Thu Jun 28th, 2007 at 10:10:29 AM EST
In my recent perambulations around France, one sight I felt I had to treat myself to was that of the new Millau bridge. So after I left Entraygues sur Troyere I worked my way over to the N9 heading south.
It was a lovely day on the Massif, it had started cool and cloudy as I climbed out of the Lot valley, but it was clearing and becoming decidedly warm as I crested the highest point on the motorway at about 890 metres and almost immediately there is was, perhaps 20 km away. At that point I was high enough to be looking down on it, even above the very tops of the towers and it was like flying towards a many-masted yacht, sailing though the sea of dark forested hills behind it. These contrasted the dazzling whiteness of the stays to dazzling effect.
From the diaries with an edit - afew
Then indeed, just as ship on a storm-tossed sea, the bridge sank behind the rolling hills and I lost sight of it for a few miles. Suddenly around a corner it rose before me again, above me now, and the change of perspective gave it a futuristic look, as if it were a series of steel-strung pyramids floating gently among the remaining clouds and then I was there.
Stopping at the observation platform I was struck by what a marvel it was, how inspiring a simple bridge can be if care is added to make it a thing of real beauty. Size alone doesn't account for it, the bridge is entirely proportionate to the canvas of the countryside it is painted upon and they are entirely complementary to each, each makes the other grander and filled with significance by the other being there. Driving upon it is no mundane experience either, from the steel kerrang as you come onto the bridge, the gong that announces your arrival in the Grandest Court, you feel yourself surrounded by light as the struts catch the sun and the impression is of floating on a magic carpet with the hills and clouds all around.
I rarely wax lyrical about mere things, well maybe a steam engine or two, but this bridge is a wonder that lifts the senses and for a brief period you notice more, the bridge seems to glow and you are caught in the spell.