Thursday, 7 July 2011

Live - Laugh - Love (3) Cologne Karneval


Ta, ra, ra, ra - ump umpa umpa foldiray!
Ta, ra, ra, ra - ump umpa umpa foldiray...........

I first made friends with Zoe, when we shared a wee in bush in the middle of a roundabout while dressed as gnomes during Cologne carnival. If the friendship has been in any way a reflection on the way in which we met - then I would recommend that everyone gives this method of making friends a go!

In February 2005, I had a friend who had friends who lived in Cologne. I've always been one for jumping on a band wagon and inviting myself along to things. So I found myself as part of a 20 strong group of people, off to sleep in a 1 bedroom flat! I'd never met the couple we were staying with, but I'd heard they were a bit crazy and I'd never been to Germany before, so it was good enough for me.

I didn't really know anything about Cologne carnival before I went - but it was one of the most fun things I've ever done. I didn't really know what to expect from German people, but they were amongst the most joyous, happy, exuberant, welcoming and down right bonkers people I have ever had the pleasure to meet. And for 'Karneval' the entire population of Cologne was in fancy dress - drunk, happy and hugging!

On arrival at our hosts, we were issued with team costumes - red and white horizontal striped baby grows, similar socks, santa hats, wigs and beards. For a lady of my proportions, it was never going to be the most flattering look, but with a beard and wig it just about worked.

It took just 3 minutes for us to don our costumes and hit the bars, walking in on mass with our kolsch glasses in special holsters around our necks, we were immediately surrounded by whirling germans dancing to umpah music, a crazy face-painted circus celebrating the mere joy of life!

Much beer was drunk. I don't know how much because the waitresses kept coming and filling up our kolsch glasses, but someone seemed to be keeping a record on a beer mat somewhere. 

By 3am we were in a 'techno bar', when Rage Against the Machine - 'Killing in the Name' started playing. For those of you who don't know, this is quite an angry song, and not at all in keeping with the general spirit of the weekend. The male gnomes of our party cleared the dance floor! If you've never seen giant gnomes moshing and slapping each other on mass, then do put it on your list of comedy moments to be experienced before you die!

By 5am, some of us less hardy gnomes were starting to flag and decided to head for home. However, you know what it's like when you are part of a group where you just follow the leader without taking any real notice of where you are actually going? We all thought one of the others knew the way home - wrong! Once we had been wandering for quite some time, we realised that our collective knowledge of where we were staying was that it was on a road with a sex shop on the corner!

My german isn't very good. If we'd have been staying near the Town Hall or the library, it would have been a lot easier to ask for directions. With my very best 'Wo ist ein strasse mit ein sexy shop - um die ecker oder geradeause? - <<shrug>> <<smile>> <<look hopeful>>'. I tried my very best and got some very strange looks.

Cold, desparate for a wee, a long way from home and fully aware that I was in a baby grow, desparte times called for desparate measures. Never have I been so happy to see a big bush. And lo, a beautiful freindship was formed as I squatted shivering, a baby grow round my ankles, next to my new gnome friend Zoe, in a bush on a round about, lost in the middle of Cologne searching for a street with a sex shop on the corner. It's a beautiful memory!

We did eventually find our way back to the flat - after the others had already been back for about an hour. We found them slumped, one on top of the other, a sleepy, drunk gnome mountain. Proving, there's no place like 'gnome'!


Next out of the parcel - a packet of STRAWBERRY (LE) - BON BONS. Who? Why? ........

1 comment:

  1. This has brought back a lot of memories of a mad trip to Cologne we did for just one night for a friend's 30th around that same year. My abiding memory is of people dressed as doctors dragging hospital trollies loaded with alcoholic 'medicine', the disgusting cabbage-filled kebabs and a bar which was formerly a launderette.