Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Time to Get Serious

There's something important I'd like to discuss today that isn't very pretty. It goes along with Geometric Shapes = Genders ?. Now that you know whether you are a circle or a triangle, there is another critical issue. Because really, when you're traveling, it's bound to happen. You'll be walking down the street like Henrietta here and all of a sudden, you need to....um, visit the facilities.

But where? No idea what's behind that door. And the only things nearby are a Medieval church and a sketchy food cart. I doubt those will be much help. What she needs are...

Europe doesn't quite work like the U.S. Here we have some sort of shop all over if you need a stop. 

Look! A Starbucks. 

Over there! A Walgreens. 

Hooray! A gas station.

All shops (except those in the mall) are generally large enough they have their own bathrooms, too. So, we Americans (or maybe just us Midwesterners, I don't know how it works on the coasts) aren't used to this search. Therefore, I've compiled the top ten ways to find one.

1. Restaurants. While we have Starbucks, Walgreens, and gas stations on every corner, Europe has an Italian restaurant on every corner. I've never liked this option very much because if the hosts and hostesses are paying attention, you get glared at. The restrooms are always hidden in the back and someone will wonder who is loitering. I was always worried about being threatened with a fork in some languge I don't speak or having to buy something.

2. Coffee shops. These are pretty easy to find. And unlike bakeries, it is assumed you'll want to hang around so it'll have a bathroom. I can't believe some bakeries don't have bathrooms. Argh.

3. Subway stations. If you are lucky enough to be in a city with a subway, there's a good chance there is one down there. It is possibly staffed by an angry man. The one I visited was. I guess he doesn't like working underground.

4. Bars. This is one of my favorite options. People like bars. And people walk in and out of them regularly. You can walk right in and no one will question you. This is a good way to avoid the glares of restaurant workers who want you to buy something or get out. Instead, the bar tender doesn't care and can pretend you are just sitting outside.

5. The Mall. Easy enough if you can find it. You can even stop and buy a cupcake if you want.

6. Fancy Hotel Lobbies. This is my absolute FAVORITE option. Fancy hotels are used to the fact that people come and go so you never get questioned. Feel free to loiter in the lobby. It might even be air conditioned. Ahhhh. And, since they are often used for meetings, there is always an open restroom right off the edge of the lobby. No danger of having to ask someone where it is. **Disclaimer* I do not recommend using the facilities of a hotel where you aren't staying, that'd be taking advantage :) *Disclaimer**

7. Museums. Why yes I did just want to visit the Pharmacy Museum, it wasn't for any other reason. (I really did visit the Pharmacy Museum in Cracow, and not because of this. I did enjoy all the herbs I recognized from Harry Potter potions class. Did you know there really is a thing known as bezoar?) This is a rather expensive option but you might even learn something on your way out. Oops, that might have turned you off.

8. Public Restrooms. I hope they are nicer than port-o-potties in the park. Many cities have odd, underground buildings where you can pay for a use. There is always some woman sitting there to make change. These are, at least usually, clean and are sometimes on the maps. Convenient.

9. American Fast Food Restaurants. They are always prepared. Try the KFC or McD's, they are fancier than ours. Especially if it is a two story building. Then they just think you're eating in the other room.

10. And, I hope you don't have to resort to this....a Bush! Every male person I traveled to Europe with used this option at one point. That isn't a good idea. I even saw one man getting a little chat with the police for this reason one evening while walking by myself. Awkward.

There you go. I hope it helps you some day. If you're all really nice to me, I may even throw in my super secret tip number 11!

Until next time, God bless America.


  1. The bushes are a very popular option. A while back I was in Paris for Bastille Day and went to watch the fireworks. There were literally a dozen guys lined up "watering" the hedges around the perimeter of the park...

  2. I like the bar option the best. You know... Kill 2 birds with 1 stone and all.