Friday, July 03, 2009

So I don't end with my trip down the toilet, I'll post this now....

One of the first things people told me when giving me European travel advice was about the 'pay toilets.' I think there are probably places you have to pay for these sort of things in the US, but....I've never been there. (I'm fulfilling the obnoxious American stereotype that other countries share about 'American's who always say things are better at home....' by writing that, but I was also assured by the other people on our tour from all over the world that toilets were free pretty much everywhere else if I ever chose to visit those lands). In London, this issues was never raised, but as soon as we drove away....it was a new concept to grasp. We were eased into the process gently. In Belgium, and Germany, you paid to use the facilities, but then....you were given a 'coupon' you could use in their store, so at least your price didn't go to complete 'waste'.

Also, in comparison with other countries, these toilets were worth the fee. In Germany, everything was machine operated, including, once the toilet flushed, the seat spun and was washed off by some sort of sprayed chemical in the back of the seat.

...and then....came the rest of Europe. Prices went up from 30 Euros (the dollar to Euro ration is 1/1.5 right now, so it's more expensive that 30 cents) to as much as 2.25 (these were around the big sites in Venice). You might slip your Euro's into a machine (so keeping this change around was necessary), or you might hand it to an attendant. As the prices went up, the 'quality' went down. Often there were no seats, just the rim, they were dirty, there were many coed bathrooms, some bathrooms had windows open to the streets with multiple windows with a view in. It also often took a moment to locate the 'flushing' device. It might be a button, or a handle, or a matter of waving your hand in front of something, a little bump on the floor, a little square indention on the bowl....I could go on....and then...there were the holes in the ground...

Our hotel room offerings were nicer, and free, and we discovered 'the bidet' also taking up room in these hotel bathrooms. I'll leave it at that in regards to the bidet. OK, I realize if my blog had a rating, it probably just went down to at least PG, but I think this was the most 'different' thing I experienced, and so, I'm jotting it down so I remember, and sharing it in case you go for your first time to Europe. I also realized I have just opened up a whole world of responses because, yes, I took pictures. How could I not take pictures of something that was such a big learning curve on this trip? That's not really a question, I sort of already have the answer, so....feel free not to speculate long on why pictures are necessary.

1 comments:

Brian and Ella said...

crack me up!!!! and i definitely would have taken pictures, too! :)