2016 GW Spain Trip No.14: World Heritage Tour No.8 « Vizcaya Bridge

Spain Basque journey 2016 GW
Spain Basque journey 2016 GW

Puente de Vizcaya 20160430-_MG_5582

Puente de Vizcaya 20160430-_MG_5594

Date and time of visit: April 30, 2016, approximately 1:00 p.m.

It was the most « fun » part of the trip! It may be a world heritage site.

To Basque Country, Spain

I have visited many areas in France and Spain, but surprisingly? I have visited many areas in France and Spain, but I have never been to Basque Country in Spain. Strictly speaking, I’ve only stepped into the Basque Country a little bit when I was on a tour of the most beautiful villages in France five years ago.

So, one of the purposes of this trip to Spain was to visit this Basque Country.

First of all, we took the highway from Burgos to Bilbao and entered the Basque Country. It doesn’t seem so far when you see it on the map, but the border between Basque Country and its southern neighbor Rioja Navarra is a mountain range, and you can’t enter Basque Country without crossing this pass. You can drive through this pass at high speed, but it was much steeper than I expected.

I realized once again that national borders are naturally determined by such geography.

A World Heritage Site built at the end of the 19th century

It was raining heavily in the mountains near Sakai in the Basque Country, but the weather recovered once we crossed the border into the Basque Country. The first place we went was the Vizcaya Bridge in the suburbs of Bilbao.

It is the world’s oldest « carrying bridge » over the Nervion River and was built at the end of the 19th century. It was built at the end of the 19th century, which is a bit rare compared to other World Heritage sites.

However, it is a long way from Bilbao. I think Bilbao is not easy to access except by car. Because Bilbao is located a little bit further inland up this river. It’s about 10 or so kilometers away.

Then, is it easy by car, and it was not unexpectedly so. It is because there is no parking lot at all.

Puente de Vizcaya 20160430-_MG_5572

Somehow I managed to park on the street, not too far from the bridge. I was very lucky. You can’t see it well in this picture, but I parked in such a place which is packed tightly at the bottom and started sightseeing.

The haul bridge is still in use.

Go to the area where you can see the bridge immediately.

Puente de Vizcaya 20160430-_MG_5577

The view is as you can see. The size is quite large. It is powerful when you get close to it.

Puente de Vizcaya 20160430-_MG_5582

However, it looks like just a modern steel bridge, and I have no idea why this is a World Heritage Site.

By the way, what is the « carrying bridge »? I didn’t quite realize it when I saw the whole picture of this bridge, but when I came to the foot of the bridge, I understood it instantly!

Rather than explaining it in words, I think you can understand it better with images and videos.

Yuu KOMATAさん(@yuukoma)が投稿した動画

By suspending these gondolas from the top of the bridge, people and cars could be transported from one side of the river to the other. In this way, a bridge can be built without building a huge bridge and without interfering with marine traffic, which is the mechanism of a « carrier bridge. The Vizcaya Bridge here is the world’s oldest bridge that operates on this system, and that’s why it was recognized as a World Heritage site.

What’s more, it’s amazing that it’s still active. It seems to buy a ticket here and cross.

It’s an unthinkable system for a traffic volume like Japan.

You can climb on the bridge!

Now, you can actually go up to the top of this bridge and walk around. You can see in the picture below that there is an elevator to go up. The top of the bridge is basically open for sightseeing. Because it is for sightseeing only, you can’t go over the bridge to the other side.

The entrance ticket to the bridge could be bought at a souvenir shop under the bridge.

Then to the elevator to the bridge.

It’s quite high… I think it’s impossible for people who are afraid of heights, so it’s better not to do it.

Puente de Vizcaya 20160430-_MG_5606

It was refreshing to be on the bridge, but even though it was the end of April, it was still chilly because of the strong wind. We needed a jacket.

Puente de Vizcaya 20160430-_MG_5594

The bridge is 50 meters high and there are no big buildings around it, so we could see the mountains and the sea in the distance from this bridge.

Puente de Vizcaya 20160430-_MG_5586

Puente de Vizcaya 20160430-_MG_5589

Puente de Vizcaya 20160430-_MG_5603

It was a mannequin when I thought that there was a watchman who was also very high.

Puente de Vizcaya 20160430-_MG_5609

By the way, the person who designed this bridge is the apprentice of Mr. Eiffel who designed the Eiffel Tower. And it says on this plate that a man named Juan Jose rebuilt this bridge after it was destroyed in the Spanish Civil War.

Puente de Vizcaya 20160430-_MG_5605

This is the gondola from the bridge.

Puente de Vizcaya 20160430-_MG_5593

Go to the opposite shore and still return, one round trip and sightseeing is over. Get off the elevator again and go to the ground.

Puente de Vizcaya 20160430-_MG_5583