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Before we left Bilbao, we wanted to visit the world’s oldest transporter bridge,  the Vizcaya Bridge, also known locally as “el puente colgante “  –  the  Hanging Bridge.

Situated close to the entrance of the Port of Bilbao, the bridge was an innovative solution to the problem of connecting the towns of Portugalete and Las Arenas across the Nervión River without disrupting the maritime traffic of the port.

Officially opened in 1893, the bridge was built by engineer Alberto de Palacio, a student of  Gustave Eiffel.   This was the world’s first bridge to carry both people and traffic on a suspended gondola, and is the only one of its type still in use today.  It also has the distinction of being a UNESCO World Heritage site.

The bridge operates 24 hours a day, all year round, with the gondola taking less than two minutes to cross the river.  

We also took the scenic elevator to  walk on the bridge’s platform,  from where we had a terrific view of the cruise ship “Queen Victoria” which was docked for the day.  In fact, when we were queuing for the elevator, we got chatting to some people who were from the ship, which was just doing a 7 day cruise from Southampton.   The last time we saw the Queen Victoria was in Sydney harbour, earlier in the year 🙂