Monday, May 19, 2014

Forget the kitchen sink, pack the clothesline


“Remember to pack the clothesline!” I told Greg as we started filling our packs for a 67 day road trip in Europe. He looked at me like I was insane. “What are you talking about? We’ll do our clothes at a Laundromat. We don’t need a clothesline.” However, no matter where I have traveled, even in the US, I have always found I end up using my clothesline. Obviously humoring me, he got the nylon cord and stuffed it into a side pocket of a pack, along with a small bag of clothes pins.

Week 2, we arrived in Madrid with nothing clean. We were staying in an apartment we had booked specifically because it listed having both a washer and dryer. We tossed our clothes in the tiny washer in the bathroom and started searching for the dryer. When we couldn’t find one we thought maybe the washer was actually a washer/dryer combination but since the settings we all in Spanish we were missing something on how to operate it. We called our host, “yes, yes, the dryer, you can reach it from the hallway.” That was when we learned that dryer in Spanish was clothesline. We hung out what we could on the line from the hallway but there were three of us who had a week of really stinky clothes. It couldn’t hold all of them. The clothesline from the side pocket came out.

In the next couple of weeks we were fortunate enough to stay in places that had washers but when asked about a dryer the reply always came with someone pointing to a clothesline. We were in a hostel in Portugal when my husband started asking around for a Laundromat. We got sent to a laundry service but the cost was more than a nice hotel room for a night.  So we loaded it all up and went back to the hostel. They let us wash it there for $5 a load. A bargain in comparison to the service.  Their “dryer” was in the backyard but since it was pouring down rain we carted the clothes back to our room and got out our line.

In the next town we had got a great deal on a nice business hotel. Greg was done with having his jeans air- dried and stiff as cardboard. He wanted his jeans dried in a real dryer. The hotel’s laundry service was way out of our budget.  “There has to be a Laundromat in town” he insisted. It took a bit to explain to the desk clerk what we were looking for but when she got it she grinned and said, “Oh yes, I have seen those in movies! But we don’t really have them in Portugal. Maybe in Lisboa…..?” Greg went and bought more clothespins.

A few days later we arrived in a small coastal village on the Algarve coast. The owner of the studio we were staying in was an expat and one of the luxuries he had provided himself with was a dryer! I think Greg might have actually teared up a little when he pulled his jeans out of the hot dryer, soft and flexible. “We should open up a Laundromat here, we could make a fortune!” he said.

A few weeks ago we were going to Rabat, Morocco. It was a business trip and we were staying in a 5 star hotel. I still packed the clothesline. Greg didn’t say a word. Did I need to use it? Without a doubt!

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