A Cordoban Quest


What is it with Spanish Hotels that they don’t provide such an essential and welcome in-room facility for the weary traveller as a kettle? Any trip taken is consummated with a cup of tea where I come from, even if it’s only a trip to the supermarket. This ritual enacted confirms arrival. Is this peculiar to the British Isles?

After check-in we hauled our baggage to a well-appointed room in every aspect but for this omission. I resolved to have this conversation with Juan, the Duty Manager, who greeted us on arrival and whisked through the formalities with efficiency and humour, and certainly versed in the arcane of Iberian hostelry. This conversation would not have happened but for Juan’s excellent English. I broached the subject with sensitivity.

“Hey Juan what’s the story on the ‘no kettle’ policy in Spanish hotels?”

“A case of expedience, senor”

“Like guests packing them along with towels, bathrobes, and complementary cosmetics when they leave?”

“No, senor, simply more things to go wrong.”

OK I got the line of thinking but still the unresolved issue of no kettle in our room. I had a flash of inspiration, not blinding. Buy a kettle?, funny that never occurred to me. I once possessed a single cup immersion heater, and for whatever reason in the great expanse of the cosmos this image should have downloaded to my visual cortex only the Goggle Cloud would know. I made a sketch.

“Hey Juan”

“Hey Gerry”

I produced the sketch and Juan looked askance. Maybe he thought I was a sexual deviant. I explained the function of the item and that I needed the words in Spanish to fulfil my quest. Juan, blessings of the Prophet be upon him, indulged me. A result:

Calentador de aqua de vaso, he writes, hacer hervir aqua.

“I have never seen such a thing but this is what you ask for at the ferriteria”

On the streets of Cordoba clutching the sacred glyphs I entered a ferreteria.

“Senor, tienes…?” I bumbled waving the piece of paper. After plundering a wall-rack but with no success the proprietor turned, picked up his mobile,

“Momento, senor”

No one picked up. Siesta may not have concluded in the boss’s household. I thanked him and left, encouraged that he had searched.

“So no dead chicken this one!” I commented to Juan on return to the hotel. Again that look. No I didn’t try to explain.

de-vasoA gift from the grandchild had seen us both fighting off a persistent cold that had laid Camilla low meaning we spent an extra day in Cordoba. The Roman Market, a themed street market was on that weekend, so I spent a pleasantly warm day with camera in the city. No hardship. En route I passed a small electrical shop and, yes of course, in I went. I hovered scanning the shelves while the lady dealt with a customer.


“Buenos dias, Senora. Tienes…..?”

She walked out from behind the counter and lifted a Calentador de Vaso from the display-rack behind me.


4 thoughts on “A Cordoban Quest

  1. Lovely words Gerry, thanks for your very interesting “reviewW :). You know my friend where I am if you or Camilla need something! Hugs!

    • Hey Juan, thank you for your input.The story only holds up because of that. Hope you are well and glad you enjoyed it. If you are this way give us a call. best wishes.If I’ve already replied that’s good as I’ve been out supping (that in english is drinking) the Guinness and my memory may be a little fogged.

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