Ten years ago, my husband, John, and I took a month-long trip through Europe. In the United States, bathrooms are pretty much the same. Not so over there. I had no idea there were so many ways to flush a toilet. Many times our accommodations did not include a bathtub.
We paid extra for our first tub. It was long, narrow and deep…and we had to go out into the hallway to reach it. Another little tidbit is that all the faucets are individual; either hot or cold. John started my bath for me while I dug for my book to read. I had actually brought a little bottle of bubble bath; just in case I found a tub. I poured some in the water; then reached down to swish it around. Very cold. I pulled the plug and started over. This time we turned on only the hot side, using more precious bubbles.
The tub was hard to get out of. It had a narrow rim on each side and almost no way to push yourself up. Then there was a big step up and over the side to get out. But I managed.
John decided to luxuriate too. All was fine until he tried to get out. Through the wall I heard awful noises. Finally, “I can’t get out” were the words he yelled. Allowing him time to flounder, I asked (through my laughter) if I could help. Too late. He had made it out.
Since we had both had baths the previous night, the next morning we thought we would just wash our hair. But how to do that with one hot faucet and one cold? John used a glass. He filled it first with hot water and then cold…pouring the glass over his head. I bagged it.
John and I had made a vow to not eat fast food in Europe. However, we really needed to find a toilet, so stopped in a McDonalds for a drink. The stairs to that toilet were down a spiral staircase to a lower floor. Overweight people would have to go elsewhere.
Out shopping for the day with my friend, Diane, while our husbands attended a meeting, we followed the signs to the “toilette”. There sat a lady expecting money. I was the only one who had any. I held out my handful of coins, the lady flicked through them, shook her head and motioned for us to go on in.
I had never seen toilets like this before. The seat was recessed in the tank and there was a button on each side of the top of the tank. I pushed one and the toilet flushed. So I pushed the other. Magically the seat was lowered complete with a paper seat cover. When you flushed, the cover was flushed away and then the seat was again recessed in the tank. Diane and I laughed together afterwards about being trapped until we figured out how to use it. Ladies always flush.
At our next bed and breakfast, the water was cold, which made the shower a small torture chamber. It also took awhile to figure out how to get in. The two sides met at the corner.
Our next accommodation gave us choices. We could have a room with a bed, a room with a bed and toilet, or a room with a bed, toilet and shower. We chose to have it all.
Another room was up two flights of stairs. It was complete with shower and two sinks. The next door down the hall was the toilet. I assumed we were sharing.
The public toilets in Italy were another unique experience. There was an elderly lady sitting in the doorway to collect money. After she was paid her money, the men went to the stalls on the right and the women to the left. The tank was very high on the wall and there was a button in the wall to push for it to flush. The hole in the bowl of the toilet was in the very front of the toilet.
But our accommodations in Florence topped the unusual bathroom arrangements. The bathroom was so small that it was also the shower. The shower head was close to the ceiling across from the toilet. When you were ready to take your shower, you just closed the bathroom door. To relax, you could sit on the toilet.
It’s really boring to use the restrooms in the United States.
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