Vrnjacka Banja Flag
Vrnjačka Banja Flag
Vrnjačka Banja is a popular spa town of Serbia.
One of its tourist attractions is the 'Bridge of Love', a place reputed to have been the meeting spot of two lovers who were later separated by the First World War.
Now lovers write their names on a padlock, attach it to the bridge railings and throw away the key. This romantic gesture seals their love for ever, or at least until the bridge maintenance team cut the locks off.
The combined weight of these hundreds of locks is not a serious problem, since the railings are made of cast iron. But when the railings get 'full', the local padlock retailers suffer a marked drop in sales. It's a win-win situation for lovers and padlock retailers, although not so much fun for people who must pick up the discarded keys. Some litter-pickers provide 'environmentally friendly' bins for people to deposit their keys, which the litter-pickers can then retrieve, remove the locks, and sell back to the retailers.
The padlocking fad is seen in several countries around the world and many local authorities consider it vandalism. It is suspected that there are many town hall officials who were never kissed in their youth and vent their jealous rage by posting discouraging notices. Those few bureaucrats who did have a sweetheart, celebrate today's Romeos and Juliets by erecting a new iron fence nearby with permission for people to engage in their symbolic gestures.