That Cluster of Countries on the Other Side of the Ocean has got incredible architecture, amazing sights, beautiful churches, fascinating history, and a wealth of art. But I will say this about Country of My Birth, the land where I currently reside: we have better bathrooms.
I've been spoiled, I guess, by living in a country where public bathrooms have windows, often a whole line of sinks under big mirrors, and spacious stalls underneath bright lights and high ceilings. The typical bathroom we'd find in a restaurant in City of Hot Gondoliers was so small that you'd see customers stripping off cameras and coats before they entered to make themselves as small as possible. Even if I wasn't claustrophic (which, I might add, is a perfectly rational fear), I would not be crazy about locking myself into a dark cubicle with the approximate dimensions of an upright coffin. And since when is toilet paper optional? It's perhaps significant that after spending a week in Kicking Country, I stepped into the bathroom on the airplane and thought, "Wow, this is kind of nice."
The lights in the bathrooms were on timers, which took some getting used to. The first night, I walked into a small restaurant bathroom, wedging myself what appeared to be an airless closet, and wriggled into position so I could shut the door. I untangled my wet raincoat from my bag and took off the fleece tied around my waist and tried to figure out where in this cramped space I could set those things down. Then suddenly, I was plunged into utter darkness. I screamed and began hitting the walls until finally my hands happened on the light switch.
That's when I learned the important rule about European bathrooms: find the light switch first thing.
The hotel, too, had little light switches in the halls and on the stairs. So if I was going to the lobby at night with my laptop, I'd have to find the little switches and press them as I made my way down. My father, a retired lawyer, kept muttering that the hotel would be negligent if someone fell down the stairs in the dark. But once I got used to the little light switches, I could see that they made sense. In Wasteful Country Where I Live, hotels and office buildings are often lit brilliantly all night long, even when no one is in the building. The European model makes much more sense. It's just a matter of getting used to it, acquiring the habit of checking where the light switch is when you enter a bathroom or hallway. Just in case you need to find it in the dark.