When I go back home people always ask what I miss about America. They think public bathrooms is my way of being funny.
Not true. Finding and accessing public bathrooms in Italy is an—adventure.
And more often than not you have to pay for it, and that’s even more complicated. I remember years ago in Rome, at the main train station, you had to insert one euro to be able to enter the main lobby from there it was to the right for men’s bathrooms and to the left for women’s.
You needed the one euro, no other coin combination would do. I was new to the euros and couldn’t tell what it was without my glasses. And of course I had many coins but not the magic one euro. Meantime, everyone in the group had already crossed to the other side and disappeared. There I was, all alone, needing to pee really bad and getting more frustrated by the minute. A small built young woman appeared, inserted her coin and as she stepped through the open glass door I moved very close to her and walked through at the same time. But before I could even breathe, a loud alarm went off and soon an imposing female figure wearing a security uniform appeared out of nowhere. Busted!
Soon my friends and my son rushed to see what the commotion was all about. To this day, every time I travel to Italy my son reminds me how humiliating it was to watch his mother getting busted over one euro…Hey, I didn’t get arrested, I paid the security guard with my small change, explained I didn’t understand the instructions…and finally got to use the bathroom.
Nowadays they have a person sitting there to make change for you if needed. I’m convinced my little escapade contributed to the improved situation. Or not…
More bathrooms adventures coming in the next blog…