5 Surprises about WCs in St. Petersburg

Restrooms, toilets, lavatories, loos - public restrooms in St. Petersburg can be a fun adventure, but sometimes, it pays to know before you go. 

Photo credit: saint-petersburg.ru

WCs around the world are often a study in local culture. In St. Petersburg, they certainly run the gamut from swanky, marble-clad restrooms with bronze faucets in historic hotels to reasonably clean public restrooms (some are true architectural gems) to blue porta-potties in crowded areas to well, wooden outhouses at someone’s dacha. Then there’s always McDonald’s, a tourist’s saviour around the world, so in all likelihood, you won’t be left stranded.

Here’s what I wish I knew before I went:

  1. No gender designation. In many public spaces or restaurants there’d be two restrooms but there won’t be a sign, so you’re free to choose. It’s a little disconcerting at first, but hey, how often do you get to enjoy the same facilities as the opposite sex.

  2. Sink in the stall. I think this should be adopted around the world. In a situation where a public place has just a couple of restrooms, each has its own sink so you get to wash your hands before you go back to the common area. 

  3. Toilet paper question. At a beautiful restroom in a public garden not only there was no little sink (ok, there were 20 stalls) but no toilet paper too. Instead, there was a dispenser in the common area, so you kinda had to plan ahead. I wish I’d gotten that memo.

  4. Toilets on trains. I was equally surprised to discover that one overnight train to Moscow featured the metal toilet of my childhood that emptied right on the tracks, while the return overnight train had an excellent modern restroom complete with electronic sensors and a shower. Go figure. 

  5. Unexpected (and cool) design. Sliding doors that you’re not sure lock? Check. Murals featuring people peeking at you? Check. Toilets at an angle? Check. It seemed that in restaurants, the more creative the food, the more surprising the bathroom. One thing I loved for sure - there’s no door gap. 

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