This isn't, Gumbo readers will recall, the first time I've written about a collection of manhole covers: I find them fascinating. Not the ordinary no-art, no-thought ones, but the surprising variety where civic pride and a sense of history has led to quite a variety of 'art beneath your feet.'
And this time, there's even a conscious artwork in the mix, with the worker in Bratislava, taking a break from his sewer work to get a bit of air and observe his fellow humans as they go about their day.
Some cities have only one pattern; others have different ones for different systems such as gas, electric, sewer. Or their are variations of style over time. Here's what you get when you look down in Cesky Krumlov, in the Czech Republic:
Not too far back up the Danube, the German city of Passau highlights its unique feature with a slogan: Living on Three Rivers. It's where the Inn, the Ilz and the Danube join.
But the variety king of this year's trip was Budapest, with at least five different types I found, including one specially designed to go in an artistic paving.
Even the Post Office has its own design. No, it's not really surprising that the P.O. has manholes; historically, it was also responsible for telephone and telegraph and the cables that went with that.
And here are three more, from three different periods of the city's growth and development.