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accomodation details

#1
I would like to get an idea of what to expect in the hostels? Are men and women seperated in different dorms or is it a more liberal arrangement?

The reason I ask is that I am a lower limb amputee and find it difficult to apply my prosthesis in the morning without being pretty much starkers.

I'm not bothered about being seen by people who couldn't care less, but I guess there are some who would prefer to start their day without unwanted distractions?

Many Thanks, Mark
 

lckgj

Active Member
#2
This is quite a tricky question to answer as there are no two albergues which are the same. The only time I experienced the men and women being separated was in Leon.

The conditions are often cramped with backpacks blocking the space between the bunks and people sometimes have no option but to do a contortionist routine whilst trying to get dressed crouching on their bed! Lack of space might be a problem for you.

My experience of sleeping, washing and dressing in close proximity to a roomful of strangers was that everyone was too tired, busy or blase to pay any attention to anyone else. Generally people were very respectful of each others privacy. Any initial modesty or embarrassment wore off within a few days.

Would you have a problem being on a top, or even third level, bunk? Sometimes there were no ladders to get up and down on and it was hard to get up or down without standing on the poor person underneath! Bottom bunks tend to be more popular and get taken first. There are a few albergues which allocate sleeping places but normally its a free-for-all. I am sure if there were no bottom bunks left then someone would always be happy to swap with you.

How is your Spanish? I think it would be helpful for you to be able to explain your situation to the hospitalero on arrival. Sometimes there are private sleeping areas which are not offered until the dormitories are full. I would suggest you had a brief description of your requirements printed on a piece of paper to show them as it would save a lot of explanations and possible misunderstandings. Having the information in several languages might help too as sometimes the hospitaleros are foreign themselves ie German, Belgian etc

Most people leave very promptly in the mornings so if you are not set on making the earliest of starts you would not have to wait very long to have the albergue to yourself.

Hope this is helpful. Im sure there will be more advice forthcoming from people with personal experience of travelling with some kind of disability.

I look forward to hearing how your journey goes, are you planning to make a blog? Any practical advice you will be able to offer to others in the future would be appreciated I'm sure.

Good Luck and Buen Camino!
Laura
 

sillydoll

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
2002 CF: 2004 from Paris: 2006 VF: 2007 CF: 2009 Aragones, Ingles, Finisterre: 2011 X 2 on CF: 2013 'Caracoles': 2014 CF and Ingles 'Caracoles":2015 Logrono-Burgos (Hospitalero San Anton): 2016 La Douay to Aosta/San Gimignano to Rome:
#3
Hi Mark,
If it is not too difficult for you to get up from the ground, I'm sure the hospitaleros will agree to putting a mattress down on the ground for you so that you don't have to climb up a bunk bed. In many albergues, as they filled up in the late afternoon, mattresses were put down in passages, offices and even in the dining area for late comers (at Molinaseca and Ribadiso).
In South Africa we have a saying - 'n boer maak 'n plan - which means a 'farmer makes a plan'. I'm sure you'll find a respectable way to get ready in the morning without offending anybody!
 
#4
Thanks very much Laura and Sil (as ever), some good advice.

As I won't be travelling as far per day as others, it would be a good idea to wait until others have left. however, I think occasionally it would be nice to walk with people I have met the night before, even if it's just for half an hour? also, from a disabled perspective, I have an obligation not to become a second-class pilgrim (not that Laura was suggesting this in any way). I'm very happy with the middle road, some days relaxing and waiting and other's fighting for the shower!

I am writing a blog but it is not viewable yet. I don't want to start something that I might not finish. I'll publish it the day I take my first steps on the camino.

Sil, re: 'n boer maak 'n plan - at first, I thought you were saying 'I'm bored with mark's plan'!(tee-hee). 'a farmer makes a plan' is a great saying and I'm beginning to think 'don't worry' is the best!

maybe a new section for Les Autres would be a good idea?

Thanks, Mark
 
Camino(s) past & future
Frances, Jul-Aug 05, Frances, Jul-Aug 06, Portugues, Oct 2010
#5
How is your Spanish? I think it would be helpful for you to be able to explain your situation to the hospitalero on arrival. Sometimes there are private sleeping areas which are not offered until the dormitories are full. I would suggest you had a brief description of your requirements printed on a piece of paper to show them as it would save a lot of explanations and possible misunderstandings. Having the information in several languages might help too as sometimes the hospitaleros are foreign themselves ie German, Belgian etc
I'm sure the linguists on the board will help you translate something to show to the hospitaleros on arrival. If you PM me what you need I'll have a crack at putting it into Spanish and Italian. There must be someone here who could do French and German.
 

Arn

Moderator
Staff member
#6
Mark, whether you've noticed it or not...you've already begun a Les Autres thread. Each time you've asked an question. or posted a comment with the key words Les Autres...it's all there.

That said, I've spent the last 15 years or so as the director of several programs that use sailing as a form of therapeutic recreation. We have folks with intellectual disabilities, amputees and high/low spinal cord injuries. Here's what I've found as a constant:

1. Those with disabilities that WANT undo attention...act as they don't.
2. Those with disabilities that WANT to be considered as one of the team and just get on with it...do!
3. Those without disabilities that WANT to act uncomfortable...make a big thing of it and are immediately ignored by others.
4. Those without disabilities that DON"T see the disability...can become your friend, lover or best companion...for life!

Welcome and I'll race you to the bottom bunk...cuz you snooze and you lose! Need a leg up...just ask!

Buen Camino
Arn
 

Barbara

Active Member
#7
I can translate into french no problem. The more recent government albergues in Spain have disabled (minus validos) accomodation anyway, and with my hospitalera's hat on I can say that any albergue will do their best to find you a suiable place.
 
#8
Question to Mark:
Have you done in? I am an above knee amputee and I would like to walk a portion of the Camino this June. I am very interested in your experience.
Adam in Boca Raton, Florida
 
Camino(s) past & future
Many, various, and continuing.
#9
We met a double leg-amputee pilgrim on the trail in February, zipping right along on crutches. He didn´t seem to notice he was any different from what few other pilgs were out there. He said he left the prostheses at home "with all the other extras"!
 

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