10 best bridge walks around the world

Around there globe, there are many amazing bridges that combine interesting history, incredible architecture and breathtaking views. Crossing a great bridge, especially on foot, can be quite a memorable experience, not to mention it’s completely free. While it is hard to choose only ten, here is a list of some of the best bridge walks around the world that everyone should experience.

Sydney Harbour Bridge
Sydney, Australia

When it comes to the Sydney Harbour Bridge you have a few options. You can either walk across the arch-shaped structure from one end to the other, taking in views of Sydney Harbour and the Sydney Opera House, or you can climb to the top. In 2010, climbing the bridge was actually rated one of the World’s Top Ten Experiences by Lonely Planet. During the climb, which takes you up more than 300 feet, you will be given protective clothing to aid against the weather and will be secured by a wire lifeline. Beginning at the eastern side of the bridge, climbers will ascend to the summit and go down on the western end.Charles Bridge
Prague, Czech Republic

The historic Charles Bridge crosses the Vltava River and is about 1,700 feet long. Its construction began in 1357 under the sponsorship of King Charles IV. Today, the bridge is a lively attraction, with artists, entertainers, and marketers catering to tourists during the day. In the evening, the setting is a bit more peaceful and the bridge and Prague Castle are lit up, giving the structure an entirely different vibe. During both times, you will get great views of the city and its sites.

Brooklyn Bridge
New York, USA

One of the oldest suspension bridges in the United States, the Brooklyn Bridge connects Manhattan to Brooklyn and goes over the East River, giving walkers spectacular views of the New York City skyline. The main span of the structure is about 1,600 feet and is not only an icon of New York but also a National Historic Landmark. The bridge has been used during many situations by New Yorker’s to leave Manhattan on foot, such as during the blackouts of 1965, 1977, and 2003, as well as after the infamous 9/11 attacks on the World Trade Center.

Henderson Waves Bridge
Singapore, South East Asia

The Henderson Waves Bridge is an 899-foot long pedestrian bridge that connects Mount Faber Park with Telok Blangah Hill Park. It is the highest pedestrian bridge in Singapore, sitting 118 feet above Henderson Road. What makes this bridge so special is it’s unique curved design, making it look similar to a roller coaster, with hidden alcoves and seats inside. Make sure to experience this bridge at night in between 7PM and 2AM when the LED lights are on.

Ponte Vecchio
Florence, Italy

The Ponte Vecchio is a Medieval arch bridge that spans the Arno River. It’s most famous for still having shops on it, as was once very common. Stroll across the bridge while perusing the goods of artisans, jewelers, and souvenir sellers while taking photos of Renaissance architecture. The bridge also has a bit of an ironic history. After being destroyed by floods and being rebuilt multiple times, it is the only bridge in Florence not destroyed during WWII.

Jacques Cartier Bridge
Montreal, Canada

The Jacques Cartier Bridge is a steel truss bridge that gives people access to Montreal Island, St. Helen’s Island, and Longueuil. It spans the Saint Lawrence River and walking over it will give you spectacular views of Montreal, especially at night. In the summer the bridge closes to vehicular traffic for the annual fireworks competition held at La Ronde, with the Jacques Cartier being the best viewing spot for the show, sometimes drawing more than 50,000 people.

The Golden Gate Bridge
California, USA

The Golden Gate Bridge in a suspension bridge that spans the opening of the San Francisco Bay into the Pacific Ocean (also known as the Golden Gate) and connects San Francisco to Marin County. It has been declared one of the modern Wonders of the World by the American Society of Civil Engineers and has been said to be “possibly the most beautiful, certainly the most photographed, bridge in the world” by Frommer’s travel guide.

Tower Bridge
London, United Kingdon

While the stroll across the Tower Bridge is short, the views make this a must-experience. Often mistakenly referred to as the London Bridge, the structure holds two towers that are connected by two horizontal walkways. For a bit of an adventurous experience, go inside the towers to explore the exhibits of film, photos, and interactive displays. Then, walk across via the upper walkway for photo-worthy views of the Thames River and London’s famous sites.

Pont D’iéna
Paris, France

Of course, a bridge that gives views of the Eiffel Tower and the Chaillot Palace would have to be included in this list. The Pont D’iéna spans the Seine River and connects the Left Bank, where the Eiffel Tower is, to the district of Trocadéro on the Right Bank. Where the bridge begins on the Left Bank you will get the feeling that you are at a small fair, with the festive atmosphere and carousel ride. As you walk along, you can also see sculptures of warriors that were put there in 1853.

Magdeburg Water Bridge
Magdeburg, Germany

The Magdeburg Water Bridge is a navigable aquaduct connecting Elbe-Havel Canal to the Mittellandkanal. This unique bridge crosses the Elbe River and, at 3,012 feet, is the longest navigable aquaduct in the world. Basically, this bridge is a raised body of water that sits over another body of water, which can be a pretty interesting sight (as you can see in the photo on the right from Wikipedia). Snap pictures of the German countryside while watching the ships as they pass by.

The London homeless thrive as tour guides

I have hired some strange tour guides. One was a Balinese man that cackled like a quick fire dub step remix of the word “huh.” One was a spy for the Myanmar government whose eyes widened in the car’s rear view every time I fumbled with my iPod. One made me promise that I would marry my girlfriend when I returned home. Others still furthered strange agendas upon my explorations.

