A picnic with an engineer. On A-6206 near Hinojares, Spain. 2009

On our drive to Granada today we crossed over an unusual bridge so we decided to have a picnic near it with the bread and dried chorizo that was kindly given to us by staff from the El Curro hotel in Burunchel.

We had driven this way because of suggestions made by Maria del Mar, an extraordinarily nice woman who worked in the El Curro. It’s always great to make connections with locals and find the paths less travelled (by tourists like ourselves).

Sometimes travelling can feel a bit like being a slot-car that just follows a well worn rut. So sitting out in what seemed like the middle of nowhere in Spain, eating some delicious sausage looking at an incredible landscape with my wife the engineer seemed to be close to perfect.

To paraphrase my old friend Omar Khayyam

 Here with a loaf of bread some chorizo,
 a bottle of water, a bridge and thou
 Beside me chatting in the wilderness
 and wilderness is paradise now.

As we ate, we discussed the bridge and its design while bearded vultures soared far above us on the thermals over the surrounding hills.

I’ve learnt so much about concrete and how it’s used since I’ve known Engogirl. The bridge we were looking at was quite unusual in that its vertical members looked very slender with only thin horizontal members with no diagonal bracing to stop them warping. Concrete is very strong in compression but relatively weak in tension so the vertical members have to stay straight or it’s “all over red rover”.  The bridge was a manifestation of “less is more” in concrete.

Its not that Engogirl thought it was a bad design, it was just different and showed a desire to make a bridge that was more than just functional. Although the construction of the bridge looked quite rough because it had been made with formwork on site, suggesting that it was just a fairly cheap bridge of no real importance, it had lots of character. In fact it was quite beautiful in its own way.

10 thoughts on “A picnic with an engineer. On A-6206 near Hinojares, Spain. 2009”

  1. Still going, I see. Just read you latest post, did you mean “Grenada” in the first line? I hope you did as the Al Hambra is a truely amazing site. I would also highly recommend a trip to Cordoba to see the Mosque within a Cathedral (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Great_Mosque_of_C%C3%B3rdoba), also although its not all that close to Cordoba I would recommend a trip to Ronda – another great bridge, site of the oldest bull ring in Spain and site of the massacre of Nationalists by Franco’s Republicans during the civil war – they just pushed them off a cliff!



  2. Peter

    Thanks for dropping by. Your name comes up in our conversation often, especially when we have a good meal or drink some wine as we wonder what you’d think of it. Have you been able to get your hands any of that perriquita I told you about?

    I meant Granada as Grenada is that island in the Caribbean that the US unjustly invaded back in 1983 and thanks for pointing out the typo as the “Garnada” I put in doesn’t exist. I fixed up.

    We’re in Granada at the moment and we can see the Alhambra from our hotel. We will go there today.

    Thanks for the info on Cordoba and Ronda, we’ve been thinking about going to those places but we’re still undecided. There is a via verde near Ronda that we thought we might do some cycling on.

    As for Cordoba we’re a bit over the big cities and having said that we are still going to Seville and Madrid (Engogirl wants to visit he Prado). We’ve come to realise that we could’ve spent our whole three months here just in Spain there is so much to see.

  3. Ronda is very hilly so it might not be the great cycling country – the only reason I have any experience of the area is from a cycling trip I did from malaga to Granada, Cordoba, Seville, Ronda and back twenty-odd years ago. Just a comment about Seville and Cordoba, personally I got more out of Cordoba than Seville – Cordoba is a much smaller place and the Cathedral/Mosque is amazing. Actually have you seen this site (you probably have) http://www.andalucia.com/rural/walking/viasverde-olvera.htm.

    Haven’t really tried to get the wine yet, but I know a wine shop in Petersham – “Little Portugal” – so will call them.



  4. Peter

    Thanks for the link (we hadn’t seen that particular one) and it looks we will go to that one. As for your comments about Seville and Cordoba, it looks like we have to do a re-think. Now look what you’ve done! All joking aside, thanks.

    When we were in Lisbon we went into a very large wine shop that was out of the perriquita reserve by Fonseca, and they offered “adega pegoes seleccionada” (I got them to write it down)as a better alternative (surrrre it is!), but I think the name is a brand and not a particular wine. It was all so confusing in Portugal as they have so many different varieties of grape grown nowhere else (as I’m sure you are aware). Too bad you weren’t with us on that occasion.

  5. I think if I was having a picnic with my girlfriend and she was looking at something she was interested in/loved … Brad Pitt would be there. hee hee!

    Is that a seasonal river? … or just a big gorge?

  6. Interesting subject for a picnic conversation, but I guess engineers will be engineers. The bridge does look delicate in a way, as though the lattice work beneath were constructed of toothpicks rather than concrete. I would get nervous it the rebar started to poke through and the concrete spalled… wonder how long such a structure can last? Many years i suppose, if not exposed to salt air and water.

  7. Pat

    It’s “just the facts ma’am, just the facts”


    Maaaate! It’s obvious, you’ve got to get yourself an engineer.

    As for the river, you know what? I didn’t look at it…. go figure. It was a long way down though.


    The bridge was a long way from the coast and in a very arid area so I don’t think that “conrete cancer” would that much of a threat.

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