“Matthias Boden guide with a passion. Every Saturday, he offers the “Free Walk Cologne”: A free walking tour off the average tourist paths. In the future he wants to offer guided tours also for refugees. free translated article. Original by Christopher Dröge in Kölnische Rundschau
Every Saturday at ten past twelve he stands at the Eigelsteintorburg and waits for “clientele”: Matthias Boden, tourist guides from passion. There is the starting point of his “Free Walk Cologne”, a free-guided tour, which he is advertisimg exclusively in the internet.
Again, a diverse group of interested guest from Morocco, Egypt, Spain and Australia arrived. Its important for Boden that his participants also get to know each other – so it starts with a open round where everybody is invited to report where he or she comes from – the home town is more important than the country.
When the ice is broken, Boden leads his group, passing standard tourist sights like St. Ursula, of course, the cathedral and the Heinzelmännchenbrunnen, into the city center. At the same time he also stops the Weidengasse to show the local “Little Ankara”. He also uses a street art piece to inform his guests about Cologne cultural policy which has been criticized in the picture. He always tries to give its guests the real cologne feeling (Kölsche Lebensart). “We are a very patriotic city,” he says, “but we are patriotic in a manner which invites every stranger to be with us patriotic.”
Since one year now Boden offers his tour on a weekly basis. “I have regularly CouchSurfer guest that I have shown around before. A Korean woman then suggested that I should offer it but for more people – on the first attempt, I had 25 participants. I’ve seen that there is probably a need. “As he makes advertising especially on CouchSurfing pages, he reaches young individuals who have little interest in conventional city tours. “In the future I would like to offer the guides also for refugees who have found shelter in Cologne,” he says.”