Taking time out from Carnival!? – Five ideas
When Cologne’s street Carnival festivities gets underway on Wieverfastelovend (the Thursday before Shrove Tuesday), the entire city gears up for a whole six days dedicated to its beloved Carnival. People who’ve never experienced Carnival in Cologne can’t even begin to imagine how much the city changes during this time. Lots of things are closed for part or for the entire duration of the festivities. There are people in fancy dress everywhere – partying outside and in or as they wait to get into the pubs. Spectator stands and marquees line the route of the parade through the city centre, often blocking the view of historic buildings and squares.
Despite – or should we say because of – this madness, Johanna (who’s on work experience with us at the moment) and our trainee, Alina, have been looking into alternatives to Carnival – they even exist in the heart of the city! – for those who feel the need to take a little time off from all these goings-on. Below are their five tips…
Revive your inner self at a spa
What could be better than a trip to the spa to give you back your inner glow after hours of standing in the cold watching the parade and shouting for your fair share of the sweets (Kamelle) and bouquets (Strüßjer) raining down from the Carnival floats? Also ideal for the Carnival-immune looking to get away from all the craziness. Cologne’s spas are perfect places to relax and recharge your batteries.
You can read about four of them in Judith’s blog posting: Oases of calm in the city: Four spas in Cologne
Indulge in some culture at a museum
Most of Cologne’s municipal museums are now open for part of the Carnival period. So if you prefer culture to costumes, a museum is a great place to find some escape – quiet and warm, no fancy dress to be seen and right in the middle of town!
The following museums are open over Carnival:
- Museum Ludwig
Friday, 9 to Sunday, 11 February and Tuesday, 13 February 2018
- Wallraf-Richartz-Museum, Romano-Germanic Museum, Rautenstrauch-Joest-Museum, Museum Schnütgen, Museum of Applied Arts, Cologne City Museum, NS Documentation Center
Friday, 9 to Saturday, 10 February and Tuesday, 13 February 2018
- Museum of East Asian Art
Tuesday, 13 February 2018
All other museums will be closed from Thursday, 8 to Monday, 12 February 2018. Some guided tours will take place. To find out more, please visit: www.museenkoeln.de
Engage in some indoor sports
Just like other places, Cologne tends to get quite grey and cold and damp in the winter – it’s not the ideal time for outdoor sports. But if you want to get some exercise anyway, there’s a whole range of indoor possibilities, such as climbing or bouldering, go-carting or trampolining.
Heike tried some of them out for her article on indoor sports: Behind closed doors: Indoor action in Cologne
They are all open during Carnival.
Enjoy some big-screen entertainment
Warmes Popcorn, gemütliche Sessel und ein guter Film reichen schon aus – finden wir – um den Tag zu verschönern. Wie wäre es also mit einem Kinobesuch? Denn auch die Kinos erlauben sich an Karneval keine Pause und sobald man durch die Eingangstür getreten ist, hat man vergessen, dass draußen eigentlich der Karneval tobt. Besonders empfehlen können wir die kleinen Arthouse-Kinos, die Judith euch vorgestellt hat.
Step back in time at the Brühl Palaces – a UNESCO World Heritage Site
If none of the above is far enough away for you from the Carnival festivities, you could take a day trip back in time to the rococo period. The Brühl Palaces, situated to the south of Cologne and easily accessible by train, were declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1984 and are definitely worth a visit. Make sure you plan enough time though – the Augustusburg and Falkenlust Palaces and their gardens have a lot to offer. However, there are restaurants and cafés nearby so you can take a break whenever you please.