Really, I want to talk potties in Europe. I thought my previous travels had prepared me, but I’m still learning as I go. I really should stop being shocked at this point by anything I see or experience.
(If you’re squeamish about bathrooms and bodily functions, this post may not be for you.)
Let’s get the elephant out of the room. Squatty potties do exist. So far I’ve only encountered them in Italy. This bodes well for German vacations.
Evidently, spending a lot of time in Turkey did nothing to improve my skills in this situation. I still walk in, see the squatty potty, turn and walk out. I’ve resorted to buying something I don’t even need at a nearby store just so I can use their bathroom in an emergency. Anything to avoid them.
Doesn’t this just make you cringe? All I can think of is being three years old on a road trip with my mom thinking that stopping on the side of the road was appropriate. I would offer to my mother that it was not appropriate. I’m still a little traumatized from those childhood experiences and the fear of, well, the whole thing. At least then she was there to help counterbalance my weight. Now I’m just alone in a bathroom staring at a squatty potty. Woman against porcelain.
Suffice it to say that in my world this is no more OK now than it ever was in the 70s. Maybe I’m just not that much of a nature girl. (Gasp)
So let’s move on to something which I highly endorse.
Self cleaning potties.
Seriously. Wave your hand and it begins magically turning and sanitizing at the same time. Even better, there’s some kind of drying mechanism because when it’s all done it’s not wet or icky.
Yes, they do ask that you deposit .70€ (coins!!!) to use this super clean bathroom, but it’s totally worth it. And they give you a little ticket so that you can use .50€ on any purchase in their store. The net cost is minimal compared to the joy of knowing you’re using a sanitized toilet.
Also shocking to me is the propensity for men to walk into the women’s bathroom without knocking, clearing the room or seeking permission. If they need to use it and there’s an open stall I have seen them use it. If they need to perform service they go right in. I don’t like 8 year old boys in the women’s bathroom after they can peek under stalls. For dang sure this makes me uncomfortable. And none of the local women even notice so I realize that according to the accepted rules here that I am overreacting.
But hey, men just stand on the side of the autostrada and pee in front of God and everybody. I suppose the lesson is, “If you can, do it.”
Lastly, both pay to use and free bathrooms often have a merchandise gauntlet through which you must walk to access the bathrooms. Toys, candy, souvenirs. They make it hard to walk out without buying something.
I can’t imagine taking three little kids to the bathroom past all of that shiny, glittery, tempting product. Luckily, I have only my self control to blame. My spaghetti head photo from Insta came from the gauntlet. I was able to control myself and did not spend 10€ on a huge box of spaghetti. Whew, that was close.
ETA: there was one anomaly when I had to pay 1€ in Austria to use the bathroom. It had no toilet seat and I didn’t even get a coupon back to spend in the store. And I succumbed to desire and bought a cheesy Heidi-esque cowbell keychain. Can’t win all the battles.