Today is something of a rest day so just after halfway through my trip I thought I´d give something of a summary.
Köln (Cologne) – a very nice place that has come alive during the World Cup. You can go days without seeing fans from a particular country, but as soon as they are playing on any given day the hoards come out in their thousands. They all have standard issue flags, face paints, horns and whistles and aren´t afraid to use them.
Alongside the busier side of the Rhine is a long row of restaurants on bars that are all much the same, perhaps offering different specililaties but rarely much variation from the same menus. A couple of narrow alleys further back brings you into the Aldstadt, although this is a little misleading as a lot of it was destroyed in WW2 bombing raids.
All the bars around the Heumarkt Fan Fest come alive during the evenings, and today in particular is full of Czechs due to their game in Köln against Ghana today. At the other end of the main shopping area is Neumarkt and then Rudolfplatz, which is host to the Hoherzollernring. This long stretch of bars seems to be more for the locals as it may be a bit too far from the centre itself for foreign guests.
After the Trinidad & Tobago match the England fans were informed that on the 20th for the Sweden game, there would be a park that could accommodate 35,000 fans on the other side of the Rhine. The Fan Fest was very full for the Trinidad match and with Sweden bringing their own fans and the game being played in Köln, the citiy´s population could be increased by as much as 15%!