With Valentine’s Day here, I’ve decided to theme my next travel post on a tradition you can see all over the world: love locks. A love lock can be anything from a small key lock, to a massive padlock that you and your lover attach to a bridge and then throw away the key. The idea is that you will be attached forever. Sweet, right?
Well, have you ever heard the supposed origin story of love locks? Its actually pretty tragic.
The story goes as such:
A man (Relja) and a woman (Nada) in Serbia fell in love and couldn’t bear to be separated. As a result, they decided to announce their engagement and love for one another. But, lo and behold, the powers at be apparently were not invited to the wedding. As spiteful as those powers are, they decided to throw a World War into this couple’s lives. With the breakout of World War I, Relja was ported off to Greece to fight for some cause or mission…or thing… What do you think he finds there?
If you’ve read your fair share of WWI Mediterranean occupancy literature (I unfortunately have…) you’ll know that most of the men in the villages and towns were all gone and the only people left were pretty young damsels and their crotchety grandparents…like these:
What do you think happened next? Well, of course the man fell for a cute young thing from Corfu; its this place…Heartbroken, Nada cuts of the engagement. You go girl…many would say…but unfortunately she died soon after from heartbreak…
Yeah, it’s a sad freaking story.
Inspired and scared by this Shakespearean tragedy, many of the women in Nada’s home, Vrnjačka Banja, began writing the names of themselves and their lovers on padlocks. They then latched these locks onto nearby bridges and railing, thinking their love would last forever and they wouldn’t experience the same sadness as Nada. Its kind of sweet, I guess.
Anyways, today you can find this lock trend all over the world. For example:
… one one of the bridges in Salzburg, Austria.…or at the famed lock bridge of Cologne, Germany.…maybe wedged onto the Ponte Vecchio in Florence, Italy.…or even in plain sight at Seoul Tower in Seoul, South Korea.…but definitely at the most famous lock bridge of, Pont des Arts in Paris, France.
Sadly enough, many city councils around the world have declared these trends as littering or vandalism and enforce fines on anybody caught “locking” the bridges. Florence even removed 5,500 locks from the famed Ponte Vecchio claiming them to be an, “aesthetic disturbance.”
I hereby issue a call to action. We must stop this. If you are reading this I urge you to call your senators, your local politicians, your school teachers and tell them to fight for padlock love freedom! Not this below…You know what…better yet, take the practice for what it is; a fun activity you can do with your lover and spend more time thinking of each other, rather than on some lock on a bridge 🙂