Wednesday, February 17, 2010
Yes, I thought I'd actually be enthusiastic in a title for once. And indeed I am quiet enthusiastic about the experience I just went through. I went to the city of Koeln for Karneval (Carnival). Koeln is the biggest city in Germany for the celebration which gets to crazyness through the Friday-Tuesday before Ash Wednesday. Thereby, I came from Friday to Tuesday.
Now, I hate blogs that tell you details about what you did day to day, but for this entry I feel its appropriate. I left Friday after school (meaning I had to bring my duffle bag to school which was a pain in the ass) and about halfway through my 4 hour journey to Koeln, they announced over the loudspeaker that anyone going to Koeln had to get off and there would be another train for us. I was so confused that I asked the woman in front of me for clarification, and wouldn't you know if she was Scottish? We thereby caught the next train together and realized our second train would get us there an hour later. My friends were waiting for me and had all already arrived in Koeln. I got into the Hauptbahnhof and it was PACKED and every single person was in costume. Jumping onto the bandwagon, I put on my flapper costume and joined my friends.
We spent the night dancing at a salsa bar and all around having fun with other exchange students ranging from America, to Argentina, to Latvia. And there were only two slight downpoints to my first night. First off, being myself, I naturally absolutely whipped out on the ice outside the bar--practically cracking a kneecap. God forbid I be at all graceful at any point of my life. Second downpoint, I got asked to dance by a South American guy at the bar. EPIC FAIL. But, if I'm to be fair, I always warn people when they ask to dance with me, my first answer being "I can't dance". Literally, every guy has answered back "...at all?". No, not at all. But yet they insist on me proving it. So yeah. Other than that, it was a fabulous night to start the experience, and we returned home around 3 am.
Saturday was a sort of...non Karneval day for us. We went to a local parade, in which I underdressed and was therefore miserable. We then went back to our host (Marios from USA) along with two other Americans (Tess and Ian) and Elina from Latvia. Through much teamwork we made curry...or what we called "Creation" which was delicious, watched Harry Potter and the Olympics, and ate candy thrown to us from the parade. Not the hard partying expected of a Saturday night of Karneval, but I found it quiet enjoyable.
Sunday was the highlight of my Karneval experience. We went to an AFS party in the early afternoon that was horrible but provided free food...hehe. Then we went into the city. It hit dark, and under the famous Koelner Dome there were African drummers (dressed as sailors?) and a huge group of people dancing to their beats. So naturally, Tess and I joined them. Unfortunately, Ian went home that day but after getting him on his train, we all went out to a really large "typisch Deutsch" bar with tons of people in costume. We danced to not so great music, but mostly entertained ourselves by befriending Germans. At one point there was a guy dressed as a New Yorks Giant football player, and for some reason I decided that gave me perfect reasons to go sit with him and talk. And guess what? HE WAS A NEW YORK GIANTS FOOTBALL PLAYER. What?! Nuts the people you meet in random places. After the bar we went to a Cuban club because it had great music and no entrance fee (all clubs and bars in Germany have an entrance fee from 5-20 euros). The club ended up being a bit boring and in a sudden craving we all went for curry and danced in the restaurant while waiting for food. We went home and I hit the bed incredibly hard.
Monday is known as the biggest day of Karneval, here in Germany its called Rosen Montag. We went to a huge parade in the middle of the city that had over 116 wagons. It took around 3 hours in the freezing cold and getting hit in the face with candy thrown by parade participants who didn't look when they threw. But the costumes were amazing and I'm glad I went. Then we went to (surprising) a BAR! But it had good music and was more for dancing. Unfortunately, I wasn't feeling well and was so not in the mood to dance. Throughout the day I just got worst and worst, and by the time we were at a cafe at 8 pm I turned to Marios and just said "take me home". And thank God I did, as it progressively got worst to the point I didn't sleep a wink Monday night. I went home sick on Tuesday. And didn't go to school Wednesday. Not the perfect ending to my trip, but I'm still absolutely amazed at how much fun I had and am so glad I went.