A narrow guage train ride that stopped at a million tiny stations and a bus from Santander (because the narrow guage was late and I’d missed my train connection) took me to Bilbao to see some industrial revolution world heritage, the Vizcaya bridge. Completed in 1893, it crosses the estuary of Bilbao’s river about 10Km seawards from the city centre.
It is the world’s oldest transporter bridge carrying cars and pedestrians across the river in a gondola suspended on steel ropes from a carriage that traverses a 45m high bridging structure. The design, by architect Alberto de Palacio (a disciple of Gustave Eiffel), is to avoid disruption to the busy shipping traffic on the river.
I went to see it with a fellow resident of my hostel, taking the metro out to west end, going across in the gondola and taking another metro back. We considered taking the lift up and walking across the top, but using it as it was intended seemed more appropriate. We weren’t going to do both because the walk from the station had been steeply downhill and we couldn’t face the walk back up.
I spent the rest of the day admiring the outside of the Guggenhiem, walking by the river and visiting the oldest part of the city where I had some very nice ice cream. I was also briefly in charge of the hostel when the owner went out for a couple of hours. I presume he chose me because I was the oldest one there. This mostly involved letting people in and telling them to wait until he got back to find out which bunk they had been allocated. I also persuaded some English lads to bring me some beer while they were out and guarded someone elses camera equpment while they went to a concert. It was quite nice to feel responsible for a while again.
The next day I flew home to London, and could finally satisfy my desperate craving for a curry. My Lego model was built a week later and photographed my back garden. I really don’t many parts in my kit suitable for industrial structures and what I did have was only enough for half a bridge – so please use your imagination for the other half. The gondola is suspended on thread from my travelling sewing kit.