Washing Clothes in Portugal Can Be Bl@@&y Hard Work

Dear Travel Diary

Laundry Sink For Hand Washing Clothes in PortugalI had a late start today. I woke up at 09:30, lay in bed thinking for half-an-hour and then went for a shower. In between drinking coffee and having my breakfast I hand washed a few clothes and hung them up to dry. It’s not often I don’t have access to a washing machine and a dryer, but I get the impression hand washing clothes in Portugal is pretty much the norm. There are certainly plenty of bars of laundry soap for sale in the small supermarket in the next street. Having said that, I have noticed there are a lot of laundromats and laundry services in the area as well, so perhaps a lot of people prefer to feed a few coins in the slot and sit and wait.

There’s a small laundry room here in the apartment, just off from the kitchen. It has a clothesline in it and a small laundry sink for washing the clothes. The sink only has cold water and there a ribbed surface at the front that looks like it’s intended to be used like an old-fashioned washing board. It’s a hard way to get your clothes clean. I use a small bowl instead, fill it with warm water in the kitchen and wash my clothes with hand soap. It smells better than the laundry soap that’s provided by the apartment owner and I have a feeling hand soap will be kinder to my clothes.

I haven’t seen a set-up like this for years. When I was a child, my granny used to have a scullery where she spent one day a week washing clothes, but it was a lot larger. These days most English people won’t even know what a scullery is because it’s a thing of the past and the ones in old houses have mostly been converted into dining rooms or second sitting rooms.

Getting my clothes dry will probably take a few days. It was only 12° here this morning and didn’t get much warmer for the rest of the day. When I lived in Valencia, there were clothes horses on the top of the roof and the sun was so hot (in Dec/Jan), if I hung my clothes to dry during the morning they would be fully dried within a few hours or at least by the end of the day. I just did a check on Google and, in Valencia, its been over 20° for most of the day. Maybe I should go back there sometime. The heat attracts me. I like to feel warm, but I also enjoy going new places and doing new things, so Valencia is not the right place for me just now.

By the time I’d washed my clothes, checked my email, and done some bookkeeping, it was nearly 13:00. That’s quite late to begin writing for clients so it looks like I’m going to have another long day.

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