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In which I continue to seek part time employment as the ruler of the world.

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Category archive: Europe

Thursday April 03 2014

So, speaking as I was lately about Lego, and loving as I do bridges, how about this?!?!:

image

In Germany.  Done just with paint.  Excellent, I think.  Found here (scrolling down is highly recommended).  Which I found because 6k recently linked to the same site, concerning something else, also very entertaining.

Tuesday December 17 2013

Incoming from Alan Little, from whom it is very nice to be hearing:

I thought this might be your sort of thing.

This being a collection, of course with photos, of 10 Spectacular Movable Bridges.  Definitely my sort of thing.

My favourite (for me) new discovery was this:

image

That’s bridge number seven, the Hörn Bridge, in Kiel, Germany.

It’s notable that about half (by my calculations) of these bridges are for pedestrians, or for pedestrians and cyclists, rather than road or rail bridges.

In recent years, local politicians have been discovering that a bit of well-judged public spending on a Popular Public Thing can really juice up the tourist trade, boost property values and tax take, etc.  This has meant, in particular, a proliferation of cute footbridges, often foot-and-bicycle bridges of course.  They are cute, but they are relatively cheap, certainly compared to bridges for roads or railways.

London has two recent footbridges (three if you count the Hungerford Bridge footbridges as two bridges), and two more are now being talked up, the Heatherwick Garden Bridge, and the one they are talking about that will connect Battersea to Chelsea.

I also liked bridge number eleven (aka bonus bridge number one), the Barton Swing Aqueduct:

image

The aqueduct, the first and only swing aqueduct in the world, is a Grade II listed building, considered a major feat of Victorian civil engineering. Designed by Sir Edward Leader Williams and built by Andrew Handyside of Derby, the swing bridge opened in 1894 and remains in regular use.

Cool.  Not something that anyone else felt the need to copy.  But still, cool.

Saturday December 14 2013

Incoming from Michael Jennings:

image

There is the end of Cape Bojador. This now scores high in the Brian blogs and Michael then goes there stakes.

Not very appetising looking, that having been my original point.  I just reread that piece.  Not bad.

LATER:

And when you get south of the point:

image

Not a helpful place to sale next to.

Thursday December 05 2013

And not just any old telly.  BBC1, The One Show, no less, watched by millions. I was and I am impressed.  Watch Elena Procopiu in action 25m30s into it, here, while it’s still there.  (For future reference, this was on Tuesday December 3rd.)

Elena was born in Romania and did a piece to camera about Romania and about Romanians in England, entirely in a Romanian accent until right at the end, when she said in her regular English voice that lots of Romanians have been here for years.  Many Romanians have already seen this performance, on the www.  Some, who missed the bit at the end, were surprised that someone who has been in England for so long still has such a strong Romanian accent.  None said that the Romanian accent was not a proper Romanian accent, which is not that easy to get exactly right, if you no longer have such an accent.

Tuesday November 19 2013

A few days ago I did a posting, featuring one of those faked up photos, about how they are talking of moving a bridge in Porto from down by the river to uptown.  Unfortunately, I muddled up two different bridges.  Michael Jennings informed me by phone of this muddle and then he added to the posting this further clarificatory comment:

The Dom Luis Bridge is in the centre of town, and is the principal pedestrian route from one side of the river the the other, the vehicle route for local traffic from close to the river one one side to close to the river on the other, and also (on the top deck) carries Porto’s light metro. The Maria Pia Bridge is the rail bridge a kilometre upstream that is no longer in use.

The Maria Pia Bridge was designed by Gustave Eiffel, although his employee Téophile Seyrig did much of the work. At the time it was the longest arch bridge in the world. Seyrig then (no longer working for Eiffel) built the Dom Luis Bridge, which then broke the record that had been held by the Maria Pia bridge. The two structures are similar, although the Maria Pia bridge lacks the bottom deck that the Dom Lewis bridge has. The two bridges are often confused. Also, perhaps rather sweetly, Dom Luis and Maria Pia were married to one other.

The plan to move the bridge away from the river seems a flight of fancy to me, although the basic problem that the bridge is very beautiful, very historically significant, and not presently used for anything does remain.

Michael spelt it Dom Lewis, but I’ve changed it to Dom Luis, because that does seem to be the proper spelling.  Or maybe it is Don.  Maybe it’s either Don Luis or Dom Lewis, and you can’t mix them.  Whatever.

Michael, who happened to be just about to visit Porto when I said all this, was urged to send back photos of these two bridges.  He did, for which much thanks.

Here is the bridge that is still very much in use, the Dom Luis Bridge, with a railway at the top and a road for cars and pedestrians at the bottom:

image

Taken with his iPad camera.  Michael apologised for that, but I think it’s rather dramatic.

Later Michael sent two more pictures, presumably taken with a rather fancier camera.

First we have, again, the Dom Luis Bridge:

image

And here is the one they are talking about moving, the Maria Pia Bridge:

image

You can see why Portoans like their bridges, and why it seems like a nice idea to turn the disused one into a big piece of public sculpture.

Meanwhile, I repeat my earlier questions.  Will people be allowed on top of the bridge to take photos from it?  And: If Porto doesn’t want this bridge any more, can London please have it?

Monday November 11 2013

I have always liked that big bridge in Porto.  Indeed, I blogged about it, in 2004.

Well, now there is a plan to move the bridge, which is no longer in use, to a higher spot in the town:

image

I think this is a fine plan.  It would presumably make the bridge far more visible from afar.  It’s amazing what a difference a distinctive Big Thing like this can make to a city.  Ask Paris.

