Greek Mum Correspondent: Chrysoula Koutsouri, Munich (apomamasemama.com)
One week ago, while crossing one of Munich’s famous bridges, my son asked me for a second time with impatience: “Mom, when are we going to put a lock on the bridge too?”. At the same time I was watching a couple standing next to us, passing a carved lock through the bars and then while kissing, throwing the key with a theatrical gesture into the river. I felt my head buzzing as if they had thrown it on me. “We will never put a lock on the bridge,” I stopped his enthusiasm abruptly. And for the second consecutive time I started to explain to him why the phenomenon “lock on the bridge” is not good and should finally stop.
I believe that I do not lack romance, my friends say that I rather overdo it sometimes, but I will never understand why two people who love each other should anchor their love onto the bars of a bridge. And let’s say they do not care that they could affect (if not destroy) its image – the problem is not the bridges with 15 locks but those with 1115. Supposedly also that they do not fear that if others follow their example, like in some famous cities’ bridges, it can become dangerous for the bridges’ stability. What I will never understand is how at this moment they throw the key, they can not think that a garbage lands in a river that is home to animal and plant population. Unless they think that rivers are like Fontana di Trevi fountain and have not learned in school that most of them are large wetlands.
There is always the case you will tell me: How do you dare to talk on this matter when you Greeks are to blame for this bad habit? I laughed when I read it, but it is said that during the First World War a girl from Corfu stole the heart of a Serb, except married, soldier and women of his homeland passed in fear love locks through the bars of the city’s bridge for their beloved ones. For whatever reason it started however, the question now is how it will stop. One way is to wait until every centimeter on all bridges is filled. A more dramatic is till an accident happens. I hope that we do not to have to wait for any of these two versions. Campaigns against love locks have been launched in many cities, the authorities have been forced to remove portions of bridges that are dangerous, fines have started in other cities, groups are created in facebook.
But the ones in love do not get it. Nor do thousands of stores that have become rich from the construction and engraving of customized locks. I understand very well why a couple wants to leave a proof of its love in eternity. It is after all a need as many others that us human beings have to put our fears and anxiety of time aside. But there are other, equally romantic ways to do it. One idea is to write a letter. Or in times of advanced technology to make a video. There is no need to affect the environment. And because in Greece we do not have a lot of cities with rivers, I will give an example that would hurt even more: it’s like a tourist carving his/her initials on an ancient marble. Ok, you are right, this is more serious, I admit it. Supposedly then he/she will carve a tamarisk on the beach. Little harm done. But if another one does the same and then a second, a third, even a thousand, and all tamarisks are full of initials? Will we like that? If the answer is no, then we as tourists must not affect other countries’ natural environment. If it’s after all our fault that this habit started, let us at least be the first to stop it…