Getting to Köln from Mainz required me to hop on a regional train for an hour or so. After an initial headache cramming onto the train, I sat and looked out the window at the snow-covered Rhineland as it whizzed past. I regret not being able to get some pictures of what I saw, but it was quite amazing. Small cities consisting of old-style architecture built on the shore of the Rhein river, stone lookout posts built on protruding hillocks, and huge expanses of land, blanketed in the overnight snow.
When I walked out of the Köln Hauptbahnhof, I was greeted by the Kölner Dom. This huge Gothic structure is the pride of the city, and it overlooked another thing they love – Karneval. There were people absolutely everywhere, all scrambling for the free candies, flowers, and knick-knacks thrown out of the moving parade floats.
The parade went for something close to five or six hours, and there were people drinking and partying from the early morning [8am], to the early morning [1am]. The temperature during the parade was a warm -6°C, and the blustery wind carried occasional snow. Despite this, there were thousands of people out and about in Köln watching the procession. I snapped a few pictures, and even scored some chocolate after it bounced off the wall and hit me in the head.
The second day brought with it blue skies and sunshine, as well as significantly less visitors to the city. People were back to work, which meant I was able to explore the city freely. The bulk of the attractions in Köln are its churches. People talk of Adelaide as the “City of Churches,” but anyone that had visited Köln would not even consider giving away that title. I managed to find several of the larger churches in my exploration of the city, as well as a miscellany of statues and interesting sights.
After trying to visit the Overstolzenhaus and finding it closed, I ventured between the half dozen museums in the city, only to find them closed also. Karneval strikes again.
Highlight: Watching adults fight kids numerous times for boxes of Köln Toffee. Alaaf!