Bridges, Not Walls

I started thinking when I saw this great photo of the London Bridge, over at Kisslets at Home:

london bridge photo from kissletsathome.com

When I was younger, maybe in middle school or high school, I was obsessed with bridges. In fact my love of them is what made me decide on engineering as a course of study and a career (well, that and my love of roller coasters).

It’s actually sort of funny, that I loved bridges so much, while my mom was terrified of them. When we would go on our vacation every year, we had to drive over the Hudson river to access the vast expanse of the rest of the country. We had to cross the bridges both leaving and coming back, whether we took trips to the West (Yellowstone, Yosemite, Mount Rushmore, Salt Flats at the Great Salt Lake, Grand Canyon, Las Vegas, Golden Gate Bridge), or the South (Alamo, New Orleans, Disney, and Kitty Hawk/Kill Devil Hills), or even the Midwest or MidAtlantic (Cedar Point, Poconos Mountains, Washington DC, Strasburg Railroad). We had been to all of those places and more by the time I graduated high school!

I don’t know how my mom managed to survive all of these vacations despite her very strong fear of heights. Roads on top of cliffs in Yellowstone, sheer cliffs mere inches away at the Grand Canyon, sky high bridges in New York or California – she was terrified every time but still managed to be up for the next adventure. She has actually become much less afraid of heights as time has progressed, so I might want to try to convince her to visit some of the more impressive ones while we’re in Europe.

She’ll probably agree to see bridges like the London Bridge, because it looks sturdy and is fairly low to the water. But I don’t think she’ll go for this one in France:

Millau Viaduct – source: weburbanist.com

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Categories: Daydreaming, Engineering, Engineering Marvel

Tags: , , , ,

5 replies

  1. Now you’ve done it: sent me off on one of those hour-long ventures through the annals of the Internet, gawking at the Millau Viaduct. Portland (Oregon — where I live) is building a new suspension bridge. It’s a couple of years from completion. I hope it’s half as beautiful as the Millau.

  2. That’s alright – it’s a chain reaction! One person’s inspiration leads to another’s, and then another’s… there’s a reason travel blogs are so useful!

  3. HI Jen, I love bridges, too! They are beautiful structures although some frighten me — I was once stuck on the San Mateo Bridge in the Bay Area for 30 minutes and it definitely freaked me out. However, I was an editor and writer for the College of Engineering at UC Berkeley, so I also wrote about the technical aspects of bridges like retrofitting and cantilevers — pretty fascinating. Thank you for stopping by and checking out the Bruges Post on Travel Oops! Steph

    • I agree – it is fascinating! I’m not too worried about being stuck on a bridge, unless I’m a lone car in a sea of tractor trailers… I know bridges are designed for those loads, but sometimes bridges aren’t all they are designed to be (Galloping Gertie anyone?).

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