Will people be allowed to climb to the top of the newly located Porto Bridge?  It would be a fantastic place to take photos from, except that I rather fear that the most visually interesting thing in Porto is the bridge itself.  Views of the bridge, from various parts of Porto: great.  Views from the bridge: rather ordinary?  Don’t know.  Hope that’s wrong.  Actually, it looks pretty good.

Maybe if Porto doesn’t do this, London should put in a bid.  Photoing London from that Thing would be stupendous.

LATER: Just had a call from Michael J saying I’m muddling up two different bridges.  The one in the fake photo above is not the same one as the one in the photo in the earlier blog posting I linked back to.  That bridge is still very much in use.  The one that is no longer being used, which they are thinking of moving, is some way downstream.  Michael is about to visit Porto, and has told me that he will try to take some photos of both.  If he manages this, it would be most welcome.

Wednesday November 06 2013

More old photos, this time from the time when the Eurostar trains used to depart from Waterloo:

image image image

Taken with my old Canon A70, on June 21 2003.  So, over a decade ago.  I think the sign on the right of these three snaps is something of an exaggeration.  That’s about how long it takes now, isn’t it?  Not sure about that.

The pictures are all pleasingly worse than the ones I take now, with my Panasonic Lumix FZ150.  It would be terrible to think that neither I nor my cameras had got any better between then and now.

Eurostar came and went from Waterloo from November 1994 until November 2007.  Since then, not a lot.

But:

In 2012 a new proposal for the future use of the station was made, namely that it becomes the London destination of all the UK’s sleeper trains. This may become necessary as the phasing out of Mk2 vehicles and their replacement with Mk3 will make the trains too long for the platforms at Euston, and construction of HS2 will make the long sleeper dwell times at Euston untenable. If the Paddington sleepers were also diverted this would concentrate all sleeper services at Waterloo International, thus making use of the former Eurostar lounge facilities for sleeper passengers.

I can’t say I quite follow the logic of all that, but at least Waterloo Eurostar-that-was has not been completely forgotten about.

Monday October 28 2013

Quite often I start a BrianMicklethwaitDotCom posting, but when I’ve nearly finished it, I realise that it will do as a Samizdata posting.  This happened today, twice.

So instead, here is a link to a story, from April 2011, about Copenhagen’s Sperm Bike.  How did I miss this?  Probably because the site is called Treehugger, and peddles stuff about the need to screw up Western Civilisation because of the weather getting too hot if we don’t.

This is what the Sperm Bike looks like:

image

If you are wondering about how the steering works, I think this explains it.

Sperm Bike
Art gallery made of scaffolding
Craig Willy on Emmanuel Todd
Emmanuel Todd links
Pictures from Georgia and Warsaw
Michael Jennings - pictures of globalisation
Steven Pinker’s description of The Enlightenment
Michael Jennings on how the taxis at Skopje airport are an evil racket and what he did about it
Malta Day procession
Outage
More shiny new headquarters buildings
76 operas and a monument in the wrong place for Hermann the German
Friday link dump
Gormley’s South Bank Men
A Spanish geography lesson
A Spanish high speed train bridge and a Spanish aqueduct
Delayed action Dubrovnik cat
The Brusio spiral viaduct also looks like a toy train layout
303 Squadron in the movie and on the telly
Two bridges in Portugal
BrianMicklethwaitDotCom blog posting title of the day
Two real cats sighted in Spain!
My sleep and luggage and bus and fluid travel hell
In Alicante
Possible holiday interruption
How some cats are dividing Cyprus
Reds against Blues in Munich
Stepping forward into the abyss!
Luxembourg church in hill and Luxembourg footbridge
A great Johnathan Pearce Britain-can-dump-the-EU blog posting - and the value of informative titles
Polish anti-semitism - a history lesson at last night’s dinner
Making the IOC feel important with a personal lubricant
Changing faces of Europe
Daniel Hannan and the shape of the media to come
“Vivid characters, devious plotting and buckets of gore …”
Toys and big toys
Sheep under wolf’s clothing
Might Gordon Brown pull an EU referendum rabbit out of the hat?
Africa is big
Mahler’s 9th in Vienna in 1938
Photo of some foodski
Switching from dumb bombing to smart bombing
The new Lowe look
Terence Kealey on the Wright brothers and their patent battles
I predict that Germany will win
Computer blues
What I have seen so far while abroad
Nanpu Bridge in Quimper
Keyboard blues
Were any of them really that nice?
Eurovision sense from Squander Two
Wired bridges
The IPL is a new face for India but Harbhajan slapping Sreesanth is no big deal
The Messina Suspension Bridge is on again
Eusociality
Billion Monkey Alan Little?
Dominic Lawson on Herbert von Karajan
Brian Hitler!
Theodore Dalrymple on the menace of honest public officials and much else besides
Underground art
Eurostar says goodbye Waterloo hello St Pancras
On the appeal or lack of it to Young Europeans of “capitalism”
Old cranes - new cranes
Free trade explains the success of the Swedish Model
Gatito
Another link to a friend and that’s your lot today
Other people’s photos (2): New architecture in Hamburg
Geoffrey Blainey on Ivan Bloch - the man who predicted World War One
Tourists on the move
The extreme memes spread by moderate Muslims
I’m back
Antoine Clarke talks with me about votes for women (and teenagers) – and about Sweden
Brian and Antoine democracy mp3 number twelve
I also miss Transport Blog
Brian and Antoine mp3s now into double figures
The latest Brian and Antoine mp3
Election Watch podcast number three
“What on earth gives every computer owner the right to exude his opinion, unasked for?”
4th Generation Warfare in the middle of an advanced Western Country