The Most Special Fulfilling Day of My Life

17 06 2018

Wittenberg, Germany

I said I wasn’t going to write any posts while on the trip.

But, today has been…well, you read the title.  A real red letter day in my life.  So I’m using some of my precious hostel WiFi time tonight, (it’s after 10:30 PM in Germany and the entire CEDT zone as I write this), to tell you all.

By pure luck, coincidence, or maybe something otherworldly at work, the itinerary got us here to Wittenberg on a Sunday.  Which means you can probably figure out where we went to church this morning, and which other church we spent some time in early this afternoon.  In contrast to last Sunday, when I was in another city on the Elbe River, downstream, that being Hamburg, when and where I thought the better of actually attending any church in that city.  Even though one of Hamburg’s church steeples was for a short time the world’s tallest man-made structure.

Of course we saw what are probably the most famous church doors in all of world history.  And you know?  Upon a very close look, I could swear I saw some half millennium old glue residue.

I became upset when I wasn’t able to return to mental functional coherence in time fully to appreciate the observed 500th anniversary of the 95 Theses, that being October 31, 2017;  As you know, it wouldn’t be for another two weeks until I got well enough for something like that.  But, this makes up for it, and then some, and then some, and then some, and then some, and then some.  It’s still the 500 years (plus some change) year, so I’ll score that as a win for myself.

Surreal…supernatural…soul-shaking…not powerful enough words to describe the impact of this day on me.

Today was the first of three whole days here in what I call the “Luther Region,” including Wittenberg, obviously, but also Dessau-Roblau, Leipzig, Halle, Eisleben, and other nearby towns important to Luther lore.  Near Leipzig, we’ll be making an ironic visit to another important but more recent German historical figure.

And because of that, we’re surely going to visit Worms once we make our way back around to the other side of the country.  Because I’m on a diet.

***

Of course, anything any churches in this town had going on late this afternoon and into the evening was canceled, because Germany’s first World Cup game was this evening, which of course we watched from a beer hall.  We happen to be in a soccer crazy country, whose national team is a favorite to win the World Cup, (in fact, Germany won it four years ago), during the time of the World Cup, which means God Himself has to take a back burner for ninety minutes of clock time.

The atmosphere in the beer hall during the game was, to say the very least, spirited and raucous.  To put it accurately, it got me so charged up that I had half a notion to invade the Sudetenland.  By comparison, a ‘Bama crowd in a Birmingham sports bar on an autumn Saturday night would seem like an overnight at a retirement home.  I hardly like soccer, but I don’t think I’ve never had so much fun doing something I don’t like.

Obviously the only downer to this late afternoon was that Germany lost the game.

I just wish Germans would quit outsourcing their patriotism to soccer.  Though I’m a fine one to talk — I come from a country whose native born white people outsource their patriotism to the football team that represents the nearest land grant university, and to Israel.  Stones, glass houses, n’est pas?

Yet and still, that was just some very nice icing on the cake to this day.

I wonder who the American media were rooting for. Did they want Germany to win, because Angela Merkel hearts immigrants and refugees, in order to spite Trump? Or did they want Mexico to win, because of immigrants, and media members’ undocumented nannies and housekeepers, in order to spite Trump?

I’m also surprised that in the Moscow stadium where this game was played, that there were way many more Mexico fans than I would have thought, maybe even a majority of the house. Moscow, not being that far from Germany, you would have thought 99% of the stadium would have been Germans. Mexico, by contrast, is not that prosperous of a country, on the other side of the world. Perhaps most of the Mexico crowd at the stadium are well to do Mexican-Americans?

***

Yesterday, which was our third and final day in Der Hauptstadt, was also very special.  Here, I’m going to have to be way more coy, because of all the flies on the wall.  Let’s just say I met important people, who hooked me up with meeting more important people, and came away with two important recent German language political books autographed by the author.  I will only fill in the blanks for those of you who I know and trust.

And yes, I’ve been paying attention to the political upheaval happening under my nose, literally under my nose, for three days, because it’s all been going down in Berlin.  While it was on the top of Drudge most of the weekend, and a big story in the world media, the German media are treating it as only the second most important story going, not quite as important as…you guessed it.

Angela Merkel is really on the ropes, and could join the ranks of Der Arbeitslose by next week. Mainly because of the instability within her own party-coalition, the CDU-CSU.

The root cause of all this is the very tenuous red-orange-yellow-green-blue-indigo-sienna-peach-mauve-magenta-fuchsia-apricot-navy-grape-pink-teal-pine-black-lemon-brown-burgundy-aquamarine coalition that it took to return Merkel to power. Of course, all that was a function of trying to string together a string bean coalition of everyone-but-AfD. At first, it worked, kinda, even after a false start. But the constant threat to such arrangements is that they are houses of cards, and have all the stability of them. Just don’t anyone in the whole country let out a big hard sneeze. And that’s just what the new Interior Minister, who is Bavarian, and leads the CSU, did.

I’d like to claim credit for what looks to be the end of Merkel’s political career, just because I happen to be in-country and was in-city. But I don’t think I’d even eat my own dog food.

BUT…

Reality check time:

Going forward, unless the “untouchable” AfD either falls off the map, or attains an absolute majority of the vote, those two extremes seem to be unlikely in the relatively near future, or one of the “mainstream” parties works up the courage to call on the AfD, also unlikely, considering this is the country that is seriously mulling throwing out the American ambassdor, Richard Grennell, because he openly supports a neighboring country’s head of government (Sebastian Kurz in Austria) only because Kurz worked up the courage to call on Austria’s AfD-style pop-nat-right parties and factions, and the German political class interprets that as Grennell telegraphing/dog-whistling support for the AfD domestically, (which he denies in public), then German politics are going to be stuck on Groundhog Day for quite some time to come. Government falls apart, new elections, AfD gets a significant percentage, but nowhere near a majority, “mainstream” parties agree to nervous string bean rainbow color coalitions to box out the AfD, the agreement lasts about as long as a snowball in hell, government falls apart, new elections, lather rinse repeat.

