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Are we Stealing on the Camino?

VNwalking

Wandering in big circles
Year of past OR future Camino
Francés ('14/'15)
San Olav/CF ('16)
Baztanés/CF ('17)
Ingles ('18)
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No...I know you're not. Not like that, anyway.
But I gave this thread a provocative title on purpose - not to be a troll, but because I'm hoping the shock effect will open some eyes the same way as it opened mine.

In another thread, @Kanga said this:
I love coming across a hair dryer when I stay in hotels, but would not take one to use in albergues because of the cost of electricity. Their margins are very tight. I would feel I was stealing, unless I paid extra or made some other recompense.
:eek: Wow. So true.
That really 'went in' for me, in a new and very good way.
Because I'd never thought of things that way, instead have only focused on what I get or don't.

Realizing that I've been unaware of an assumption that the 5 Euros that municipals charge is the standard baseline for what albergues 'need.' And so if I'm staying at a private albergue and paying (maybe) 10, 12, or even 15 Euros, then I feel entitled to extras accordingly. Lots of hot water, unlimited power, WiFi...and so on.
But of course in all cases...their expenses may be way more than that.
And even in municipals and donativos...of course I am generous. But I also know that sometimes I take what is not freely offered. Even leaning against the shower faucet so it stays on for more than a minute is a kind of theft. That annoying faucet is there for a reason - to save water and electricity, so the costs stay down and others will have some hot water too.

When we walk the Camino we all live into new and special places of personal kindness and interconnectedness.
This post of yours, @Kanga, opened a door for me to see that the care can (and I think should) be extended to not only other pilgrims but also to those businesses who offer us service, hospitality, and support along the way. Thank you. It bears reflecting about.

Not everyone is out there to rip us off or make a buck.
So especially about those places that offer some services for a modest sum, in the spirit of the way, well...it's worth asking:
We don't steal...right? Well maybe not. But maybe. Payment does not entitle us to take as much as we can without thought of consequences.
I will be noticing, in a whole new way. This is so great...love it! :)
 
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Dorpie

RIP 2019
Year of past OR future Camino
Santiago to Finisterre to Muxia 2013
Camino Frances May 2015, July 2017, October 2019
Any person or organisation running an Albergue with electrical outlets in dorm rooms and communal areas I'm sure expects people to use the electricity, they'd be mad not to. And as for the showers, it's polite in a busy albergue not to linger any longer than necessary and waste time and hot water but even I, the fastest showerer I know, couldn't get close to clean in one push. These devices are more a guard against taps being left on rather than a one use rationing system.

I love that you have such a considerate attitude but I think you're overthinking this one.
 

VNwalking

Wandering in big circles
Year of past OR future Camino
Francés ('14/'15)
San Olav/CF ('16)
Baztanés/CF ('17)
Ingles ('18)
Vasco/CF/Invierno ('19)
I think you're overthinking this one
Exactly the discussion I was hoping for, @Dorpie .:)
And here I see it a different way. Thinking of others as much as myself and what I get or feel entitled to is not overthinking, but merely thinking of us rather than just me.

So of course the taps are there to prevent waste. But I don't have to say to myself as a result in the spirit of rebellion, "To heck with it, I'm just going to get around this and take as much as I want." Because someone has to pay, even if it's not me.
 

Dorpie

RIP 2019
Year of past OR future Camino
Santiago to Finisterre to Muxia 2013
Camino Frances May 2015, July 2017, October 2019
Haha, @VNwalking , happy to be your counterpoint/devil's advocate.

I'm curious as to how you rationalise (which is not to say you're irrational, I just can't think of the right word :)) this. Say for example you get in the shower push the button and only get 10 seconds of water, do you just get out, shrug your shoulders and say "well I guess that's my ration."? Or do you have a fair amount of time in mind? Or do you have another approach.

You're right not to take water and the electricity needed to heat a shower for granted, if my quick google is to be relied upon a 5 minute hot shower costs about a $1 (this was from a US site) and uses over 60 litres of water! That would soon add up to quite a bill.
 

VNwalking

Wandering in big circles
Year of past OR future Camino
Francés ('14/'15)
San Olav/CF ('16)
Baztanés/CF ('17)
Ingles ('18)
Vasco/CF/Invierno ('19)
Haha, @VNwalking , happy to be your counterpoint/devil's advocate.
🙏

That would soon add up to quite a bill.
Exactly what opened my eyes from @Kanga's post. I'd just never thought of it from that vantage point.

Or do you have a fair amount of time in mind? Or do you have another approach.
So no, not being stupid or rigid about such things - with arbitrary criteria. But I do know what I need...and what is actually extra. ;) I love a looooong shower. And I know very well when the shower has gone from just getting clean to wallowing in it.🙃
In this case wallowing means taking more than is needed. Which is one thing if I'm paying adequately for it. If not...that amounts to stealing...in my book anyway.
 
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t2andreo

Veteran Member
Year of past OR future Camino
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It might be interesting to point out that the Spanish government intentionally set very high utility excise or use taxes on electricity. Of course electricity is used for the majority of hot water generation, as well as for the customary uses.

Yes, bottled natural gas is used in many homes for cooking and hot water. But, as homes, and hotels are renovated or new places built, they are increasingly being converted to electricity as it is cheaper to install and is more convenient.

