Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Bächle Bashing

Today is the birthday of this somewhat dreamily gazing young man. Red Baron had planned to write a blog about this guy who was no April fool and had such an influence on German history. However when I opened today's Badische Zeitung the following article knocked me off my socks:

Freiburg will probably have to fill up its brooklets

What happened? A lady from Swabia had an accident in Baden's capital by stepping in one of the many brooklets running through Freiburg rupturing her anterior cruciate ligament. Now her accident insurance is asking the city for indemnity. Although the sum is only a little bit more than 2 million euros the officials fear higher indemnities should American visitors step in (sic!). They decided in a hush-hush operation to fill the brooklets thus increasing street security for pedestrians and cyclists. But as in the case of the Berlin Wall where a mark on the ground shows the visitor the path of the long-gone object Freiburg's officials plan a "soft filling", i.e., they will have flowers planted in the former stone beds making the brooklets visible.

Original former? Bächle in Freiburg.
Already in the Middle Ages Freiburg had a system of brooklets running through the streets.
This one in Marktgasse runs in the middle of the street, i.e., the position of all original brooklets.
Nowadays all other Bächle run on the side of the streets.
You may imagine that the decision caused a storm of indignation although no shitstorm yet for in the 16th century Freiburg's city council had already forbidden the deposition of excrement in the brooklets: Und soll nymandt dhein mist, strow, stain ... in die bäch schütten … (And nobody shall drop dung, straw or stones into the brooklets). A citizens' initiative Rettet die Bächle jetzt spontaneously formed yesterday night asking for signatures to Save the brooklets now.

As was asked in the BZ-article Red Baron immediately went downtown to sign the petition at 11 a.m. Here I only met people in good humor around a table without a paper to sign:

Typical April weather.
On the left a BZ-newsperson collecting reactions of the people and taking notes.
On the right a friend I hadn't seen for a year who happened to pass by.

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