Have you heard of love locks? According to wikipedia the idea of love locks goes back 100 years, but they started appearing in Europe in the early 2000’s. What am I talking about? For those of you who don’t know, it’s simply the idea of affixing a padlock to a bridge or a gate as a way to symbolize your love.
I saw my first love locks back when Mr. Q and I were in the Cinque Terre in Italy in 2008.
We walked along the Via dell’Amore and wondered why all the padlocks? Someone explained them to us, and we were so bummed that we hadn’t know about it in advance and didn’t have a padlock with us.
We vowed to pay attention the next time we traveled, and sure enough, when we went to Prague in 2011 we brought a lock. And we researched in advance so that we could find the right spot.
It was a charming little bridge that was kind of hidden away in the Mala Strana, but not far from the main areas. We attached our own padlock and figured our love was now unassailable.
Comically though, we missed the part where you are supposed to lock it, and then throw the key over the side. Key? Wait, what? We brought a combination lock! Ha! Oh well, close enough, right?
Unfortunately, it seems that what started out as a sweet and romantic custom, has now become a menace. Love locks are popping up all over the place. According to BBC News, they are creating havoc. Adding so much weight to often historical bridges that their structures are compromised. Some just think they are an eyesore.
Personally, I think graffiti can be an art form.
But, I get it. Not everyone loves it. And the number of locks really adds up over time. It costs money to remove the locks when there gets to be too many. It’s not like coins in a fountain, where at least the value of the coins offset the cost of cleaning them out of the fountain.
Now that I have done the research, Mr. Q and I won’t plan to lock up our love again. There were a couple of locations on our last trip where we could have done so, in Elisabeth Square in Budapest, or on the pedestrian bridge across the Danube in Regensburg, but we neglected to bring a lock with us this time. At first I felt bad about that, but now I wonder if maybe it was a good thing. We don’t want to contribute to the destruction of historic bridges. We’ll just have to rely on our combination padlock in Prague and hope that it continues to do the job.
I hope you have your love all locked up this Valentine’s Day too!