Travel Theme : Bridges

Ailsa’s travel theme for this week (Where’s my backpack?) is BRIDGES.

This is a theme that I love to talk about. As a bridge designer and subsequently project manager for quite a few highway, railway and pedestrian / cycle track bridges from mid 1970s to mid 1980s; I have a special interest in bridges of all sorts. I have been keeping track of bridges of different historical ages, single span to multiple spans, short (just a single plank) to very long ones (suspension or cable stayed bridges), with stone and masonry as construction materials to wrought iron, steel, reinforced / prestressed concrete to even structural plastics, from straight to curve, from old style designs to the more modern bridges of streamlined aerodynamic designs. These are all my fields of interest.

Let’s start our journey from Scotland, UK. The Firth of Forth bridge is the first steel bridge built in the UK. It was opened on 4 March 1890, and spans a total length of 2,528 metres. The photo was taken in 1985.My beautiful picture

Going south into London,  we have a view of the Albert Bridge  which crosses over the River Thames in West London in West London,  connecting Chelsea on the north bank to Battersea. The bridge was designed and built  in 1873 as a modified cable stayed bridge. Again, the photo was taken in 1985. It is always a delight to stroll the river banks of River Thames, viewing bridges – including some of the notable bridges: the Tower Bridge and the Millenium Bridge..28-12-2004 10-03-56 AM_0003

We then crossed over the Channel to the European continent and ended up at Riga, Latvia. The Vanšu Bridge in Riga is a cable-stayed bridge that crosses the Daugava river  with a length of 595 meters. In the background is the TV tower.DSC_0197

Further on, we passed through Switzerland where we saw a reinforced concrete arch bridge with clean strong vertical supports springing from the curved arches.DSCF1124

We digressed into Budapest and have a great view of the bridges crossing this stretch of the River Danube. Our attention was immediately drawn to the Chain Bridge. This bridge was the first permanent stone-bridge connecting Pest and Buda, and only the second permanent crossing on the whole length of the river Danube. It is one of the iconic structure of Budapest, the most widely known bridge of the Hungarian capital.CIMG3363

Walking further on along the river bank, we reached the  Liberty Bridge. It is the third and shortest bridge of Budapest. It was built for the Millennium World Exhibition in 1896, its original name being Francis Joseph Bridge.DSCF0052

There is another bridge in the vicinity known as the Elizabeth bridge.Elizabeth Bridge was named after Queen Elizabeth, the spouse of Francis Joseph I assassinated in Geneva in 1898. With only one 290-meter span stretching over the Danube, the original bridge built in eclectic style was known as the longest suspension bridge of the world.DSCF0056

No mention of bridges will be complete without mentioning Charles Bridge in Prague. For many hours, I have been walking up and down the bridge, viewing the statues on both sides of the bridge and admiring the beautiful scenery.My beautiful picture

We finally ended up in Venice, Italy and was totally charmed by the well-known bridge which appears on many photos.CIMG0342

We then flew to Istanbul, Turkey and embarked on a cruise up the Bosphorus from where we had a breathtaking view of the suspension bridge which connects Europe to Asia. It is a gravity anchored suspension bridge with steel towers and inclined hangers. The aerodynamic deck hangs on zigzag steel cables. It is 1,560 m long with a deck width of 33.4 m.CIMG0567

From there, we took a plane to Hong Kong where at that time,  the longest single span cable-stayed bridge was being constructed. The picture taken from the shore shows the construction was extended into night-time to take maximum advantage of the time slot outside the typhoon season.Stonecutters 03_18_2009 007

Then we headed north and ended up at FengHuang city, China  where we were overwhelmed at the sight of this ancient multi-arched masonry bridge across the river.DSC_0027

We made our way to the Three Gorges, cruising up the Yangtze river, we passed by many bridges. One of these is a cable-stayed bridge of new construction.DSCF6280

We thought we have seen enough of modern bridges and, for a change, we decided to visit West Lake, China and viewed some of the old stone arch bridges in their serene surroundings which sent tranquility into our minds and souls.DSCF6488

As if we were not tired of travelling, we flew over 16 hours and landed at New York City. One of the bridges we like to visit is a stone arch bridge in Central Park. Is this the bridge shown in Richard Gere’s movie of “Autumn in New York” ?  We didn’t quite know but was greatly impressed by the romantic setting. We went on to see other bridges like the Brooklyn bridge and was awed by its beauty.CIMG0218

On our way back, we decided we would not do a non-stop flight to HK but stop at San Francisco. How could one miss the Golden Gate bridge?  We make a tour of the area and saw the mist rolling in under the bridge. What a sight!cimg5435

Bridges are aesthetically pleasing and are symbols of connection and overcoming obstacles. I love bridges for these reasons and these are the reasons for posting them. The above trip is, of course, based on a fictitious journey undertaken by the Retiree. In fact, it has been undertaken over different time zones, space, at different time, during different life stages of this retiree. It has been pieced together so that readers can have a global view of bridges all over the world – as a reminiscence of the retiree’s interest in his early career!

