Cologne, then to Amsterdam

Our short one-night stay in Cologne was intended to be a resting period between the possible rigours of the cycle trip and our final European destination, Amsterdam.  I had been to Cologne several times in the past few years and Garry thought he might have been there many years ago.

Lots of people in Cologne, in the square in front of the Dom (Cathedral)

Lots of people in Cologne, in the square in front of the Dom (Cathedral).  A beautiful bright blue day, too.

It was Saturday and the city was abuzz with tourists, football supporter crowds (supporting either the local team or the visitors), and with groups of young people on bucks and hens party excursions.  I don’t understand all the details of the latter groups, but it appears to involved a themed t-shirt uniform, a costume outfit for the prospective bride or groom, lots of alcohol and lots of noise from singing and chanting.  And it’s much the same for the football crowds too.  All pretty harmless, and no great nuisance to others.

A buck's group, with the groom-to-be dressed in a fat suit, outside the Fruh brewhouse.

A buck’s group, with the groom-to-be dressed in a fat suit, outside the Fruh brewhouse.

On Saturday night we dined and drank at the Fruh brewhouse and restaurant, not far from the Cathedral.  It’s very convivial, very German, very good fun and very satisfying in all respects.  It’s currently the white asparagus harvesting season in Germany, so we each had White Asparagus with Veal Meatballs and béarnaise sauce, and boiled potatoes with melted butter.  And a couple of beers each.  It was great!!

Herr Rod enjoying an ale at the Fruh brewhouse.

Herr Rod enjoying an ale at the Fruh brewhouse.

White Asparagus and Veal Dumplings. Yummo!!

White Asparagus and Veal Dumplings. Yummo!!

We stayed at the Ibis Hotel attached to the main railway station, and located adjacent to the Dom (the Cathedral).  It’s a great location, so close to everything, and so convenient for travellers.

The Dom, illuminated at night, seen from my hotel room.

The Dom, illuminated at night, seen from my hotel room.

On Sunday morning, we travelled by German Inter-City Express train to Amsterdam Central.  The trip was OK, about half an hour late arriving in Amsterdam and with no ticket control for most of the journey.  We don’t mind paying train fares, but we object when freeloaders take advantage of poor train management to travel for free (and in First Class!).  Occasionally there can be a Magic Moment when the interlopers get turfed out, but it is not a frequent-enough event.

The Amsterdam City Hall, and sometimes Royal Palace, the scene of a recent Dutch royal event.

The Amsterdam City Hall, and sometimes Royal Palace, the scene of a recent Dutch royal event.

In Amsterdam, it was a five minute walk from the Central station to our rooms at the Accor M Collection Convent Hotel.  The hotel is in a group of three former houses, including a former convent, restored, modernised and converted into a four star hotel.  The rooms have a traditional look to them, but include all the usual modern hotel features.  Unlike some old houses converted to hotels where I have stayed in the distant past in Amsterdam, there are no narrow and steep staircases, tiny rooms and antique bathroom fittings (especially the old fashioned Dutch toilets, with the ‘inspection platform’ inside them).

Foundation engineering wasn't too good in the past in Amsterdam, and many buildings have taken on a decided lean.  (This is not the Convent Hotel!)

Foundation engineering wasn’t too good in the past in Amsterdam, and many buildings have taken on a decided lean. (This is not the Convent Hotel!)

We returned to the Hotel late yesterday afternoon to find a gift from the management for my Platinum level Accor Club membership – a half bottle of French Champagne (Laurent Perrier) on ice with two glasses, some chocolates and other assorted goodies.  Very nice and unexpected.  Of course, we three made short work of the bubbly very soon afterwards.

How to suck up to one of your loyal customers!!

How to suck up to one of your loyal customers!!

I’ll end this blog update here, and the next posting can include details of our visit today (Monday) to the tulip gardens and displays at Keukenhof, about 25km out of Amsterdam.

A peek at the next blog post from Keukenhof.

A peek at the next blog post from Keukenhof.

 

And another sneak peek.

And another sneak peek.

 

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