It seems to me I read you went to World Youth Day.
What'd you think of Benedict XVI? (Assuming you were close enough to see and/or listen and get some sort of impression)
MS and I did get fairly close -- at the General Audience he stopped by and gave us the blessings for newlyweds (sposi novelli)!
We saw him also at the Angelus, and twice in Cologne. He seemed very happy, especially when he was among the crowds. I heard that during the week in Cologne, he would get out of his car and go greet the young people among the crowds quite unexpectedly. Probably an unanticipated nightmare for his security detail!
At his addresses, his message was positive, hopeful, challenging, and inviting. He was very articulate in Italian, German, French, English, Spanish, Portuguese, and Polish. These messages seemed very well received by the various language groups.
My sense of B16 is that he very much understands that it is not about him-- rather his office is a sign for others of Christ's presence in the world, and his role is to be a source of hope and strength. He seems profoundly pastoral -- to the extent that his role as Prefect of CDF was perhaps more the man doing the job he was called upon to do, rather than the man himself. I was reading through an interview with him, the book "Salt of the Earth", and find him to be so very Christ centered and humble -- truly a man for our age to lead the Church.