When your friends are enthusiastically shouting at you because an artist you all love (AMANDA FUCKING PALMER) is coming near your country to play a show, you get tickets as fast as you can and travel to the closest show she’s playing. Which was in Cologne, Germany.
Last november when Amanda Palmer was doing her European tour the three of us (Marlies, Matthijs and I) went to Germany to go see her. We decided to make it a mini vacation and spend four days in Cologne. With a direct train, Utrecht to Cologne is only about three hours. We had a pleasant journey and our airbnb turned out to be pretty cool. The room I stayed in looked like the inside of a beach hut, there were bamboo like twigs coating the walls. My friends had a bed of which the base was covered with carpet and the windows faced a little garden filled with strange statues. Looking back I’m a little sad I didn’t take any pictures of them.
Amanda Palmers concert was on the first night we were there. While we were waiting for the show to start, sometimes a curtain behind the stage would open a little bit and Amanda’s son Ash would peek through from the arms of his caretaker. With everyone staring at the stage (piano and wine sat there waiting) Amanda had snuck behind the crowd and started playing a song on her ukelele. Standing on the bar. Without amplification. Being lit by someone else tilting a regular lamp in her direction. SUCH POWER. She played for about three hours, well into the night, trying to work in as many requested songs as possible and ending again with her ukelele standing right in the middle of the crowd while we all sat down on the floor. Then, using up the last time the venue had before closing, she signed cds and hugged people wanting a small moment. Amanda Palmer is just the best.
When we got back to our place later we sat up talking about the show until it was about three in the morning. Simply because even though we’d been tired, we just didn’t feel like letting such an awesome evening end.
Thankfully, we could wake up in a gemütlich way the next day. And have breakfast with German pastries. Which my friend Anna, who is German, quickly pointed out were NOT a traditional German breakfast. I don’t care, it was delicious. Anna came up to Cologne to hang out with us and we spend the day going all over the centre of the city. We went from cat café to record shop. From coffee place to the Dome and to the Ludwig Museum, which has a lovely collection of all kinds of modern art.
It was fun introducing Anna to Matthijs and Marlies. At the end of the day we retired to our airbnb where the four of us just sat around talking about everything from silly Harry Potter comics to what staying in Taizé is like. We also watched part of The Goblet of Fire dubbed in German. Getting to just spend time with good friends is delightful.
Apart from the concert, we hadn’t actually made any plans before coming to Cologne. It has it’s own excitement to just figure out where to go in the moment. The day Anna was with us she showed us around the places she knew, but the rest of the time we just basically googled whatever it was we were after. Hungry? Check Google Maps for food establishments nearby that have a high rating. It’s how we found the fantastic Dicker Hund, which if you ever want a great burger I cannot recommend enough. We actually ate there two out of our four days.
My other favourite was Kutsche, Das Kaffeehaus. It was slightly off the big shopping area, in a little street you’d think would only be residential. But no, Google told us there was something there and lo and behold! It turned out to be the awesomest of all the coffee places we went to in Cologne.
Marlies, Matthijs and I have a very similar sense of energy and how we like to spend our time. Being out in the busy streets is fun but then at some point all three of us just want to retire to a quiet, cosy place where we can have nice drinks while recharging. We all like to just sit and either read a book or draw or write. On our last day we spend the majority of our time just sitting somewhere we could have lemonade and lunch. Matthijs was reading, Marlies and I were drawing and I also wrote a little in my personal travel journal. It’s wonderful to have travel companions who like to spend their time in the same way.