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World’s longest pedestrian suspension bridge set to open in Portugal

[Apr. 29, 2021: Josh Shavit]

Hugo Xavier became one of the first people to cross the world's longest pedestrian suspension bridge when it opened on Thursday near his tiny hometown of Arouca in northern Portugal.

"Oh...here we go!," the 42-year-old said anxiously as he gathered enough courage to step onto the see-through metal grid pathway of the 516-metre-long (1693-ft) bridge alongside his equally jittery partner and a tour guide.

Hidden inside the UNESCO-recognised Arouca Geopark, the bridge is called the 516 Arouca and hangs 175 meters above the fast-flowing River Paiva.

The landscape is calm, but the crossing is not for the faint-hearted. Held up by steel cables and two massive towers on each side, it wobbles a little with every step.

"I was a little afraid, but it was so worth it," a relieved Xavier said already on the other side. "It was extraordinary, a unique experience, an adrenaline rush."

The bridge opened only to local residents on Thursday, but from Monday everyone can book a visit.

It is estimated that the walk across takes between 5 to 10 minutes.

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