I remember a time, not so many years ago, when I would rather have faked a migraine and cancelled a date than allowed Pumpkin to see me with my glasses on; my hair straighteners would singe my locks on a daily basis and I would have been mortified to have ordered dessert at a restaurant if he was calling it a day at mains.
How things change. Nowadays, I eat more than he does when we’re out and I’m fine with this. Most of the time, I’m in my pyjamas with my four eyes on as soon as the working day is out and my hair, far more frizz-tastic than he’d ever have cared for. This, my friends (I hope) is not lack of effort – this is contentedness, a feeling of comfort in your own skin in the presence of those you trust the most. But one can’t help but wonder whether this state of marital equilibrium comes with a price? Does it signify the end of the “butterfly” phase of a relationship?
Fortunately, every so often, sometimes at home and sometimes on our travels, the butterflies make a resurgence. A magic moment springs out of nowhere, conjuring up nostalgia about how it felt in the beginning. I had one such pang of emotion on a dusky stroll along the Makartsteg bridge in Salzburg, (which I’ve chosen to Christen the bridge of love), where thousands of infatuated couples have left their amorous thumb prints by engraving padlocks and tying them onto the bridge, leaving behind their legacy of love.
If you are a man, who has been postponing that milestone moment because you’re buckling under the pressure that modern consumerism has inflicted upon you to be original, thoughtful and romantic, maybe this is the place for you.
If you don’t want those 4 words to be written in chocolate sauce at a restaurant and you don’t want to submerge your prized jewel inside a baked good, have you thought about writing it on a love lock and proposing on this bridge as the sun goes down and the blue and golden lights form dimples in the water?
I know it sounds cheesy and I’m the first to admit that I am a hopeless romantic but if it were me, I would love this. In fact, I found it so endearing reading the padlocks and their sentiments of love that for a split second, I almost wish I could have got unmarried and un-engaged just so that I could do it all over again here on this bridge in Salzburg. I’ve made Pumpkin promise that one day, we shall put our own lock on one of these bridges (we saw one in Cologne 2 years ago so that’s 2 missed opportunities now).
If you’re a bit of a dreamer like me, you could spend hours, just reading one after the other. I am the same when it comes to park benches engraved with messages of remembrance. Loved ones may have passed on but these messages give the rest of us an opportunity to understand the memories they inspired.
But I digress. The real question with the locks is, where does everyone get them from? There are very few shops selling them, certainly not from a quick glimpse around anyway. We found just one nearby store selling a standard red one, which explained the abundance of matching crimson love locks on one end of the bridge, presumably the side which hadn’t yet been infiltrated by the lovers of yesteryear but the wide array of colours, shapes and sizes occupying most of the bridge remains a mystery.
I think this is all pre-meditated. Couples (and families) all over the world who want to spread their love with the world do their homework in advance, bringing their padlocks with them. I’ve now seen one in Germany, one in Austria and know of one in Paris, arguably the world’s most romantic city. Do you know any others and have you made your mark on any of these bridges?