The spirit in Germany right now is one that hasn’t been felt in 24 years. 1990 was the last time Germany won the World Cup. I was in Frankfurt the night that Germany beat Argentina back then and the atmosphere was electric. It was very similar this time around, except for two major differences.
One, in 1990, the Berlin Wall had fallen but Germany was as yet not unified. There was then just that added bit of political and social emotion to spice up the excitement of the event. It didn’t just seem like a sporting event to celebrate. It was about life and change and history: the “Wende”.
On the other hand, after hosting the World Cup in 2006 Germany and Berlin in particular sure know how to throw a party! The celebration for the return of the national team, or “National Elf” as they’re known here, went incredibly smoothly. Actually, the biggest snafu was the Lufthansa jet carrying them hit a luggage cart while leaving the gate in Rio de Janeiro causing a couple hour delay to the departure. An estimate half million revelers were near the Brandenburg Gate, down Strasse des 17. Juni, and essentially lined on the streets all the way from Tegel Airport to the celebrations.
Germany’s long wait for the trophy and the pressure of the expectation of victory was heavy. The players, now noticeably relaxed after such a huge stress relief and well-fought victory, performed skits, danced, spoke proudly, and smiled for hours on end. It was truly a site to remember.
Incidentally, no, as predicted our tours weren’t impacted much by the parade route. The only time we really have to cancel tours is when faced with 40,000+ marathon runners during Marathon Weekend (the last Sunday in September). We cannot disrupt the runners and the iconic route largely follows what we want to show our guests. So, we make the most of it and it’s our one morning a year where we take off as a team and have a celebratory brunch before business as usual in the afternoon.