Monday, 21 December 2015

c.h.u.d. oder down in the underground

Though I think my preoccupation with manhole covers contains a mostly untried yearn for urban exploration that I’ve rarely managed to summon up the courage (probably sensibly) to carry out, I would risk being caught trespassing to see what lies beneath Wiesbaden.
When I was a little kid, I can recall wading through flood canals in Oklahoma teeming with crayfish (crawdads—sort of giant sewer shrimps that one would readily barbecue) and once following a tunnel underneath the old officers’ club in Würzburg (formerly the local Nazi party headquarters) big enough to drive a tank through to it cemented up conclusion. H doubts the veracity of this latter Goonies’ adventure.
 A clever Redditor posted this portal—which I came across by accident—and to the turn of the century infrastructure that lies below. The city’s manhole covers (Kulideckeln) seem rather plain and haven’t really interested me like those that celebrate coats-of-arms and this entrance to the underworld, which I had crossed over without notice many, many times before, even less so. The protagonist, Harry Lime, of The Third Man descended a similarly constituted stairwell.
 Instantly, I knew right where it was—the vaunted brick arches reflecting other utilities of the age, like the landmark Gründerzeit water-tower in Biebrich, on the square adjacent to the Hauptbahnhof but I didn’t go to examine it right away—though it might be a time when others might be checking, as I discovered it’s secret while frantically searching for news on the evacuation of the train station, due to a terror warning that has not yet materialised. Out of an abundance of caution, the Christmas market was also cleared out. Presently, maybe it’s best to leave such spelunking to the professionals, the CHUDs and Morlocks.