To go or not to go; that is the question

VaticanToilet

With many apologies to my man, WillieS, the “go” refers to…you know…going.  As in going to the bathroom.

Yes – it’s the long awaited toilet post.

Last month, my husband and I hopped over to Rome for a week.  It was a “Black Friday” travel deal.  Yes, travel also is on sale on “Black Friday” along with the big screen TV’s and Dr. Dre Beats headphones.  And it was pretty darned inexpensive.  For Rome.

I just love those “it’s just too good of a deal not to go” deals!

Our tour company upgrade our hotel at the last minute.  This was a delightful surprise based on the reviews of the original hotel.  Seems as if they were being threatened with multiple lawsuits from people with bedbugitis from that hotel.  Good call.

The replacement hotel was lovely.  Good location – near the Termini train station and all kinds of public transit.  Helpful, friendly staff.  Small but clean room.  A large bed with no unwanted microscopic bedmates.  And most importantly, a spic-n-span bathroom.

I’m not really a very fussy person.  You’d know that if you saw my car.  Or my house.  Or read my blog.  But I do like a clean bathroom when I travel.  Just makes me feel better about spending time in there.  You know, it helps me “relax”.

The bonus was we had a lovely squeaky clean bidet as well!  I’ve played with bidets many times trying to figure out how they work and why they exist.  Hey – I’m American…  We’re really not interest in being THAT clean.

I decided several years ago to use them to store for my bathroom stuff.  I line it with a towel of course – squeaky clean looks can be deceiving.  Fussy.  I have a friend who does her laundry in them.

I love Europe.

But I noticed on this trip that 95% of the bathrooms I visited (not in our hotel), were missing their toilet seat covers.  What’s up with that?  I get that maybe (and that’s a doubtful maybe) it’s okay in the summer, but it was January.  That porcelain was freakin’ cold.

At first I thought that it was just that we frequented out of the way establishments. We do like to get off the beaten path.  Value travel, you know?

But then we went to St. Peter’s in the Vatican.  I’ve been there twice before, but it still takes my breath away.  So dramatic.  So majestic.  Bernini’s columned courtyard. Michelangelo’s dome.  The Pieta.  The Sistine Chapel.  And the Vatican Museums containing some of the finest art from the ancient world through the Renaissance.

In the middle of gaping and manic picture taking, I suddenly got the “urge”.  I smiled, feeling confident as I headed toward the facilities.  Certainly, amidst all of this splendor and priceless art and holy artifacts, the bathrooms have to be outstanding with deep, plush toilet seats that give you visions of the heavenly realm when you set your bottom on it.  It’s built on top of St. Peter’s tomb for goodness sake.  This is holy ground.

I snapped a picture (above) of what I found.  Huh?  I heard no angel songs.

My husband thinks they don’t put seats on the toilets because people steal them. Seriously?  How does somebody not notice that you are walking out with a toilet seat under your arm?  They would notice at the Vatican.

I think it’s just a “thing” in Rome not to have toilets seats.  Go figure…

But it’s okay.  Really it is.  Because it’s all relative.

In 2012 I traveled through Trieste, Italy on the way to Croatia.  The Trieste train station, built in 1857 and renovated in 2007 looked brand, sparkling new inside. Modern cafe, newish looking small grocery store and Euro-modern waiting room.

I was tired after flying all night from the US to Venice.  It seemed like a long train ride from Venice to Trieste.  I was cranky.  I had to go but I hate Italian train bathrooms. They’re definitely not spic-n-span clean.  Yuck.

Seeing the refurbished station got me hopeful.  I hurried through the waiting area following the restroom signs.  I swept into the ladies room and opened the stall door. Ta-da…

TriesteToilet

“You’ve to be kidding me.”  I actually said it out loud.

In my 20’s I used these toilets in Greece.  I’m not in my 20’s anymore.  I seriously doubt my knees would support me.  I decided I didn’t have to go that bad.  That mind-body connection is amazing.

So it’s all relative.  A little one-on-one with cold porcelain isn’t so bad from time to time.

When in Rome…

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38 thoughts on “To go or not to go; that is the question

  1. love it – it’s so true. YOu need to try to go to one of those floor loos while in full ski gear and strapped up boots and needing to bend down low to get your b’ness taken care of. I’m above 50 too and I must say, it’s a major big turn off sending you back to holding your bladder ever further than you had before. Those toilets are not few and far between – i encounter one at least once a week.

    My italian hubby says toilet seats got protested about long ago, it’s not that they’re stolen, it’s that they’re a pain in the neck to lift up, and since it’s mainly men that use public toilets, they’ve done away with them to help satisfy the male sector of la bella Italia.

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    • That’s when Depends come in handy! Just wear one of those when your skiing and you don’t have to worry if the loo (I like that word better than toilet!) is a squat n go one! I get why there wouldn’t be toilet seats in Men’s rooms, but they aren’t there in the Women’s bathrooms either. Do some further research on this and get back to me… 😉 Thanks for the enlightment!

