Cologne to Haldern, Germany
Who is Tricky Ricky? Hmm...I'm not really sure. I do have a long time running gag though in which a "Rick" is a name given to someone who for the most part sucks, someone who's not being a bud, someone who fails. Perhaps I got this from watching too much Trailer Park Boys during my McGill years..? No offence to the real Ricks or Richards of the world. It's just a senseless joke. Tricky Ricky happens to be the name of the soap in the bathrooms at the hotel in Cologne. I'm sorry I just couldn't help myself. What kind of a name for soap is that anyway?... Tricky Ricky - wtf?
After a 7 hour journey from Lyon, the Franklin crew checked in at the Meininger Hotel in Cologne where we would stay for the next 3 nights. It's OK - small rooms and shitty WIFI, but I did manage to do some laundry! As usual after a long drive, I was craving a tasty beer to calm my senses. The Germans have a ton of great beers. I slipped into a nearby bar and enjoyed a few tasty weissbiers before calling it a night. I'm a big fan of IPA'S, and I find that the German wheat beers have a similar tangy-ness to them. This is like a Blanche de Chambly but WAY BETTER.
With plenty of free time the next day, we were all able to sleep and recuperate in the morning (take it when you can get it!) I took this opportunity to break a sweat and enjoy a nice jog in the nearby Hiroshima Nagasaki Park. A pretty great place to chill, walk, jog or just sit and stare at swans in the water.
It's now Easter Monday. Everything in Cologne is closed, except the local Café Fleur, next to our hotel. I enjoyed the German version of a latte, the Milchkaffee and a plate of eggs. Pas mal, this little café.
The weather here seems to change up really fast. After the rain poured down that afternoon and then a sunny break, we all took a walk and stumbled upon a Persian tandoori restaurant. No English menus here! The owner of the place was kind enough to explain most of the dishes on the menu before I settled on some lamb, eggplant and basmati rice à la Persia... delicious! I needed to walk off my dinner, so I ventured solo over to the enormous Cathedral in Cologne. This thing is massive!!! It's so tall that I almost missed it walking down the street. I wasn't looking straight up, ha!
The next morning I enjoyed another breakfast at Café Fleur before strolling around the many shops in the downtown area. If you want to do some serious shopping, Cologne is not a bad city to do it!
At 4pm we loaded in to the Stadtgarten venue. Due to a booking change-up, we actually got bumped to play in the larger venue here, instead of the 200 capacity Studio 672. This worked in our advantage, as we ended up rocking the venue with approximately 275 people in front of the stage. The tour in Germany was off to a great start!! I felt we played really well that night. And how lucky are we to play for a great crowd away from home!! Merci Köln!
To do and see in Köln
- Enjoy one of the Germans many Weissbiers. Paulaner is a pretty good one, although there are plenty more.
- Go to Hiroshima Nagasaki Park. Beautiful! Water, ducks, green plants!!
BACK WERK - Chain of snack bars around the city. Good place for cheap eats (sandwiches, pastries, coffee etc...)
Neumarkt Galerie Köln, Krebsgasse 4-6, 50667 Köln
Rathenaupl. 1, 50674 Köln
Killer espresso based drinks and espresso machine showroom. Real deal coffee culture.
Kolumbastraße 8, 50667 Köln
Other cool bars:
(Unfortunately I didn't have enough time to check them out)
- Die hängenden gärten Von ehrenfeld
- Scheues reh
Day 10 of the tour - off to Haldern
Haldern is a small farm town about a 1.5hr drive from Cologne. It's a great little town with a few restaurants, a bakery, a few hotels and shops, and tons of nice brick houses. In the middle of town is the Haldern Pop Bar, a 100 person capacity venue where the locals flock to hear some new music. Over the past 25 years, this little farm town has brewed up a pretty cool music scene, due to locals Stefan Reichmann and his team who began organizing the Haldern Pop festival. The festival has grown immensely over the years and has included some other Montreal bands including Patrick Watson, The Besnard Lakes, as well some US artists like Father John Misty. We met Stefan and his crew last fall when we played the Kaltern Pop Festival, which they also help organize.
Perhaps due to some sugary German wine I had indulged upon the previous evening, I was feeling a bit woozy and unable to focus today. I had to get away, my body was craving some exercise. I'm glad we were able to get the soundcheck out of the way rather quickly, so I could slip on my Nike's and hit the streets. A solid 30 minute run around this little town and a hot shower and I was reset, ready to rip the gig.
Tonight we would also have the luxury of being served a home cooked German schnitzel dinner, complete with potatoes, coleslaw, gravy and veggies!! What a feast!! I was so hungry that I forget to take a picture for you, but damn it was good! This and an espresso and I was ready for the 1's and 2's.
The show was a "smasher" as Jon would say. The place was packed right to the stage with people of all ages. It got hot and sweaty real fast!
Haldern is a bit off the beaten path if you're visiting Germany, but if you're into seeing some good music and hanging with some locals, look up the show listings at the Haldern Pop Bar and book yourself a room at the Doppeladler Hotel and Restaurant. Good times!
I'm happy to be back in Germany! Land of unlimited speed on the highways, good beers and schnitzel! If this band is gonna be coming back here every once in a while, I'm really gonna have to try and learn the language. At this point, all the street names sound the same and I can barely get by trying to translate items on a menu. But the good thing about not being able to speak the language is that you get a little more interaction with the staff in various establishments as you need them to basically explain every item. A bit of a pain in the ass for them, but then you tell them you're from Canada and they always seem to be happy to help. Nice!!
Cologne is a cool city, not the most charming one in Germany, but a good time and lots of historical buildings ready for you and your selfies.
Haldern - a gem! I wouldn't have gone here other than to play some music, but I felt lucky to have contributed to the vibe in this little music scene. The second sweatiest gig so far of the tour here, one to remember!