The Story of the Love Padlocks

“Love is composed of a single soul inhabiting two bodies.” – Aristotle

How does one proclaim their love for another? How do you express “I want to be yours forever?” Flowers, chocolates, jewelry? Maybe. But it seems that in the past few years couples have found a new way to profess their love – by hanging padlocks of love.

love padlocks in germany

In one of my recent travels, I came across this peculiar expression of love. I was walking across the Hohenzollernbrucke (Hohenzoller Bridge) in Cologne, Germany and noticed  that thousands of padlocks were all over the bridge’s barrier which separates the pedestrian sidewalk from the train tracks. Upon closer inspection I saw how names, initials, dates or love notes were written on them.

love padlocks

love padlocks

Apparently this custom in Cologne started in 2008. It was an amazing sight. Padlocks of all colors, shapes and sizes were all over the fence. I was even tempted to put one of my own but I was afraid the German police would see me and send me to jail! 🙂 This custom was believed to have begun in China. Couples would secure their padlock and throw away its keys to symbolize locking their souls together. These love locks can now be found all over the world – Ukrain, Guam and Russia just to name a few.  Their beliefs about the locks may vary per city but one thing is still true- all is done for love. And as a true romantic, it was wonderful and inspiring to be surrounded by that much love – even if it was just through symbols.

padlocks of love

padlocks of love in germany

I was married on 7-7-07. Not exact but close enough! 🙂

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Shanghai World Financial Center

The Shanghai World Financial Center is the 3rd tallest building in the world with 101 floors and a towering height of 492 m. It took 10 years for this building to be completed and it was in August of 2008 when it first opened.

Despite being the 3rd tallest building, it can boast of its observation deck which is the highest in the world. Located at the 100th floor is an indoor public observation deck which is 474 meters above the ground. One can opt to climb only up to the 94th floor (100 rmb), 97th floor (110 rmb) or to access both and the 100th floor (150 rmb). The walkways of the 100th floor have areas made out of glass which definitely reminds a person about how high he/she really is. Unfortunately the observatory is a bit cramped (partly because of all the people) in comparison to other observation decks I’ve been to.

Elevator to the 100th floor

View from the 100th floor

Let me share with you my experience at the SWFC. My husband and I decided to go one afternoon since it was the only time we had left. Once we entered the building we were asked to go down to basement level 1 to get our tickets. The line wasn’t that bad but after getting our tickets we had to fall in line all over again to ride the elevators. We figured that it wouldn’t take that long so we didn’t have to worry (when we went up Taipei 101, we only had to wait a couple of minutes despite the number of people since the elevators were really really fast). When it was our batch’s turn to go in, to our surprise it still wasn’t time to ride the elevators. We went in one room to watch a brief presentation about the Financial Center. After the show, we had to fall in line again just to get into the elevator. We finally rode the elevator to hundreds of meters up and got off somewhere and had to ride an escalator up to the 97th floor. The 97th floor had beautiful views but yes, once again we had to wait for the elevator to the 100th floor. This one moved a tad slower this time. So we just stood behind all those people and we couldn’t be happier when it was our turn. While killing time we saw notes/details about the observatory. As I mentioned earlier the floors had areas made of glass. I don’t remember the exact weight per person but per glass square, even if 3 really big people jumped on that single square it wouldn’t break. I though to myself ‘you’re seriously appealing to people to test that theory aren’t you?’. And true enough, as soon as we got to the top I saw one kid (one huge kid that was taller and bigger than me) jumping up and down with all his might on one little square.  It was a pretty scary sight since there were a couple of more kids doing the same thing. Anyway, the views were breathtaking and did I mention we were really high up? Again, 472 meters above the ground with dozens (and I mean DOZENS) of people in that space. After trying to take pictures and having our picture taken (yes I am always one of those touristy people who would buy expensive pictures at these places but if and only if they have a real background or if they look real), we finally decided we had enough nausea for the day and took our place behind a sea of people for the elevator to the 94th floor. This part wasn’t pleasant at all since some Chinese tourists were rude and wanted to get to the front right away.  At the 94th floor at least there were chairs, a souvenir shop and a coffee shop. We stayed there for a while before deciding to line up for the very last time to go down.

Glass panels

Taiwan (Country #22) – part 3 of 3

TAIPEI, TAIWAN (Part 3 of 3)
March 17-23, 2010

March 21, 2010
SHILIN DISTRICT/XIMEN AREA/CHIANG KAI-SHEK MEMORIAL

My husband and I started the day with brunch at Mos Burger – a fast food restaurant that originated from Japan. After lunch, I accompanied my husband along with 2 other friends back to Shilin market because he left his Canon flash at the foot spa place. Luckily they were open when we arrived and they were able to keep the flash (it’s relatively safe in Taiwan). Since we were at the market again, we took the opportunity to go around the area once more to take some street shots, not realizing how big it really was. Accidentally we found the Cixian Temple within the Shilin district which was apparently a historical site. We were able to eat some sweet bread, popocorn, stinky tofu and chicken steak.

