Cologne

I think I am starting to come to terms with something. Is it possible that regardless of information, facts, anecdotes, stories, pictures, and otherwise, that I have built a place up in my head as somewhere I’ve always wanted to visit? Where does this come from. Movies are the likely culprit, or perhaps my mother, yeah must of been her. In my mind Cologne was like…magical. Why people rarely go there was beyond me. It ain’t beyond me now. Arthur F. my man, you were right to mostly keep places like this out of your books. Damn you Arthur. Every time you are correct a little part of me dies.

I am not suggesting that Cologne isn’t cool. It is cool. It’s just not cool enough. It’s not nearly interesting enough. Yes, they have one of the best cathedrals I’ve seen (the Dom), yes they are right on the Rhine and have a beautiful river walk with patios and benches lining it, and yes they have town squares that are pedestrian and restaurant patio heavy, they even have an additional and even more commercial pedestrian walk leading from the Dom to the river, BUT, in a world such as ours, is this really a reason to go out of your way to “experience” a place such as this. Get yourself some sausage, get yourself a Kolsch (their invention apparently and I apparently LOVE it) and walk around a bit. I’ll give you 60 minutes then we hop back on the train. By the way, I must admit the train ride along the river from Frankfurt to Cologne was something else…just gorgeous small German towns along a beautiful river over and over again.
To be fair, the Heumarkt and Altermarkt areas were full of patios, full of action, and are for sure great, but they just aren’t a good enough reason to visit unless you’ve got a good buddy that decided to move to Cologne.

And then there’s Pascha. Maybe this is why you came to Cologne. It is not near anything, but it is supposedly the most famous nightclub/brothel/stripclub in all of Europe. So let’s get started. The cab ride there from the city center (the main train station is where I started) is maybe 10 minutes long. They go there all day long. Arriving you notice something really quickly, not only is this area or even building not so big, it ain’t so glamorous either. I’m not saying it’s shoddy, it’s not that at all, but it’s German city nice, and not remotely Miami beach nice (I guess with the pictures and the reputation of being the best on a continent I expected something different). Now, 35 euros flat gets you into the club, which is really not a nightclub at all. It’s a giant room of, you guessed it, dudes. Every woman there is a stripper or some variation of one. Their job is to walk around and solicit table dances (goes from 10 to whatever depending on what you want) and occasionally dance on the stage. The table dances can range from typical to holy shit I can’t believe you just asked a girl to do that. But for the most part, I’d call it tame. I’d call it the first strip club experience for many of these jokers. Anyhoo, you get free drinks for the 35 entry fee so I’m thinking ok cool. Nope. Noooooppppppeeeee. The drinks, and I mean all of them, are served frat party style. The bartenders make ten thousand whatever at a time and place them on the bar for us to grab like starving Navy Seals. They even had stations, there were 4 of them, “Beer” the variety of which apparently wasn’t important, along with Vodka, Bourbon, and Rum, with adjectives or mixers that were either coke and soda or roofies and poison. No one seemed to care, and honestly I cared more about what my shoes kept sticking to everywhere I walked.

The upstairs is where the brothel is. The have 7 floors and a bar on every few floors. The bars serve somewhat reasonably priced drinks and you can walk around with them. Honestly, the employees up there are pretty damn nice.

I did not like this experience. Maybe I am becoming too old or too “nice” if you will. On each floor you have to walk down hallways past open doors with girls standing in them asking if you want to talk (and these ain’t particularly wide hallways). They aren’t overly aggressive, in my view they were overly sad. Time after time after time you look down a hallway at many girls and decide…hmmmm, it’s not even worth my time to walk 50 steps down this hall. I mean entire groups of dudes just turning around. Ouch! I mean, it’s so mean. I wanted to scream, give her a chance! haha! But it is popular. Have at it boys. I prefer window shopping from a distance. Pascha is soooooo not female friendly. It would be awkward and totally out of place to walk down one of those hallways with your girlfriend, which I think is one of the appealing things of a place like Amsterdam, regardless of whether or not you partake. Fun, unique, and exciting is what you’re looking for, not despair and desperation, at least I hope not.

Anyway, Cologne is fine. Pascha is fine I guess. I’m feeling totally…fine.

Notes to self:

-A dude told me the place right across the street from Pascha has cheaper and better girls and no cover charge (the Pascha upstairs area was an additional 5 euros). I got a beer at their bar but noticed nothing of note otherwise. Cabs line up quite a bit outside so getting home is cake.


Hotels

Dorint Heumarkt Cologne (May 2015)