Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Love Locks

Cruising on a river is different in many ways from ocean cruising. One of the biggest advantages is that since rivers are such important transportation routes, they usually run through the central core of the cities. Cruising on the river means you dock right downtown, and avoid that ocean cruise essential, the taxi ride to get downtown. This was true in Cologne Germany, where we docked under one of the central bridges over the river and stepping off the boat we could walk to all the local attractions.
Love Locks in Cologne Germany

The next bridge down from the one we were under had an interesting story involved with it. A number of years ago, someone began a story that if lovers took a padlock up onto the bridge and securely locked it to the bridge and threw the key into the Rhine River, their love would last as long as the lock remained on the bridge. This has become a popular thing to do ever since, and even from afar, the bridge sparkles with the multi-coloured padlocks covering the walkway across the bridge.

After our guided walking tour of Cologne, we decided to walk across one bridge, along the other side of the river, and back across the Hohenzollernbruke where these ‘love locks’ were. It really is an amazing sight. There are thousands of padlocks adorning the fence separating the pedestrian/bike pedway/walkway from the train bridge. Although it started as simply attaching a padlock, it has now become a serious phenomena, with everyone competing to lock the best padlock to the bridge as if somehow the quality of the padlock improved your chances of a lasting relationship. Most are engraved with the lover’s names and there are many similar shiny coloured locks (I suspect some enterprising business will provide you with these custom engraved locks), but many are interesting antique locks, and some are huge, some tiny, some heart shaped some adorned with decorations. The fence is completely covered, and there is really room for no more locks, so now locks are attached to other locks, and they have started using chains to attach them higher up on the bridge supports, and these chains in turn are now becoming covered.
No Room Left

I know that something similar was started up in Ottawa Canada, but the Public Works there cuts the locks off, so I’m not sure what the message is there. Here in Cologne, it looks to me that all the locks have been left on the bridge.

Our guide claimed that some couples started using combination locks, so that if their love did not last they were able to go remove the now inappropriate lock. I’m not sure if he was joking or not . . . . .

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