In the early years of our marriage, Dave was on peacekeeping duty in Cyprus for six months. During that time I had the opportunity to travel to West Germany to meet up with him then we spent two weeks vacationing. It was my first trip overseas having only travelled twice within Canada on an airplane.
What an adventure I had, 19 years old, travelling alone to a foreign country. The military operated their own 707 aircraft; they had specific stops where you must disembark. I left from Halifax in the late morning, with touchdowns in Ottawa and Trenton Ontario before the night flight to Gatwick England. Then we flew onto Germany arriving around noon hour. I made it with all the stops without incident. Dave arrived the next morning and we began our journey.
Our trip was a whirlwind, had some family and friends from back home who lived there who we stayed with a couple of days and they took us to some of the great tourist sites during our time. We also did a 4 day bus tour to Paris. My whole life I had wanted to go there, how exciting, Dave had planned the trip and set it up. We went on a bus from the base with other Canadians, had a great time. So interesting to see everything and be in different countries. We did all the typical tourist things, the Eifel Tower, the palace of Versailles, the Louvre and countless more things.
During the trip I became fascinated with all the styles of toilets…….yes you read it right……toilets. They may be called by different names depending on where you are but the toilets are all different. It got so that I made sure before I went in how you would flush the latest ones. Besides the normal one with a flush, there were ones with a tank up in the air and a chain that you pulled, ones that had a button that you either pulled up on or pushed down on. There was one with a button on the floor that you stepped on in the rear of the toilet. There was even one that would not seem to flush until you actually opened the stall door, it was triggered by the door lock. When going to the rest stops along the highways you would go into the public washrooms and had to pay for toilet paper, they were extremely clean and there was even a cleaning person stationed inside that was continually cleaning, people would tip her. Dave tells a story of trying to go to a urinal and this older woman coming in behind him and starting to clean the walls and urinals while he was there…..the way he tells it he would try to move a bit sideways and she would just move right by him. When we were in Paris I even saw my first bidet…….coming from a small town neither of us had ever seen or heard of one before, interesting trying to figure it out and how it would work……..tried all the guesses…..is it a foot bath, a urinal???? Who knows? But by far the most interesting came when we were on the bus ride back to Lahr from Paris. There was a lady on the trip who had over indulged with the alcohol and was a bit tipsy……she was quite a character and we all enjoyed the trip listening to her. She convinced the bus driver to stop at a rest place along the way that was not planned because she had to go. She got out of the bus and went in, and then a few moments later came back saying……I can’t go here someone stole the toilets. The bus driver laughed and then told us that along the highways, for cleanliness they have done this…..we all got off to have a look……….inside the stall was a hole in the ground and around the edge it was cement with two footprints, there was a rope hanging down from the ceiling as well. Just try to picture this……you put your feet into the footprints, and hold onto the rope hanging your rear over the hole. Imagine doing that when you are not steady on your feet. Years later when in France, we saw another more modern one like the one pictured here. They call them squat toilets.
If you take some time now on a computer you can likely see a lot of different types but remember this trip was a while ago and we had never seen anything like this before so I have told the story about all the toilets for years now. Our trips are certainly interesting and we always have a wonderful trip.