164 thoughts on “Travel Theme : Bridges

    • There are lots of other beautiful bridges; unfortunately, I either have lost their photos or haven’t been there. Thank you for your perusal and kind comment:-)

  1. Interesting to look at these pictures from the perspective of someone who loves bridges. I wonder if there’s a different feel to pictures that are posted for a theme, and those that you took because you were passionate about the subject matter.

    • Hi Rachel, on a subject you like, you know what details you want to highlight,you have more desire of taking a picture showing it in all its beauty, trying to show it artistically too. With a theme, you need some time to understand the subject. Thank you for your perusal and kind comment:-)

  2. Thanks for sharing your whirlwind worldwide mini-tour of bridges. There is such incredible diversity and beauty in the images of the bridges, which we may often think of as merely functional pieces of architecture, used to get from one point to another.

    • Yes, there is so much planning, artistic, engineering and constructional efforts that have gone into the bridges. Glad you like the pictures Mike. Thank you 🙂

    • I’m scared of bridges because it just amazes me how high up they are and how “man” is able to build such a fascinating object! 🙂

    • I can understand your fear. How can a bridge exceeding 1000m span with cars on it can be hold in place by cables supported on slender columns? Thank you for the perusal and the like 🙂

  3. That is a truly remarkable post Michael They are a great collection of amazing constructions from around the world, and I found the information added to the photos

  4. Bridge designer? What a great job! You’ve missed out my favourite – the Humber Bridge in Hull, UK, which was the longest single span suspension bridge in the world for most of the ’80s and ’90s.

    • Yes, unfortunately, I don’t have Humber’s bridge photo or that of the Severn Crossings which are some of the bridges I like too. Thank you for your perusal and kind comment:-)

    • yes, some of the Chines bridges stil have houses on them, similar to some old European bridges. It was an engineering feat to transport the London bridge to the States. Thank you for your the information and kind comment:-)

    • Glad to meet a fellow engineer on this platform! I like some of the masonry and timber arch bridges of Japan. Unfortunately, I have lost those photos. Thank you for the perusal and kind comment 🙂

    • Hi Cate, thanks for the information. I have just checked out images of the two bridges on the web; they look great. Many thanks for the perusal and comment 🙂

  5. I the HK bridge the Ching-Ma Bridge? How I wished it was on the course of the HK Chater Half Marathon, but they only included it in the Full Marathon. Otherwise, I would have already flown to HK to walk on it.

    • Yes, there is a series of bridges leading from the HK airport to the city, including the Tsing Ma bridge, the Kap Shui Mun bridge, the Stonecutters bridge etc. Hope in the future, they also include the bridges into the half marathon. Thank you Opalla 🙂

    • Yes, modern bridges have to be slim, minimize construction materials and span over a much longer length. Old Chinese bridges resort a lot to arches and masonry, they are functional and beautiful. Thank you 🙂

  6. Great photos! Wow, we must have stood in the same spot in Central Park. I thought I was looking at my own photo! Haha! When you have some time, you should google “High Level Bridge” in Lethbridge, Alberta…largest of it’s kind in the world – I will be featuring a future post of this on my blog.
    Happy travels,

  7. Once again you managed to amaze me with beautiful photos. I enjoyed immensely watching them since I am also very fond of bridges. In case you ever come to this part of Europe again, make sure you visit Belgrade as well. We are very proud of our new bridge on the Sava ( here’s the link to some beautiful photos of it –
    Gordana 🙂

    • Thanks for the link; this is yet another cable stayed bridge with a beautiful setting. Will sure visit it if I am in Belgrade. Thank you 🙂

  8. Nice theme, and great pictures! I remember the Three Gorges project as being very controversial. My mom was a bridge designer also, and I didn’t come to appreciate what crucial work this was – as well as the aesthetics of it – until more recently.

    • Yes, the Three Gorges project was indeed controversial on environmental grounds, the need to relocate many residents and heritage buildings etc. Nice to know that your mom was also a bridge designer. Thank you for the perusal and the like 🙂

    • Hi, thanks so much for the nomination which I understand is an important award. I have decided not to pursue or accept any nomination / award during my retirement and for this reason, I have already turned down all similar awards. Knowing that my blog is read in many places of the world (over 160 countries) is already my biggest reward. With regret, I have to decline the nomination. Thank you once again for the nomination which is very much appreciated! Best wishes to you also, Michael

  9. Wow, what a wonderful post. I didn’t realize it until I read your post, but I must have a fascination with bridges too, because I have quite a few photos of them and truly do love going to see them. Large or small, I always ask my husband to stop the car and let me get out to take a photo. However, the only ones in your post that I have seen personally are the ones in Venice, the Bosphorus, and New York (Central Park) – all the others were new to me. Until I reached the end of your post, I did not realize it was a fictional trip! It is very interesting to learn you have designed bridges. I have an unusual photo that features two bridges in one place; I will have to use it in an upcoming post. Thanks for a lovely tour.

    • Hi Julia, I have some interesting photos too which I didn’t have the time to find out where they are. I should have shown some rope bridges and some old river crossing bridges in France which I like a lot. Thank you for the perusal and the like 🙂

  10. I love bridges. To me, they’re one of the finest places where architecture really meets art. They lend themselves to the ornamental.

