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I was looking for renting a hut in the Alps in Switzerland. The problem is that they say they have toilets/half-baths and no provision for a proper shower/bath. So what is the system here?

Is it the western toilet system where you use tissues and no shower whatsoever, or is the toilet system a bit different and there is some other provision for bathing?

It would be nice to know how people poop and bath in the Swiss Alps.

  • Are you looking at huts in remote locations or as part of villages? – Willeke Jun 1 at 9:59
  • e.g. something like the Sennhütte Bärgli hut at Diemtigen.. (airbnb.com/rooms/9497817?s=51) .. it's partly remote and very beautiful.. problem is cleaning oneself up everyday – MycrofD Jun 1 at 10:17
  • That looks like a remote location, which likely has limited or no water coming in, with 'wild water' for use in the building. – Willeke Jun 1 at 12:18
  • I got quite informative answers that helped me make my decisions. Thank you guys – MycrofD Jun 2 at 9:59
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For this particular hut, there's a comment from a visitor ("Will"):

The caveats: the toilet is clean, but “outhouse style”- no running water. It is connected to the house, but not accessible from inside. This wasn’t a problem for us. The house does have running water, but no shower.

This sounds to me like the toilet is a pit toilet: a seat over a deep hole in the ground. You are presumably expected to wipe yourself with toilet paper, which is a common system in Europe. There will not be a bidet or sprayer hose near the toilet if it has no running water.

There are evidently sinks with running water inside the house, so you'll have to go back inside to wash your hands. And as mentioned, there is no shower and presumably no bathtub either, so you'd do your washing at the sink. You probably won't be able to get your entire body clean, unless you go outside and pour a bucket over yourself.

It sounds like this is not meant to compare with the facilities of a house in the city, but rather to be a slight improvement over something like tent camping where you'd have no running water at all.

If you want more clarification, you should contact the owners and ask.

I don't know whether this is typical of all huts in that area. You'll probably have to check each listing individually and contact owners for further information.

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On one photo, you see that there is a large sink, which you will use to clean. Note: you have only cold water, and in mountains it could be really cold.

You can clean up yourself pretty well, with standard shower gels. It is just slower to get the gel out of you (but remember cold water, so maybe it is a good thing).

I think for few days it is ok. For more than a week, look for some alternate places to do some real showers with hot water (e.g. in a public hut, or on the valley village, e.g. in a sport center or swimming pool).

Normally the shower, bad, and toilets are like in the rest of western Europe. In fact one of the largest producer of toilets is Swiss (you will find the name on all continent). It is just that in huts (so not for living all year around), you may not have hot water, sewage system, and freezing winter (so danger of freezing water), so the system is like on older times. But on most of public huts (but not the most remotes) you will have hot water, showers (solar or gas boilers). Also on many private houses you get some more services.

Your hut seems something more like an adventure site, e.g. for schools, few days. To me it seems strange to have so few items on a huts which is connected with roads (gas boiler is very cheap).

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    I pretty much guess the hut has no wastewater connection. If you offered a shower in such a hut, the wastewater tank would be full each day. A no-go in winter, as the track isn't driveable then, they wrote. – Janka Jun 2 at 12:53
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    @Janka: no, on my old hut we had wastewater tank, and a gas boiler, and a shower (and not reachable by car). Most of alpine huts (for hickers) are large, no connection to wastewater, and we have shower. From the photos, to me it seems like the old military huts: a lot of people, low costs. We have a lot of discussion about alpine hits becoming too much like hotels. This is just a private and old style hut, for nostalgic people. – Giacomo Catenazzi Jun 2 at 15:46
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Most people in the Swiss Alps actually live in small towns and villages, with all the amenities of the 21st century. But hamlets and huts, even with people living there all-year-long, may not enjoy all those luxuries, sometimes due to being too far away, sometimes because the people living there are used to it and don't want to invest the money (or need it for more urgent things).

The hut you are looking at seems to be used only in summer (but rented out all year long) with the owners living nearby. So they may have a more modern sanitary installation at their home but just rent out the hut as it is.

From the AirBnB description

Warmwasser und Strom vorhanden. Keine Dusche vorhanden. Im Sommer ist die Toilette nur über die Aussentreppe erreichbar.

So there is are power outlets and hot water, but no shower. And during summertime you need to take the external stairs to reach the toilets (which implies that there is a way to get there through the house as well, but probably leads through rooms which are used for the cows, diary products or similar then).

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