Xian Jing – Heavenly Place

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It’s still the same old story, a fight for love and glory, a case of do or die.  The world will always welcome lovers, as time goes by.  Beautiful words written by Herman Hupfeld in 1931.  Even before Mr. Hupfled wrote the words to As Time Goes By for the Broadway musical Everybody’s Welcome, lovers have been fighting for love and dying for love.  The need to declare one’s love is timeless.  Now lovers all over the world are affixing love locks to bridges, train stations, metal trees, etc. to declare their everlasting love.

Huangshan

While there is no definitive origin for love locks, many believe that love locks started after a young couple threw themselves off cliffs located in the Huangshan Mountains.  Huangshan is located in the south of Anhui province in eastern China.  The mountains in Huangshan are known for their breathtaking sunrises, pine trees, strange granite peaks and clouds that resemble the ocean, aptly named sea clouds.  The tallest and best known peaks of the Huangshan mountain range are Lotus Peak, Bright Summit Peak and Celestial Peak. 

The story, as usual, is about forsaken love.  A beautiful, young girl falls in love with a boy, but the girl’s father disapproves of the boy because he is poor.  The father does not want his daughter to spend her life in poverty so he arranges for her to marry a rich man, whom she does not love.  On the day of her wedding the poor boy steals the beautiful, young girl away to Huangshan Mountain.  Standing on the edge of a cliff, they hold hands and jump into the deep ravine below. 

Today, visitors climbing Lotus Peak will see iron chains covered with brass locks.  Couples lock their locks onto the chains and throw the keys down the mountainside, symbolizing that their love will last eternity and be forever locked to the Huangshan Mountain.

Huangshan love lock railing

Isn’t it Romantic

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I’ve been fortunate in my life to find the person who fills my life and my heart with love.  We’ve been together since college, yes, as corny as this may sound, we were college sweethearts. 

One evening last summer after watching a rerun of The Cosby Show where Cliff, Elvin and Martin hold a contest to see who among them was the most romantic; Mike and I started wondering if you could be romantic on a limited budget.  Is it possible to give your lover a romantic and meaningful gift without emptying your savings account? 

We gave each other $30 and two weeks to find a gift that would be presented after dinner.  The winner would get to choose our next vacation destination.

The two weeks came and went and after dinner we exchanged gifts.  Mike presented me with a pair of earrings and I gave him an old railroad padlock.

Mike told me that right after our “bet” he found my copy of A Tale of Two Cities and removed the dried rose petals, petals I’d saved from the very first bouquet of flowers he’d sent me.  He had those petals turned into beads and then the beads made into earrings so that every time I wore them, I could feel his love brush against my neck.

For my gift I turned to e-Bay.  I won an old, beautiful railroad padlock with the letter S, our last initial, inscribed on the front.  I told Mike that the next time we visited Paris I wanted to walk across the Pont des Arts and lock our love onto the bridge and throw away the key so that every time we returned to Paris we could see the physical manifestation of our love and feel it deepen even more.

That evening we were both declared “the most romantic” and we decided our next vacation would be to Paris where we did indeed lock our love onto the Pont des Arts and throw the key into the Seine.  I can’t wait until we return to Paris to feel a little bit of the love we left behind.

Grand Gestures

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Mike and Tricia's Love Lock

Through the years lovers have expressed their undying love by sending flowers, serenading outside their lover’s window, writing love poems.  There are as many ways for lovers to show their love as there are for them to count the ways they love.  One unique way for lovers to display their undying love is by attaching a love lock to a bridge and throwing away the key. 

If San Francisco is where lovers leave their hearts, then Paris is where they lock-up their love and throw away the key.  The most popular bridges for love locks in Paris are Pont des Arts, Pont de l’Archevêché and Passerelle Léopold-Sédar-Senghar bridges.  The story goes that if a couple writes their names on a padlock, locks it onto one of the bridges and throws the key into the Seine their love will endure for all eternity.   

On a recent trip to Paris, my husband, Mike and I joined the thousands of lovers that came before us by attaching an old, beautiful lock to the Pont des Arts bridge.  Looking back at the pictures we took from that trip I started thinking about all the stories that go with each and every lock on the bridges of Paris. 

This blog is dedicated to unlocking the stories behind the love locks.  Please e-mail me at tlmx25000@yahoo.com if you are interested in sharing your story and how love brought you to the bridges of Paris, Rome, Serbia, Cologne, Ucluelet, Florence, Fenguan, Moscow or anywhere where love locks are attached by lovers to symbolize their undying love.

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