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I’ve noticed that as I age, some mornings I wake up hurting.  Tuesday was one of those mornings.  I had really bad lower back pain.  I don’t think it had anything to do with the bed, which was very comfortable.  Anyway, because I was hurting, I popped a couple of Advils and we decided to have breakfast at the hotel.  Naturally, breakfast wasn’t included in the rate.  I don’t think I had the option to add it.  If I had, I would have.  It’s probably because there’s a choice between continental breakfast or just eggs at a lower price, or the whole shebang.

Excelsior Hotel Ernst has a nice spread at breakfast, which one would expect when they charge 34 euros a person.  There are many breads, pastries, cereals, sausages, smoked salmon and smoked trout, and even a shrimp salad.  You can order eggs done any way you want them, or get Eggs Benedict with truffles.  You can also have pancakes or French toast made to order and champagne, if you want it.

The first morning, we went with the buffet and lingered over breakfast while I waited for the ibuprofen to kick in.  I never eat enough to justify the high cost of a buffet and I often end up taking more than I want or need.  Still, I was happy to try some of the vast choices at the buffet.  We could hear our new American friend in the next room, talking to other English speakers.

Bill looks at the menu, then decides on the buffet.

 

The hotel offers high tea for lunch, so we decided to book that with some champagne.  The staff prefers it if you book the tea 24 hours in advance, but they were able to accommodate us for 2:00pm. I figured that was perfect, since our concert started at 8:00pm, and I didn’t want to go there hangry, like I did for Elton John’s show.  Of course, we were supposed to get access to a buffet before Elton’s show, but we got stuck in Stuttgart’s hellaceous traffic, which made us right on time for the show.

After breakfast, we decided to go for a walk, which took us close to Cologne’s Colonius TV Tower.  Yes, like most German cities, Cologne has a TV tower with an observation deck.  Colonius, which is owned by Telekom, was finished in 1981; however, the observation deck and restaurant are not currently open to the public and evidently haven’t been since 1992.  Why?  Because they lack a vendor.  This information comes from Wikipedia, which I’m so glad I consulted before we wasted the energy walking to the tower itself.

The forever closed to the public Colonius tower, which I suppose is still a place of business for some people.  I guess it’s interesting to look at from the ground, anyway.

I did read that the powers that be are trying to find a way to reopen the tower at some point.  Every year, the discussion ends because of the cost of the renovations that have to be done to make it safe.  They’d have to upgrade the fire protections and build another elevator.  According to the article I linked, no one has the 15 millions minimum it would take to make those improvements, nor does anyone want to raise the money.  Given how much Germans seem to enjoy observation decks, I’m kind of surprised Colonius hasn’t been reopened by anyone after so many years.

My back was still hurting, so we headed back toward the hotel and stopped by the Cologne City Museum, a really cool art museum I noticed the first time we visited in 2012.  This museum is memorable because there’s a car with wings on the roof and it has bright red and white shutters, like one sees in The Netherlands.  Adult admission is 5 euros and, though it didn’t take long for us to see the whole museum, we thought the exhibits were interesting.  They all seemed to be done by young artists.

I took these photos a couple of days ago, but I have similar ones from 2012.  

 

The first exhibit was a showcase of postcards the artist got.  Some were rather startling.  They were displayed on tablets mounted on the wall.  I thought the message directly above was the most interesting.

 

There was an exhibit about Native Americans in Montana, faced with living on reservations.  It was both interesting and very sad.  Native Americans have faced many cruel challenges thanks to the invasion of us European types.

I was very moved by this exhibit that focused on a young woman with Down’s Syndrome named Sofie.

Look carefully at the faces in these photos…  I once knew a woman with two different colored eyes…

There was even a video exhibit about the Masons.  Very interesting to me, since I have uncles who are Masons and a husband who used to be LDS.  If you know anything about either group, it’s not hard to see how similar they are in some respects.

By the time we were finished with the city museum, it was raining.  We walked back to the hotel, getting soaked in the process.  While we probably could have fit in another museum before our high tea date, I kind of wanted to rest for awhile.  Also, Cologne’s sidewalks are often cobblestone, and I swear I almost fell at least four times, stumbling on the uneven pavement.  So we went back to the hotel for a rest… drying off in the process.

At 2:00pm, we went to the piano bar and waited for the lady who is in charge of high tea.  We did high tea at the Merrion Hotel in Dublin last year.  It was a rather fancy thing to do.  At the Excelsior Hotel Ernst, it’s a bit more laid back.  That was a good thing, since I didn’t bring any nice clothes with me.

Well, it beats working, right?  We enjoyed a nice glass of champagne before the tea and snacks were brought out.

We had four kinds of sandwiches: egg salad, smoked salmon, ham, and cream cheese and chive (or something similar).  We had brownies, little fruit tarts, and blondies with nuts, as well as macarons, caramels, nougats, and chocolates.  We also had warm scones with jams and clotted cream.  I think the scones were my favorite part.

Bill picked out a tea for me and a tea for him, and we sat there sipping it with our pinkies out…  I’m kidding about the pinkies.  

Before the tea service started, we had creme brulee made with tea.

I really liked this custard.  It was creamy and the tea gave it a very interesting and pleasant herbal flavor.

 

I think I enjoyed the Merrion’s version of high tea more than the Excelsior Hotel Ernst’s version.  It was still enjoyable, though, and held us through the evening so we didn’t have to eat wurst at the concert.  I think the high tea with champagne ran about 44 euros a person.  I’ll have to double check.

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