SIGHTS in Cologne:
Come in and chill out! For 15 years now Pollerwiesen has been a stop for international DJ lines in dub, club, house, techno and pretty much everything else that goes with electronic party music. There's no shortage of space: the 20,000m² is ample space for up to 10,000 revellers. If you can't tear yourself away then opt for a season ticket. For an investment of 48 euros you can be involved every Sunday. And as the party gets going in the afternoon, you'll still have plenty of time to enjoy the Cologne nightlife and party around the clock.
To clear up any misconceptions: no, the athletes neither run in tutus nor do they dress all in pink. The Gay Games are held under the rainbow flag, but absolutely anyone may take part in the marathon, hurdles and freestyle swimming, irrespective of their sexual preference. Since 1991 Christopher Street Day has developed into Cologne's mega event, with hundreds of thousands expected year for year. Aside from the sporting events there are proud podium discussions and speeches on equality. DJs are on hand to get the crowd swinging at the CSD street festival, and there's a special honour for the best float in the CSD parade. Colour your life!
The cathedral: it is easy to locate as it acts as a navigation point for locating everything else. Standing at 157 metres tall it was for many years the city's tallest building. Today only the telecommunications tower reaches higher into the sky. Nevertheless life in Cologne mostly revolves around the monumental construction - that is of course until the jesters take over. Those who pass through the great entrance as non-believers may well find themselves reconsidering once inside. The giant halls leave visitors feeling so small and insignificant that humbleness will take care of itself. But the cathedral also moves with the times. When Gerhard Richter created the south transept window in 2007, he chose instead of the proposed Bible scene to design a colourful mosaic, which resembles the pixels of a computer screen. Although the original reaction was one of anger, the uproar has since settled down leaving Richter's work to enlighten church goers and art critics alike.
EAT in Cologne:
Crispy on the outside, soft in the middle: take a bite into your baguette and be catapulted to the Champs-Élysées. Passers-by simply cannot resist peeking through the windows of this bakery, which display the haute couture of French baking and leave the mouth watering. Once inside the tasting commences: the butter croissants melt on the tongue, the éclairs suppress any thoughts of calories and the wonderful tartines embody the dreams of any Francophile. To complement the various delights organic espresso, wine and a good serving of joie de vivre are available.
A mango lassi in the fresh summer air. Feynsinn is a particularly popular meeting point for late risers, especially in the summer months. You can enjoy breakfast here until 4 p.m., and the selection is both broad and international: French croissants, muesli and scrambled eggs with tomatoes and basil are all on the menu. The finest produce organic farming has to offer can be found on the lunch menu, including organic curd cheese and chicken strips. To follow up the happy chickens we recommend schnapps from Jean-Paul Metté and then a pub tour through the student quarter.
Dine in a glass palace. Skulpturenpark is not only a must because of its artwork, but also its trendy lounge. The view is amazing. The food is a delight. Hase Catering is behind the delicacies in the stylish setting. With a panorama view of the park events come accompanied by finger food, Asian treats or healthy dishes low in carbohydrates. Even if you're not on the guest list you should still take in the Parklounge. Claus Föttinger decked out the event location in a cool retro look with his photo collages. And while you're there don't forget to check out the Skulpturenpark, which has some art of its own.
STAY in Cologne:
It all began with a bet: artist Martin Kippenberger made a bet with the boss of Chelsea that Germany would make it into the next round at the 1986 World Cup. The prize was a week free of charge at Chelsea. Kippenberger won and was at the entrance of the hotel the very next day with his suitcase in hand. Kippenberger stayed and paid for his room in art - an idea taken up by other artists who also paid their way with paintings. But if you think that you too can get away with a discount by handing over a quick scribble with the room key, then you are mistaken. Hotel Chelsea is almost overflowing with art and therefore can only exhibit just a selection of its collection, which includes work by David Robbins and Joseph Zehrer. Less creative guests will have to pay the EUR 91 for a double room in good old fashioned money.
At Grandhotel Schloss Bensberg the husband and wife General Directors stroll around with their noses pointing toward the ceiling. But it has nothing to do with arrogance, but instead the breathtaking view of Cologne. To enjoy it you have to go slightly out of your way with the hotel located twelve kilometres from the city. But it's worth every metre: the three-hundred-year-old baroque palace not only offers historic masonry, but also a spa in a class of its own and a jeweller for a touch of extra class. If that's not to your liking then sit back in the Jacuzzi in your own room, turn down the lights and enjoy the home cinema facility. Schloss Bensberg serves French cuisine in Vendome (of course decorated with Michelin stars) and Mediterranean fare in Enoteca. Wines from an exceptionally long wine card are available in the hotel's two bars. Bensberg is classic, conservative and simply kingly. Double room from EUR 190 per night.
In hotels furnished with a retro look it's easy to feel like you have been dropped into a 70s science fiction film. That's not the case at Atrium Rheinhotel. Here you can admire the retro theme without being overawed by it. And black and white philosophers will love it here: colours have been banned from the atrium, while the rooms have a purist finish. Yet you can't have everything as the fresh flowers bring a radiant contrast - alas back tulips are not yet available. What one wouldn't expect to find in this designer hotel are the ceiling lamps, which suspiciously look like they're from IKEA. Nevertheless, business travellers and others, who concentrate on the bigger picture, are guaranteed to feel satisfied here. Double room EUR 108 per night.
SHOPPING in Cologne:
If the airline once again sends your luggage in the opposite direction, you'll still be well suited and booted for your meeting: Daniels has classic clothing for all types of business people. There's also matching jewellery, shoes and handbags by Ash, Htc and Goti. But the best feature is the range of sizes, with Daniels catering for both ends of the scale. Unfortunately the nobly designed shop is styled to such a degree that you'll almost be ashamed of your own outfit. Be sure to wash your hands before you handle anything! For today's businessmen there's an additional branch at Neumarkt 10, while the kids also have their own shop floor at Ehrenstraße 41.
If you enter Zeitgeist than you can let loose of any ideas that you will leave with an untouched wallet. Many of the design products will spontaneously vault your heart to a higher frequency and let the sweat glands of your palms work hard. The cerebrum shouts: want! For example the iPod docking station in the shape of a bear by Be@rbrick, which women find cute and men cool. Or, who would not want one of the stylish Dom Pérignon Vintage 2000 bottles in Andy Warhol edition stand in his or her shelve? Or travel around with the Pentax Optio NB 1000 and then shine out of the tourist masses with the camera in self-made Lego design? If you live this kind of zeitgeist, you will leave this store as a happy person.
Chang 13 regards itself as addicted to fine arts. That's not only noticeable in terms of their fashion but also becomes quite clear when looking at their imaginative store concept: in the centre of the fashionable goings-on in the Cologne store stands a tree. From season to season, Chang hangs new and interesting objects on the tree. Sometimes paper lace doilies adorn the tree, sometimes it's garments and accessories in full bloom. The man behind this concept is native Korean and a graduate from the fashion school in Trier. In Paris he learned the art of layered felting and he worked as a stylist all over Europe. Now he's selling his own fashion in the Belgian district. The characteristics of his style are wide and round slits in the sleeves and modified kimono cuts. Chang's aesthetic is mix of classic elements and avant-garde ideas. He loves extraordinary fabrics and values the exploration of materials and their innovative implementation. For all those among you with a green fashion thumb: off to Chang's fashion botany!