Warm and Cozy Around the World
My house is warm and cozy.
I give you a very warm welcome.
I have warm feelings for you.
She has a very warm heart.
He greeted me with a warm smile.
Everything about that house was warm and inviting.
The word warm brings a positive note to every word it is paired with. All over the world we like to be warm no matter how frigid it gets outside and all over the world people are finding ingenious ways to keep warm.
Amazake warms visitors to Yanaka walking street on a chilly Sunday morning in December
Japan is full of volcanic activity and along with that comes hot springs, combine that with a national love of bathing and you get onsen (baths made from naturally hot water). Japan is full of onsen both large and small.
The train station at the beach town of Atami has an area where you can warm your weary feet along with other travelers by soaking them in natural hot water. In Hakkone you can soak your feet at the Open Air Museum in between climbing a stained glass tower and marveling at Picasso’s work. If you want to warm more than just your feet, there are even hot springs theme parks where you can bathe in everything from coffee to wine.
Anther uniquely Japanese way of keeping warm is known as a kotatsu. This brilliant piece of furniture is a low table with a heater underneath. Around the edges of the table is a blanket. Slide your legs under this table and the lower half of you will stay toasty; you might still want to wear a warm sweater to keep your top warm though.
The drink that warms people up is called Amazake. This is a sweet, non-alcholic fermented rice drink that children as well as adults can enjoy. Vending machines in Japan also feature both hot and cold drinks and sometimes even soup. I like to get a hot tea from the vending machine and hold it in my pocket for a while to warm my hands
I have never been to England but my English colleague explained to me that they use architecture to keep warm all year round. Houses are made of stone, feature central heating and often include the modern touch of “electric fire effects”.
He described the hot drink Bovril as an “old people’s drink” that is meaty and salty and tastes like the drink version of Marmite. I have never really thought of beef as a tea but, why not! Watch this fascinating video of the history of Bovril to find out more.
Skiing and praying share the slopes near Kayseri Turkey
When I lived in Turkey I loved to visit the Hamam (Turkish bath) in the winter. The hamam is either split into 2 parts, one for the man and one for the women or it is segregated by hours with certain times for each gender. There are several areas of a hamam, one in which hot water fills ancient marble basins, you scoop out the hot water and pour it over your head until you are nice and soft. Then you lay down on a massive table of hot marble and someone scrubs you down in a kind of half massage, half vigorous sanding. When she is finished she rinses you off and you are free to get dressed and enjoy some hot tea. It is an incredibly social experience and you can spend all day just chatting, pouring water over your head and drinking tea with your same-gender friends if you don’t mind sitting around mostly naked with them.
The drink I enjoyed most in the winter was called salep. A thick hot drink made of milk, flowers and orchid powder topped with cinnamon. It is sweet and thick, kind of like drinking pudding. After a mug of that I was always good to tromp through snowy streets for several more hours. It is good to be aware that some varities of orchid are endangered so exporting it is prohibited.
My friend from Canada said that when it is below 40 degrees they stay inside (like reasonable people), sip hot apple cider and put on lots of layers. They also enjoy putting boiling maple syrup in the snow and eating it like taffy. That does sound delicious and fun.
The United States
Quilts keep us warm in the winter, keep history alive and decorate our rooms
When the weather starts to get chilly at my parents house in Flagstaff Arizona, we pull out the quilts. The first quilt I remember was made by my grandmother, it was all white and when I was around three years old, I thought it would look better if it had some color on it so I took out my markers. My mother was upset of course but we kept the quilt, marker art and all. Later I learned to make quilts and made one for my parent’s king-sized bed with lots of colors. Now, 20 years later, it is still there every winter keeping my parents warm.
The hot beverage I remember the most fondly is hot chocolate, preferably with lots of spices and whipped cream on top.
My friend from Kazakistan wrote that “We drink a lot of hot black tea. During hot weather to keep one cool and during cold weather to keep one warm. But overall with central heating system the houses are extremely warm during the winter, with some exceptions (at least they used to be).
And outside, one just has to move fast to stay warm. The warm story, I can only remember, when during the national holiday, the revolution day in November, I always participated in festive demonstration (or parade as we called it) with my father who was a musician, thus obligatory participant with the band playing patriotic tunes during the parade. So he took me with him. The gathering point of meetings, they start very early at 6-7am. It was usually very cold on a November day. So, the musicians (and many others) would drink a shot (50 gr) of vodka or konyak before the start to keep warm, and may be another shot a bit later. But nobody ever was drunk. I don't remember it as a child. The sun would come out and the people would start marching through the city toward the main square where the government people were awaiting the demonstration.”
Hot wine on street corners is one of the best ideas I have come across in my winter travels
A few years ago I found myself in Budapest in the middle of the winter and it was freezing! Luckily on many street corners hot wine was for sale. As I shivered from historical site to historical site, that tasty beverage kept me going. At the end of the day it was pure bliss to sink into the thermal baths that throw up plumes of steam into the frigid air.
One of my friends currently living in Italy says that Italians “stay close to the fireplace. Many of the houses in the medieval centers are not heat efficient, so many people wear layers and layers of clothing- especially woolen. They'll snuggle up with thick blankets- some use hot water bottles.” They drink grappa, “a fiery, but tasty beverage, just the thing for a cold winter's night.”
I hope you are enjoying every minute of winter and finding lots of your own ways to stay warm! Do you have any unique or interesting ways to stay warm where you live?
Hi, I'm Kia.
Teaching is my passion, I have been teaching for over 20 years in 4 different continents. One of the things I have learned over the years is that I am never done learning about teaching. Both teaching and learning should be fun and inspiring.
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