Carmen Strzelecki runs a design studio and is a book publisher.
I start my day at Café Heinemann at Ebertplatz. I often meet an elderly lady wearing a fur hat there. “If you find yourself a boyfriend, make sure he’s handsome and has lots of money,” she once advised me, even though she’s single herself! If I have a day off, I’ll head to the fields behind the Mediapark. I love the fact that it’s always so empty there. I often like to watch how the points on the tracks are reset and the trains are directed to the south or west. Crossing the bridge, I go to the Herkulesberg, a small hill. I do a lap around there but sometimes get lost because I end up missing a certain turnoff.
If I’m in the mood to go shopping, then it’s usually for records. My record store of choice is Groove Attack on Maastrichter Strasse, where Uwe, the owner, is happy to advise me for hours. I love Vintage Emde, the second-hand store on Bismarck Strasse, for its sensational themed windows. The theme is often tennis, which is why I’ve bought myself a lot of tennis skirts from there, even though they don’t really suit me.
One of my favourite places is the Cologne University for Music and Dance in the Kunibertsviertel. I like to eat in their canteen, but I love going to the free concerts even more. It’s great to see the musicians so immersed in their music.
Close by to here is the sushi place Teabox, where I like to have lunch, even though the waitress there tends to be in a bad mood. I am fascinated by people who are moody and haven’t quite managed to understand the whole customer service mentality. But the food there is great and good value. Otherwise I go for more rustic cuisine at a traditional brewery pub. At Balthasar on Neusser Strasse I like to have the Strammer Max (brown bread with ham and a fried egg). I like to chat to the staff there too; one of them is interested in astrophysics and is a huge Stephen Hawking fan.
Sometimes I hop on the train and get out wherever it looks interesting. That’s how I discovered the open-air pool in Hoffnungsthal, the perfect place to laze around in the sun eating chips.