Almost Back To Normal – Except For The Masks – At Chateau Henri LCDH Cologne

1 Jul

Last time Frank, Jay and I met in Cologne at the LCDH for cigars was in February.

In the meantime I was supposed to have flown to Havana and back, visited northern Italy and Spain and we would have met again a few times – all cancelled due to “stay at home and be safe” precautions …

But slowly things are coming back to normal, specially here in Germany where the pandemic has been handled quite well and borders are back to being their normal open and we can travel again free of constraints.

This time we decided to meet at the Niederau├čem/Bergheim branch of the Peter Heinrichs LCDH Cologne, the so-called Chateau Henri as it is more spacious and we avoid the rush-hour traffic it being outside the big city.
Jan from the Netherlands would also join us.

This place is basically the legacy and the museum of the late great Mr Peter Heinrichs, a great and passionate cigar and pipe merchant and good friend.

It is managed by his wife, daughter and an excellent team of friendly, genuine professional staff with a big heart and smiles you can even see behind the face mask.

It opens at 9 am but I arrived half an hour earlier and as they noticed me outside, the door was opened and coffee and a comfy chair to smoke my morning PLPC was offered. Soon Frank arrived as well and provided company.

Admittedly not a nice sight or view as across the house is a large power station but you ignore it after 3 minutes and concentrate on the amazing collection of cigar related stuff in the second floor of the branch.

The ground floor is chock-a-full with pipes, pipe tobacco, rum, cigar accessories and a large walk-in humidor. Truly spectacular selection of anything a smoker could need.

The second floor lounge offers ample space for ca. 50 people with enough physical distancing as it is. But it is less frequented than Cologne so it is more peaceful, quiet and offers more light as Cologne’s lounge is underground.

After Jay and Jan also arrived we selected cigars for smoking inside, me a Partagas P2, Jay a Punch 48, Frank and Jan a Diplo Nr 2 and sat down for a long and good conversation of the current situation and our thoughts about the short to mid-term future.

Being realistic we agreed it doesn’t look good, but we are hopeful that by 2022 it could be possible to return to a semblance of normalcy and long haul airline travel …

Jan was kind enough to give us a CR Yolanda each from his first Havana trip years ago …

The news from Havana are not good – part of the roof of the old Partagas factory on Calle Industria collapsed recently, the LCDH Partagas there has been closed and will re-locate, the manager has been replaced ….

We adjourned for lunch and visited “Mediteran” – a local Croatian restaurant recommended by Mrs Heinrichs.

I’ve always had good culinary experiences in Croatian restaurants and this was no exception.From the welcome to the fantastic ( and abundant ) food, we enjoyed a truly excellent lunch treated like kings by the owner Mr Tihomir “Theo” Hrgota !

Another reason to repeat the visit ­čÖé

Back to Chateau Henri for some shopping, coffee, a Bolivar Belicoso Fino and the planning of the August cigar meeting in my village – which will not feature the pharmacy but be a small, private meeting of a few good friends.

All organized and ready to go – happy to be back on the road again and meeting up with my good friends, today in such a fine atmosphere and soon again in the wine country.



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