We had such good experiences with the Paris and Trier Hop On -Hop Off Busses that we were all really excited about trying it in Köln. I have to say, don't waste your time.
It was more steps from here until the top.
After the parade and eating our pizza from our favorite pizzeria (Bacharach Pizza, of course, which is just five steps from our apartment); we took a 20 minute walk up to the Fest. They were still at the part of everyone giving speeches, but the wine was already flowing! We walked around for a little bit then decided to head back home, ala the Wizard of Oz/skipping down the yellow brick road.
After our walk back we stopped to get some Italian Ice. Yum!