Wednesday, March 01, 2006

Karneval in Cologne & packed trains

We went to see the Carnival (Karneval) festival in Cologne (Köln) on Monday. People dress up in colorful costumes and go out on streets to watch the parade and collect sweets and flowers from it. Although this festival is celebrated to some extent all over the Christian world, it is with more color in only some cities. In Germany, the biggest celebrations are held along the middle section of Rhine river: from Frankfurt to Dusseldorf including Mainz, Bonn and Cologne. So people from areas away from this region tend to flock to this belt of cities. Carnival was not a religious festival, but it has not become sort of a religious season, marking the start of Christian fasting starting from Wednesday. This fasting continues for 40 days and is ended by Easter celebration, the biggest event in Christian calendar.

So we also chose to travel to the largest city in Rhine river belt: Cologne. The trains were jam-packed and more people got on at every station. This delayed the trains a lot and caused us to miss next trains. So we had to wait many times for next trains. We reached Cologne one hour later than planned. As expected there were lots of people on roads dressed in colorful novel clothes. The carnival parade continued through the city till evening. We had planned to return home the same evening, but the trains were late and were coming in random order. So we ended up taking the wrong train, going in opposite direction. We came back to Cologne and spent the night at a friend's in Bonn city. We took the train on Tuesday to reach home.

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