A day for washing

September 18, 2017 - Toledo, Spain

A look ahead at a few days of travelling and sightseeing suggested that this was the day to try to get some washing done. Totalling our number of items and checking the hotels costs for laundry service quickly told us that would amount to over €60, a bit more than we would like to pay. So the alternative was to search the internet for a lavanderia (laundromat to you or me) and preferably one we could get to easily. There did not seem to be any up here in the old town but there was plenty of choice down toward the railway station. At least we had the car to deliver our laundry but there would be the real hassle of trying to park in an unfamiliar area, with unfamiliar signs and in an unfamiliar language. We saw a couple of places out in an industrial area and chose one that seemed to offer a service rather than look after yourself.

OK then, pack all our laundry into a bag to carry; well that wasn't enough so we stole the hotel's laundry bag as well and stuffed it all into my daypack. Ready to go? Yes well we better write down the addresses and hope that Senorita Amiss can find one of them.

To get the car we had to go to the desk for the key to the underground parking station, collect the car (from the far reaches of Level -2), negotiate the extremely tight turns on the ramp and dodge the columns on the way around, stop half-way around one column to wave the tag at a sensor (I guarantee you will always be close enough to reach), drive out through another narrow gap at an angle again to get out the now open door, then park in the middle of the road and return the key to the desk. Whew, all good fun from the left-hand seat in an unfamiliar car. I console myself by thinking that there are cars in that garage that are wider than ours. Of course most of those have scrapes down the sides or have so much dust on them they may have been abandoned for years.

We have been getting better at finding our way out of the old town so it was no problem reaching the roundabout near the railway station. This time we were supposed to miss that exit and go on to the next. Except this time there was a police siren somewhere around us. That turned out to be right behind us so I moved right then ended up having to take the station exit. Senorita Amiss took it all in her stride and recalculated our route and we were soon heading out of town on a major road. Not quite what I thought would happen but who's to argue.

In a few kilometres we exited at a roundabout, ('Take the third exit, then turn right'), so that was convenient. We soon found the correct street, after a little reversing, and drove down the narrow road with cars parked bumper to bumper on either side. I wasn't too concerned about finding a parking spot as there were cars and vans double parked as well. That just made the parking garage seem roomy. We breathed in a few times and squeezed our way down the street and actually found a REAL parking spot. With our bag in hand we walked back to the Lavanderia which had all the hallmarks of being an industrial linen service not a laundromat. At the first entrance we tried a fellow said something or other in friendly sounding Spanish and pointed back to the industrial roller door we had just passed.

We squeezed past a van loading crates of freshly laundered towels and sheets and entered a large space full of similar trays. To one side, about half-way to the back of the shed, was a bit of a desk and a woman came over to help. 'Buenos dias', we exchanged then she said something or other ending in 'lavado' a word I recognised from the laundry detergent bottle back in Torrox. 'Si, si', said I, and she produced a printed pad of dockets and wrote one out. Nombre was easy to recognise just by looking at the layout of the pad so 'Max' was enough. The next space looked like it needed a telephone number so I showed her on my phone. Good, that was done - now to negotiate the timing. Well her gestures and some words suggested not 'tardes' so not this afternoon. A bit of work with the clock on the phone and a pen and paper and we agreed about 8am 'manana'. We could only hope.

We left her chuckling and we were happy too. We only realised as we got in the car the question of cost had never been raised. Would our clothes be held hostage? Nah, we were still happy and drove back to Toledo. Well, not straight back. This time we were approaching the same way as we did yesterday so we thought we would obey Senorita Amiss and take Exit 69 as she told us rather than Exit 70 as we did last time. Whoops, 'Recalculating', said Senorita Amiss. (She speaks in British English until she says the names of streets or places then it is in a Spanish pronunciation which is totally meaningless when compared to the actual written words on the screen.) Off we went down the Autovia to the southwest of Toledo then took an exit and came back past a university and finally into a roundabout that we recognised. This time we entered the old town without meeting a bus in the narrow part. Must be a good omen as this is the very first time I haven't had to squeeze over against a stone building or bollard and allow the bus to squeeze past.

I was about to stop in the garage entrance for Margaret to go and ask for the door to be opened but it was conveniently up. Down into the squeezy depths of the garage we went, and back to our designated spot. We felt quite chuffed when we came back to daylight and rewarded ourselves with a little refreshment at the café across the road. We sat outside on their little terrace and enjoyed the sun. Well as much as you can when your table is so close to a 5-way intersection that you feel like a traffic calming device.

Our afternoon was spent relaxing a little and working on the journal and on photos for the journal. The main plan was to visit the Cathedral to view some of the art in their museum so we thought we should leave that until late in the afternoon. If we are in there after 'Last Visit' time of 6pm until we are thrown out at 6.30pm we thought there may be fewer tourists. With any luck the tour buses will have all left for Madrid.

Our walk to the Cathedral took us past the 'Petit Café El Greco', (a bit of a mixture to say the least) and I dropped in to find out if they would be open when we were on our way back to the hotel. As luck would have it they close at 7.30pm so that was a possibility for a bite to eat.

It was about 4.30pm when we made our way through the crowds to the vicinity of the Cathedral and lined up at the ticket office across the street. There we were relieved of €20 and in a perfunctory manner, and equipped with an audio guide which we fumbled with as we crossed to the Cathedral entrance. Inside we began our audio tour that just confused us so we wandered about aimlessly taking a few photos and occasionally prodding at the audio guide for information. Usually what I got was unrelated to where I was standing but we both found we needed to explore a bit before the guide made any sense.

When we went into the Museum section we actually found a map of the building plan with 'Usted esta aqui', marked on it. That would have been more help when we came in the south door.

The paintings and the painted ceiling was everything I had expected although some of the Titians and Carravagios seemed a bit flat and the lighting was poor but the 'El Greco' works were vibrant and worth the entry fee.

We continued our exploration of the Cathedral and our fumbling with the guide until we were satisfied we had seen all the glories of the Catholic Church. By then the crowds had thinned considerably and the streets were quieter.

Our stop at the 'Petit Café El Greco' was perfectly timed and we enjoyed a quiet beer and a 'Petit Ensalada' that was enough for the two of us to share for dinner. The staff were busy closing up when we left and we returned to the hotel to write a bit more of the journal and to do some work on photos. The end of a successful day. Although success may only be measured by what tomorrow brings on our return to the Lavanderia.


Carvings in the Quire
Misericord carving
El Greco Paintings in the Cathedral Museum
THe Nave of the Cathedral
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