Lanterns at the Cixian Temple

Street Shots

Strolling around the Shilin District (with popcorn!)


We then met our friends at the Ximen station. Our friend recommended the fried chicken (really good 5-spice fried chicken) for early dinner at a nearby eatery. We walked around the area a bit since it was a shopping district then we headed to an IT mall and looked around the camera stores. Then for some night shots we went back to the Chiang Kai-Shek Memorial. Though our day was a bit relaxed, it was enough to make most of us happy.

Night Shoot at the Chiang Kai-Shek Memorial (Taken by Joseph Leh)

March 22, 2010
BOAI ROAD/TAIPEI 101

Our flight was not until 1 am of March 23 and we didn’t have to leave for the airport till 10 pm. Since we technically still had a full day, we just decided to make this our shopping day (for me this translated to looking for a point and shoot camera). My husband and I checked out before lunch, left our luggage at the hotel and then went to BoAi Road where a lot of camera stores were located. We bought a Canon s90 which was comparatively cheaper than the ones sold in Manila.  Then we went back to the hotel, met up with 2 others then went to the real IT center and looked around. Had a late lunch at the Japanese fast food restaurant there, and then proceeded to Taipei 101 to meet our friends.

Since some were still obsessed with taking pictures and night shots, we split up into two groups once again. Our group decided to go up the Taipei 101 (400 NT to go up to the 89th and 91st floor).

Taipei 101 is the 2nd tallest building (2nd highest architectural structure) in the world. With 101 floors, it stands at 502.9 meters high. Its elevator, if I’m not mistaken, is also the 2nd fastest in the world with speeds of 16.83m/s. It took us 37 seconds to get to the indoor observatory which was located at the 89th floor (382m up). Inside the indoor observatory you will be able to see the structure’s tuned mass damper (the largest in the world) which stabilizes the movement and reduces the movement of the tower by 40% which are often brought about by strong winds and tremors. You can climb up to the 91st floor as well to go to the outdoor observatory (but the view is somewhat obstructed due to the railings so the view from the 89th is better).

Elevator

Tuned Mass Damper

At the Taipei 101

We all had dinner when we got down then proceeded to the hotel to wait for the bus to take us to the airport.  At 10:15 pm, the bus picked us up and brought us to the International Airport and at 1 am we bid farewell to Taiwan.

It was pretty fun traveling around  Taiwan with new found friends who share the love for photography. I wouldn’t want to do it too often because it was exhausting but I know that someday soon we will once again explore and discover new places and try to capture as much as we can with just a click of a button.

March 21

My husband and I started the day with brunch at Mos Burger – a fast food restaurant that originated from Japan. After lunch, I accompanied my husband along with 2 other friends back to Shilin market because he left his Canon flash at the foot spa place. Luckily they were open when we arrived and they were able to keep the flash (its relatively safe in Taiwan). Since we were at the market again, we took the opportunity to go around the area once more to take some street shots, not realizing how big it really is. Accidentally we found the Cixian Temple within the Shilin district which was apparently a historical site. We were able to eat some sweet bread, popocorn, stinky tofu and chicken steak.

We met our friends at the Ximen station. We had fried chicken (really good 5-spice fried chicken) for early dinner at a nearby eatery. We walked around the area a bit since it was a shopping district then we headed to an IT mall and looked around the camera stores. Then for some night shots we went back to the Chiang Kai-shek Memorial.

March 22

Our flight was not until 1 am of March 23 and we didn’t have to leave for the airport till 10 pm. Since we technically still had a full day, we just decided to make this our shopping day. My husband and I checked out before lunch and then went to BoAi Road where a lot of camera stores were located. We bought a Canon s90 which was comparatively cheaper than the ones sold in Manila.  Then we went back to the hotel, met up with 2 others then went to the real IT center and looked around. Had a late lunch at the Japanese fast food restaurant there, and then proceeded to Taipei 101 to meet our friends.

Taipei 101

Since some were still obsessed with taking pictures and night shots, we split up into two groups once again. Our group decided to go up the Taipei 101 (400 NT to go up to the 89th and 91st floor).

Taipei 101 is the 2nd tallest building (2nd highest architectural structure) in the world. With 101 floors, it stands at 502.9 meters high. Its elevator, if I’m not mistaken, is also the 2nd fastest in the world with speeds of 16.83m/s. It took us 37 seconds to get to the indoor observatory which was located at the 89th floor (382m up). Inside the indoor observatory you will be able to see the structure’s tuned mass damper (the largest in the world) which stabilizes the movement and reduces the movement of the tower by 40% which are often brought about by strong winds. You can climb up to the 91st floor as well to go to the outdoor observatory (but the view is somewhat obstructed due to the railings so the view from the 89th is better).

We all had dinner when we got down then proceeded to the hotel to wait for the bus to take us to the airport.

At 10:15 pm, the bus picked us up and brought us to the International Airport and at 1 am we bid farewell to Taiwan.