Gay travel to Cologne this year is certainly going to be popular. Known as a Mecca for gays, this German city is host to the 2010 Gay Games from 31 July – 7 August. Everything is raring to go for this event that features sporting disciplines, festivals, fairs, parades and other cultural events.
The Gay Games is the biggest sporting event for LGBT athletes, musicians and artists. People of any sexual orientation are welcome to participate in all disciplines. Originally known as the Gay Olympics when it started in 1982 in San Francisco, the event aims to promote participation, inclusion and personal success in sport.
With this ethos in mind, competitors do not have to go through a qualification process. Anyone can participate – sexual orientation is irrelevant. Cologne has no sexual discrimination; therefore the 2010 event will feature competitors from all corners of the world, especially from countries that still frown on homosexuality.
In the past, the games have been hosted in San Francisco, Sydney, New York and Amsterdam. There will be 34 disciplines ranging from track and field events, to volleyball, soccer, weight-lifting, wrestling, chess and bowling. Anyone planning to visit Cologne over this period is advised to book as soon as possible.
Singers and bands from many countries will feature in a singing and instrumental festival. Prior to the opening ceremony, a huge marathon, the Rainbow Run, will have traveled through every continent. Athletes will proudly carry the Rainbow flag to the ceremony. The marathon will honor those who died of AIDS.
The oldest German city, Cologne lies on the banks of the famous Rhine River. It is always abuzz with tourists who are keen to experience Cologne’s vibrancy and its rich heritage. Local residents are friendly, jovial and helpful. You will find a plethora of gay restaurants, clubs and bars in the city.
There are lots of exciting tourist attractions and events for gay visitors. You can take a hike to majestic castles, or compete in a women-only motorcycle event. Take a tour that exposes gay history from the 1800s up to 1969. Cologne’s famous carnival, the Rhenish Extravaganza, features many attractions, art displays, lectures and parties.
LGBT visitors to Cologne are welcomed with a special Pink WelcomeCard distributed by the Koln Tourismus Service Center. Through the center, you can get free public transport, discounts on river cruises, theater tickets, museum visits, and opera shows. The center also offers discounts for gay clubs, bars, shops and saunas. Gay travel to Cologne is going to be at an all-time high this year.