There are several different toilet systems here in Vienna with which I have become acquainted. As it would be more than a little embarrassing to ask someone to flush your toilet, I spend lots of time laughing in the bathroom trying to figure things out.

Here in my apartment, there are two buttons on the wall that flush the toilet…and I have come to the conclusion that one is no better than the other (though one is larger?). I know there must be some difference, but oh well. I was a little nervous about the toilet at school, which sports a “shelf” devoid of water…hmmmm. At the other student apartment, rumor has it you pull a string that hangs from the ceiling to flush. Hats off to whomever figured that out!

Sometimes there is a cleverly hidden depression on the right of the toilet itself that you must find, or perhaps one large button on the wall, or a little button on the back of the toilet. Never, have I ever, seen a handle. Luckily, things seem to be working all right and no “jiggling of the handle” has yet been required.

So, when in doubt, just look around, feel around. Start pushing buttons and pulling strings and switching on and off the lights until you here that familiar swish of water…then give yourself a pat on the back. These things should really come with instructions!

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