We had an overnight train from Prague to Cologne. We arrived in the German city at 8am on November 11. Being from Canada and Chris being from England, Remembrance Day is a big deal for us. We had expected our day to be a quieter one, touring the WWII museum and seeing one of the most bombed cities. However, the city threw us a curveball.
Getting off the train we saw so many people in costumes. It was like rocking up to the Rugby Sevens, decked out, already drunk….at 8am. We were so confused and thought maybe there was a rugby or football game on. Then we saw more and more police getting off the train. As we walked out of the train station, the square was packed. We quickly learned that it was St. Martins Day, which is a winter festival in Germanic countries. EXCEPT, Cologne is the only German city the hosts the biggest party of the year. Everyone travels to Cologne to be a part of it. Nightclubs and bars open at 7am and stay open all day and all night. Think Mardi Gras but in Germany.
Chris and I were EXHAUSTED so we walked to our hotel. We stayed at the 25 Hours Hotel. It was one of the coolest hotels that we have ever stayed in. The entire theme was space. It was quirky and unique and I HIGHLY recommend it. We were hoping we could check-in early and got the last room available before check in. When we got to our room we looked around and fell right asleep.
After our power nap, we made our way through the city to get some food. We found a Hard Rock Cafe and it was like walking into a club. The music was blaring, everyone was up dancing, drinks were flowing, and then a marching band came in. We went from hearing Germanic dance music, to Sweet Caroline from the marching band, back to dance music. We didn’t know a single song, but it was such a great atmosphere you didn’t want to leave. We ate and drank there for a while. As we were leaving we ran into a group of men dressed as the RCMP! Of course we stopped for a photo-op.
We wanted to walk through old churches, buildings and museums, but everything was closed for the festival. We did walk around to see the city a little, but didn’t get to experience much. I was a bit disappointed but it was neat to see this part of their culture that I didn’t know existed.
Chris and I had to leave early in the morning to head to Brussels, so we wanted to relax. We went back to the hotel and used their sauna and spa. After that, we made our way up to the rooftop bar for drinks. It was a nice way to spend the last night of our European Honeymoon.