Okay, I couldn’t help myself. I was telling these stories over the weekend and they’re so shudder-inducing that I just have to share.
Remember when I wrote about how special the bathrooms I encountered in Ireland were? And I mentioned that Portugal had some pretty special bathrooms too?
Here we go.
WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW: I’m a pretty serious germophobe. Especially when it comes to public bathrooms. I pretty much won’t use a public bathroom unless I really have to. I know I didn’t mention this in my Irish bathrooms post because those bathrooms were just weird. The ones I’m about to describe were…more than that.
Praia das Maçãs
My aunt and cousin, Iris, took me to lots of the beaches in the area when I visited them, and we spent a good portion of my 24th birthday at Praia das Maçãs, which translates to Apple Beach in English. Here’s the cute sign, with apples on top of it:
And here’s the incredible sunset I got to witness there:
But before I got to experience the amazing sunset, I really had to pee. There was a little public bathroom pretty close by, and my aunt had to go, too, so we made the trek over.
Guys, it had been a normal public bathroom. One room with a toilet, sink, mirror, etc., but since then, it had become one of the scariest bathrooms I’ve ever been in. Like, almost Trainspotting scary. For the following reasons:
(A) The lights were burnt out and it had no windows.
(B) The lock on the door was broken, and there was a huge crack in the door.
(C) There was no soap at the sink.
Oh, and also,
(D) THE TOILET HAD NO SEAT.
So basically, I was performing a forced hover over a scary-ass toilet bowl in the near pitch black while my aunt guarded the door and kept it ever so slightly open so that I could sort of see what the hell was going on.
The one thing that bathroom had going for it, thank god, was toilet paper.
SIDENOTE: Who the fuck is re-stocking the toilet paper in that place and not replacing the light bulbs!?
And then I drenched myself in antibacterial gel.
I was never really planning on visiting Fátima on my trip to Portugal, but my BFF (who visited me while I was visiting Portugal) has a very religious grandmother who insisted she go there before the “End Days,” so we went.
For those of you who have no idea what Fátima is, here’s a Wikipedia blurb:
“Fátima is a civil parish in the municipality of Ourém, in the Portuguese Centro region. With a population of 11,538 inhabitants in 2011, the parish actually encompasses several villages and localities of which Fátima, with a population of 7,756 residents, is the largest. Part of the urban agglomeration of Leiria, it is 187 km (116 mi) south of Porto and 123 km (76 mi) north of Lisbon. It has been permanently associated with the Marian apparitions that occurred in Cova da Iria in 1917 and which were later recognized by the Catholic Church.”
(If you want to know more, please go to the full Wikipedia page and check it out!)
I’m not going to pretend to know a ton about Fátima. I’m not a religious person at all (I’m actually clueless), but I can show you a photo I took:
And I can tell you that people make the journey from the entrance of the grounds to the church on their knees until they’re raw and bloody, etc. etc.
Anyway, this place is a big deal. And it has a TON of visitors per day. So you’d think that the bathrooms, like the rest of the site, would be impeccable.
They’re the opposite.
From the outside, they look normal, but on the inside? I don’t know if I even have words to describe the horrors that awaited us inside. I was DESPERATE to pee. Like, I was reaching emergency levels of “I HAVE TO PEE.” But I went into the public bathrooms at Fátima and I turned around and walked out.
First of all, the stench was incredible. And by incredible, I mean one of the worst things I’ve ever experienced. I don’t think I have to describe what I was smelling. I’m sure you can guess. It was so strong because there were so many stalls. And when I entered one of those numerous stalls, I realized even more so why the stench was so strong: every stall had PILES of USED toilet paper along the back wall, built up like disgusting pyramids.
Oh, and THE TOILETS HAD NO SEATS.
SIDENOTE: What the fuck, Portugal? I mean, I love you like crazy, but what the fuck?!
On top of all of that, there were dirty diapers everywhere, and then there were the countless people trying to clean up their bleeding knees and legs at the sinks, thereby getting blood everywhere.
Six words: It was a fucking horror show.
So yeah, I walked in and walked out, where I found my dad, BFF, and my BFF’s boyfriend, and I said, “Not a chance. We need to find somewhere else for me to pee. Guys, we need to find something NOW.”
We wandered around the town for a wee bit before we found an awesome, quaint, family-owned café that had great food and real, normal bathrooms. Thank god.
So yeah, Portugal’s a real public bathroom adventure.
P.S. I LOVE PORTUGAL/EU ADORO PORTUGAL.