All Ist Gut

By Stephen Ewashkiw | September 22, 2013

It is Election Day in Deutschland and we are headed to parliament.

Jane has reserved spots for Jesse, Jane, and me to go up into the Norman Foster designed dome atop the Reichstag, Germany’s parliament building. The dome is glass and steel with a ramp walkway up the inside, where tourists come to look out over the city.

(Don’t miss our detailed vegan restaurant guides to our favourite German cities, Berlin and Hamburg)

If you wish, you can see it accompanied by the commentary encapsulated in a free audio guide. I wished, and it was great to have a guide explaining what I was seeing; it really helps give you a sense of the city and how things are laid out.

brandenburg gate berlin

Obligatory picture of Brandenburger Tor.

Because the election is today, there were TV crews all around the parliament grounds, including one team who were up on the same level as the dome.

Down on the lawn stretching out from the Bundestag, numerous news crews were waiting, ready to report on the results as they roll in tonight. It was reminiscent of the week we spent at the DNC in Charlotte last year, except about one thousandth as busy.

Still, news and politics junkie that I am, it was all very exciting.

The three of us walked back to Jesse’s flat, catching Merkel on the TV in a pub, accepting her win. I think this is probably the safest path for Germany, and will allow the country to continue on a path to recovery. Had the SPD won, there would have been at least a handful of major policy changes that would have pushed Germany backwards.

reichstag berlin

A grounded view of the Reichstag.

We saw some amazing art outside the bar. The story behind it made us all appreciate it more.

The story behind this Peter Lenk sculpture is more interesting than the art itself.

The story behind this Peter Lenk sculpture is more interesting than the art itself.

We also spent quite a long time picking out chocolates at Fassbender & Rausch chocolatiers.

berlin bear made of chocolate

Berlin bear made of chocolate at Fassbender & Rausch. No wonder he looks so scared.

We crossed from East to West several times today. Very little remains of the wall. In fact we only passed memorials to the wall, not actual sections of it, all day.

Path of the wall, Berlin.

Path of the wall, Berlin.

Pretty cool to be here for the election, and all the drama a multi-party system brings (though it is far less dramatic than elections in the US). As we go to bed it is still unclear if the CDU won a majority, or will need to form a coalition, which would have to be with a new political partner this term.

The other party currently in the coalition government, the FDP (who we have been calling ‘the racist party’ because of their poster campaign featuring an endless stream of blond, blue-eyed people) was wiped out of parliament all together. They needed 5% of the vote to win any seats, and failed to get it.

Note: The FDP aren’t as racist as some of their competition however. The real racist party is the NPD, who had a poster campaign featuring a little Aryan girl that said, in German, “Naturally German”. Ugh.

That’s about as good a result as we could have hoped.  

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1 comment

  1. Comment by Kimberly

    Kimberly September 24, 2013 at 6:12 am

    Thanks for the continual posts. Your stationary travels are as interesting as your mobile ones.

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