Laundry day!

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(Our destination. Look M(o)ira, it’s your town!)

Happy International Women’s Day! Well I know doing laundry is probably not the perfect celebration for the day that’s in it… but I’m excited. We were supposed to find a laundry yesterday… we’re a day late. As I write our clothing is going round and round in the dryer. We are at an Intermarche supermarket in the town of Mira and they have services for motorhomes plus a laundry self-service in the car park.

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(Electronic toll road.. we think we’re class 2, so 85 cent…)

There’s a machine for 18kg worth of clothes and one for 8kg and there’s a dryer. I weighed ours, it came to 6kg… The cost? €4 for the wash and €4 for the dry (2x 20 minutes) and the washing powder is included. At this rate it’s probably cheaper than washing at home. Every time I use a washing machine on the road I am grateful for my washing machine at home but today I am also grateful that washing machines exist and that the people of Intermarche supermarkets in Portugal put them in (some of) their car parks – thank you!

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(…plus €1.65)

So far there’s no end of adventure today because we also managed to drive on one of the electronic toll roads. Each time we pass under the cameras it takes the posted amount from the total we prepaid at the post office in Porto (plus what was left over from last year). It’s just as well they will text us when we run out because it’s proving difficult to remember to keep a running total, each posted amount is different.

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(Lovely laundry. There was a moment of worry when I spotted the men at work… Can you see our clothes in number 3?)

We will be moving along somewhere new after lunch because this car park doesn’t allow overnighting. We have full electricity, water and now clean clothes, our grey water tank and toilet cassette are empty, what more do we need?

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(…And in case you were wondering about the fuel prices. Also, we had not noticed how similar the Portuguese words for petrol and diesel are… hmmm)

From the laundry in the car park, Mira, Mairead.

Watercolour Clouds

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(Look at that amazing fluffy cloud!)

We stayed a second night by the sea and now we’re at a different aire with electricity. The rain stopped, long enough for me to take some pictures, well of course it did. Every now and then it comes back with a heavy downpour and it stops again… the circle of rain. This morning is very bright with lots of blue sky visible between the fluffy clouds. There are also some dark blue clouds and one black cloud. It’s 14℃ outside. Nice.

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We’re all alone at the electricity place and it’s very peaceful, just the odd bird tweeting. We can see for miles across what looks like marches. I think I read somewhere that being able to see for miles to the horizon is very calming. I do feel very calm. There’s a kind of harbour too with strange-looking boats. They remind me of gondolas in Venice. I get the impression this land may have been reclaimed from the sea.

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(Clouds last night at sunset… doesn’t it look like paint in water?)

Did I mention we haven’t found a laundry yet? Fortunately we have been able to stay up wind of people we encounter… so all good. Some of the supermarkets do have a laundry set up with huge washing and drying machines in the car park but so far none at the ones we’ve visited. Our parking app mentioned one about an hour south from here, Denis promises me we’re going there tomorrow.

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(The colourful boats)

Normally by this point we would have stayed at a campsite with a washing machine because aside from the need to have clean clothes I generally want a break from the constant moving. (Denis loves driving and never wants a break.) But this time I’m really enjoying the short stops. I also like the fact that we are making much more use of the aires and so we are seeing far more little towns in Portugal. You can be lucky and unlucky with the aires, when you’re lucky it’s beautiful. But even when you’re unlucky it’s still free and you can leave straight away or the following morning. Unlucky in relation to aires only means you are not surrounded by beauty.

There’s a lot of beauty in Portugal, Mairead.