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COVID Albergues and covid measures

bluesrurale

New Member
Past OR future Camino
2021
How are Albergues coping with the spread of the new covid variant? Are social distancing and covid meseaures respected? Especially in dorms or shared rooms? What's your personal experience?
I will soon be heading to hike the Camino (Portugal) but even though I'm fully vaccinated I'm still uncertain and a little bit afraid of getting Covid, especially sleeping with other people (getting a single room each night would be too expensive for me). Any suggestion would be really aprecciated.
 
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jungleboy

Spirit of the Camino (Nick)
Past OR future Camino
A few in the past; more in the future!
I haven't been on camino since June but I don't think the Delta variant has caused huge changes in how albergues are operating - perhaps others can confirm/refute that. Measures in place over the last year or so in albergues have typically included the following: a limit on the capacity of the dormitories (often 50%), kitchens closed, masks mandatory during waking hours, hand sanitiser available.
 

peregrina2000

Moderator
Staff member
I will soon be heading to hike the Camino (Portugal) but even though I'm fully vaccinated I'm still uncertain and a little bit afraid of getting Covid, especially sleeping with other people
Hi, bluesrurale, Welcome to the forum!

I think this is one of those questions involving your own risk assessment and personal tolerance of risk. I have friends who have walked caminos this summer, sleeping in albergues. As people have pointed out on other threads, we have not heard news of big transmission clusters from albergues — the covid cases that have arisen along the camino seem to have been primarily in “bubbles” of people walking together.

I personally am planning to sleep only in private rooms. I’m fully vaccinated, but still…. I’ve seen the data on delta transmission. That, combined with memories of sleeping in stuffy albergue rooms with lots of snorers, led me to conclude that it would not be a good idea for me, no matter how far the distance between us. I know the risk of a bad covid case for me is quite low, but having to quarantine 10 days in Spain would wreak havoc with my responsibilities back home. But I have a backup plan just in case.

There are so many unknowns, which make it hard for those who want to do a data-based risk/reward assessment. So you’ll have to find your own covid tolerance sweet spot, knowing that there are no guarantees.

Good luck and bom caminho, Laurie
 

Thomas1962

Active Member
Past OR future Camino
2010/2011/2012/2013: Madrid -Salvador -Primitivo 2014: EPW 2015: Amsterdam - SdC
Hi, bluesrurale, Welcome to the forum!

I think this is one of those questions involving your own risk assessment and personal tolerance of risk. I have friends who have walked caminos this summer, sleeping in albergues. As people have pointed out on other threads, we have not heard news of big transmission clusters from albergues — the covid cases that have arisen along the camino seem to have been primarily in “bubbles” of people walking together.

I personally am planning to sleep only in private rooms. I’m fully vaccinated, but still…. I’ve seen the data on delta transmission. That, combined with memories of sleeping in stuffy albergue rooms with lots of snorers, led me to conclude that it would not be a good idea for me, no matter how far the distance between us. I know the risk of a bad covid case for me is quite low, but having to quarantine 10 days in Spain would wreak havoc with my responsibilities back home. But I have a backup plan just in case.

There are so many unknowns, which make it hard for those who want to do a data-based risk/reward assessment. So you’ll have to find your own covid tolerance sweet spot, knowing that there are no guarantees.

Good luck and bom caminho, Laurie!
A very nice description of how things are, Laurie. Thank you.
In most albergues there is indeed a 50% maximum capacity of beds. If you feel like, check when you make reservations of before you enter, how the particular albergue does handle the rules.
As a hospitalero I see day by day how different people go along differently with the rules. Some pilgrims keep distance others, some cluster in caminogroups/bubbles, others like to hug and get close to others anyway. To me it is always important for myself to know what my own limits are, and to know what I want to do when tempation is there: keep distance when I do have a nice conversation with others, or when I do want to give a hug.
In that regard, it is a bit the same as safe sex: what is your intention before, what do you do if the temptation is greatest. And most important: make sure you don't regret things afterwards. :)
 
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peregrina2000

Moderator
Staff member
In that regard, it is a bit the same as safe sex: what is your intention before, what do you do if the temptation is greatest. And most important: make sure you don't regret things afterwards.

