I’ve just arrived in Lausanne, Switzerland. It’s late, so I haven’t seen much of the town, though what I have seen looks quite pleasing.
After a busy day, hassles with airport security, a budget flight and a long trudge through dark streets I found the small hotel where I’m spending a couple of nights. The room is basic and appeared somewhat uninspiring, but has just risen several points in my estimation for a very simple reason: I’ve just tried the shower.
In Britain, I have a pet peeve, nay, a hatred, of the snivelling little dribble of water which often emerges from the plumbing in the corner of what would otherwise be a delightful hotel room or a charming chambre in a B&B. Often this is down to a fundamental misunderstanding of basic science on the part of British plumbers and their customers, who install all-electric showers, because they have been sold the fallacy that a few kilowatts is sufficient to heat the water for a shower on the spur of the moment.
Now listen! It ain’t so, people! That’s why there’s a tiny shower head with microscopic holes. It’s so the tablespoon of water that emerges per second can do so with enough velocity that you can actually detect the four jets hitting your scalp. But it’s totally useless for, say, washing shampoo out of your hair, let alone feeling cleaned and reinvigorated after a long journey.
The Americans, fortunately, never embraced such foolishness, partly, I imagine, because at 110v you can’t get enough power down the wires even to pretend to create a shower, but mostly because as a nation they understand that the shower is a great and important invention that restoreth thy soul in time of need, and one should plan its installation accordingly.
Well, it appears that the Swiss not only have trains which are clean, quiet, run on time and have power sockets by every seat, but they also have budget hotel rooms with simple but powerful showers pouring gallons of lovely water onto the heads of weary travellers before they tumble into bed, thus disposing them to think well of the city before they’ve even seen it in daylight.