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Thursday, August 2, 2018

It's Potty Time in Europe

It's potty time in Europe! Yes, it's time to check out some of the places in which one can dispose of their ... er... waste while in France, Germany, and Switzerland.

On a recent vacation in Europe, my friend and fellow author Janice Howden and I saw amazing scenery, churches, canals, castles and more. But I was also intrigued by the variety of toilets we saw on our journey - because my weird mind works that way.

Jan (right) is the author of Rescued, her puppy dog's true story of finding a forever home. Jan and I were thrilled to see tulip fields for the first time.
No, there is no toilet in this photo. It's just a photo of us during one of the best moments of our trip. We loved the tulip fields in the Netherlands.

I found it interesting that European hotel rooms often have shoe shine cloths but no wash cloths or facial tissue, like those we are accustomed to using in North America. So you can clean your shoes but not use something to wash your face or wipe your nose.

We used this new-fangled, self-cleaning public toilet in Paris. It is on a sidewalk near the Notre Dame Cathedral. You press a button to enter. The door opens and closes behind you.
After you've done your business, you wash and blow-dry your hands. You press a button inside to exit the toilet. Then the door closes and locks so the toilet can clean itself with sanitizing water/spray before it allows the next person to enter. But you have to be done in 20 minutes or the toilet door opens! And you'd better not wait until the last minute to get in line because it takes a LONG time with the toilet cleaning after each person is done. You're better off using a pay toilet or going to a restaurant and buying something to use their toilet. The toilet room staff in those places help maintain cleanliness and ensure safety.  

This toilet in our hotel room in Basel, Switzerland gained my respect for its use of gravity. The tank is the highest placement above the toilet bowl than any I've ever seen. You even have to reach up a bit to use the flushing handle. Obviously not meant to be operated by children.

This fascinating trio of public toilets sits in Basel, Switzerland, beside a walking path along the Rhine River. I didn't go inside any of these street toilets, but I was very curious about the toilet on the left with the large, peeing man on it. His hat is probably a sleep hat, but I couldn't help thinking he was a jester from the old days. Stay tuned on that one...

Jan posed in front of this collection of self-cleaning toilets in downtown Basel. These toilets had better signage inside to explain the various functions.

The interior, although wet from the last sanitizing wash, was sparse and clean.

Toilet paper, anyone? It self-dispenses when you put your hand near it.

Water to wash. Dryer to dry.
At a public park in Switzerland, my curiosity got the best of me and I decided to see what this toilet was like inside. Big mistake. BIG! The image on the outside was the only funny thing about this toilet.
There are doors on both sides. Just standing near the entrance to one of the open doors was enough for me. Inside was a long trough on either side - one for Number One and one for Number Two. They were not cleaned out. If there was a flushing mechanism, it had not been used. I did not see anything for hand washing. I'm hoping I just missed these essential items because I left so quickly. Ewwwww! No wonder the doors were left open on both sides.
At least in the outhouse on the farm where I grew up in Western Canada, everything was down one hole dug into the ground, out of plain view, and the open air reduced the smell, especially in winter. Yuk.

Sorry about that. Moving on...

Now this I recognize! It's a Port-a-potty - European style - at a construction site in Switzerland.

In Koblenz, Germany we saw these portable potties at a downtown market square. I couldn't resist taking a photo of them with the fountain in the foreground. Maybe the water helps some people "go".

And now, we go back to the time before Christ, when the Romans had sewage systems, indoor plumbing and heated floors. These are the remains of a Roman sewer system in Cologne. Fascinating.

The Romans had running water, treated sewage, and other services that disappeared for generations after wars destroyed their innovations. So sad is the damage caused by war.

Ah, now, this is the toilet style I am used to - a flushing toilet, a clean bathroom, a sink to wash up - except the toilet paper is considerably lower down here than you'll see in North American bathrooms. I don't understand the thinking, but this was on a river cruise ship, so maybe space was a factor. It worked, though, except in the middle of the night once, when I had to search for the roll I had accidentally knocked off its low hanger. Oops.

And that concludes my look at some potties in some parts of Europe.

As our friend, the late Bob Hughes, former sports editor and managing editor of the Regina Leader-Post used to say, "Y'er welcome.”

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