It's that time of year again – on 11 November 2013 the words "Kölle alaaf" will be heard throughout Cologne when the new carnival season gets under way. By morning Heumarkt square is already taken over by carnival chaos. Amid cries of "Zokunf. Mer spingkse wat kütt." (Future. Let's see what's coming) around 70,000 people in fancy dress gather together to count down the remaining seconds before the season officially begins at 11.11am. The party atmosphere continues into the night, helped along by the prince, the pauper and the maiden as well as other Cologne favourites.
Good to know: Düsseldorf and Mainz are also carnival heartlands.