My first day in Germany! After leaving the Frankfurt Airport, my companion and I walked all over the city, eventually stopping in the Gasthaus Zum Eisernen Steg for my first German meal. Let’s just say schnitzel was not my favorite German food, but this restaurant was darling and featured an endearing little bathroom!
The dining room was crammed with tchotchkies, including several cuckoo clocks that all chimed on the hour, although not quite simultaneously. The atmosphere was delightful and did not stop at the threshold of their little bathroom.
The dimly lit room contained a sink, and the water closet was through a second door. I am endlessly intrigued by the single occupancy bathroom that still has a door to the toilet. I suppose someone could be washing their hands while another patron is using the toilet, but I find it hard to imagine strangers sharing the facility like that; my sister and I would certainly use the bathroom in concert that way, but I would be surprised if another diner was willing to share their private bathroom time with me!
The room with the toilet had nice clean shiny tile in a warm brown that contributed to the low-light ambiance. I also enjoyed the decorative floral tiles interspersed in the room. The outer room contained the sink, as I said, and had an unusual additional feature: a cigarette holder/ashtray. At least I think that’s what it was. Interesting how a relic from a past social era can surprise you; it’s hard for me to remember people smoking inside a restaurant, and here in front of me is a handy holder for your cigarette so that even going to the bathroom doesn’t have to stop you from smoking!
My favorite feature of this bathroom is something that you see occasionally in places, like this one, which are run by individuals and carry the stamp of their owners: the wreath of fake flowers surrounding the mirror. It is heartwarming to see these personal touches — tacky items (usually fake flowers, actually) meant to breathe some personality and warmth into an otherwise small and clinically impersonal bathroom. I am touched by the effort to make a public bathroom – which are often unwelcoming or even unsanitary – feel like a home, and a truly private place.