Last month, in The Love Locks Have Landed, I expressed my delight at having colorful, metallic love padlocks spring up here in London’s Covent Garden, if only temporarily. I knew there was an entire love lock ‘forest’ residing on a bridge in Moscow, so obviously that was high on my list of to-see sights last weekend!
In stark contrast to Paris and Rome, where the authorities actively expressed a desire to remove the padlocks, the government in Moscow actually ‘planted’ the trees, embracing the tradition of brides and grooms visiting the bridge (if you can’t beat ’em, join ’em, I guess!) I had read about these couples, but still wasn’t sufficiently prepared for what greeted us on our arrival at Luzhkov Bridge: a flock, nay, a CONVOY of stretch hummer limos, decked out with ribbons, carrying wedding parties and their photographers who all had one aim: getting to those love locks.
Wrapped in glamorous fur and the whitest heels, the brides had a universal disregard for the slush beneath their feet (I could only stand there gaping. Renewed respect for Russian women in love). One by one, the couples – sometimes perilously – affixed their padlocks, while friends openly swigged from champagne bottles and energetic photographers captured the moment (I also captured the moment. My boyfriend called me a creeper, but I told him it was for blogging purposes).
The festivities showed no sign of letting up as we gradually wandered away from the bridge, down the canal. All we could do was laugh – it was such a sight, these merry wedding parties in the winter, having a ball and toasting to a happy future. I can’t be sure, but if I had to speculate, I’d imagine Russian vodka had a part to play in their indifference to the weather…
PS. A note on how to get there: don’t make the mistake I did, of having it in your mind that the trees were on Luzhkov Bridge, and thinking that would be enough information to go by. Because a) google maps doesn’t recognize ‘luzhkov bridge moscow’ and b) Luzhkov Bridge isn’t like Big Ben, where you can literally grab any random person in the street and get fairly decent directions no matter where you are in the city. The thing to google is the Tretyakov Gallery – a bit north of it on the map is a little bridge crossing the Vodootvodnyy Canal, and that’s what you’re looking for. It’s about a ten minute walk from the Kremlin, despite looking way further on the map.