Sunday, 31 August 2008

Padlocked bridges in Keila-Joa, Estonia

Keila-Joa in Estonia is an utterly charming little place. It’s essentially no more than a country pub next to a waterfall separated from deserted Baltic Sea beaches by a forest full of walking trails.
By the pub and waterfall, however, are a couple of rather unusual bridges.
Traversing the river, they are absolutely covered in padlocks of all shapes and sizes. A closer inspection of the padlocks reveals that they all have two names written on them (often in Cyrillic script, admittedly) and a date.
It’s a custom of the area’s Russian community – and one that is seemingly recreated across the former Soviet Union.
Newly-wed couples engrave their names on the lock, and then throw the key into the river. It’s supposed to symbolise that their bond will never be broken, and it’s rather touching to see how many people have come to the bridges to seal their union over the years. It’s all rather simple, but very romantic.

Getting to Keila-Joa, Estonia
Nearest International Airport:
Tallinn International Airport, Estonia
Using public transport: Mini-buses leave from Estonia Pst fairly regularly, although it’s best to ask at tourism information, as these things change regularly and Tallinn’s bus system is somewhat bewildering. It takes just under an hour to get to Keila-Joa.

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