This is my friend Martina, who invited me to Cologne for Carnival this year!
The German city of Cologne was buzzing this weekend with preparation for the massive Rose Monday Parade, the highlight of Carnival. But festivities started on Thursday with ladies Carnival Day. The theme this year was Social Jeck and I got my own carnival themed badge from my friend and local girl Martina who showed me and my husband who to do Carnival in style.
We were whisked off to Peters Brauhaus which was hopping on Friday night with all the usual traditional music and a bit of 90’s dance music too. After several Kolsch beers from the deceptively tiny glasses we were linking arms with the locals and getting in to the swing of things.
Our very friendly bar tender!
My other half with Marcus from the BlaueFunken (the group who lead the Rose Monday parade every year)
Day one was spent finding our costumes for Ghost night on Saturday but of course we couldn’t roam the streets in our regular clothes so Martina brought us to the dress up shop in the old town to get sorted. We then set off over the Rhine via the famous Hoohenzollernbrucke bridge.
It is famous for holding the locks to many hearts.
Being Valentines Day I took the opportunity to give my husband a good kiss with the spires of Cologne Cathedral in the background.
On the other side of the bridge Martina brought us to the tallest tower to get a panoramic view of the city.
Then we went to the wonderful Cubana Latino restaurant
for a couple of Mojitos and some lunch!
at Cubana Latino
We were back in Carnival mode for a Kolsch in Lomir which is a must visit bar in Koln and as it is on the other side of the river and not in the Altstad (old town) it can easily be missed.
The smell of traditional cutlets was mouthwatering even after we had eaten.
Lomir bar was full of Carnival fun.
A short tram ride back over the Rhine and we were in the thick of it again with incredible samba bands and performers around the cathedral. We took a picture of a couple of mermaids standing at the water’s edge. There were so many colourful characters to chose from an amateur photographer could have had quite a day.
It was time for another kiss in the Altstad before heading back to our friend’s house in Widdersdorf. Koln is a nice sized city and very accessible with plenty of public transport options. Around Neumarkt was packed with entertainment options and a funfair. The entire city buzzes for the week in the run up to Ash Wednesday. In fact right up until the Nobel (stuffed doll who is held responsible for the sins of Carnival) is burned at midnight on Tuesday, the town is a hive of action and none stop parties. This ends with a fish supper on Ash Wednesday when the natives and visitors who have indulged in the full festivities nurse their heads for another year.