The shops in Cologne, even large supermarkets,are closed on Sundays! That took me back a few years to when that was normal in England too. The markets were open but to be honest we had seen enough markets and wanted to see something different.
We had breakfast in the hotel again. I had fruit with Bircher Muesli and Bilberry yogurt topped with sunflower seeds. This was about the only healthyish thing I had all day! Bizarrely, we sat at the same table beneath this picture for 3 breakfasts and dinner at the hotel. I say bizzarely because the restaurant was full each day at breakfast but this table was always empty!
The Art’otel featured works by Seo, a Korean artist. Her works are in the reception and every bedroom. The shops may have been shut but Cologne has many museums so we set off for one of them. The walk took us back through the shopping centre. This window display was strange, coming from London to Cologne to see a display about Christmas in London.
On an ordinary street close to this splendid looking building,
In the basement of this building, the Gestapo imprisoned and tortured thousands of people from across Europe and killed hundreds. The prison cells have been maintained as they were and the writing of the prisoners on the cell walls preserved. The upper floors are a museum showing exhibits about the National Socialist Party. The upper floors were quite challenging to understand as they were all in German but the prison had an excellent audio guide so it was easier to understand what we were looking at. It was very grim and a chilling reminder of a time Germany would perhaps prefer to forget.
It was good to be outside again, in the fresh air.
Refreshments were needed. A raspberry gateaux and a latte were enjoyed. We wandered back to our hotel via the town hall. This is such a beautiful building. We have not been able to get close enough to admire it properly because both times we have walked past it before, there has been a wedding in progress. But not today.
This was our destination, the Schokoladen museum on the other side of the harbour wall to our hotel. This is another example of a building that combines old and new, very effectively. Linné, one of the first people to manufacture chocolate from cocoa beans, believed chocolate had many nutritious properties, and helped weight loss! Sadly I do not think that is right or I would be very skinny. We walked through exhibits on the history of chocolate, manufacturing and trade and then came to a chocolate factory. A Lindt factory no less, which was a surprise. We were not expecting that! This was an excellent display as you could get very close to each step in the manufacturing process but it was all safely and hygienically concealed behind screens. The process began with raw cocoa beans and ended with packaged chocolate. Conching made all the difference! These are the moulds for tiny little bars of chocolate. This machine tips the chocolate out of the moulds and on to a conveyer belt to a wrapping machine. This lady packages the little gold wrapped bars in to bags.
Having seen how chocolate is made, we wanted to taste it. Le voila, the Lindt chocolate fountain. The
Oompa Loompa’s kind ladies who dip wafers in to the chocolate and give them to you 🙂 That has to be the best chocolate fountain I have ever seen. This lady is making bars of chocolate. You could select toppings such as nuts, sweets or marshmallows but the queue was too long so we just watched what they did. Packaging the chocolate took a lot of designing to perfect.
They got there in the end 🙂 Having watched chocolate being made, we all wanted to eat some. I managed to stay clear of the shop and instead we went to the cafe for a hot chocolate. It was delicious. It was served with a little tiny bar of Lindt. The hot chocolate was made with milk and melted chocolate – no wonder it was so good. This is the view from the top of the chocolate museum towards the Art’otel and the market.After the chocolate and to provide sustenance for the journey home, we chose something from the market beside the hotel. I chose to have a Flammlach.
This is the hot smoked salmon which is just so delicious. I would drive back to Cologne to have it again it was so lovely. The salmon are pegged on to boards, placed at an angle over an open fire. The fish cooks and the fat runs down in to the troughs either side of the fire. I had it today in bread with lettuce and honey, mustard and dill sauce. Salmon perfection.I can’t believe how quickly time flew by and that it was time to go.
We all really enjoyed the Art’otel and do not hesitate to recommend it. We paid extra to have corner rooms. Mine was fantastic and considerably bigger than the other. I was in 346 and having checked at reception, I can confirm that 146, 246 and 446 are equally big. Our other room was 302 and although pleasant enough, was much smaller. So if you are planning a visit to Cologne, book n46 for a lovely room.