, he was a good sport and actually enjoyed (perhaps too strong of a word) the experience. He survived it anyway 🙂
29. Brooklyn Bridge, New York City, NY, USA
I have both good and not so good memories of the Brooklyn Bridge. Back in 1991, before Tim and I started our company, be took a two month road trip to circle the USA, knowing that we probably would not either have the time or money to travel for some years as we poured ourselves into building a business. After spending a couple of days in New York City we wanted to head north to New England for some fall foliage. Somehow we got confused and could not figure out which direction or lane to get in, and ended up crossing this same bridge THREE times before we finally got it right!
30. Ponte Vecchio, Florence, Italy
And I have saved my all-time favorite for last. I traveled to Italy for the first time in the early 1980’s before I met Tim. It was one of the “Tuesday it must be Belgium” type of tours, where you were in a different city and country almost every day. We covered a LOT of territory and if I remember correctly it was something like 13 countries in 14 days. I know, crazy! So needless to say, my time in Florence was limited and I have always yearned to return. The bridge is covered with shops and restaurants, making it truly unique.
GRATITUDE MOMENT: Today I am grateful that masks and other travel restrictions are being evaluated and in some cases, lifted for those who have been vaccinated. We are getting closer and closer to being able to once again pull out our passports and go see some more of this amazing planet.
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