Never though, to the best of my knowledge, have I toured under the guidance of a homeless person.

Thanks to a group called the Sock Mob, the London homeless are taking to the streets and finding a calling as tour guides. The Sock Mob is a volunteer organization that interacts with the city’s homeless or “rough sleepers.” They engage the homeless in agenda-free conversations, distribute socks, and generally commit altruistic deeds. They also have spearheaded a tourism program called “Unseen Tours” that allows travelers to take in some of London’s sights with a homeless tour guide. The lens of homelessness provides a unique perspective on landmarks such as London Bridge, and the guides also showcase hidden corners of the city that a conventional tour may miss. The tours meet every Friday at 7pm and every Saturday at 3pm. Cost is roughly $10, “depending on your circumstances.”

Gadlinks for Wednesday 7.15.09

Joyous hump day! I’ve never looked forward to Wednesday as I have this particular week. There’s a good deel to look forward to when it comes to travel stories as well. Take these, for example.

More Gadlinks HERE.

Blonde moments in travel: Boarding the correct train helps, but don’t underestimate good luck

I was in London this weekend and experienced a definite “travel blonde moment,” or using Urban Dictionary’s lingo “a flash of momentary stupidity” while traveling.

I am sure everyone has embarrassing–or plain stupid–things they have done while traveling. But not everyone has hair color to blame it on. It’s a good crutch, really.

Back to my story. My friend–also a blonde and much blonder than me, in fact–was walking me to the London Bridge train station from where I was to catch the train to Gatwick airport.

Going from London Bridge is a much better way to get to Gatwick than taking the train from Victoria station. It is, also, some 6GBP cheaper and takes just as long! That is, of course, true only if you board the correct train.

Anyway, we are walking, yapping away, she walks me to the platform, I board the train, the doors close. I am waving good-bye to her when I see her face shrivel in sheer terror. I knew. What she wanted to tell me is that I got on the wrong train. I could read it in the lines on her forehead as the train started pulling away.

So, I am standing behind the closed doors of a basically empty train (that should have been a hint, right?) while literally hundreds of people, including pilots and flight attendants, are still waiting on the platform with their luggage (yes, there were definitely hints) and I wonder where I’m actually headed.

I sincerely hope I didn’t just board the express train to Glasgow.
I sit down and try to text people for help because I can’t call from my phone abroad. Where is this train going? (Brighton) Any trains to Gatwick form there? (Of course not; it’s the wrong direction. It would take way too long.)

Finally, the ticket person comes.

“This is not going to Gatwick, is it? I think I boarded the wrong train,” I said sheepishly.

“How? They announce it over and over…There are hundreds of people waiting for the airport train….,” said the uniformed smartass, laughing.

“I know. I had a blonde moment. I wasn’t thinking,” I volunteered, figuring that playing ‘stupid but charming’ was the best strategy, since I didn’t have a ticket for this train and no cash left. I gave all my extra British pounds to my friend before I left. Hopefully, he didn’t plan on charging me extra.

He didn’t. The uniformed smartass informed me politely that I needed to get off at the next stop, some 20 minutes away, wait there for about 20 minutes and get on the next train back to London Bridge. From London Bridge, I should be able to make the 9:40 train which gets me to the airport at 10:20, if everything goes well. Check-in for my flight closes at 10:30. Possibly, maybe, doable.

Thank goodness I actually gave myself plenty of time to get to the airport this time. I don’t typically do that.

Meanwhile, my other friend back in Prague–the only one awake at this ungodly hour before 10am on a Sunday– is taking instructions to check me in online or via phone, which I forgot to do. Checking in remotely for international flights to the US is not as easy as checking in for domestic flights. You have to call and they need to know EVERYTHING: passport number, address, visa number, DNA sequence (OK, not that one, but that’s coming next year, I believe).

Through this whole thing, my male friend, equipped with my passwords, PINs and confirmation codes, pretends to be me (aka a female) on the phone with the airline. And, he – mercifully – succeeds. Good. Even if I am late, I am already checked in.

The next problem: I have a bag to check. What do I do with that if I’m late for proper check-in?

This is where my blonder-than-blonde friend comes in. As I arrived back at London Bridge station an hour later, she was already waiting for me and decided to come with me to the airport with a plan: if they can’t check my bag because I’m late, she will take it home with her and give it to me next time she sees me. Not ideal, but better than not making my flight to New York.

This is the kind of situation when you realize how many unnecessary things one travels with. At the end of the day, there were only a few items in my bag I absolutely couldn’t do without.

The train was 5 minutes late and got us to Gatwick 5 minutes before they were closing check-in. We sprinted through the airport and arrived at the Continental check-in kiosk with exactly one minute to spare.

“Are you on that flight to Newark?” the rep asks.

“Yes,” I reply apologetically.

“No need to rush. It’s been delayed at least an hour.”

I breathe a sigh of relief. There is nothing like being blonde and lucky at the same time.

(Authentic blonde pictures taken in the cafe on the top of The Gherkin building, which is awesome! The problem is that you can only get in if you know someone who works in the building. Hint: Start hanging out with Swiss Re folks.)