Bridging the gap

Something I have come to realise is the value of a theme when travelling.It was brought home to me by the fact that despite not being birdwatchers, the guys who I took on the Five Eagles Tour in Northern Spain thoroughly enjoyed that aspect. In an adventure of great backroads and small villages, food and castles, spotting eagles became the sauce for the whole week of travel.In fact having a theme that is a bit distanced from you normal interests makes it work even better. Consider bridges, one of the commonest architectural items on any road to anywhere.A number of people have mentioned the Millau (France) bridge as being worth a visit, and it is a spectacular sight. But what about all the ones in between. Just thinking of my route from Aberystwyth to the Severn bridges there must be dozens, from the humpbacked ‘Pont Wan’ (weak bridge) over the railway a few hundred yards from my house to the many arches of Builth Wells. I have never specifically stopped and looked at them. As soon as I can get the time a bridge theme trip is on the cards. I’ll keep an eye out in the charity shops for the Ladybird book of bridges, it would be good to brush up on the engineering involved and look at them in terms of loading and stresses and the different ways in which these problems are solved down the years.A bit of history will creep in as one finds out the oldest and newest bridges on the trip. And the rivers… I know that about 15 miles out of Aberystwyth I cross over a little stream, which I cross again here and there. It runs into the Wye which runs into the Severn, and here I am crossing it again to enter England a hundred miles or more later.There are of course any number of things one can think off to theme a trip… Tell me yours!

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