Another issue is that if Merkel is ousted this week, then who?  While the CDU-CSU could pick a new leader, he or she would probably not be acceptable to the other parties in the rainbow coalition.  But the only kind of person that they would accept, because that person would be the new head of government, wouldn’t be acceptable to the CDU-CSU.  Which means, new elections, but back on the Mobius Loop.  Groundhog Day.

Long and short is that German politics are stuck with her. They can’t live with her, and they can’t live without her.

***

To give you a halftime report, and thanks to the fact that I have along with me a heavily marked up on its way to being even more marked up road atlas of Germany and surrounding countries (*) I bought off of some obese French ghost who also sold me the tires on my car that I may never get to drive again, I’ll just state here which cities and towns we’ve spent significant time in so far, not counting the ones we’ve just passed through:

Frankfurt -> Bonn -> Cologne -> Dusseldorf -> Moers -> Venlo, Netherlands -> Duisburg -> Essen -> Dortmund -> Munster -> Osnabruck -> Oldenburg -> Bremen -> Hamburg -> Hannover -> Braunschweig -> Wolfsburg -> Helmstedt (i.e. the old BRD-DDR border Charlie Checkpoint) -> Magdeburg -> Brandenburg -> Potsdam -> Berlin -> Frankfurt (Oder) -> Slubice, Poland -> Rzepin, Poland -> Berlin -> Luther Region

You won’t get a full report and travelogue until we get home.  But, make sure you check out my Minds feed, where I’ve been teasing everyone with more frequent updates.

***

(*) – Including something called “Benelux.”  I bought it back at home, to make sure I have a version where English is one of the languages, (this particular one is in six languages), and to avoid what I knew would be a much higher price for the same atlas here in Germany, where most everything is significantly more expensive, sometimes way more expensive — But that’s for the travelogue.  Back to the point:  Benelux?  Doesn’t one vacuum one’s carpets and rugs with a Benelux?  Then I looked it up, and it’s a portmanteau of Belgium, Netherlands and Luxembourg, and in fact, the three countries have a political union of the same name, very similar to the Visegrad Group, one of the countries in that group I’m making my way towards and will be in for several days.  Yet and still, would it have killed the obese French ghost to print “Belgium, Netherlands, Luxembourg” instead of the portmanteau which almost nobody has heard of?  Also, this atlas contains the Czech Republic, which I’m headed to, but indicates it as “Czechia.”  Which may be grammatically correct, but it’s easy to confuse it with Chechnya, which of course is not a country, even though people of a certain peaceful religion want it to be.

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11 responses

17 06 2018
Puggg

The boss is watching, look busy. And clean up this place before he sees all this mess and gets angry.

17 06 2018
Alright Dan

18 06 2018
hondo

You have got to party man! You sound like a passionate tourist – which is cool
Maybe some out of the way Wine Keller – with sturdy oak tables to jump on
So you can, you know ….

You know you make me want to shout
Take my finger!
Shout! Throw my hands back!
Shout! Kick my heels up!
Shout! Come on now!
Shout! Take it easy!
Shout! Take it easy!
Shout! Take it easy!

Enjoy – post pictures when you get back

18 06 2018
countenance

In my current condition, having fun is like WiFi opportunities during this voyage — Catch as catch can. If I would have made this trip in something like 2004, I would have been able to have hell of a lot of fun, especially in Berlin, which for two decades after reunification was a real big party town. More on that when I write the travelogue after I get home, because it plays into the surprising take I have about Berlin. But by the same token, I probably would not have been able to appreciate the subtle nuances that I do now. So I’m glad this is happening for me now instead of 2004.

18 06 2018
Alright Dan

“obese French ghost”

I love the way you put things.

I’ll never look at a tire store the same way again.

22 06 2018
25 06 2018
Truth-hammer

‘Benelux’– haven’t heard that one, since I was stationed in West Germany.

3 07 2018
Like I’ve Been Saying (Stuck With Her) | Countenance Blog

[…] ICYMI, here’s why I think German politics are stuck with her. […]

5 07 2018
Nicholas Stix

Kannscht Deutsch?

That was in Swabian dialect.

http://nicholasstixuncensored.blogspot.com/2018/06/angela-merkel-communism-and-hitlers.html

I’m very happy for you. Your travel writings bring back many memories, fond and otherwise.

5 07 2018
countenance

Today is our second of two days in Stuttgart, the biggest city in Swabia. Before we got here, we stopped in Kempten, Memmingen and Ulm, (doesn’t take an Einstein), all of them Swabian towns. Unfortunately, the Swabian dialect has one foot in the grave. The good news is that Swabian cuisine is still doing well, the yuge difference between it and a the typical German is that Swabian doesn’t much go in for sausages.

Tomorrow morning we’ll depart Stuttgart and gradually make our way to Strasbourg.

Shoot me an e-mail, but it will take me awhile to respond — As you know, it’s catch as catch can when it comes to WiFi opportunities.

5 07 2018
countenance

Also people make too big of a deal of Merkel’s youth in the former DDR. If there’s anything geographically telling about her childhood, it’s not that she was raised in the DDR, but it’s that she was born in Hamburg. That tells me everything I really need to know. Also, her immigration treachery really has nothing to do with communism, and way more with universalist capitalism emblematic of the center-right party she leads.

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