Ha ha ha… No, seriously, when in Europe and you need to use the lavatory for whatever your business may be, unless you are in a restaurant or pub as a paying customer, you are going to have to fork out some change to use their facilities.
Above is a great example of what a public WC (watering closet) looks like. Usually there is a retired older lady who sits in a chair with a side table with a small dish on top who hands out toilet paper (three squares at most!) and she isn’t there just collecting tips, you are expected to pay.
A funny European sign below which I believe is geared at tourists.
You can also access some super public toilets which are a bit unnerving like the above, and I believe this one is self cleaning, which I am not sure how hygienic “self cleaning” is, but when you need to go, it is a great option. No one can see you, but you can watch the people walk by in full privacy. How you would enter such a loo is by putting however many coins in a slot & the door would unlock for you (if not in use). I believe I used one like this in Berlin.
Squat toilets are common in Asia hence I believe this type of signage on how to use a Western toilet.
I think it was in La Spezia, Italy or possibly Pisa, when I had to use a toilet and it was a nasty dirty tile floor which looked like it had not been cleaned in awhile, and in the corner there was literally a hole in the concrete portion of the floor and no rails to hold onto. I had no idea how to use this, and I think I gave 50 cents – 1/2 a Euro to utilize this facility.
The above would have been a welcome delight. What I had was a deplorable hole in the ground with a breeze coming up from it. Not sure how it worked. Also, for those who may not know, above is what you call a “Squater Toilet” and is encountered more in Asia than in Europe.
Sometimes the WCs in Europe can have not the nicest conditions. Sometimes there is no soap, or a dirty scary bar of soap, or the taps don’t work, or you have to recontaminate your hands by opening a door or whatnot. Keep travel size Purell on you at all times.
Don’t take the toilets too seriously. Have fun with it. We travel for a bit of a culture shock don’t we? Be kind to the lavatory Euro collectors, they are older & they do help keep the facilities clean, and it is probably not the most joyous job – monitoring toilet use & distributing TP squares.
Have fun and again – keep lots of change on you!
Peace & love – Rachel