Thursday, June 13, 2013

The Big Dig on Hochstrasse

Yes in deed, in normal conditions street parking is never easy to find on Hochstrasse.  Refer to my May 24th post "Major Milestone Achieved!! Second Sonderparkberechtigung Obtained"

It's been much worse lately since they have been repairing the street that the city tore up last year to put in new sewer pipes.  The street is cobblestone and the asphalt patches are finally being replaced with new cobblestones.  This is nice, as the asphalt does not quite have the je ne sais quoi as cobblestone.

This re-cobblestoning process is apparently a lost art that the city workers are trying to figure out.  First they put up "No Parking" signs on the street (a street that mind you already has limited parking), along with some red and white barrier things, steel plates and orange blinking lights to form an alter - so to speak - and then go away for a week or so.

After they come back, the offending asphalt is removed in a rather violent and noisy manner.  They leave again - I presume to get further instructions from some very all knowing person.

After some effort that takes many, many days, the "alter" is prepared for the new cobblestones.  This involves a lot more noise.  A large truck brings the stones and dumps them into a big misshapen pile.  Many layers of dirt are deposited on the alter and tamped down with gas engine powered tamper (I am sure this is not the correct name).

The next phase of the event involves the HMFDIC (you must know what this means, if not do not ask), who keeps picking up one cobblestone at a time and stares at it and turns it to inspect all sides and stares for awhile longer.  Often he will toss the stone aside and then start the process all over.

Once he and a cobblestone have a melding of the mind (this takes place all the while on bended knees in a praying position) he places the stone just so in the alter and then gently taps on the stone with a ceremonial hammer like thing, using some secret rhythm.  During this ritual another city worker is standing by admiring the Stone Whisperer's work. I guess he is an apprentice.  Very often there will be two teams working side by side, engaged in some type of slow race.

I have attached a picture of the ritual taken from a secret hiding place.  Be careful not to get caught with this documentation of the cobblestone ritual.  If you are found with it in your possession there will be a pox on your street for a minimum of three years.  The city will come and replace the sewer pipes, leaving the street surface a mess for at least one year.  Then there will be a new crew who will tear up the patched street and go away for several months before returning to complete the work.

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