SIGHTS in Cologne:
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!
Magenta is the new lavender. The designers made their decision and that's what they got for this concept store. The colour is resplendent at the entrance, it fills the shelves of the shoe salon, adds a special touch to the men's fashion and is splashed across the walls behind the eveningwear. On the topic of colour, the famous red shoes by Christian Louboutin can of course be found here alongside Miu Miu, Prada, Gucci and all of the other usual suspects in the luxury selection. If your head begins to spin take a break in the classy Fischermanns' restaurant. There's even something for art lovers: the store regularly holds vernissages in its venerable hall.
Fans of modern art will be impressed: the gallery sells work by Kandinsky, David Hockney, Gerhard Richter and Joseph Beuys, and stylistically lies somewhere between abstract expressionism, constructivism and tusche on cartridge paper. Yet the old masters Picasso and Matisse are also represented, allowing the less educated art lovers to benefit. It begs the question of whether the Picasso really will go over the counter and at what price. If you're less than certain concerning your choice of artwork, you can call upon the in-house experts for advice. Only then can you say for certain that you possess art with a seal of approval!
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're looking for that special dress for stepping out onto the red carpet, you can do a lot worse than head to Salon Ludvík. Here tailored art is conceived and created for elegant television stars. Fenja Ludwig's motto is ?Panta rhei' (everything is in flux). Flowing materials, low-cut backs and dove motifs stand at the forefront of the chic label. The couture icon is in touch with her craft, emphasising the female body without restraining it, while bridging the gap with her unmistakeable style between Parisian tradition and modern Cologne.
If you go shopping in Cologne, you simply cannot pass 4711 without venturing in. It's said that even Napoleon swore by the Eau de Cologne. But back in his day it was sold as a cure-all for listlessness and tiredness. There are other products for that nowadays, but the Eau de Cologne still does a fine job against strong smells. The 4711 main office in the centre of Cologne is a paradise for souvenir hunters. Here you'll find Kölnisch Wasser for the whole family, as well as authentic Kölnisch Wasser shower gel, soap and nostalgia packages. Even the shop itself gets in on the act, sporting a 4711 fountain at the entrance. Discover the exhibition dedicated to the history of the product on the gallery and the tapestry that depicts Napoleon as a graffiti artist. Curious? Then head to the fragrant delights!
EAT in Cologne:
Order cola and wine here and you might as well get your coat. Fischers Weingenuss is exclusively for wine aficionados. The ?wine bible' boasts 700 different wines, leaving wine lovers utterly spoilt for choice. Fortunately the menu provides handy hints as to which wine goes with which dish. This way you won't turn red when ordering the Grünen Veltliner from Kemptal to accompany braised knuckle of lamb Carpaccio. If your wine knowledge is somewhat lacking, then why not attend a wine seminar: Christina Fischer is on hand to provide novices and connoisseurs alike with a big glass of passion. After this course you'll never order cola and wine again!
What does it for you? Fresh and firm, mature and round, or deep and complex? No, we're not talking about men, but the wine at Le Moissonnier. Yet not only the wine card reads like a who-is-who of the winemakers guild. The food menu tells a similar culinary tale. For example: filet of Breton sole with a brown butter sauce and truffle jus, grilled fennel bulbs with tomato essence, Calamaretti and mange tout with mint. Sound good? To accompany a splendid meal the restaurant even serves up a Jugendstil ambience. Et voilà, c'est formidable!
A packed lunch has never tasted so good. Never before have school friends been so green with envy. The sandwiches by restaurant specialist Christian Bauer offer lightly salted butter spread on sourdough bread, covered with gouda, Milano salami, fig mustard or something equally as good. The crust is crispy, the middle succulent. What more could you want from a sandwich? Perhaps a soup or a cake or some rustic flair? They have it all! As everything is freshly made, short waiting times are to be expected. It may well be quicker to pick up a meal at McDonald's, but if you want to find crispy lettuce in your sandwich, then skip the golden arches and head to Bauers.
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.
The New Yorker
Deutz once built the four-stroke engine here. Today only the design is tuned up. Architect Johannes J. Adams is the man to thank for the stylish masterpiece, as it was Adams who retained the brick walls and designed the purist rooms to complement them. The events at the hotel, in contrast, are far from minimalistic: concerts, exhibitions and readings fill the event calendar. An idyllic garden and regular live cooking shows complete the motto of the charming boutique hotel: ?eccentric, emotional, enjoyable, especial'. We can add one more to that list: exceptionally cheap! Double room from EUR 90.
Not suitable for basketball players, who will have to fold themselves up at night to fit into one of the 19th century baronial beds. But Antik Hotel Bristol still receives our Golden Nostalgia Ribbon for its furnishings: double rooms featuring Wilhelminian style furniture with walnut root veneer are worth a look. Or perhaps a double room decked out like a Bavarian palace. The theme continues as you exit the hotel: Kaiser-Wilhelm-Ring was built to resemble the Wiener Ringstraßen and it is still Cologne's most beautiful grand boulevard. When you're out strolling around be sure not to forget to smile and wave! Or you could just go all the way and rent a horse-drawn carriage. Double room from EUR 92 per night.