Time to break out the manual and learn how to use these things. While the front panel on both the washer and dryer is in German, the manual the Embassy provided is, thankfully, in English. British English, mind you, so there’s a lot of “whilst” and random e’s at the ends of words, but decipherable nonetheless. The operation was pretty straightforward, except the dryer has a small tub that collects water that you have to empty after each cycle. Good thing I read over the manuals cover-to-cover — I’ve never seen anything like that before!
Man oh man, these appliances are tiny. Not surprising given the space restrictions in most dwellings in Athens, but this townhouse feels absolutely gargantuan. It could totally fit an American-sized washer and dryer. But instead I’m stuck doing twice as many loads as normal, and the clothes come out dry-ish after an hour and a half. I noticed a lot of laundry hanging outside. I may have to invest heavily in clothesline.
While I was stuck at home doing laundry, I took some time to explore our townhouse a little more. The weather improved considerably today, so I took the elevator up to the roof (that still seems so weird to write!) to take a closer look at our rooftop garden. I didn’t realize until then that it really is a garden — there’s a bed of flowers that skirts the entire perimeter of the roof. It even has a sprinkler system. If I get ambitious, perhaps I’ll try growing some tomatoes or something that can handle full sun. There’s already a pretty healthy collection of flowers growing. I also spied this little hook, and one just like it on the opposite wall. Unless my eyes deceive me, those are meant for a hammock. Sweeeet.
These photos don’t do it justice, but to both the east and west you can see these big mountains in the distance. It was pretty hazy today, so perhaps I can get a better photo on a clearer day. Most of the buildings surrounding us are taller, so the view isn’t so great. But for a girl coming from Kansas, even partially obscured mountains are pretty impressive.
Just like in every European country I’ve ever visited, I had to puzzle over the bathroom fixtures for a bit. These fixtures are installed in both bathtubs and our standing shower, sort of a faucet with a shower head attachment. The temperature controls are nice, complete with precise temperatures, albeit in Celsius. We haven’t tried the shower in the kid’s bathroom yet. I’ll leave that honor to our first guests.
There’s no central air here — much like NYC, I suspect it’s just not done. Instead each room has it’s own unit built into the wall. The ones in the upstairs bedrooms are cleverly disguised as art.
Also, just like NYC, no garbage disposal. The sewer system here can’t even handle toilet paper, or so we’ve read. Our hotel actually had little signs in the bathroom, but until we can procure some trashcans for our bathrooms, we’re going to risk it.
Each of the bedrooms opens onto a large balcony over the back yard, and for some reason Liam likes to shutter up his room in complete darkness while he’s at school. Here’s what the shutters look like from the outside. Seriously, this place is like a fortress!
The outlet situation is kind of ridiculous…and, again, not entirely surprising. We Americans love our electronic doo-dads! We’re used to outlets peppering each wall in numerous places. But here, even in what seems like a newly-built townhouse, the outlets are incredibly sparse. The plugs here are so huge that one outlet usually only has one spot for a plug instead of the standard two in the US. And each of the bedrooms has only one outlet. We got a couple of enormous power strips from the Embassy. Or they seemed enormous for a mere four and a six plug strip. We’re definitely going to need some more of these things.
When I first saw the ovens in the photos before we moved, I couldn’t believe there were TWO of them. How extravagant! Except when I got here I realized they’re both very small, about half the size of a regular US oven. But at least I can set two different temperature controls.
So much different, so much to get used to! But I suspect once this place feels a little more like home, I won’t even notice these anymore.