9.3.11

Cologne

Cologne Dom at Karnevale
So... Cologne and Carnival huh? Oh, the anticipation had been so great.  Turns out that Carnival isn't quite what the tourist site would have you believe. Granted we didn't really coordinate our trip particularly well - we turned up for the weekend not realising that the biggest parades happen on Thursday and Monday. Still I was expecting a bit more of a celebratory atmosphere and a little less "keg party". 

On Friday night it was pretty clear that the name of the game was to drink as much beer as possible, as quickly as possible and hopefully along the way meet a lucky lady or fella, who might also have drunk as much as you, and be happy to walk you home. Needless to say we opted for a delicious tapas meal at a local Spanish pub instead.  Saturday night was much the same, although we did manage to find a cute Brauhaus where we ate some hearty sausages served with potato and cabbage (what else?!?) and Matthias sampled some of the local beer, Kolsch.  The Beer Hall also provided ample people-watching opportunities and I managed to take this shaky, but "of the moment" video on my phone.  You get the idea - lots of singing, music, drinking and general mayhem. Edit: no video folks - I can't work out how to get it from my phone to the computer. sorry.
03_08_crowds
Finally on Sunday, on our way back to the train station, I began to get a taste of the excitment.  There were literally thousands of people streaming out of the station and up the Cathedral stairs in anticipation of the Schools' Parade.  That 80% of the crowd were drinking heavily at 10am in the morning really seemed a bit of a moot point.  It almost seemed a shame to be leaving just as the crowd was begining to swell.  Almost.  Wooden boards covering most of the shop windows in the inner-city did make me pause and reflect that maybe, just maybe, this drunken crowd was an accident waiting to happen.  
Koln Karnevale
young and old
Clowns come out to play
The Cathedral was also closed.  We snuck in on Sunday when the Mass was on to quickly have a look at the beautiful stainglass windows and the towering ceilings, but even the Church is wary of Cologne's crowds during Faschingferien and closes it's doors and bolts it's gates until the revellers go home on Wednesday.
05_03_MandCathedral

12 comments:

Jane said...

I loved it, Clare. I only saw it in Muenster and found it captivating. J

ELK said...

wow this was a great series of fun and beautiful buildings ...

justine said...

so makes me want to visit! wonderful shots.

Ashley Sisk said...

Thanks for taking me there - beautiful shots. I love the reflection in the first shot.

Dorian Susan said...

I love how you captured this. Sorry the event was beer vs. fun, but you have some great shots here. That first one of the reflections in the bell of the tuba/baritone horn is an amazing catch. Wow.

Kat Sloma said...

I love your story! Different from Venice, yet similar in the way that the Carnival celebration has changed and evolved in different ways over time.

Jen said...

Wow! You photographed the city so well! Sorry to hear your experience was such a disappointment. Next year, come to my little town outside of Frankfurt - the celebrating and parade is fun and not so much about the drunken beer orgies. ;-)

Stella said...

Oooh, lovely photos Clare! (as usual)

Jamie said...

The city looks beautiful! Well worth a visit even if Carnival wasn't all you thought it would be.

Kristina said...

This is exactly why I am not especially fond of Fasching (as we call it in Frankfurt) or Karneval :) Too many drunken people being most of the time very stupid. So for me there are only two options: to either start drinking or planning a fast escape :)
Hope you still had a nice stay at Cologne, it is a really nice city!!
Liebe Gruesse, Kristina

P I A said...

Wow! I'm dreaming about Carnival in Cologne. Love your 1st pic especially!

C N Heidelberg said...

I've only been to Cologne a few times, but it strikes me as a place always just on the verge of a kegger. I prefer the more southern versions of Karneval. :)