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The pinnacle of the Karneval festivities in Cologne is the Rosenmontag parade. Not knowing what to expect other than: it was long (6 hours and still going strong), it would be crowded (over 1 million people downtown) and that it involved people throwing candy (this is surprisingly true) and everyone would be in costume (or at least in a funny hat) we headed down around lunch time to try and see the parade.

Coming out of the Dom/Hbf U-Bahn station was the first challenge – the crowd was so large that it pushed to the top of the stairwell that led down into the subway. We were able to get a spot that could almost see the floats that were about to start coming by. After an hour of waiting for the parade (it started a few kilometers away at 10:49am (aka 11 minutes before 11)), we decided to push through the crowds in search of beer and something to nosh on. Janet figured that if we could make it through the outer shell of people, the inside plaza would probably be empty.

She was right. After making it through the drunken horde, we found beer stands, reibekuchen (potato pancake) stands, sausage stands and enough space to get some air and try to fing a vantage point where we could watch the crowds and the parade.

We stayed for a few hours, watching costumes and floats go by, leaving to come home a little before 3pm. It’s 5:30 and we are still watching the parade on television. After a week of celebration and a day’s worth of parade, I have to wonder if it is just too much of a good thing… or is it just too much?

The crowds from Roncalliplatz, near the main Cathedral.

Those Energizer bunnies just keep going… and going… and going… to the beer

People as seen from the Platform near the Alter Markt

… and your faithful editors, the Cat and the Dragon

Posted in Cologne Life.

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