While I'm aware that the subject of this post may not be the most enthralling, I hope it proves useful to travelers passing through Lausanne, Switzerland. After one too many luggage horror stories, mostly involving Fiumicino Airport, I've reformed over the last few years and become a carry-on enthusiast. Often times (especially on longer trips or those that involve multiple climate changes), that means having to do laundry while on the road. I actually enjoy this ritual as it makes me get into the mode of resident not tourist. Laundromats are great places for people-watching and I've seen a multitude of characters while sitting on washers. I tried to do a search for laundromats before I went to Switzerland but came across discouraging results. So during my trip last month, I was pleasantly surprised to find this self-serve "laverie" right in the center of town.
We loaded up the machines and one by one, slowly dropped our franc coins down the slots. My brother's machine started up without a hitch. I, however, was unable to get my next coin down as there was a jam. And too bad the machine doors lock once they've been closed. I started to panic as our flight out of town was that afternoon. Well, at least I wasn't too attached to the particular clothes in the machine. I called the number listed on the wall and a man said he'd be over "dans un petit moment." That turned into 30 minutes- we asked another woman in laundromat and she said she was a regular and called him up. "He's coming," she said. In the meantime, my mom went to the kebab place across the street to borrow a butter knife. We tried to push the franc down the slot but to no avail. Eventually the owner arrived with his son and he proceeded to open up the coin machine and unjam the slot. He put our clothes in for free and apologized for the situation. I heard him speaking Tunisian Arabic to his son and asked him if he was from there. Yes, I shamelessly pulled out my Tunisian card-it's always served me well and this was no exception. We all had a long discussion about Swiss society, the situation in Tunisia v. Egypt, and of course food.
When we came back to transfer our clothes to the dryers, he asked us when we were leaving town as he wanted to invite us over for couscous. Had we not had to leave for Stockholm that afternoon, we would have happily dined at Kamel's house that evening. And that, is why doing laundry while traveling can be fun.
Kamel's Laverie is located at 26 Rue du Maupas in downtown Lausanne. It's self-service, opened 7/7 from 7am-10pm.
Some tips: Bring your own soap because the detergent machine was completely sold-out. It's 6 francs for a wash (7 for hot temperatures) and 6 for a dry cycle.