Monday, April 30, 2012

Malta vs. Canada: The Bathroom

There's no way to be delicate when discussing the bathroom, so please let me off with some less than ladylike language in this post.

Malta, Malta, Malta. I love your bathrooms. Shiny tiles, glossy finishes, bright, modern. I suspect bathrooms are a thing here in Malta, as I'm sure the ratio of bathroom stores to grocery stores here is 5 to 1.

And the most noticeable difference is...the bidet! OK, so this isn't necessarily a standard feature in all Maltese bathrooms, but we have one in our flat. Bidets used to send me into fits of giggles, but I've come to realize they can't be that weird if a good portion of the world's population uses them. And if you ever find yourself staring down at a sink-meets-toilet contraption in a European bathroom, here's how to use it.

Also, Maltese bathrooms (as far as I have seen) don't have fans! Fans are pretty standard in North America to move air around and (a lucky side effect) cover up bathroom noises. But not in Malta, although there is normally a window you can open for air movement. And if you're shy, you can always turn on the taps, or hum a little. Or try this genius app.

Shower or bath? Both are common in Malta. But showers in Malta don't tend to have shower curtains installed - we bought this Canadian comfort ourselves.

the shower in our new maltese flat

Like the bedroom, Maltese bathrooms don't tend to have a closet or any storage space built in. But it is quite normal to see Maltese bathrooms tiled floor to ceiling, which is a less common (pricey) feature in North American bathrooms.

Then there's the issue of water heaters. It's a love/hate thing. In Malta water heaters are generally exposed (normally mounted somewhere on the ceiling). You probably have one in each of your bathrooms, and they contain a limited amount of (precious!) hot water for your uses. They can be turned on and off using a normal electrical switch on the wall, whereas in North America generally all of the hot water in a house comes from one water heater that runs constantly. In newer North American homes you don't really need to worry about running out of hot water in the shower. But ladies, if you want to shave your legs in the shower in Malta you better shampoo real quick. 

our bathroom's water heater - we turn it off in the summer to save money, as electricity in malta can be costly

And my favourite bathroom difference? Toilet paper. In North America toilet paper is white and comes in several plys (or thicknesses). In Europe toilet paper is luxurious. Ours is printed with flowers, quilted, and smells like chamomile.

Our toilet paper smells like chamomile.

Take a moment to digest that one.

- Jess

p.s. we're trying to keep the photos of each room in our Malta vs. Canada room by room tour fairly nondescript, so we don't spoil any surprises! Our episode of House Hunters International airs on May 3rd, 10:30 pm and 1:30 am EST on HGTV in the United States.


  1. Eek! I can't wait to watch and try and guess which one y'all picked!

    1. Did you see the episode? Did you guess right?

  2. Haha, I'm not sure how I feel about scented and printed toilet paper, but if it's nice and soft I guess that's all that matters. :)

  3. I want toilet paper that smells like chamomile!!!!!

  4. We also have a bidet toilet at home but ours doesn't look like that (the first picture). :) For me, bidets are better than using toilet papers.


Let's talk.