EXCLUSIVE: Expats travelling to Spain, shocked by Service Stations, in a worry over COVID infections

Service Station Toilets- this was one of the better pictures! image credit: Flickr

An ex-pat and her partner share their toilet-trouble experiences as they drove down through Spain to Fuengirola.

Anne Gallagher from London and her partner John just couldn’t wait to get back to their second home in Fuengirola Malaga when they read the news that the borders were now open.

Anne: “As soon as heard the news we quickly started to pack for Spain, it had been months and we wanted to see our lovely home and pick up our dog from the kennels”.

“After a pleasant trip on the Eurostar we entered France and made our way towards Northern Spain, we were so excited”!


“France was just so expensive – though the food and amenities were very clean at the service stops. This was all about to change- for the worse…

“We pulled in for petrol close to Madrid into what looked a fairly decent garage with an adjoining restaurant. I left John to fill up while I visited the “Ladys”… OMG! the smell was overwhelming, but I really needed to go so I tentatively open the door to the cubicle to be greeted with a sight I don’t wish to ever see again”.

“The toilet, floor, and walls were covered in faeces! I wretched and ran out to John, who had by then paid for the diesel and was ready for a coffee. Of course, I know that many staff are on the ERTE, but surely someone should at least clean this up I thought”

“Anne, what’s wrong, did something happen in there”? said John. “Yes, let’s go- NOW!” I replied, “before I throw up”.

“It took ages before I could compose myself, how disgusting and awful that was- but I still needed the loo so we went a short distance and pulled over into a hotel just past Madrid, the concierge took pity and let me use the hotel facility which was a completely different experience. There was soap, sanitiser, hand driers, and loo roll, I felt clean again.”
Something that one would expect in all facilities under current circumstances!

“Sat nav beeping away we eventually arrived at Granada and forgetting my earlier experience I proceeded to the toilet while hubby attended fuel duties. I knew I was in for a shock as a young girl darted out and the door banged onto my arm, the same thing greeted me…wretched smell, dimly lit, and used tampons were just lying on the floor of the first cubicle, but I was dying to go and used another one instead.”

“When I was ready to leave I thought I had better wash my hands thoroughly, after all, as a couple, we had survived the lockdown in the UK and the coronavirus and wouldn’t want to get ill now! You can imagine what happened when I turned the tap and absolutely nothing came out.”

“We eventually reached our destination, it had been a very long and tiresome trip and John ran me a nice hot bath where I lay for an hour contemplating what would a tourist think of all this?”

Story by Anne Gallagher.




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