Five Cool European Bridges/Tunnels
Are you one of those people that has a weird fetish about “crossing over to the other side” via the longest, highest, scariest or oldest way possible? I kind of have a thing for bridges and tunnels. It just blows my mind that humans can actually create such massive infrastructure to transport ourselves through mountains, over valleys and both over and under seas. Here are a couple of my favorite bridges and tunnels in Europe. If you happen to be going on a European tour anytime soon, check ’em out:
Ronda Bridge – Malaga Spain
The original bridge in the cute little town of Ronda was built in 1735. The idea came from Philip V, consisting of a 35 metres diameter arch, and whose works finished only 8 months later. Unfortunately, this bridge did not work, because it collapsed, bringing to death more or less to 50 people. The new bridge took over 40 years to build, and was finished in 1793. This master building has got a height of 98 metres, built with stone masonry which were taken from the depth of the Tajo’s gorge. It still stands today, looking gloriously ancient and awesome.
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Gotthard Base Tunnel – Switzerland
Last October, the Gotthard Base Tunnel connected the longest rail tunnel. The 35-mile (57 km) tunnel is a serious engineering achievement: it took over 12 years and 2,600 workers drilling beneath 1.5 miles of mountain to remove 23 million tons of rock in order to make this tunnel actual. If you are looking to get through the Alps faster than ever, this is the train to take. Just hope that the train doesn’t break down at mile 17…
The Channel Tunnel (aka The Chunnel) – France to England under the English Channel
Jump on the Eurostar and get from France over to England in no time. The cost is high, but the time is short. The Chunnel runs 50.5 km long (31.4 miles) and links France to England through an extensive underwater tunnel. It’s kind of like taking the BART from San Francisco to the East Bay, except when you come out on the other side, everybody’s speaking another language…
The Oresund Bridge – Denmark to Sweden
Oh Scandinavia – how do I love thee…but it is really awesome that there is now a bridge that connects Malmo, Sweden with Copenhagen, Denmark for those who need to get more of a “Continental European” feel after lost in the woods in Sweden where it never gets dark. This bridge is really beautiful and sleek – like a snake over the water. So what if it is only 10 miles long – it just feels good to get to the other side and order an ice cold Carlsberg!
The Laerdal Tunnel – Norway
Ok, if you want to do something totally out of this world try driving through the longest road tunnel ever built. Running through the mountains close to Bergen, Norway, the Laerdal tunnel stretches 24.5 km (15.2 miles). When I drove through it, I called it the “disco tunnel” because there are three huge areas within the tunnel that are lit up blue. We had a dance party every time we passed one. I later found out that those stopping areas are not only cool looking – but actually for security purposes in case someone has a panic attack for being underground for so long!