Lordy, lordy, where to begin?
Last Thursday night Stuart & I headed off to Cologne Carnival (Köln Karneval) for five nights and six days of fancy dress parties, parades and street drinking. Hence the lack of blogging. Apologies.
Our lovely, lovely hosts were Marc & Bernd - two of the nicest people you could hope to meet - who we had actually met in Ibiza in summer 2005 and again in 2006. They had very kindly invited over to stay in their apartment in Cologne and that Karneval was something really not to be missed. And boy were they right.
The first night we arrived we went more or less straight to the Iron bar - and immediately felt completely out of place because we were the only two NOT in fancy dress. A few dozen beers later we soon relaxed into it though. By the next night we were both in fun wigs and silly costumes. Karneval is like that. You get sucked in.
Not that we spent every waking moment in a bar. On Friday we met up with the gorgeous Hanko and he showed us round town.
Saturday was the grand costume ball. The theme was fairytale and we had king & knight costumes ready to go. We spent a lovely day getting ready at Axel's place watching in wonder as the Brother's Grimm stories were recreated before our eyes by Marc & Bernd's crowd of friends; Axel, Rene, Manfred, Thomas, Klaus, Stefan, and many others...
The party proper was no less special with 1500 or gayers dressed to the nines as the most incredible array of fairytale characters imaginable. One minute we were talking to the Three Little Pigs, the next to the Big Bad Wolf. It goes without saying buckets of beer were consumed as we danced the night away. Bravely we caught a tram home.
Sunday we had a sort of day off. Phew! A sauna and a movie and an early night.
Monday was the main parade through Cologne centre. We dressed as cowboys. Everybody else dressed as gorillas, clowns, rabbits, frogs, prisoners, sailors, farmers, pirates, gnomes and traditional dress. It was a right knees up with plenty of beer to be had and entertainment such as sweet throwing and the ubiquitous Karneval music. At one point Stu & I found ourselves in Chains surrounded by crowds of leather queens and clowns. I'm not sure which was scarier. We rounded the night off with a bit of a heart to heart, being chased around by a geologist (no, really) and a bop and a boogie at Iron again. Great fun.
Tuesday, after fond farewells, we headed home to the UK. Not least to give our livers a well earned rest.
What a great holiday. Thanks to all who made it so.
Pics to follow...