Saturday, August 23, 2014

A Crocodile, Done For?

Most visitors to our city know the crocodile made from Diorite that embellishes Freiburg's industrial canal. Wait a minute, there is no industry on the clear stream flowing through a charming part of town. Well, there used to be in the Middle Ages and up to the 19th century. Lapidaries, dyers, and tanners - the street running along is still called Gerberau (Tanners Lane) - were making use of the waterpower and cleaning properties of the canal that takes - like Freiburg's Bächle ( brooklets) - its fresh waters from the river Dreisam upstream at a place called Sandfang (catching sand).

Today the area around the Industriekanal is a tourist attraction. Red Baron took the photo below in April showing a pair of ducks misusing the crocodile's head as their landing and sleeping site. Around this place there are a couple of restaurants, a chestnut shadowed beer garden, and a coffee shop called Stehcafé am Krokodil.


On August 22, the Badische Zeitung ran a story about the head of the crocodile turned by nearly 180 degrees. Already the evening before Red Baron had seen the shocking photo on the Internet. Yesterday I went to see the turned head myself. Is the crocodile done for?


I read that Ole Meinecke's masterpiece will be turned back to its original orientation but only in October during the time of the Bachabschlag (closing of the industrial canal for cleaning).


It is a mystery how the sculpture of 400 kg could be turned. Red Baron discovered another mystery reading the following text somebody had written in white chalk on the pavement along the canal: Des canards imaginaires, le dernier obstacle à franchir (Fantabulous ducks, the final obstacle to overcome). In turning the sculpture, did the mystery person want to make it more difficult for ducks to land on the crocodile's head?

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