European Plumbing

The last time I was in continental Europe –  and not on a cruise ship or a river boat –  was in 1970. Let me tell you, NOTHING has changed in all this time when it comes to bathrooms.

In hotels, you either have a very tall and skinny bathtub (to climb over) with a shower inside it – or you have a miniscule shower stall – so small that lifting an arm to clean an armpit is a major challenge.  In the tubs, as well, we found the taps stuck on the side of the tub – right where you stand to take a shower.  That armpit cleaning manoeuver in this case resulted in a blast of scalding or freezing water, depending on which way one turned……and accidentally bumped against the taps.   The toilets worked – and there were often bidets as well (great for washing out socks and undies).  In one hotel, the toilet was in a separate “closet” just wide enough for the john itself – not an inch to spare.  The door to this opened up against the door to the rest of the bathroom so one had to be very careful when opening these doors given two were sharing a room.  Calling out a warning when opening bathroom doors isn’t a usual routine.

In restaurants and public areas – it was a whole different story – and one that took me back those 40+ years.  You would think, with tourism being such a huge part of the economy, they might spend a euro or two on the bathrooms.  NOT A CHANCE.

We visited the very posh Villa of the Rothschild family – huge, now with a restaurant – apparently they hold weddings here – and ONE BATHROOM plus an outdoor cabin in the bushes.  If you don’t want to change the heritage of the building – add 6 more bush bathrooms and at least the line-ups would be more reasonable.

On three separate occasions that I know of, somebody got locked in the john – all women, of course.  Obviously the hardware didn’t work any better than the plumbing!   When you are late getting back to the bus and people start to worry about you – it’s embarrassing to be discovered stuck in the bathroom.

Several of us experienced the OOPS scenario where you walk into a bathroom in a restaurant or public area and find somebody of the opposite sex busy doing what they do in these places.  Many of the public bathrooms have one area with a sink in it – and then 2 separate areas for toilets (if you are lucky) – however – not every place had functioning doors – or even doors at all and it was rare to find a toilet seat.  One of my co-travellers even came upon an asian style toilet – that hole in the floor with marks for foot placement.  Oh my.

It truly is a mans’ world.



2 thoughts on “European Plumbing

  1. Sue – thank you for the entertainment…. The visuals that sailed through my mind as I read your blog were beyond description…. Welcome back to the land of decadent bathroom facilities… 🙂 J

  2. Hi Sue: Loved your latest amusing offering on how things never change in some places. Just a few more reasons why I’m likely stuck on this side of the ocean for the foreseeable future – like the toilet situation here is wonderful by comparison. Glad you had a good trip in spite of the ‘facilities’ and welcome home!

    Cheers, Gail

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