So today is officially the last day of Carnival, and I got to experience much of it here in one of the Carnival Capitals of Europe: Cologne.
When I first arrived here it became apparent that the Germans are not a particularly passionate people, especially from the Italian perspective, or a rowdy people, especially from the Irish perspective. Despite the fact that they love their beer, they are generally quite well behaved and contained in their emotions. However, I was told that there are two places at two times of year which represent the epitome of all of the repressed madness that the Germans have to offer: Munich at Oktoberfest, and Cologne at Carnival. Of course I had to jump all over that one, I wanted to see the ultimate in craziness that these Germans were capable of. I wasn't expecting to be shocked of course, after having lived in Dublin for five years, but I was still very curious.
So yesterday was the big Carnival celebration and parade in Cologne, where apparently everyone dresses up, fights over the candy thrown to the crowds and start drinking as soon as the parade begins, at 10 AM. Of course I had to laugh at this as typically German: they are obsessed with their Carnival, but celebrate it properly a day early, because God forbid they miss an extra day's work! Well anyway, these couple of videos give an idea of what it is like.
Overall? I would rate it a 4/10 on the crazy scale. Definitely not the most mental celebration I have ever seen by a long shot, but good fun and a good day out for sure!