During my 5 months in Antwerp I was fortunate enough to travel in places and cities I have never been before due to the city's perfect geographical location.
I visited the Netherlands for the first time and was also able to spend Christmas in Paris as it was nearer than coming home to England.
On my last month in the city I wanted to really squeeze in a lot of travelling so one day, just before work I had the sudden urge to look at my current location and choose a destination that's not so far away to travel to. I looked at the map and came to the spontaneous conclusion that I must visit Germany after having been to France and Netherlands but never to Germany, I was convinced and decided.
So a few days later I booked a ticket to Germany. After much deliberation between Dusseldorf and Cologne, I chose the latter because of it's more picturesque and touristic spots and that's what I was really after, to see the city's highlight spots, experience Germany and take lots and lots of photos.
The trip was only for the day due to work but it was more than enough especially for what awaited me in the city when I got there.
When I decided to visit Cologne, I hadn't really looked at what events were on for that day but simply just did a quick research on the places I must see.
Liege's train station is one of the best train stations I've seen just coming up behind Antwerp's exquisite one. With it's modernity, simplicity and minimalism of the design, it easily becomes an architectural favourite.
I took my connecting/international train from Belgium to Germany here at around 7am after leaving Antwerp at 6 in the morning with a very enthusiastic urge of wanting to have as much hours in Cologne as I can.
When I got to Cologne's main train station: Hauptbahnhof, I was surprisingly greeted with what I can only call a 'massive fancy dress party took to the streets'. The station was full of people dressed in all sorts of crazy, funny and artistic costumes that I, the one dressed in a peplum top and jeans actually looked out of place.
They were alighting off trains and like a herd of sheep, were all heading deeper in the city.
Not knowing what's going on and without a real clue as to where to head first, I decided to follow the crowd. I ended up by the Cathedral which is hard to miss with it's impressive grandiose and with being right next to the station. There, I decided to stop and admire the church whilst everyone else were all heading off.
I got asked to do an interview for a school about the event where I finally found out what was up and it turned out that it was Cologne Carnival.
It was carnival season after all but of course I didn't know this with not having done my research and not really being a carnival goer myself.
Due to the Carnival, the main spots I wanted to visit were closed for the day which meant I only had the choice of walking around and snapping away from the streets and so that's what I did.
I followed the crowd and along the way stopping and asking people with crazy, amazing and quirky costumes if I can take a photo of them.
Since starting this blog, I have become more and more interested in photography so it turned out that the Carnival was actually the best place to do more of that.
I was so in awe of the extensiveness of the event. At first I thought the main subjects of the street party were teens to maybe early 30s but I was astonished to see that the Germans love their carnival no matter what age they are.
The music, the atmosphere, the availability of alcohol on every street corner, the fact you're allowed to litter (even glass bottles) and most importantly the insanely fanciful costumes all made up for a kick ass street party.
Of course at the time I wished my friends were off work and could've been with me in the city to party along with the hundreds and hundreds of people who were doing just that but being behind the camera and snapping away and experiencing the Carnival from that perspective was just as good and maybe at some point even better.
I don't know much about European culture, not even that of Paris so I won't even begin to pretend I know anything about Germany or Germans only that they love their alcohol.
The tiny bottles were everywhere and I'm sure not one person managed to avoid stepping on them as they were walking.
Matching outfits between groups was such a massive thing too, I loved seeing the different groups and their outrageously awesome costumes and deciding which one's are my favourites.
Of course, these minion boys are among the top on the list.
This is only half of my Cologne, Germany experience and I know it's been a photo and word heavy post but after all, this is an online diary and 1 week, 1 month, 1 year later I will look back on this post, reminisce and be thankful that I was lucky enough to experience this city and laugh at my luck and faith that it just happened to be on the crazy day of Cologne Carnival.
I have more photos to share and more to say so hopefully you'll stay tuned for that :)
For now I hope you've enjoyed these photos and have a good week.
Thank you for reading xo