Friday, 2019 September 27

I had a decent night; I actually managed to sleep okay and avoided acid reflux. The secret was folding my pillow double to keep my head elevated a bit. The pillow was terrible, though - even folded double it would compress down to just a few inches in thickness over the course of the night. For some reason Krista and I were both awake for a while in the middle of the night but we both managed to fall back to sleep.

My cough was better today than it had been last night, and for the most part my head wasn't draining too badly except when I was eating. Overall I'm pretty sure I just had a very minor cold, and it was quite manageable.

We met Dad for breakfast around 0830. There was a huge rush at the restaurant. The attendant, who spoke excellent English (of course) told us that there were two big groups at the hotel for conferences, both of which had sessions starting at 0900. Since there were no open tables we sat outside and chatted with the attendant for fifteen or twenty minutes, until everyone started leaving the restaurant to get to their conference session.

The attendant was actually a native of Cologne and clearly loved the city. He recommended that we spend our time drinking beer and watching people, his favorite pastime - clearly a smart man. He also recommended the chocolate and sport museums, both of which we had already been planning on visiting.

Once we got in for breakfast, it was as good as it was yesterday. It was still overpriced, in my opinion. Oh well.

After a brief rest all three of us headed out. Since the weather was nice, Krista got a few nice shots of the cathedral as we walked by. We then walked down to the Rhine river and walked along it all the way to the Schokoladen Museum, which is actually built on a small island in the river. Dad did well; we took frequent breaks for him to rest, which Krista used to get more photos.

This was a cool museum, worth going to if you're nearby, but I don't think any of us really considered it great. Immediately next door is the German Sports and Olympic Museum, so we walked over to it next.

This museum was more expensive than the chocolate museum. It was probably still worth it if you're any sort of sports fan, although for me personally it probably wasn't worth the entry fee.

The sports museum was very warm, so we needed a break. On the shore of the Rhine, immediately across from the chocolate museum, was the Malakoff Tower, part of the old city defenses. Surrounding this is a very pleasant beer garden, the Hafenterrasse am Malakoffturm. We sat down there and ordered a round of drinks. Immediately adjacent was a small food stand, the Matrosengrill, so after a beer I walked up and got Krista a pretzel and myself some fries. We also ordered a second round of drinks. All in all, our "snack" turned into a sizeable meal; this seemed to be a recurring theme for us in Germany.

Once we were ready to go, Dad said he wasn't up to a whole lot more walking - per my Fitbit we'd already walked more than three miles. There was a small taxi stand immediately across the road, so we put him into a taxi (with a very nice driver who was of course fluent in English) and sent him back to the hotel.

Krista and I walked some more. We found the shop Krista had liked yesterday and she bought a nutcracker. We walked some more and she bought some coasters as souvenirs for her coworkers from another small shop. We ended up back at the cathedral, so she took more photos.

We decided we'd done enough for one day, so we walked back to the hotel. I was starting to develop a low fever, which was manageable, and also a headache. I just laid down and relaxed for a while, which helped.

We met Dad around 1700. He'd really enjoyed the taxi ride back. It turned out that the driver's father is 92 and still goes out and works every day, like Dad, and the two of them really hit it off. Dad tried to give the driver a big tip and he wouldn't even take it.

We walked a block north to Restaurant BrĂ¼cken. According to the internet it opens at 1700, but when we walked in the woman who I believe was the owner told us (again in good English) that the kitchen didn't actually open until 1730. We went back outside and sat and watched the world go by for a while.

There was an ice cream shop immediately across the street. Dad joked that if he'd known he could get ice cream so close to the hotel he would have walked up there the night before.

The owner stopped by and offered us drinks, which we declined, then about 1720 she invited us in. We then had what was possibly the best meal of the trip. Dad and I had lamb with some sort of wonderful potato fritter/ball thing that I don't even know how to describe. Krista had the wiener schnitzel. Everything was absolutely delicious, and the portions were large. Dad and I split a bottle of wine. It was just an awesome meal.

At the end, the owner brought us small shots of schnapps. Krista took the peach one (and liked it); Dad and I ended up with anise-flavored schnapps, which I personally didn't really care for. I still really appreciated the gesture. We left a very nice tip. I'd highly recommend this place to anyone who ends up in Cologne.

We walked the block back to the hotel. On the way we stopped at a convenience store so Krista could get some Diet Coke. She was irked that she could have walked a half-block and gotten large bottles for the same price that the hotel was charging for small bottles.

We chilled at the hotel for a while before going to bed. My fever and my headache were definitely still there, but they didn't seem to worsen.

Thursday, 2019 September 26 Saturday, 2019 September 28