Whoever believes that going to a Greek toilet is like visiting a restroom in the Netherlands, is wrong. The experience of emptying your blatter in Greece is unique and unlike doing the same thing in the rest of Europe or even the US. Prepare yourself for your next summer holiday and keep reading.
Don’t flush your toilet paper
All over Greece, you can find signs, saying that you are not supposed to throw any toilet paper in the water closet.
Did you ever wonder why?
The reason is simple. The Greek draining system is just not designed for flushing paper. The waste pipes that have to transport your call of nature are simply not wide enough. Flushing toilet paper in Greece can easily cause constipation in the sewer system from which a whole town will suffer. So don’t do it!
Greeks are not bothered
As an architect, however, I could not agree with the Greeks understanding this reason and not doing anything about it. Why don’t you use the paper that disappears when it is in contact with water? For what reason don’t you start building houses that do have a wide enough pipe to flush paper? Why doesn’t the government do something about it?
Turns out, that the Greeks don’t share this problem with me. They are so used to not flushing their toilet paper that it is just the most normal thing for them to do. So whenever my Greek family is visiting the Netherlands, I am cleaning their dirty paper.
Bring your own toilet paper
Although the Greeks accept collecting their dirty paper in a bin, they also understand that they are the only ones. They know that the many tourists that visit Greece each year, will either refuse or forget that they are not supposed to flush their paper.
As a result, even luxurious hotels will provide you with the shittiest quality of toilet paper. So when you accidentally flush it, not much harm is done. Understandable from them, imagine a stay in Santorini with sewer liquids and smells everywhere. Just take your own well-layered toilet paper with you when staying in a hotel with a Greek toilet, and don’t flush it.
Prepare yourself for the public toilets
Imagine you’re having dinner at a restaurant in a building that used to be an old train station. After about a liter of beer, you have to visit the powder room. The Greeks around you tell you to follow the train tracks for a couple of meters and you will find it on your left. Easy right?
I was in this situation during my first week in Greece. I followed the tracks, in the dark, surrounded by the sound of hungry stray dogs. After walking for five minutes there was a little building on my left so I entered. What I found were a hole in the ground and a green garden hose connected to a sink. Strange. I walked back, thinking I had missed the real toilet completely.
Later I heard that the place I had found was an actual Greek toilet. Public toilets in Greece can be no more than a hole in the ground, a Turkish toilet. And the garden hose was just there to replace the bidet. According to the Greeks, this is actually the cleanest way to pee in public. Even though the toilets are not cleaned often, look terrible and feel like they came straight from the middle ages, you don’t need to touch anything. Making you immune to all the bacteria that live in there.