I do love a holiday and I even enjoy the travel. I enjoy the anticipation of what we will find, see and discover. For this journey, we were going by car. We set off early and stopped at a Starbucks (it was that or Burger King!) where I had a Bircher muesli with passionfruit and coconut and a latte. The muesli was surprisingly very good.
We followed the signs from the Eurotunnel terminal to our first destination 🙂
Are any of you watching this drama? We are and loving it. It is a bit too gruesome but what we love is never being able to guess what happens next.
So it seemed slightly un-nerving to be going in to the tunnel. We made it through with no severed bodies or ‘Truth Terrorists’. We then drove through France, Belgium, Holland and Germany to our destination. That makes it sound like a long drive but it was only 4 hours from driving off Le Shuttle to getting to Cologne, Germany. Well, in theory it would have been 4 hours if there hadn’t been that detour in to the middle of Brussels !!! And if we hadn’t had a much needed loo, chocolate and coffee stop on a motorway somewhere.Finally we arrived at art’otel in Cologne. What a lovely hotel this is. We found a great deal on-line for their ‘Christmas Package’ which included breakfast and a dinner one night in their restaurant plus Gluhwein and train tickets.
We had booked a corner room and it was huge.Plenty of space for sleeping, working (unlucky Lara!) and just chilling.
Immaculately clean and well designed bathroom too. So we settled down to enjoy our complimentary Gluhweins – no, Harvey was not drinking Gluhwein. We then set off in to the market next to the hotel. The Weihnachtsmarkt is just outside the hotel door.
The market also goes along the opposite side of the river. Our hotel is the large white building on the right hand side of the picture.
It was a very mild afternoon and evening – just perfect for browsing through the market.
Hot smoked salmon? Candles, honey or spices? Make sure you get your 7 a day in children! Rusty tools? No, these are all made from chocolate. They are incredibly realistic. Fork handles? Oh, no, my mistake, they are door knobs. This stall got the boys salivating………. Sausages! Despite being very hungry we managed to refrain from eating anything at all because we had booked dinner in the hotel restaurant. We decided to use that offer on our first night as we were all tired. The hotel restaurant is Chino Latino and it’s food is described as drawing from China, SE Asia and Japan. I assumed from the name it was Chinese and Latin American!
We started with mixed vegetables. This was Tuna tartar on a cripsy something. It was delicious but I am not sure what it was. These crispy wantons were filled with some kind of raw fish (Hamachi) and spring onions with avocado and radish. Really delicious. I had 2 of these as James and I shared starters.This was the other starter – butterflied prawns with wasabi and coriander.
We also shared mains. This was beef which was served on hot rocks. It arrived flaming and was served with soy sauce, wasabi dressing and white rice. The other main was black cod served with miso.
We declined dessert as it was not included in the price and this restaurant was expensive. Our mineral water was 8 Euros a bottle!
We are also resisting the crisps, chocolates and alcoholic beverages in the room as they are expensive too. Over the road from the hotel is a garage which sells inexpensive wine, beer and chocolates. We enjoyed a very reasonable Reisling for 6 Euros while we all snuggled up in bed and watched one of the many films the hotel provides. Well, watched anything the way families do these days – watching while also on iPads and iPhones!
It is good to be here and we are all looking forward to getting to know a bit about Cologne.