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      • I think I’m happy to not know what Depends really are, I kept reading it as depends, not the Noun.
        Anyway my final guess on the loo subject is Italians are really just not into cleaning, one less thing to clean, and as you know from going into a public toilet, the b’ness ends up anyway BUT in the rightful place. So I am of the opinion that it just comes down to less is more mentality, rather then a matter of potential theft.

        Liked by 1 person

    • We were in Belgium last summer and they had lovely public toilets. Good to hear that Amsterdam is good as well. Hey, maybe we can be like Rick Steve’s types and can write guidebooks to European toilets! The research part could be nasty though… I guess you get pretty good at the timing of “things” when you are in Italy and Greece right? It’s all part of being a highly skilled traveller!

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  2. A couple in our village (in Cornwall, although I’m an American) managed to get herself locked into a toilet in the Vatican. When they finally broke her loose, she stepped through the door announcing, “I have been beatified.”

    What I don’t know is whether there was a seat on the toilet. Maybe hardship (or cold enamel) leads toward saintliness. I just don’t know.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Okay – you made me laugh out loud (or lol if you are younger and actually don’t know what those words mean – ha!) You have taken this all to a whole new level that hadn’t even entered my mind! That could indeed be it – the striving towards holiness! Why hadn’t I considered that?? The purest silver goes though the hottest fire. Or coldest porcelain in my case. Thanks for stopping by and commenting and expanding my mind! 🙂

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  3. I am new to your blog and now in love! My best friend is Polish and Italy is her favorite place to travel to. First thing tomorrow, I will be inquiring about the status of the loos and their seat covers and giving you a full report!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. One of my favorite things in Hanoi was a toilet that squirted warm water where it would do the most good. I didn’t know I wanted one till I tried it!
    Thanks for my laugh for the day.

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    • You’re welcome! The Hanoi potty sounds wonderful! I have a friend here in the US who redid her bathroom, and got a souped- up toilet with a heated seat and I think squirting warm water. It might even vibrate – yikes! Those who have “reposed” on it say it’s amazing… 😉

      Liked by 1 person

  5. So I asked my friend and this is the response she gave me:
    “Italy has the mentality that in a public bathroom it is more hygenic not to make contact with a toilet seat, therefore, there is no reason to put a toilet seat, people will just make a mess on it. That is why they do that.”

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    • It was very clean! I’ve heard about China. Had somebody I know go over there for a year to do an internship. She told me that people in the city she was in didn’t bother with toilets. They just went when the urge hit. Like right where they were. Squat and drop. Yuck. On the other hand, she said the custom tailoring was dirt cheap… Not quite an equal trade-off!

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  6. LOL – great post, thanks for the laughter. Im glad Ive never had to use one of those floor toilets myself because that is an awkward situation in itself. Like where do you put the toilet paper, what if you needed to do number 2. I can’t imagine that would go down well . pun not included.

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    • Love the pun! If I am recalling correctly, there was no toilet paper so where to put it wasn’t an issue. And you’re right – you’d have to be a pretty darned good aim to get everything where it belonged! Okay – too much detail… Thanks so much for laughing and for you’re very punny comment!

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  7. Great post! I remember, as a child, the first time I walked into one of those ‘floor’ toilets in France: there was a long queue of people waiting and I came straight back out and said to my mum: “It’s not a toilet, it’s a shower”.

    We lived in Cyprus for a few years recently and some remoter parts of the island still have toilets where you can’t put paper down: you have to put paper in a bin next to the loo! Eek!

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    • That’s so cute that you thought it was a shower. So what did you do? Don’t leave me hanging here…

      Actually, there are still places in Europe where you have to put the paper in the trash next to the loo. I love using the word loo. We really don’t call it that in the US but it’s such a great word! Anyway, I figure if the plumbing can’t handle the paper, I’ll go along with the whole trash can thing. But I hate to admit that there have been too many times that I have flushed the paper – it’s just sorta automatic – then saw the sign to please NOT flush the paper. Oops…

      Thanks for visiting us here at AGMA and for the kind comment! Stop by again!

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      • Well my mum unceremoniously shoved me back into the ‘loo’ telling me there was nowhere else to pee and so I had to quickly learn how to do the act standing up, without splashing your flip flops…no mean feat for a child!
        Yes, I must admit I have popped paper down the loo in Greek Islands as I just couldn’t bear the alternative; bin…hopefully my actions didn’t result in major blockage..

        Great blog you have – very entertaining! Louise

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      • I needed to hear the rest of that story. AndI wanted to end it with “…and the rest is history” for some reason! Oh yeah – we were in Greece a couple of years ago and I was really bad at not seeing the signs. After a couple of days, I got into the swing of things but, like you, I wonder how many plumbing systems I mucked up! Wonderful and very much appreciated compliment! It really does take surprise me every time somebody says they like my blog… I’m just hoping people smile!

        Liked by 1 person

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