Hugo Xavier grew to become one of many first folks to cross the world’s longest pedestrian suspension bridge when it opened on Thursday close to his tiny hometown of Arouca in northern Portugal.
“Oh…right here we go!,” the 42-year-old stated anxiously as he gathered sufficient braveness to step onto the see-through metallic grid pathway of the 516-metre-long (1693-ft) bridge alongside his equally jittery associate and a tour information.
Hidden between rock-strewn mountains coated with lush greenery and yellow flowers contained in the UNESCO-recognised Arouca Geopark, the bridge hangs 175 meters above the fast-flowing River Paiva.
The panorama is calm, however the crossing is just not for the faint-hearted. Held up by metal cables and two huge towers on both sides, it wobbles somewhat with each step.
“I used to be somewhat afraid, however it was so value it,” a relieved Xavier stated already on the opposite aspect. “It was extraordinary, a singular expertise, an adrenaline rush.”
The bridge opened solely to native residents on Thursday, however from Monday everybody can guide a go to.
Locals hope the attraction, which price about 2.three million euros ($2.eight million) and took round two years to construct, will assist revive the area, particularly after the devastating COVID-19 pandemic.
“It’s a breath of contemporary air for our land as a result of it can entice extra funding, extra folks,” stated tour information Emanuel, including that the area was quickly ageing as many younger folks moved to massive cities. “It’ll convey a brand new dynamic to Arouca.”
Standing on the bridge, the mayor of Arouca, Margarida Belem, stated the bridge was a part of a wider technique to encourage extra folks to maneuver and keep within the area.
“There have been many challenges that we needed to overcome… however we did it,” the visibly proud mayor advised Reuters. “There’s no different bridge like this one on the planet.”