Traveling is an adventure and I say “vive la difference.”  I learn as I travel that I can’t assume things will be like they are back home, and often, they are very different.

Bathing is one thing that you wouldn’t think would be so different, but it can be.

We stayed at a delightful “self-catering” apartment in Cobh, County Cork, Ireland.  It is in the basement of an old Victorian house which has been retro-fitted for modern needs.  In Ireland, as in the rest of Europe, the electricity is 220, so safety measures abound with everything that involves electrical appliances.  And because electricity and oil are so expensive, extensive measures are taken to insure that no power is wasted and that the user is safe.

At our apartment, the use of the shower was not intuitive, and we had to have a tutorial to make it work.

First, the power had to be turned on from outside the bathroom.  Again, because of the 220, there are no switches or plugs inside the bathroom, so forget standing at the mirror to do your hair or shave.  The plug for the hair dryer is outside the door.  So, there were three switches outside the bathroom door:  The first, to turn on the light:  The second to direct power to the bath instead of the kitchen sink:  The third switch actually turned on the power to something in the bathroom I couldn’t identify.

The next step is to enter the bathroom and pull the string on another power switch which is on the ceiling.

Then you climb into the bathtub and find the flash heater which has two dials.  The one on the left is to turn on the actual flash heater.  The one on the right is to work the actual water temperature, which because it is straight out of the flash heater, can be almost boiling temperature.  After all that, you shower.  There isn’t a lot of water pressure, so it takes awhile.

I had forgotten from previous trips that soap and wash cloths are not provided.  I had a little bar of soap in my cosmetic bag which came in handy for bathing, but between my husband and me, we used that up very quickly.  I finally bought a bottle of shampoo which we used for hair-washing and bathing.  You learn to make do and store up memories for future stories!