  11. That is an impressive collection and a really cool way to tie many trips together. Interesting work that would’ve been for you. I marvel at how concrete stays up there with what seems like little support…honestly, I don’t get it at all. LOL. I enjoy new construction for the boundary’s it challenges and conquers but I love the simple old stone bridges, most suitable for foot traffic because that’s the best way to take in the scenery. In a car with traffic whizzing by, it’s easy to miss all the beauty, even in bridges. Thanks for the tour Michael.

    • Hi, while I like magnificent bridegs, like you, I like crossing simple old stone bridges. It is a lot more poetic. Thank you for the continued perusal and the like 🙂

    • Hi Cindy, my photo of the Charles Bridge in Prague is decolored. This is a bridge I would like to walk over and over again. hose bridges on the Danube are just beautiful. Thank you for the perusal and the like 🙂

  12. Jeez michael, I was astounded at the around-the-world trip until I got to the end of your blog! You really had me going!! Great post tho – it’s a beautiful world of bridges 🙂

  13. That was quite a trip. I’m exhausted and exhilarated all the same time! Your collection of bridge pictures could make a book! I loved the serene old bridges, and even the gaudy ones. I could appreciate the modern long bridges for the structural engineering, but the older ones have stood the test of time, so their structural engineering had to be fabulous as well. Great, great post!!! 🙂

  14. Specatacular entries for the challenge. Bridges are works of art. It would be difficult to select just one. You never disappoint in your postings for these challenges. Thank you for being such a great photographer. You are someone who I aspire to be as good as.

    • Hope this has successfully blended engineering and “art”. I am not an “art” person but I think all of us have some degree of artistic quality inside. Many thanks 🙂

  15. love this!
    love charles bridge and of course Tsing Ma Bridge! 😉
    Need to learn from you to have such a good archive system so you could find all these photos for illustration in this post!

  16. fascinating post-I love bridges and I find it interesting as well how engineers identify the challenges to build not only functional structures, but ones that are quite often aesthetically pleasing as well. Your photos illustrate this point wonderfully. I enjoyed this a great deal-

    • I love designing bridges as they combine aesthetics, function and engineering; however, but later career did not allow me to pursue them further. Thank you for the kind comment 🙂

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  18. Imagine having traveled enough to be able to display so many wonderful well shot images of your memories on a topic so specific. While the rest of imagine you span more of the world. May your feet always have wings.

    • Hi Potsoup, I also hope that my legs have wings. There are still so many places that I would like to visit. Thank you for the perusal and kind comment 🙂

  19. Hello. I also have a keen interest in ancient and even modern bridges. I highly recommend reading a book I reviewed on my WordPress blog which covers the long history of London Bridge. In my book Robinson and Crawford County (pub. by Arcadia I did a double page spread on a magnificent bridge which spanned the Wabash River. It was a steel toll bridge which connected Indiana to southern Illinois and was the fifth of six self-supporting bridges to be built in the western hemisphere. The main builder was also responsible for building the 1,000 Island Bridge across the Great Lakes.

    • Hi Evelyn, thanks very much for the information. Will have a look at your review to understand the history of London Bridge. Thank you for the perusal and the kind comment 🙂

  20. This is magnificent! Not only because I have two little boys who are interested in all things construction… bridges really are a powerful image for connecting – and as is obvious above, make beautiful images, especially when put together like this!

    • Hi, bridges are a combination of art, science, engineering, planning, design and construction. They really are fascinating. Glad that your boys like them! Thank you 🙂

  21. I really enjoyed this virtual journey, and was pleasantly surprised at how many I’ve seen, too. thank you for finding my b,of, so I could find yours!

    • Glad that you like the post; my bridge samples have not covered many regions, will have to expand them in future. Thank you for the perusal and comment 🙂

  22. Nice article re’ bridges – these are great fun and I have a ton of paintings and sketches of bridges from all over the world – a bit of a fascination for me too. Managed a project once sketching all the bridges over the River tay in scotland – there are lots!

    • I have been walking up and down the Charles Bridge many many times and as you say, took my breath away. Unfortunately, many of my old photos of Prague have become discolored. Thank you 🙂

    • Hi, I have not hired out anybody. I wanted a black background so pictures do stand out, a WP Theme which is free of charge, I set up the page in the way I think readers would like it to be ( but I could be wrong). Thank you 🙂

  23. Its like you read my mind! You seem to know a lot about this, like
    you wrote the book in it or something. I think tha yyou can do
    with some pics to drive the message home a litfle bit,
    but instead oof that, this is wonderful blog.
    A great read. I’ll definitely be back.

    • Sometimes, I know I can do better, but by the time you have exhausted yourself combing through the photo archive, you feel a bit tired. Your suggestion is appreciated. Thank you 🙂

  24. Michael, I shared your blog posts on bridges on my Pinterest. It is somewhat like a ‘Reblog’ but not on Word Press. Your photos are so beautiful that I thought others would enjoy them. I did say that these photos were your property. If this is not O.K. with you, let me know and I will remove your posts. Thank you!

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