What a week!
The Ascension (holiday common in Germany and other parts of Europe) was this past Thursday, everyone had off. Not only was that day a holiday and a break from work, it just so happened to be the same day our former President Barack Obama came to speak here in Berlin. It was a panel discussion which included Obama and Angela Merkel, discussing topics surrounding liberal global democratic politics. Though it was hard not to continue sleeping in on my day off, I decided to attempt to go see the discussion.
I arrived a little after the discussion had begun, but as soon as I exited the U-Bahn stop I could see the stage set up right below the Brandenburg Gate. I was amazed by the spot I could have as it did not seem so crowded. That excitement quickly diminished when I realized I was at the back of the stage… And everywhere I turned I saw road barriers to contain/organize the crowd, making it seem impossible to reach the other side of the gate. I was determined to see Obama at this point, so I got information on how to approach the other side. I walked as fast as I could to the entrance I was directed to (probably under a half-mile away) just to find out it was closed. I could see the stage close in the distance, and hear light echoes of the panel’s discussion. I still had about an hour until the discussion ended so I continued to find another entrance. Turns out I had to walk a good amount around the Tiergraten (big park) to find the entrance that actually seemed hopeful. I waited in a bit of a line, went through security, then preceded through the park. At this point I could hear Obama’s voice more clearly, the volume continually increasing with every step closer. After walking through the park for a bit, I finally approached an opening. I turned to see a tremendous amount of people, as well as Obama on the big screens surrounding the crowd. I thought to myself, well I have made it this far why not try and get a bit closer?
I thought to myself, well I have made it this far why not try and get a bit closer?
After:So, though the journey to get that spot was a long one, this was definitely the experience of a lifetime. Aside from the fact that everyone besides Obama and one other person on the panel spoke in German. Even the questions they asked Obama were not translated to the audience, BUT though I was missing many points of the discussion, overall it was a good time and I am happy I got the chance to have this experience.