Grab Your Ticket and Your Suitcase [Cologne part 2]

What strikes me when visiting Cologne this second time (read about my first visit here) is that it’s such a vibrant and cool city- things are happening on every corner. In this blogpost I’m going to summarise an eventful week in the beginning of July.

The Sights

From my last visit I only had one item left on the bucket list of sights, that hadn’t been ticked off: “die Kölner Seilbahn”, which is a gondola lift that runs across the river Rhine. Although I’m not particularly fond of heights we decided to take the cable car from Zoo to Deutz, just for the sake of it. It was a nice ride and interesting to see the city from another angle, but the view was not as spectacular as I had expected (present company excluded 😉).

Another “touristic” thing to do is to take a boat trip on the Rhein. KD (Köln-Düsseldorfer) offer day trip cruises on river boats from Cologne to different locations. We decided to go to Bonn and back, a three hour ride that gave us the possibility not only to enjoy the beautiful surroundings, but also to have some breakfast on board. Unfortunately it was a bit chilly and not as sunny as expected, so we stayed inside most of the trip there.

Bonn, the former capital of West Germany (1949-1990), birthplace of Ludwig van Beethoven AND birthplace of your favourite gummy bear (HARIBO= Hans Riegel Bonn), is a cute city on the Rhine. We had a nice stroll through the city and its shops (I finally found a pair of new sunglasses) and a tasty sandwich before going back to the river bank for some Kölsch and the boat ride back.

“Oohaa! That was a large Kölsch!”

Street Art

I recommend walking through Cologne with your eyes wide open. There are beautiful street art on every corner; from large murals on facades of walls to small stickers and knittings (!) on lampposts and gates. The most exciting boroughs (bubbling with creativity) I walked through, were Ehrenfeld and Belgisches Viertel.

The Stolpersteine project was initiated by artist Gunter Demning in 1992 to commemorate individuals at their last place of residency before he or she fell victim to Nazi terror. The first Stolperstein was placed in front of Cologne city hall in 1992. The project has since then spread all over the world. In Cologne there are over 2000 Stolpersteine.

The Ice Cream-Project

“I scream, you scream, we all scream for Ice Cream”.

Essential knowledge when visiting a new city is to know where to buy the best ice cream, everyone knows that. “The Ice Cream-Project” had the following rules: at each ice cream parlour we visited we would order one scoop of vanilla and chocolate each, for the hard task of evaluating which place had the best ice cream. The different ice cream parlours (Eisdielen) we visited were:

Ice Cream United Brüsselerstr 71

J’s Club Eis und Café Venloer Str 252

Gelato e Via, Venloer Str 208

San Marco, Venloer Str 249

Eisfeld, Hansemannstr 49

I’m sorry to say that the results of this survey were inconclusive. There is no way only one winner can be announced at this stage. The favourites, so far, are Eisfeld (fantastic chocolate flavour), J’s Club Eis und Café (very tasty vanilla) and Gelato e Via (consistent high quality). We have come to an agreement that the project must be extended over my next visit.

To be continued …

The Shows

* Eddie Vedder (Mitsubishi Electric Hall, Düsseldorf 30.6.2019)

The first event of the week. Please read the separate blogpost on the show and the hardship of getting there “Where the Bands Are (Eddie Vedder)“.

* Men at Work (E-Werk, Köln 3.7.2019)

To see this act for the second time in only a week (the first one on June 28. in Gothenburg) was a bit of an overkill. Don’t get me wrong, it’s a good show although singer Colin Hay is the only original member left in the lineup of this Australian band, which had its prime time in the early 80s. The night is a walk down memory lane and Hay’s voice sounds just like it did all those years ago.

I come from a land down under/where beer does flow and men chunder/Can’t you hear, can’t you hear the thunder?/You better run, you better take cover, yeah

* Gossip (Palladium, Köln 5.7.2019)

For a pop band that had its most successful time ten years ago, the venue Cologne Palladium was too large. The show clearly wasn’t sold out and the main floor had been significantly narrowed down and the balcony was closed.

However, the show was good and energetic. The band members seemed to enjoy themselves. Frontwoman Beth Ditto, dressed in a colourful green creation, told witty anecdotes and her voice sounded great although she kept complaining about it. I guess the cups of whisky brought to her during the show did the trick. Their most successful song Heavy Cross was played as an encore (good things come to those who wait) and after about 100 minutes the show was over.

The support act is worth a mention too. Meggie Brown caught us all off guard in a positive way. Their punk style music was loud, cocky and in your face. Singer Meggie Brown’s androgynous look puzzled everyone and contributed to the intriguing act, which lead me and my company (and many others) to google them for more info.

* Pink (Rhein Energie Stadion, Köln 6.7.2019)

I had no idea that Pink was such a cool cat! The show in Rhein Energie Stadion offered two hours of entertainment, moments of singing along, dancing and spectacular acrobatic acts. Turns out that Pink isn’t only an excellent singer but also an artist with a message. The audio of her MTV Video Music Award empowerment speech fitted perfectly in the show. I’m impressed and happy we managed to get hold of tickets in the last minute.

CSD Köln (ColognePride)

The CSD Street Festival and the Demonstration for Diversity are two colourful events of the 50th ColognePride that took place the last weekend of my visit.

It was so much fun to stroll through the street festival and to see the demonstration/parade with about 145 trailers full of fun, flashy and flamboyant performances. When watching the parade people around us were very friendly and happy (drunk?). We were offered drinks and one guy even gave us a special Brazilian festival necklace (see pic below).

I had an action-packed week in Cologne, which is a city I appreciate more the more I visit. I like the easy going and unreserved people who live in there and I like that there is always something going on.

Until next time, Cologne!

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