Whenever Elisabeth has her class reunion in Köln (Cologne) I accompany her although the girls always want to meet without men. For a couple of hours I enjoy the city on the Rhine all by myself.
This year the girls had chosen the first weekend in July possibly not thinking that in addition to open air television (Germans wrongly call “public viewing”) of the soccer game between Argentina and Germany on July 3, the city hosted Germany’s Christopher Street Parade on July 4. And it was not just warm, it was hot: 38 Centigrades (100 Fahrenheit).
The Christopher Street Parade used to take place in Berlin, Germany's gay capital, but with all the dirt he had to clean up from Unter den Linden - once the gay people had passed - the city’s Lord Mayor Klaus Wowereit eventually decided against his own camp. Did he think that Berlin had enough “cultural” highlights and could be deprived of the Love Parade or did he dislike opening the yearly event reminding the public periodically of his known sexual preference? So the Christopher Street disciples moved into the gay stronghold on the Rhine, into the Hillige Köln. For the city's commerce the event nearly presents a second Carnival.
As far as the soccer game was concerned, the young German team beat the lame Argentinean gauchos 4:0 what the local brewery Gaffel had wrongly commented on a coaster: It is better to drink 0.2, i.e., liters than to lose 0:2.
The local Cologne top-fermented beer is called Kölsch. You should know that it is served in high but thin glasses of 0.2 liters only, not enough for soccer aficionados. Hence the waiters (called Köbes in the local dialect) hardly wait until such a "test-tube" is downed. In passing by with a crate of full glasses they replace any empty glass immediately. Admire the male party on the left sitting around an upright barrel used as a table enjoying glasses of Früh, the Kölsch from another local brewery.
The mile where the gay people were supposed to parade on Sunday was already crowded on Saturday and above all lined with booths offering coulored cloths, fancy medals, beauty articles and open air tatooing but also food and drinks. When I am in Köln one of the objects of my desire is: Rivkochen or in high German: Reibekuchen, in Bavaria: Reiberdatschi, in Hamburg Kartoffelpuffer. When I discovered the sign at a certain distance ahead I moved ahead.
Those crusty deep-fried fritters made from freshly grated potatoes, do they not look delicious in their golden coulor? They did not only look, they were!!