At the Laundromat

img218If the tiny village of Kardamyli had a laundromat in 1977, I didn’t find it. What I did find was the town watering hole where people came to give their animals a drink of fresh water and where they had been doing laundry for hundreds of years. The sea is extra salty in Greece and since the land is very arid, fresh water is precious. Like many primitive communities around the world, the hub of the community is at the town well.

I brought a few bits of laundry to do the old-fashioned way, and was in awe of the amount of scrubbing the “laundry tubs” must have seen. It’s not easy to tell from the photo, but these tubs were worn smooth on the inside.

img213While I was washing clothes, a friendly lady came along to give her donkey or horse (my apologies to the animal, but I don’t know which it is) a drink from the fresh water. We asked the woman in sign language if we could take her picture. She happily agreed and we thanked her.

img212A while later, as I was nearly finished rinsing the laundry, another woman came along with her small herd of goats.


A few of them started to drink, and again, we asked if we could take their picture. This time the reception was not so friendly. She signaled “no” by the usual Greek gesture of what almost looks like a nod. Confused by the nod while she was saying no, we asked again. By this time her goats were getting a bit skitterish and the woman shot us an annoyed look.

We took pictures of her leaving the watering hole thoroughly disgusted by the insensitive tourists who had come to ruin her day.


One little goat came back to have a word with us: “Why don’t you tourists pack up your laundry and your cameras and leave us in peace?”

30 thoughts on “At the Laundromat

  1. Wow. I wonder if it’s the same there today. It’s a poignant reminder that good fresh water is not readily available everywhere. So why do we not treat it with reverence here?


    • It’s like gold. The less you have the more precious is becomes. After swimming in the ocean we were always looking for fresh water to rinse off.The salt would dry on us very crispy, prickling our backs and leaving us very uncomfortable. There was a fresh water tap near the beach, probably belonging to one of the olive orchardists, and if we were willing to wait in a long lineup, we could rinse off there with a few precious cupfuls of water.


  2. Or..sweet little goat might have know she would be “blogged” one day by famous author!! I’m always amazed that you find these photos and remember the stories:)


    • The travel slides were all kept in a set of carousels over the years but they were deteriorating after 36 years and since we have such fond memories of that long trip (we were gone for five months) we didn’t want to lose them. I bought a scanner that will change the slides to digital photos and this is why you’re being subjected to all this “memory lane” stuff. And of course, I kept a journal and that helps to jog the memory too. See? Way back then, I already had the writer bug.


  3. That’s the way to do laundry! I love it!!!
    The small horse is for sure a donkey (a bigger one) maybe? The owner of the goats was not as friendly as the goat which wanted to communicate with you. I am sure this goat looked for a friendlier home? There you go – you got me started, thinking what was really happening. Great story and even greater pictures – you are amazing – so organized with the good old “stuff.” Thanks for doing all this work for us!


    • It was kind of fun doing the laundry that way, but I wouldn’t want to have to do it like that forever. I’m quite happy with my automatic washing machine. So you think the horse is a donkey? Well, that’s interesting. We have one vote for a horse and one for a donkey. Thanks for visiting, Ursula.


  4. Too bad the goat lady was cranky…but the goats are cute! That little guy did have his eye on you 🙂 🙂 I love the image with the goats at the top of the steps!


  5. Wonderful! You really experienced the life. You take the kind of pictures most people wish they had taken a few years after their trips. I vote mule, just to mix things up a little!


    • Mule sounds good. I just looked in Wikipedia and there’s a photo of a mule that looks just like this one in my photo. I think you’re probably right!
      I’m glad you like the pictures. I much prefer photos of people or animals doing things, over the boring, posed travel photos that say “wish you were here. Mind you, none of my photos would win prizes for great photography, but I have fun with them.


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