and one of the largest arched bridges in the world. Locals jokingly call it 'the hanger'. The bridge was opened in 1932. Arch bridges are no longer built today because it is easier and cheaper to build suspension or cable-stayed bridges.
There are regular tours of the bridge's arch. Promotional posters promised the tour to be 'Your climb of a lifetime'. I was tempted so I went. In fact, it was quite boring. We climbed to the top of the bridge and back for 2 hours, and before that, we spent another hour listening to instructions and changing clothes. The instructors, if necessary, can climb up the bridge and back in 10 minutes . . .
It all started with the fact that our cameras were taken away, as well as our phones, watches and coins. We had to put everything into a storage chamber. We couldn't carry anything that could fall out of our pockets.
Then we dressed in suits that resembled those of astronauts, and for 30 minutes we were hanging from various straps for assurance. Then, for another 30 minutes, the guides taught us how to use it all. In the end, training took an hour.
At the entrance, each of us was hitched to a steel rope that went along a route. We unbuckled at the exit after 2 hours. During this time, in single file, we slowly climbed over the bridge before the ascent:
The most difficult part of the climb was the first staircase. It was quite steep and there were whole 3 flights of stairs. This was the only staircase where we walked without stopping, and the ascent to the base of the arch of the bridge took about three minutes:
After that, we walked around for about 50 minutes, 20 minutes of which involved standing in the middle of the bridge. Then, on the other side, we spent another 50 minutes walking back. Every 164 feet (50 meters), we stopped and the tour guide offered to take photos of each of the 12 people in our group because our cameras had been taken away. For the first photo, we were asked for $24, and then $15 for each successive photo. Before climbing, we paid for 12 photos . . . we had to be photographed everywhere:
Every photography 'session' took 10 minutes. Most of the time though, we just stood around and waited while others were busy taking photos.
When we reached the top of the arch, we crossed over the narrow bridge to the other side and went down. However, before that, we took some more pictures.
Along with our own photos, they uploaded several photos of the views, taken by professional photographers, on our flash drive as a gift. So that we would be able to remember the wonderful views that opened before our eyes from the top of the
In general, the phrase 'once in a lifetime experience' describes this ascent perfectly. Very few people have the desire to climb there a second time on their own.
After the tour, we walked along the bridge itself and took a few pictures on our cameras: