The following is a travel piece from William Makepeace Thackeray. (was Makepeace really his middle name? Sounds made up to me.)
As we drove through the old city at night, how it swarmed and hummed with life ! What a special clatter, crowd, and outcry there was in the Jewish quarter, where myriads of young ones were trotting about the fishy street! Why don't they have lamps ? We passed by canals seeming so full that a pailful of water more would overflow the place. The laquais-de-place calls out the names of the buildings: the town-hall, the cathedral, the arsenal, the synagogue, the statue of Erasmus. Get along ! We know the statue of Erasmus well enough. We pass over drawbridges by canals where thousands of barges are at roost. At roost—at rest! Shall we have rest in those bedrooms, those ancient lofty bedrooms, in that inn where we have to pay a florin for a pint of pa—psha ! at the "New Bath Hotel " on the Boompjes? If this dreary edifice is the "New Bath," what must the Old Bath be like ? As I feared to go to bed, I sat in the coffee-room as long as I might; but three young men were imparting their private adventures to each other with such freedom and liveliness that I felt I ought not to listen to their artless prattle. As I put the light out, and felt the bed-clothes and darkness overwhelm me, it was with an awful sense of terror—that sort of sensation which I should think going down in a diving-bell would give. Suppose the apparatus goes wrong, and they don't understand your signal to mount? Suppose your matches miss fire when you wake; when you want them, when you will have to rise in half-an-hour, and do battle with the horrid enemy who crawls on you in the darkness? I protest I never was more surprised than when I woke and beheld the light of dawn. Indian birds and strange trees were visible on the ancient gilt hangings of the lofty chamber, and through the windows the Boompjes and the ships along the quay. We have all read of deserters being brought out, and made to kneel, with their eyes bandaged, and hearing the word to "Fire" given! I declare I underwent all the terrors of execution that night, and wonder how I ever escaped unwounded.
But if ever I go to the "Bath Hotel," Rotterdam, again, I am a Dutchman. A guilder for a bottle of pale ale, and that bottle a pint! Ah ! for shame—for shame !"
"The works of William Makepeace Thackeray, Volume 20, Roundabout Papers" by William Makepeace Thackeray, London, 1869, pages 210 - 212.
Ripped off when buying beer in a foreign land. Anyone who's drunk in a Parisian bar knows the feeling. A guilder for a bottle of Pale Ale? As we saw in a Dutch advert a couple of days ago, you could buy a dozen bottles of Allsopp's Pale Ale for just under 5 guilders.
You can understand why Thackeray was pissed off. I wonder if he'd really paid less Jerusalem?
Then there's what the hotel's choice of beer says about the customs of the day: "country or Bavarian beer not being genteel enough for the hotel". So local beer or Lager wasn't good enough for a hotel with pretensions. Only Pale Ale would do.