Links to the detailed country pages are at the bottom of the page. Here we say some general things on toilets, breakfast and random acts of hospitality.
A word about toilets. If you have traveled outside of the developed world before, you know of the mental ease that comes with knowing a roll of toilet paper is tucked into your handbag or back pocket. In large cities, this is rarely an issue. Outside of urban cores, it’s best to be prepared.
In villages, toilets are often outdoor squat toilets. On the road, there are few facilities. If there are, their putrid brand of hygiene is best avoided – there is plenty of space in the fields and that’s where advanced travelers do their business. In cities, toilets are the more respectable (yet less ergonomic) Western style of toilets, but first-time visitors to the FSU may still be bemused by the necessity of disposing of their toilet paper in a waste bin rather than in the toilet bowl.
The plumbing systems in the former Soviet Union were not designed to handle paper. Throwing paper in the bowl will clog the whole thing.
Random acts of hospitality
When traveling, you might get invited at random by people still amazed at your foreignness or just happy to chat. This is generally a delightful experience and you should indulge. If you don’t want to drink, make that clear. If you want to leave or have other plans, make that clear. People can be pushy at times, especially with their food, but they understand “I am really very full, thank you,” or, “I need to go now” (you might have to repeat it a few times, though). But, you will never encounter the kind of oppressive, do-as-I-say hospitality that can make traveling in places like Iran or Kurdistan a burden.
With the exception of international chains and boutique hotels, breakfast tends to disappoint the Western traveler. I might be proven wrong on occasion, but at least one should not get one’s hopes up. Staple foods are pictured below: eggs, jam, white bread, cheese and sausage, tea and instant coffee.
links to other pages