I have to admit that I had never heard of the love bridge concept until a few months ago, when I heard that the Pont des Arts bridge in Paris had collapsed under the weight of all the locks placed there for reasons of love. I was instantly amused and fascinated. I’ve never been huge on the commercial aspect of love but these strange little traditions are pretty cool because as far as I can tell, there really is no commercial side to this; it’s just silly and fun.
Interestingly enough, the first mention of a love bridge was in a Serbian World War 1 story over 100 years ago and the actual tradition only started a few years ago in the 2000s, becoming increasingly popular after the book I Want You was released and later adapted to film. Many assume it started in France but they actually followed the trend which, by that point, was already quite popular in parts of Asia and Italy. Municipalities worldwide have expressed concern with regard to the impact these lock bridges have on historical landmarks aesthetically, but locks are rarely removed due to public favour. Love wins!
Located in the stunning Magnolia Dell park in Pretoria, the bridge was purposely built in cooperation with Afrikaans publication Intiem and the organisers of Marriage Week SA, who hope to encourage a renewed focus on the institution of marriage. The idea is that you write or engrave your names on a lock and then lock it to the bridge which signifies you protecting your relationship. You then take the key and throw it in the stream so that your relationship will be protected forever. We didn’t have the cash or time to engrave the lock or get something printed on it so we just used a permanent marker which did the trick and to be honest, is probably a little more personal anyway. I noticed that some people had taken the time to decorate their locks with ribbons and other bits and pieces, which is a nice option if you want your lock to get noticed.
The idea appears to have caught on already as there were a bunch of locks in place and I saw many couples arriving while we where there. Magnolia Dell is an absolute treat too. We took a quick walk through the park and it’s just amazing to see how well it’s maintained. The local municipality deserve a nod for this one. Also on the property is a picture perfect café called Huckleberry’s, which features lots of outdoor seating and a top notch menu. I had a T-bone and it was great! My wife had a huge bacon and cheese burger and said it was yum. The Huckleberry’s staff are extremely friendly too so we asked our waiter to take pictures of us attaching our lock to the bridge and he was more than accommodating.
All in all we had a perfect day out of the house and the drive was 100 per cent worth the while. This is fun and quirky way of adding some old fashioned romance to your relationship and I highly recommend you make the effort. I met a bunch of couples there, both young and old, and they were all having a blast, celebrating one of the most important bonds in their lives.
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