July 26, 2011

Love Locks Above the Mur

Yesterday was my last free day before the orchestra begins another week of rehearsals. I had been itching to spend a day wandering through the Leechwald (a large forest park not far from the Heim), but once again the weather was uncooperative and I decided it would be a good opportunity to visit the "friendly alien" Kunsthaus instead. I called Pauline and after lunch we walked down through the city, crossed the "floating island," (the inside of which is pictured above left) and walked up to the museum's entrance.

We took a few moments to gawk over this miniaturized version of the bizarre structure and then walked up to the front entrance to find the rotating glass door fastened shut. "Closed on Monday," the sign read (auf Deutsch of course).

My shoulders slumped and I palmed my forehead. Pauline had specifically asked earlier, "Are you sure it's open?" "Oh yes," I had answered, confident that I'd double checked the hours listed on the brochure.

***Note to self: when you "double check" business hours, don't just breeze over the times of day, make sure you read the whole listing and confirm the days of the week too!

Something similar happened to me back in 2003 when I took a day trip with some friends from the Spoleto Festival to Florence Italy. The three of us trumpet players were really looking forward to spending some time at the Uffizi, but arrived to find its front door chained closed. We had planned our trip to Florence for one day only...and it just happened to be a Monday...what I'm now beginning to realize must be the universal day of museum closures.

So anyway, back to Graz...

Pauline and I decided instead to spend our free afternoon checking out more of the Schlossberg (which of course led to the discoveries that fueled my last two posts), so we headed on back into the old town, crossing the river Mur over the bridge nearest the Kunsthaus.

It was then I noticed something a little out of the ordinary: padlocks--dozens of them--hanging from the chain-link sides of the bridge. The locks were all shapes, colors, and sizes and upon each was inscribed, or scratched, or markered, or painted some version of K + R, or Johann loves Katja, or Jan & Sun forever. I'm sorry, I just have to revert to googley-eyed-teenager mode here for just a second...it was soooo CUTE!!! I imagined pairs of lovers strolling up to the bridge at twilight--fingers laced and hearts aflutter. One of them secrets a decorated padlock out from a pocket, hitches it to the chain link, and then throws the key away with a flourish and a kiss (I suppose there's a bit of thoughtless littering involved in that scenario, so maybe they just keep the key tucked away in a little chest instead). Seeing so many of them, I wondered if anyone--some bitterly unromantic city official perhaps--would ever be heartless enough to cut the locks and have them removed, but such a thing would surely be bad karma in the very least. Instead of detracting from the beauty of the bridge, I thought the sentimental tokens gave it a touch of soul and personality--I couldn't help but smile and found myself hoping I'd be able to add my own Love Lock to the mix someday.

When I got home I googled "Love Locks" and found a number of really entertaining articles and pictures, including this one from Seoul...

And if you're still interested, here's a link to a great little Huffington Post blog that deals with some theories about the Love Lock's origin as well as the controversy they've begun to create.

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