What Do You Mean I Can’t Flush My Toilet Paper In Greece?!?

Clogging The Toilets In Corfu, Toga Parties & Stinging Jellyfish

You can’t flush your toilet paper in Greece. Nope, you can’t. It blocks the plumbing, or lack there of, I should say. And even though there are signs posted everywhere, you will forget. It’s only certain.

This may seem like no big deal, but it came as quite a culture shock, among a few other things I observed while in the Greek Islands. It all began on my overnight ferry from Sorrento to Corfu; there was a man hanging his wet man panties that he had just washed in the communal sink on the railing directly across from my stateroom. I was in complete and utter shock…. why in the world would someone be hanging wet man panties to dry on the stair rail?! And WHY, for the love of all that’s mighty, did it have to happen in front of my room???

Disgusted at the lack of apparent hygiene morals, I went downstairs for an alcoholic beverage, when yet again, I spotted a family of five rolling out their sleeping bags and setting up shop under the stairs, surrounded by dirty socks hanging off the nearby railings.

Was the world ending? Did we pick-up steerage from a ship in distress??? Nope. That’s just how they roll in Greece….

When traveling on the overnight ferry, you can either go in style (and by style I mean a dirty room with a moldy shower and the stench of cigarette smoke marinating in the carpets) or you can just wing it and pitch a tent anywhere your little heart desires. Well, maybe not a tent, I didn’t actually see a tent, but I really wouldn’t have been surprised to have seen one.

You will be on Greek time, meaning just because a sign is posted or an itinerary containing a departure/arrival time exists, it is pointless. So when your ferry is scheduled to leave at 6pm and it takes off at 9:30 pm, just go with the flow. And when it’s supposed to be a 23 hour ferry ride, chances are it’s ending up to be a 26 hour ferry ride. Again, just enjoy the time people watching; it’s one of the finest chances in life to do so.

When you finally step onto Greek soil in Corfu, you’ll be disappointed. “Where’s all the pretty white buildings with nifty blue roofs?” you might ask. You’re not going to be seeing anything like that here in Corfu. That’s Santorini. Here, while the beaches are fun, they are rocky as hell, and there are cats. Cats galore. It is every crazy cat lady’s wildest dream!!! But don’t pet them! They’ve got worms…. So unless you also want to share a common bond of defecating worms, stay away from the little critters.

The stretch of beach attached to the  Karda Beach Campsite is amazingly fun. The campsite itself is a 2 minute walk to the beach, where you can enjoy numerous bars and restaurants, massages on the waterfront and partake in some really fun watersports. My personal favorite restaurant is the Akron Beach Bar, located smack dab on the beach and also just a few steps away from the campsite. Be sure to try their grasshopper drink… it’s meant to be enjoyed on a lounge chair in front of the ocean while be surrounded by topless chicks (old ladies with saggy, leather-like boobs, that is).

One word of advice for those traveling to Greece: You will want to soak in the ocean for as long as you can. Do it. You must. You will also get the urge at 2am when leaving the Akron Beach Bar drunk as heck, to skinny dip in the ocean. DO NOT give in to such temptations. The water is infested with angry, hostile, slimy jellyfish. I need not to further digress on this subject of nakedness and stinging epidermis.

The old town of Corfu is a journey from the beach, definitely not in walking distance. It’s worth a trip to, though, for some amazingly delicious gyros, like this baby for only €2!!!!

Other things you just have to try is of course Tzatziki. This light and heavenly dip is usually served with vegetables and bread, and it’s so good, you’ll want to roll around naked in it. Especially after being stung repeatedly by an unnumbered swarm of jellyfish. There are a number of shops and restaurants all throughout the town that sell some of the best little authentic souvenirs; one item to look out for are candied kumquats. They come individually wrapped, are extremely flavorful (either you love em’ or you hate ’em). My favorite thing about these orange little diddys are that they make for great stuffing inside souvenir bags of your travels for your friends, family or to share with random strangers on a train. Another favorite  of mine are the wood items carved out of olive trees, some from trees super old (which also makes the price much higher), like olive wood boxes, bowls, etc…

If you’re lucky, you might get invited to a toga party. Not sure if it’s actually an authentic way to party with the Greeks or not, but it makes for a fun, drunken time….

And drunk or not, by the end of the night after a toga party and eating gyros all day, you will make a run for the bathroom and in the end realize “CRAP! I flushed the toilet paper, AGAIN!!”

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About The Roaming Bean (109 Articles)
You're probably wondering what the heck is a "Roaming Bean"... Given that I am clearly not a Bean, and my name is Jen, what gives with this Bean thing, right? A friend of mine called me JenBean as a child, and it kinda stuck. Actually, it really stuck... even my license plate says Jenbean. And seeing as I have this grand lust to wander the world, The Roaming Bean seemed suitable. I've changed my career path more times than I have my underwear (minus all the times I've gone commando).... from animating, to forensic pathology, to international business, to fashion marketing and even to my wonderful and favorite of the bunch, degree in culinary arts, nothing kept my attention. Nothing was fun enough to do every day for the rest of my life. I mean, even though I cooked for celebrities in the heart of Hollywood, CA, why the hell would I want to sweat my ass off in a ridiculously HOT kitchen for most of the day and go home smelling like beef and onions? And the chef hat?? Do you know what that did to my hair?? Enter traveling.... The rainy day I descended down the tower of Notre Dame in Paris, gripping on to the railing for dear life so not to slip and tumble to an early death from the torrential down pour that was causing a small flood in the stairwell, my life changed. When I safely made it to the ground, legs shaky from an apparent lack of fitness it requires to walk up and down 387 steep stairs, I realized my hands were stained a delightful copper color from the rusted hand rail I had so dearly clung to. Desperate to get the icky stuff off my supple hands, and no running water in sight, I did what any other hopeless idiot would have done: I washed my hands in the nearest Parisian gutter. It was that moment that changed my life... I threw away my hair dryer, my rolling luggage and my dignity. I let my hair go natural, I bought a back pack and I CAMPED through Europe for a month and a half. Yes my friends, I crossed over into a savage traveling beast. Ok, a lot of people travel that way. But I didn't. And I'm so incredibly thankful for that rainy day in Paris that made me realize the world is a pretty sweet place. That realization led me on a quest; a quest to get out there, see things, soak up some local culture and eat my way around the world (with minimal food-related illnesses, such as but not limited to raging diarrhea).

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