Germany's Carnival season has opened with thousands of revellers turning out onto the streets of several cities.
In Cologne, where November 11 is traditionally celebrated on a particularly grand scale, some of the queues in front of the cordoned-off celebration zones were hundreds of metres long.
This year's celebrations come as coronavirus infections continue to rise across Germany.
That's a concern for local authorities and some revellers.
But singer Peter Brings of the Cologne rock band Brings said many people were hoping for the best.
"We just have to learn to live with it. I think we'll get much sicker if we just shut ourselves away," he said, "but maybe this year we should just snog our partners and wait until next year to snog everyone else."
Last year's Carnival events were all cancelled because of the pandemic.
This year it is different because a large proportion of the population has been vaccinated.
In the Carnival heartlands of Cologne and Duesseldorf, only vaccinated and recovered people have access to the cordoned-off areas in the open air.
A negative virus test is not enough.
Australian Associated Press
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