Wednesday, March 3, 2010
Germany is quite proud of their Olympic Gold Medal winners and on Tuesday they celebrated their victories on Marienplatz. I thought it would be a good "real life in Germany" moment so I headed into town for the festivities. According to the website I checked the day before, the party was to start at three. Basically, a car cavalcade wound it's way through town ending on Marienplatz where the Olympians would greet their fans from the Rathaus balcony.
Small problem. It was cold and rainy. I got there at 3:10 to find a huge screen replaying the best Olympic moments accompanied by uplifting (mostly American) pop songs and a smattering of soggy people wielding umbrellas. I waited. And waited. And then the party meister, crowd instigator type guy announced that they were running behind schedule and would be another half hour or so. Did I mention it was cold? And rainy? I ducked inside a cozy Chinese place for a plate of hot noodles and a cold beer. And from my seat by the window, I could see the blue lights of the cavalcade as it drove past a half hour later. I was warm. I was dry. I was full.
I walked back over to Marienplatz a short while later. The music was still blaring but I had missed the Evita balcony moment. Later, I heard on the news that over 5,000 people had been there to help celebrate. I'm not sure about that number. I saw about five hundred people. What I am sure about is that Olympic mindset of overcoming adversity and physical discomfort in the pursuit of a goal - yeah, I don't have that.