Wash Day!

In the spirit of our last blog on the everyday aspects of our travel life, Lori submits this blog on washing…

Yep, I have to wash clothes. I tried convincing Chuck to just let me go shopping for new ones but that didn’t fly. So it has become my job to do the wash. While I don’t exactly love doing the wash, it’s not that big a deal.

We usually get a place with a washing machine (although I have had to hand-wash a few things on occasion), so it’s just your typical matter of separating the whites from the darks and loading the machine. The hard part is usually deciphering the knobs and buttons on the machine and figuring out where to put the detergent! This is because the instructions are often in another language which I know almost nothing of, like German or Polish.

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Thank goodness for Word Lens, a great app which I can use to point my phone at the instructions and it translates them on the screen. Sort of. Unfortunately Word Lens has disappeared from the App Store, but I still have it on my phone. If you don’t have Word Lens, or if the instructions are in a language Word Lens doesn’t support, you’ll have to resort to the old fashioned ways of either guessing or using Google Translate, which works pretty well too.

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Washing is simple. Drying is not. There are very few homes in Europe that have driers, maybe 1 in 100! Out of all the places we’ve stayed, I can think of only four that had driers, and 2 of those were in the U.S. Back when we were little, everyone had clothes lines in their backyards (remember those?), but a lot of places we stay are in cities without backyards. How do they dry their clothes? With these…

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Top: Clothes dry in minutes in Spain! Bottom: not so fast in Croatia in the winter…

Yep, it’s a portable, fold-up clothes rack. They’re great fun! You can tell when it’s washday because everyone either has these set up on their balconies or they have their clothes hung out over the walks.

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These drying racks actually work great in a warm sunny place, but not so much in a cold and rainy place. It can take days for clothes to dry in certain parts of the UK! And on really cold days, they might freeze instead of drying!

Another reality of drying on clothes racks is that your clothes often end up looking like you’ve been sleeping in them; so after drying, you now have to iron them (gasp)! Where is my sister when I need her (she LOVES to iron)?? Most everyone in Europe owns an iron and ironing board. My daughter doesn’t even know what an iron is…she thought the dryer was for de-wrinkling clothes. Ok, I’m guilty of that, too. I never really got in touch with my inner ironing goddess, but I think that’s probably true for most of my generation. But when in Rome…

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So, yes, I do iron everything from jeans to t-shirts and undershirts but I draw the line at underwear. Just not gonna do it!

P.s. If you ever rent a place in Europe that’s supposed to have a washer and you can’t find it, check the kitchen. That odd-looking appliance is probably not a dishwasher.

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