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Monday, April 19, 2010

Laundry Day

Pin It I will never again disparage the miracle of ready-access to a washer and dryer. At times I've felt that access is too-readily available, and we pile clothes in the hamper just because that washer and dryer are there...just down the hall. I complain about the number of loads I have to wash, and then the same number again to dry, and fold, and put away. I complain that before the last load is washed, another one is impatiently awaiting my attentions.

Never again.

Since we were officially out of clean clothes as of this morning (probably, honestly, as of yesterday), today was Laundry Day in Roma. This was an event, because as we've learned over the course of the past week and a half: nothing is ever easy. Because, you know...that would be too easy.

We walked yesterday, suitcases full of dirty clothing in tow, from the hotel to the airport. We'd been informed that there was a laundry service in Terminal 1, and it seemed like the perfect solution. The perfect solution, until we were standing in front of frosted glass doors and windows that were locked and barred against us. Apparently no laundry is done on Sundays in Rome.

We made the hike back to the hotel, over mechanical walkways and cobbled paths and multiple elevators, resolving to wait until the next morning.

This morning we made the hike again, thankful for those mechanical walkways that cut the distance by a little. Now we stood before a little Italian woman with glasses perched precariously on the end of her nose. "English?" I asked, the syllables lifting hopefully at the end.

"Non," she replied.

I exchanged sighs with Barbara. "Okay." We started the communication dance, an intricate ballet of gesture and carefully spoken words, as if enunciation would help to bridge that language barrier. I sent a sweeping gesture down across my suitcase and bag of dirties. "Wash? Dry? Ummmm.....lave?"

The woman's expression brightened. "Lave, si!" Then it dimmed. "No, no..." She gestured toward the suitcase, making a circle with her hands and arms. "Too beeg." She motioned toward the smaller plastic bag. "That--si." Then the suitcase, "That--no."

Well, that settled that. "Grazie," we replied, and walked away. In silence we trekked back to the hotel, pulling our bags behind us.

Once inside the Hilton, I asked the concierge about laundromats in Rome. He was very confused, but finally circled a small area on the map. "Here. Laundry service here." Hmm. It sounded similar to the same type of "service" that we'd just departed, more of a dry cleaning service than anything else.

At this point I was very determined not to walk anywhere else or do anything further until I was certain that the end result would be a suitcase full of clean clothes. Up to my room we went, where I logged on and started searching the internet for laundry solutions in Rome. Can you believe that there is actually a message board for this? Hundreds of travelers detailing their experiences with cleaning their clothes while in Rome.

Many recommended a place called OndaBlu, and upon googling it I managed to find a location close to the train station. Off we went, haunting the same mechanical walkways through the airport to the train.

Fourteen euros one way to ride the Leonardo Train from Fiumcino to the train station. A ten minute walk up and down a few streets to the address online. Eureka--OndaBlu. Load our clothes in five of the ten or so machines, and another eight euros to wash and dry. An hour and a half later, during which it storms and hails outside the glass door, and we're done. Clothes, folded and rolled neatly into our suitcases.

Another ten minute walk back to the train station, splashing through grimy puddles with those suitcases full of clean clothes, and another fourteen euros to get back to the hotel. Another hike back to the hotel through the airport.

Back in the hotel, I open my suitcase and breathe in deeply of clean clothing and exhale renewed appreciation for my own washer and dryer.

Without a doubt, the best fifty-two euros I've spent all week.


Chrissy said...

My oldest lived all over Italy...First was Siena and the university put her up at an apt. where she learned what soot was..She could never get use to the dirt and grime... Glad u got your laundry done.. Do I have funny stories of how my oldest lost her laundry to the neighbor down below her apt. lol....

Gerb said...

I suppose you could look on the bright side and say: you will definitely not be at a loss for things to blog about while awaiting your return home!

diane rene said...

with 4 children and the ever increasing cost of taking my luggage WITH me on vacations, I have learned the value of laundry accommodations at hotels. if it doesn't have a washer and dryer IN the room, or if it doesn't have coin machines on the floor, then it isn't the right place to stay :)

glad you found a place to get it done :)

Mamma has spoken said...

WOW 52 euros, that's how much in American money? Somehow your story reminds me of the college age sons who tell me clothes have a level of clean/dirty/smell test. It's one of those things it's better not to know....

Anaise said...

I don't know what to say other than WOW!

I hope you get home, soon!!!

Just SO said...

I'll be grateful for my washer and dryer from here on out.

I'm glad you got your clothes clean.

Lori said...

Chrissy--it really is quite dirty in spots...you come in from a day out and just feel like you need a shower. I'd love to hear those stories sometime...

Gerb--Serious! I have so much fodder it's a little overwhelming right now.

Diane--we usually always stay somewhere that has a washer/dryer--a condo or something. We suppose everyone here in Italy just has their own washer/dryer--laundromats are few and far between.

Bonnie--the clothes had definitely been through that clean/dirty/might could wear one more time sniff test. ;) 52 euros is roughly $72. Fun times, fun times.

Anaise--That's what we said. ;)

Shanna--thanks...believe me, the people around us were glad as well. ;)

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