Thursday, May 30, 2013

Hotel Tales and the Statue of Liberty in Colmar

Trivia: Did you know that the sculptor of the Statue of Liberty in New York City is a native of Colmar, France? His name is Frédéric Auguste Bartholdi. The statue was a gift from the people of France to the United States of America.

Statue of Liberty in Colmar

This goes naturally that when you arrive in Colmar, you will also see the Statue of Liberty, but a smaller version and the statue is placed in the middle of a roundabout instead of an island. I learned that there is a replica as well somewhere in Paris, and it was rumoured that the face of the Statue of Liberty is modelled after Bartholdi’s mother.

There is a museum dedicated to Bartholdi and to his works in the city. I was tempted to go but I am not really the museum type. I actually go to museums on very rare occasions. Nevertheless, some of Bartholdi’s works are found on the city streets as he designed several fountains in Colmar.

Hotel where I stayed in Colmar

In Colmar I stayed at the All Season’s Hotel Colmar Centre, a hotel that is part of the Accor & Ibis Group of Hotels. They have a slogan that says—Budget Hotel with Design Interiors for Family which I find misleading because the rooms start at 109 Euros. Is that budget? And what is design? At least this so-called budget hotel came with a free breakfast and use of the wifi.

The business-like room and the view. Remnants of what was once a brewery.

Pictures of the hotel taken from their website.

The colourful breakfast room and my breakfasts. I am not a breakfast person and when I am travelling and a free breakfast is included in the room, I always felt forced to eat them. I loved the juicer that they have. I pressed that orange juice myself.

The reason why I booked this hotel is because it is the cheapest hotel available in the centre with an 8 review score at Yes cheapest in the centre at 109 Euros for single pax.  There was another one that I really liked but I’m not happy forking out double the price. I’d rather spend the extra money on my dinners. They also advertised that the hotel is a former brewery, and that somehow piqued my interest. That actually closed the deal for me, although I found out later that there was really not much to see of what was once a malt production house.

Nevertheless, I find the hotel a bit like the business hotels I stayed at except that a) the breakfast room is too colourful and b) I am seeing a lot of retirees in groups

Hotel Tales

On the first night I was in the lobby drinking tea and reading a few magazines. I just had my starred dinner at Le Rendez-vous de Chasse Restaurant and didn’t want to have coffee there as I was already stuffed. When you order coffee at fine dining or Michelin-starred restaurants, they usually bring you an array of sweets with it. I cannot handle that. So I declined coffee and settled for tea at the hotel lobby.

What I quickly noticed in the lobby are the group of retired women playing cards. The old dames were from Germany and they were very friendly to me, flashing smiles at my direction as they played and while I sipped my tea. I saw a few of the dames elegantly dressed. I wondered if I could emulate these elegantly dressed women when I reach their age? Interestingly, they were not the only retired women group that checked-in at the hotel. During breakfast I saw 3 groups, all German retired women and the groups did not know each other.

Hmm, must be the season for pensioned off ladies to go tripping around Europe.

On the second night I sat at the bar and ordered a gewürztraminer. I just came from dinner in Basel, Switzerland and in the mood to have a light nightcap before going to bed.

I overheard another group of retirees talking. 3 Belgian men and an American couple.

Belgian man 1: ‘We are from Brussels.’
Belgian man 2: ‘Brussels you know is the capital of Europe!’
American woman (in shrilly voice): ‘Oh really!!! So, um... do you guys feel French?’

*Belgian guys looking at each other, confused, with eyes wide and about to explode*

Belgian man 3: ‘Uh, what did you say again?’

Me listening at the bar: *palm on my face*

UGH. Total fail. You never ask a Belgian if they felt French (or Dutch). It’s like saying to Americans that they are Canadians, or an Irish that they are English. The cue was already there when the Belgian guys proudly said that Brussels is the capital of Europe! *rolls eyes* (sorry, cannot help it!)

Oh well, when you are travelling you really learn a lot, about people =)

Travel Period: April 2013
Destination: Colmar (Haut-Rhin – Alsace), France

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