My first reaction to the info that in the Switzerland there is the longest suspension bridge in Europe was easy to predict: I won’t miss it, not for the world! Up till now I’ve dealt with suspension bridges only in Nepal and even though they were almost falling apart and very shaky, they invariably impressed me every time.
The Charles Kuonen Suspension Bridge is situated over Randa town, at height of 700 meters (in the highest point over the valley the difference reaches 850 meters). It’s 500 meters long, what makes it the longest of all suspension bridges in the whole world. But the first place on this list changed quite recently, because it was put into service in August 2017. If you are going to take the main road from Visp to Täsch and Zermatt, you would be able to see it, while passing Randa town.
But this bridge is not a place for those who suffer from fear of heights or open spaces – everyone else should have fun, though. Believe me, it is an obligatory point to visit while being in Zermatt. The views, the feelings and the impressions will knock you off your feet and add additional taste to the whole journey.
Hiking from Randa
Hiking from Randa should take about 2 hours but be warned that the red trail leads uphill all the time, sometimes really steeply, not giving you a chance to catch a breath. The trail begins at the exit from the village and is very well labeled, so you won’t have any problems to find it. Crossing the bridge is totally free, so you won’t have to buy any tickets.
The other popular routes to reach the bridge are: Europa-Grächen trail, which takes about 7 hours or from Zermatt – also about 6-7 hours.
The bridge, situated in the shadows cast by the famous Matternhorn and the Bernese Alps, connects the Grächen village with the thriving Zermatt resort and serves as an additional connection along the Europaweg (Europe Way), a challenging touristic trail at high altitudes, which takes 2 days. The previous bridge, the shorter Europabrücke, was damaged in 2010 by falling rocks. The creation of a new bridge took only 10 weeks, which is really impressive (let’s applaud the efficiency of the Swiss – they are incredible).
Just don’t look down!
The bottom of this steel bridge is not made of glass, like in case of the previous longest suspension bridge in the world (the one in Zhangjiajie Canyon, in Chinese Hunan province, 1410 feet). The bottom is made of a steel net. I was sitting under the bridge for about an hour, observing people who crossed the bridge. And I had lots of fun. It is so fascinating how many reactions you could count, when people are put in such attraction – from casting spells on reality, praying under their breaths to absolutely impassive facial expressions, like it was just a stroll to the nearest grocery store. Watching it is a show on its own and a large-scale research of how people react to stress. Well, you can always just not look down…
Nota bene, Charles Kuonen, who was the main sponsor of the new bridge, is a Swiss psychologist and also an owner of a vineyard. Hmm… wine and psychological counseling. It’s so ironic and funny that the longest suspension bridge was named after a man who specializes in two things most people need right after visiting this attraction.
My Drone gave up
While climbing rocks for two hours, I was thinking that I will record this bridge from above with my drone and how spectacular it will look. You know that I love the bird’s eye view and I do lots of such shots in every trip. I just think that nothing shows the space, size and perspective as movies and photos taken from the level of several of meters. But judging by your reactions to my travel materials, you think alike.
Well, as some of you already know from my social media, the DJI Mavic Pro drone recorded awesome material but at the last, final wide shot, it lost its signal, and caught a spruce on a rocky ledge. Ironically, it didn’t get damaged, it just got entangled in a branch, unfortunately several dozen of meters above the trail. Its GPS was still working, so I was able to download the recording. However, regardless of truly heroic efforts to bring it down, it turned out to be impossible. This spruce was somewhere near the black trail, so without special equipment I didn’t even have a chance to get there. If any of you would be there one day and see it, I would be really glad if it got back home.
Besides, what’s wrong with these drones, ‘cause they crash always in the most inappropriate moments, just when you are about to record the material of your life? :)
But I’ll tell you frankly, I regret nothing, because the last video already is a viral and has a few hundred thousand views – even Martyna Wojciechowska shared it, as well as the official profile of Swiss Tourism Board – My Switzerland, so an audience of few millions of viewers.
My friend summed it up perfectly: “what a great way to go…”. Hard to disagree, the drone fell but fell in action:) And here’s the famous video: