Bushwhacked In Krakow

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International travel is all about new cultures and experiences, and obviously we love it. But sometimes, Brothers and Sisters – you just gotta laugh.

Our Krakow apartment is very comfortable and works perfectly for us. It has lots of charm, and is located midway between the Old Town and the Jewish Quarter, Kazimierz. But that’s not to say that it didn’t have a few surprises for us.

From front door

First, the bathroom had a frosted-glass door, which thanks to some clever planning, just happened to face the love seat in the living room. The toilet was strategically located, just inside the door. It doesn’t take much imagination to envision the problems this arrangement caused. My Rodin-style “Thinker” pose can’t have been that attractive. Terri and I are close, but we ain’t THAT close. Needless to say, we worked out a protocol.


Also, on the opposite wall in front of the toilet, was a large, ceramic, industrial-size, motion-sensitive, auto-flushing urinal. We had a perfect view of this white, gleaming monstrosity while seated on the toilet. Its bonus feature was that each time we walked past it would automatically flush, forcing us to hang a towel over the motion sensor.

Space-age shower

And finally, the pièce de résistance – the NASA-inspired corner shower stall, which was so modern that it would’ve fit nicely on the International Space Station. It had a small seat, multiple water jets, rotating massagers, and a hand wand. It turns out that the glowing remote control I was so curious about was actually a radio.

Remote control

My first shower was a cold, cruel reminder of the consequences of being the trailblazer. I stepped in boldly, fired up the small radio, and immediately heard the overture from either Spartacus or The Ten Commandments. (I am not making this up.) I pulled the wand off the wall, pointed it toward the floor, and turned what I believed to be the main faucet handle.  But to my %!@#X surprise, freezing cold water whooshed out one of the lower jets bushwhacking me (pun intended) in a very sensitive spot. I reacted with lightning speed, but the damage was done, and it took a couple of minutes for my teeth to stop chattering.

Lower jets

There must be a lesson here, but the best I could come up with is to let Terri go first next time.

Happy Trails,

Author: gallivance.net

We're Terri and James Vance - high school sweethearts who went on to international careers and became world nomads. Today, 65 countries later, we're still traveling ... and still in love. Check out Our Story for more of the backstory at gallivance.net.

69 thoughts

  1. I laughed as I read this because I recently used an exact replica of this shower, radio option not included. At least, I don’t think there was a radio. There were so many buttons… Anyway, Florence got booby trapped (no pun intended) when she used the shower and water came at her from the wall and floor. The engineers who designed this shower must have won a contest for Best Modified Phone Booth. Your description of the other fixtures is hilarious, especially the urinal that flushed each time you pass. Nice to know Poland has progressed so far with their technology. – Mike

    1. Booby Trapped – absolutely, brilliantly, funny Mike. BTW, where did you see the shower? The radio was a nice touch, and when I turned it on I chuckled, because my first thought was of Kirk Douglas in his racy, fighting diaper. Then the frigid water hit, and my only thought was escape, and I had nowhere to go. Too funny. And the strange thing is that I never did figure out the water system and how to use all the features. Did Florence? ~James

      1. We were in Senj, Croatia, when we encountered what I assumed was a reject from the old Get Smart TV series. I played with all the buttons, so I kind of figured it out. Unfortunately, there were no default settings, so Florence showered, she got rained on from all sides in cold water. All I could say in my defense was, “Oops, sorry!” You can imagine how effective that was.

  2. That is quite a bathroom! 🙂 Definitely not what I would expect in quaint, historical Krakow! Btw – did you see the recent Conde Nast survey that ranked Krakow as no. 15 in their ‘top 25 cities in the world, list?

    1. Funny you should mention this article, because we just saw this survey yesterday. We were just in Budapest, and it’s #2 on the list. For most westerners, when they hear of Krakow, they probably just think of the Death Camps, but Krakow has so much more to see and do. After our visit, I would highly recommend it for a visit. ~James

  3. Foreign showers are always an adventure, but this one seems extra funny because it is new and modern. I’m surprised they didn’t think of the details like the frosted glass facing the love-seat, since they put so much money into the bathroom.

    My wife always lets me go first. Hum…Now I realize she is making me figure it out.

    1. Interesting Jeff. Terri and I had the same conversation. Actually, the bathroom was very nice, and everything was top notch. Someone spent lots of bucks to renovate it, but the question I have is did they ever use it? The toilet right inside the glass door was classic, and Terri was not amused by the urinal (and I suspect that Kristi would feel the same). ~James

    1. Thanks for the comment and for dropping by the blog Hayley. You wouldn’t think that bathrooms would be that unusual, but it happens. After writing this post, I remembered another bathroom (in Ljubljana, Slovenia) with a frosted glass door, but fortunately, the door opened into a hallway. Also, the Ljubljana bathroom had a square toilet! ~James

    1. I agree totally. After I stopped swearing and jumping around to avoid the freezing water, I had a good laugh. And then when I told Terri the story, she hooted as well. As I said, sometimes you just gotta laugh. ~James

    1. Thanks Andrea. I’m sure that in your travels there have been some interesting bathroom experiences as well. This topic might even make an interesting post. To ask readers for their most unique bathroom experiences. But, the censor would have to stay on top of the content. LOL. ~James

      1. Very true – and honestly, you’re on to something, because that would make such an interesting post. I can honestly say that I’ve not yet come across a bathroom to top this one. I absolutely hope I get to experience something like this someday soon – I’m still smiling from this! Ten Commandments or Spartacus…:) Too good, my friend!

    1. A manual … that’s exactly what I needed. The shower looked like it could have been lots of fun, but without instructions, and the cold weather, no way. And remember, all this was happening in front of a frosted glass door. ~James

    1. Thanks Pam. One of the great things about blogging, is when something like this happens and I say to Terri, “I have GOT to write a post about this!” This experience was too funny to keep to myself. ~James

    1. You obviously know what’s really important Ron. In fact, this bathroom had an abundance of hot water. It was just strange that the owners spent so much money to make it modern, and it ended up nice, but weird. ~James

  4. This is hilarious! But at least you had modern conveniences. I would have suspected outdated bathroom equipment at the least! Thanks for starting my morning with a smile!

    1. Thanks Rusha. As I said, sometimes you just gotta laugh. Terri thought that it was a tad TOO modern with the motion detector urinal in her face as she sat on the toilet. ~James

    1. Alison, the two of you have moved around enough to appreciate a nice place to live. And this apartment really was nice, and the bathroom worked well – once we figured out the tricks (which happens frequently when traveling). ~James

    1. Thanks for the comment and for dropping by the blog. I’ve done a bit of backpacking and camping as well, and have learned as you have, that even on the hottest day, the water temp doesn’t have to get more than a few degrees below 98.6 to be … bracing. But cold water does make for faster showers, and even though you may be blue, you’re doing the green thing. ~James

  5. Thanks for the laugh. I too am fascinated by plumbing in other countries. Vietnam introduced me to the combo bidet/ toilet, with HEATED water directed where it would do the most good. And we think WE are advanced?

    1. Hey Anita. It felt like a space pod, and you don’t know the half of it. There were also a few nozzles that didn’t show up in the photo. I’m still trying to sort out which movie soundtrack it was. ~James

    1. Gayle, when that cold water hit I felt like Captain Kirk had zapped me with his stun gun. I’ll settle for predictable, old-fashioned, hot & cold water any day. Love, James

  6. The shower in our Spanish apartment was quite similar, including the radio and multiple water jets pointing to areas where harm can be done. Someone probably had a chuckle when he/she left those jets on for the next person.

    “The Thinker” indeed.

  7. Reminds me of the we were newly in love with my current husband and went to an apartment/hostel in Spain. Nice and tidy, we took it and then we realised that there was no door but a straight view to the bathroom from the bed. A bit too much.

    1. LuAnn, when that freezing cold water hit, I promise that the word sophisticated wasn’t the first word out of my mouth. But it was a neat bathroom, and it will go down in the Gallivance story collection. ~James

  8. Hilarious.
    I’m amazed at the ultra modern (?) facilities in your apartment. Gosh, at home, I have a very ‘primitive’ hot & cold tap which you just turn and an ordinary wooden door to the bathroom which you can’t see through at all.

      1. (Actually, I’m one of those rare people who has a lovely long soak in a bath in the morning – helps the back pain and relax the muscles which have stiffened up over-night. I hate having showers these days).

      2. Vicki, I grew up as a bath person, but as an adult I’ve always used a shower. But a warm bath for aching muscles sounds very nice. One thing that realtors always say (in the US anyway) that for good resale, there always needs to be at least one bathtub in your house. So you may not be as rare as you think. ~James

  9. I always test a new shower before getting in it but it looks like this particular contraption would take days to test out. Sounds like you are having fun anyway.

    1. Thanks Anita. Poland had been on our list for some time, and we’re glad we finally visited. Wroclaw and Krakow are great places, and we recommend both … just be careful with the showers. ~James

  10. I detest those ultra modern showers for the same reason. It is almost time to leave before we master all the controls. And I don’t get who really likes being looked at in their ‘thinker’ poses! Fab post James. Still laughing at the “bushwacking” 😆

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