We had dinner at a Spanish restaurant one nite in Antwerp during the World Malacological Congress last month. At one point I needed to get rid of some of the good beer I had been having, I got up and went over to the waitress (she may have been Spanish) and asked for the restroom. Restroom?, she said. Restroom, I said. Restroom?, she said. Then, I thought of saying toilet. Ah, toileta, she said and pointed at the right direction.
A couple of nites later I was having dinner with some colleagues from Great Britain and I was happy I could finally understand them without much trouble. I guess all those nites of watching Monty Python and Mr. Bean were paying off. So anyway, I told them about my difficulty locating the restroom in the restaurant. They said "You can't say restroom or bathroom in Europe. You have to say toilet". Somebody added, "In England you can also say lavatory".
Now I know. If I visit Great Britain one day, I will keep singing to myself the Lumberjack Song so that I won't forget the right word:
On Wednesdays I go shopping and have buttered scones for tea.
Note added later: I have received a friendly reminder that at least one dinner colleague was Welsh not English. Since I have no intention to offend anyone's sensibilities, I have now changed England in the original post to Great Britain. I hope that is more accurate.