Toilet Paper and Civilization:
A travel writer that I have read remarked that the level of civilization of a country could easily be measured by its availability of public toilets. In his view this meant that Byelorussia was somewhere back in the Hyrcanian age. If they have "pay as you pee" toilets there, I'm sure that they have Conan rather than a Baba watching the door.
I'd like to offer an alternative index- the toilet paper scale. I've mentioned the stuff in the Czech Republic already. Basically coarse grade sandpaper. The materials were a bit better in Austria. Still from recycled paper, but the paper manufacturering process was a grade above "lightly chewed". I was swearing to myself that this sort of thing couldn't happen in Italia. I was wrong in one way. There are still some pay as you pee toilets here in Venezia, but a heck of a lot less than Austria or Czech Republic. The toilet paper is, however, on a much more civilized scale, fit for human use. I wasn't wrong there when I couldn't imagine an Italian torturing their hind end with the stuff available in the other two countries. It gives another meaning to 'la dolce vita'.
Anyways, enough of the scatological tour of Europe. More civilized comments are still to come.
Molly from Venezia