For Want of a Kettle
It’s a well-known fact that the English love their tea. Whilst most of Europe is a nation of coffee lovers, tea is still incredibly popular in Britain and Ireland. Similarly, the Japanese are also fond of the hot stuff, although usually without milk or sugar.
British and Japanese hotels have long since recognized the necessity of providing such a beverage, and hotel rooms are usually stocked with a kettle and teabags. After all, there is nothing more refreshing (or necessary) than a nice cup of hot sweet tea.
However, in Europe, I’ve notice this isn’t the case. Having stayed in rooms across Europe, I have never once found once equipped with a kettle. Requests for a kettle—or even hot water—were often met with incredulity and bemusement.
For a case in point, during our stay in Florence, my wife and I were a little hungry; and since it was late at night, we decided to enjoy instant noodles in our room. This very notion probably horrifies anyone who knows how much the Italians love their food. Anyway, upon realizing we had no means to boil water, I went to the front desk of the hotel to request some.
At first the staff member, a rather tired-looking young man, thought he’d misheard me. However, after much explanation, he acquiesced; it was then that I asked if I could have a fork as well. This caused me more trouble than I expected.
“We have no forks.” he said.
“How do you eat breakfast?!” I replied.
A long discussion ensued, which culminated in me leaving without forks and carrying boiling hot water in a plastic beer cup.
I got back to the room, proceeded to eat the noodles with a teaspoon, and wished I could have a cup of tea. Since then, I have often noted the lack of (and missed) the kettle in European hotels.
Back in Japan, I appreciate the fact that tap water is drinkable, and boiling it is easily done. I feel like a cup of tea now.