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Decaying love padlocks on the Ponte Romana

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You know that tradition of placing a ‘love padlock’ on a bridge to celebrate your relationship? Have you done it yourself? If so, I hope your relationship fares better than the lock you left behind. This photograph of love padlocks was taken on the Ponte Romana in Tavira during our summer holiday in Portugal and it shows what happens to them over time.

Tavira, Portugal, Ponte Romana, love padlocks, love locks
Love padlocks fixed to the Ponte Romana in Tavira Portugal. I took a similar picture at the same spot three years ago and comparing the two images shows how the locks rust and decay.

I took a similar photograph at the same location three years ago when we were last in Portugal. This time around, I was struck by how many of the love padlocks had decayed and were going rusty.

In a strange way, I felt this was quite poignant. How many of the couples who had left padlocks were still together? How many of those relationships had hit rough patches? As unromantic as it sounds, a rusty padlock is probably a more realistic metaphor for a long-term relationship or successful marriage than a fresh out-of-the-box, shiny new one.

As if to prove the point, I spent slightly too long on the bridge taking photographs and ended up getting separated from Mrs Adams and the kids. We had agreed to meet at one end of the bridge but somehow things went awry and it was a good 20 minutes until we were reunited! Thankfully Mrs Adams wasn’t too bothered but it’s fair to say my love of photography does occasionally drive my wife to distraction.

I couldn’t resist doing two edits of the picture. In addition to the colour picture, I also produced this black and white version.

love padlock, love lockes, ponte romana, tavira, dadbloguk, dadbloguk.com
A black and white version of the same image. I’m unsure which is a more poignant metaphor for a long term relationship.

Which version do you prefer? Do you think it makes a good metaphor for a long-term relationship?

On a more serious note, I found this article online about love padlocks. I’ve seen it in several different locations and I can’t say I’m a fan of the tradition. What I hadn’t appreciated was how environmentally damaging the practice can be.

There’s a bridge in Paris where 7,500 kilos of locks were being added every year and this was causing structural damage. In addition to this, many couples fix the lock to the bridge and then throw the key into the river below. As the keys rust, it causes pollution and the discarded keys also block drains causing flooding. In other words, it’s not something to encourage!

I have added this blog post to the #MySundaySnapshot linky on the Rachel’s Swirl blog.

13 thoughts on “Decaying love padlocks on the Ponte Romana”

    1. It’s interesting Mary, you’re one of several people who have commented saying they hadn’t considered the environmental impact. It seems harmless doesn’t it? the reality is very different!

  1. I prefer the black and white version! I do think it’s a slightly strange thing to do and had heard that the weight of them could cause damage. I didn’t know about people throwing keys in the water though! With all we know about pollution of the sea, that does seem crazy.

    1. I’ll be honest, I prefer the B&W white too but I thought the colour one might have broader appeal so I put it at the top. And I echo your thoughts Sarah, it seems very odd to throw something in the water considering all we know about river and sea pollution.

  2. haha, I’m the wife who wanders off and leaves the husband taking photos, especially when animals are involved, a visit to the zoo is a nightmare.
    I’m not a fan of the locks on bridges, and you see them more and more. We even saw some on a small bridge in Cornwall. I think there are many better ways of showing your commitment and definitely longer lasting ones that do not harm the environment.
    But… great photos, I’m a fan of the colour one, the rust is quite poignant.
    #mysundaysnapshot

    1. Ah ha! SOmeone who prefers the black and white image. And you’re right, I think many people overlook the environmental aspect completely.

  3. Like everyone else, I hadn’t really thought about the damage these locks do (although I think I read a story once where a council explained why they had to cut them off). My vote goes to the colour one.

    1. I hear you Tara. I wasn’t aware of people throwing the keys into the water. if you look at how many locks are added to some bridges that’s a lot of locks bearing a lot of weight and lots of keys in the water below. Not good at all!

    1. Glad you found the image poignant. It felt a bit poignant to me, but I couldn’t decide if I were being pretentious or not!

  4. I think the black and white one is much more striking and nicer. I do love a good B&W photo. The coloured one does seem to catch more detail, but just from personal preference, I’d go black and white. x #MySundaySnapshot

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