We, Esko & Lea Räntilä from Finland, began our bridge journey in 2005 by applying for stipend from a Finnish institution which that year gave stipends e.g. studying or enhancing the culture, politics and/or history of The Six (of Europe): France, Belgium, Germany, Netherlands, Italy and Luxembourg. These are the countries who started EEC which has later expanded to EU. Our proposed project was to take photos of bridges in these countries and arrange exhibitions of them in Finland. As we happened to see the small notification in a newspaper we had only a couple of days to leave the application so it became perhaps not the most convincing one but: the ombudsman of the Niilo Helander´s Foundation a couple of months later told us – a bit grumpily and surprised – that the board had “for some reason” granted a stipend also to our project. We then made a 2 weeks photographing journey both 2006 and 2007, renting a car in the airport and were accommodated in the beginning of the trips by coach surfing hosts. On the first trip we had with us our firstborn Teemu who gave us technical help and also took photos.
Here we are standing on Ponte degli Alpini, covered bridge in Bassano del Grappa, Italy. Photo taken by Patrizia Zagami who kindly guided us in her home town.
There are SO many interesting bridges in The Six (not to mention Europe as a hole) that it took us a lot of time to calculate the routes and schedule to catch as much as possible of of our favorites in those 2+2 weeks. As a tremendously good help in that we had, except for Google, the structurae.de websites created by Nicolas Janberg. Per Wåhlin´s (from Sweden) interest in cable-stayed bridges (nowadays: pwcspics.se) introduced us the semi-covered Passerelle Lac-Saint-Point in North-East of France. Later we found also Frank Sellke´s brueckenweb.de which gave some extra help for the second trip. And later again karlgotsch.de and berndnebel.de filled some gaps in our knowledge. We thank God for the German tradition of being so systematic!
But – our bridge journey goes on wherever we go in our own country or abroad. The photo atop, of the Chain bridge in Budapest is cropped from a snap taken in November 2017 hurriedly from a local bus, the Buda side on the background, with the funicular to the hill on the left.