Friday, May 21, 2010


Finding a place to relieve oneself in a strange and unfamiliar place can sometimes be a challenge. At times you must experience the pain of a full bladder for long periods of time, until you learn to take matters into your own hands, no pun intended. When traveling on secondary roads, official rest stops and facilities are few and far between. When a actual toilet is encountered, at say the town hall in some small berg, you use it while holding your breath and hope that your current state doesn't require sitting down.
We have on occasion encountered and used facilities such at the one depicted above, where the only smell may be the cows in the adjoining meadow. It is common to see men using these open air roadside facilities with no concern about who might be watching.

When using a toilet, or as known in many locales, a W.C. one must have at least a minimal amount of knowledge of the local language so as to pick the correct door. In a small town in Germany with many foreign tourists, the owner of this restaurant made it clear with his signage.

There are different types of porcelain fixtures all over this part of the world. Some look pretty much the same as what we're used to, but in the effort to make sure you put the seat up before using, it is just removed. At the local McDonald's, a good place to go, the women's facilities consists of two thrones, one of a regular size and the other a child size.

Often the toilet is flushed by pressing a button on the top of the tank. There are actually two buttons, one larger than the other. You may select to push either, the big button for a large deposits and the small button, well you get the picture.

The old Turkish, footprints and a hole, type is abundant in older establishments. Usually not very pleasant and often times with no toilet paper. Careful when you flush, you might get your shoes wet.

Restaurants are a good place to find facilities. This one took pride in it's throne room, which was used by both sexes. If you really must go, just walk in the restaurant or cafe and head towards the back. Just look like you belong there. This ruse has worked in dire situations.

Just push a button and a new seat cover is forthcoming, out one side and in the other. There are very elaborate systems in some public places where the W.C. is in a box, similar to a porta potty, only high tech. You put a coin in to gain access and close the door. You notice right away that it's wet inside. After using the apparatus, it flushes automatically. You are allowed to exit by pushing a button which unlocks the door. Don't hang around though because if you stay to watch, you will get washed down with the rest of the interior.
It is very common to encounter an attendant in the facility. It is not necessary for the attendant to be the same sex as the user of the bathroom. If you can't go when someones watching, these places aren't for you. The advantage is that these places are usually clean. It is customary to leave a small tip in the dish provided.
Ok, you ask, what is he doing taking photos of toilets across Europe? Well, I've got plenty of photos of castles and I figured you need to read something educational.
Hey, it's all part of Gassaways Adventures.


Julie Camacho said...

I Think the plastic just re-cycles as it continues to go around in a circle. Gross!

Jude said...

Dana, you are a chip off the old block - Dad wrote an extended account of toilets found in Germany, France - and England. You should compare notes - Anne could probably find her copy fairly quickly.

I can remember that we would have to stop for you, or Joel, to take a leak on the off highway side of the Kombi. Rarely did you have to go at the same time. Once, we were treated to the sight of German determination: a tour bus was stopped on the side of the road, and about 30 boys (ages 7 & 9) were all taking leaks at the same time - we were impressed
Keep on pissin'

Jude said...

P.S. Cathie, did you know about Grandmother Loomis' peanut butter jar? She could take a leak, standing in the driver's door - in full view of the highway - she did wear dresses in those days.

Jude said...

PPSS dont send mail to my google account, I cant figure out how to open my mail there.