Ha! I hadn’t thought of that metaphor, but it is pretty spot on. Except that I think that the risks of unsafe sex are much more clear and easier to quantify! But even so, I think it’s a good way to think about it — especially when it comes to the “no regrets” part. That is what ultimately led me to decide to forego some of the beautiful albergues I know on the Primitivo — Bodenaya and yours, @Thomas1962. I very much wanted to stay in both places (having been in both when Alex and @Juanma were there and wanting to see the new generation!). But I’ve decided that what matters most for me this year is to walk and ponder and contemplate, and I will leave the social/communal interaction till later. But that’s just me. My responsibilities at home make me more unwilling to take some risks, so I can’t say what I would do if I were footloose and fancy free!

My own internal conundrum seems most similar to the decision by women about whether to walk alone or not. But even in that situation, the risks of walking alone are easier to calculate than trying to figure out how likely it is that I will get covid if I walk on a camino. I bet we will have that data in a few years, but for now there is so much uncertainty about so many things surrounding the virus.
 

psheehan

Active Member
Past OR future Camino
CF, CPo, CdN, CPr, F, CS, CV, CI, VdlP, CS, CA
I’m in Boadilla del Camino on day 12… I’ve been staying in a mix of private rooms and Albergue dormitories… The Albergue dormitories are at 50% capacity. In tonight’s Albergue, all the tops bunks are not accessible. There is hand sanitizer gel and signs telling pilgrims to wear masks but almost all pilgrims are not wearing masks in the dormitories.
 

trecile

Camino Addict
Past OR future Camino
Francés (2016 & 2017), Norte (2018), Francés-Salvador-Norte (2019), Portuguese (2019)
tonight’s Albergue, all the tops bunks are not accessible
I really don't understand this. In order to space people farther apart wouldn't it be better to have every other bottom bunk and every other top bunk empty?
 
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trecile

Camino Addict
Past OR future Camino
Francés (2016 & 2017), Norte (2018), Francés-Salvador-Norte (2019), Portuguese (2019)
I really don't understand this. In order to space people farther apart wouldn't it be better to have every other bottom bunk and every other top bunk empty?

I agree… it would give pilgrims more space and more air.
I edited my post because I realized that I wrote bottom bunk twice!
 
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Faye Walker

Veteran Member
Past OR future Camino
CF 2014, CF 2018, CP 2019 from Coimbra
<<snip>> signs telling pilgrims to wear masks but almost all pilgrims are not wearing masks in the dormitories.
I wonder if such people are also the ones who pee in the pool, and who generally think that “he who pays makes the rules.” Hearing of such disregard for the safety and the efforts of the locals and hospitaleros hurts my heart…
 

Albertagirl

Veteran Member
Past OR future Camino
Frances (2015); Aragones-Frances (2016); VdlP-Sanabres (2017); Madrid-Frances-Invierno (2019)Levante
I shall be trying to avoid albergues on my Levante-VdlP-Sanabres pilgrimage this fall (leaving next week) but where there is no other accommodation I shall hope that I am late enough in the year to be alone or with few others.
 
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Happy Penguin

Rainy day in Castilblanco
Past OR future Camino
2021
I'm starting to walk a part of VdlP at about the same time when @Albertagirl is starting Levante and I suppose I will be alone in most albergues or maybe sharing with one other pilgrim. It saves money if you pay for albergue and then have it for yourself. I almost finished to plan my walk, and between Seville and Salamanca I found only one town where I have to pay more than 15 euro, and that is Casar de Caceres (24 euro). But I am also planning some longer stages, weather permitting.
 

Albertagirl

Veteran Member
Past OR future Camino
Frances (2015); Aragones-Frances (2016); VdlP-Sanabres (2017); Madrid-Frances-Invierno (2019)Levante
Planning is certainly challenging at present, in part because it is impossible to be confident that accommodation will be open, particularly albergues. They are attractive for the price but dangerous for their communal nature. Still, I am hoping that the two albergues which I have found so far to be listed as open on gronze, where there is no other accommodation in town, really are open, and that I shall be there alone. And as a Canadian, the cost of quarantining, and then possibly missing my flight home and having to buy another ticket, could be much more expensive than paying more for a bed for the night. I might just pay for a night, then take myself to a church porch to sleep if others arrive.
 

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