This article appeared in the May 10, 2021 edition of the Monitor Daily.

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A bridge with panoramic views – and close-ups, too

Sergio Azenha/AP
People walk across a narrow footbridge suspended across a river canyon, which claims to be the world's longest pedestrian bridge, in Arouca in northern Portugal. The Arouca bridge, inaugurated May 2, 2021, offers a half-kilometer (almost 1,700-foot) walk across its span, some 175 meters (574 feet) above the River Paiva.
Trudy Palmer
Cover Story Editor

Last week, a few of us enjoyed a good laugh on Slack, an instant-messaging app we use at the Monitor. One of the options for the day’s Viewfinder photo showed people traversing the nearly 1,700-foot Arouca pedestrian bridge, suspended 574 feet above a canyon in Portugal. That’s roof level for some buildings with 50+ floors!

The first Slack response was “I am never walking on that bridge,” followed seconds later by “Me neither.” Someone else added a “rolling on the floor laughing” emoji. Then we got back to work.

But the truth is, The Christian Science Monitor builds skyscraper-high bridges all the time – with words and images, not steel. Bridges to an island weighing the trade-off between tourism and tradition. To the heart of an idea, like respect or fairness. Or to a new solution in education or the environment.

Just last week, the Monitor took readers to all of those places and more, offering an aerial view with enough history and context to orient them in Jerusalem, Tybee Island, a deli in Italy, and a garden in Washington, D.C.

But here’s where the analogy breaks down. On the Arouca bridge, there are only bird’s-eye views. On the Monitor’s bridges, you get close-ups too – proofs of humanity, seen in hope, courage, patience, and persistence.

Best of all, there’s no fretting about walking at skyscraper heights – it’s a journey of head and heart, not feet.

This article appeared in the May 10, 2021 edition of the Monitor Daily.

Read 05/10 edition
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