I have reviewed various studies that show, using graphics, that electricity is relatively the highest taxed form of energy for residential or personal use (non commercial or industrial) in Spain. I am trying to find the best study I saw, perhaps a year ago, so I could reference it here. But so far I am not having much luck. It is out there in cyberspace, somewhere.

The excise taxation rate to the end private (non-commercial or industrial) consumer is higher than for gasoline, diesel fuel, home heating oils, or natural gas as a fuel for generating heat, light and all the various purposes that electricity is used for in Spain.

This is why one finds many lavadora (washing machines), but secadoras (clothes dryers) are rare across Spain. It also explains the plethora of auto-sensing timers that shut the lights off in a baño (bathroom), when you are sitting down on a commode....grrrr!

The tax rates for production are low for electricity. However, the price, at the switch is higher than for comparable energy "at the pump."

Moreover, I was told that this strategy was adopted by the central government because people could adapt to not having other forms of energy. One could opt to use public transport or self-powered transportation (bicycle). But without electricity, the entire society would be living in the late 1800s, before the development of electricity delivery methods and adoption as a fuel.

Personally, this strikes me on one level as being very clever, as it is the "least common denominator." It is the one thing that 100% of the population needs on a daily basis.

Also, for that same reason, this policy strikes me as extremely cynical. In adopting this policy, the government has the entire population by the proverbial 'short hairs.' You simply have NO CHOICE, but to use the electricity and pay the very high taxes.

Hope this helps the dialog.
 
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VNwalking

Wandering in big circles
Year of past OR future Camino
Francés ('14/'15)
San Olav/CF ('16)
Baztanés/CF ('17)
Ingles ('18)
Vasco/CF/Invierno ('19)
You simply have NO CHOICE, but to use the electricity and pay the very high taxes.

Hope this helps the dialog.
Well it certainly does, if by knowing that we all get a bit more sensitive to how much it costs the folks who have to pay the bills.
And then get more generous at donativos, and a little more conservative in how much energy we use elsewhere - rather than just taking and then the albergue 'end-user' paying the high excise tax on the power we took, just because we could.
;)
 

dougfitz

Veteran Member
Year of past OR future Camino
Spain: Mar 2010, Apr 2014, May/Jun 2016. Norway/Sweden: 2012, 2018. Other: 2011, 2019. CP (tbc)
@VNwalking, I saw @Kanga's comment when she first made it, and thought it might have been a bit precious. That said, it did make me wonder if there is a principle that one should conduct themselves austerely when on the camino in general, or perhaps only in certain places, like donativo albergues. Perhaps that theme should be explored?
 
Year of past OR future Camino
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San Salvador (2017) Ingles (2019)
An interesting thread, Vnwalking. I was at a meeting last week where the focus was examining aspects of Laudato Si - the following is from Wikipedia. Not leaked.
(Description
Laudato si' is the second encyclical of Pope Francis. The encyclical has the subtitle "on care for our common home". In it, the pope critiques consumerism and irresponsible development, laments environmental degradation and global warming, and calls all people of the world to take "swift and unified global action."Wikipedia)

We had some fine presentations by two people who have devoured the encyclical and who clearly are changed by it. As a guilty bystander, I have to say that it is wearying in the extreme to try to juggle all the angles that the encyclical names and encourages us to take on board. I am not a consistent person at all. I have a focus for a while, then something else pops up and takes over. So yes, I don’t run the tap when I am brushing my teeth. I understand that the showers that pop on and off are trying to help us to save water. And so on and so forth. It has to be hit and miss though. I mean, do you not buy the only vegetable you need for a recipe because it has travelled half way around the globe? I certainly walk away from fruit and veg that have been grown in South America. Or my favourite butter from New Zealand. But I will buy wine from Spain! Thanks, your comments are very useful, to serve as a reminder that we have no right to take for ourselves what should be shared...
 
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I thought that this thread would have to do with pilgrims helping themselves to a few grapes or other fruit as they pass through vineyards and farmer's fields. Yes, that is stealing.
Actually, a friend of mine from Navarra told me many years ago that it was absolutely ok to take grapes for immediate tasting, walking by. Times may have changed that...
 

Elle Bieling

Elle Bieling, PilgrimageTraveler
Year of past OR future Camino
A total of eight in the past 6 years!
IMHO, conservation of resources is next to Godliness, whenever and wherever we use them! The issue is much larger than just money, although that matters too. We need to be conscious of ways to preserve our Mother Earth or there will be no one discussing whether what we use makes a difference.

I recommend what we fondly call a "military" shower. We live in the mountains in Colorado, USA where water is a real commodity. We have to haul it in to our cistern, so we have learned to be conservationists. Turn on the hot water to wet your hair/body. Then with the water already off, or by turning it off manually, lather yourself up. Turn the water back on to rinse, as needed. This is a necessity, I guess in the Navy where all water is carried aboard. Not only will you conserve water, but save money everywhere. The time for the long, 15-min hot shower is over!

I also try to remember that I need to behave as if I were paying for everything! If I am not paying, somebody is! If it were my money, would I be doing the same behaviors? Since I am more of a naturalist and actually live off the grid, I realize my standards are high. However, we can ALL raise our conscious awareness of how many resources we use. Many are totally ignorant of their consumption habits.

Here's to @VNwalking for starting the conversation!
 

t2andreo

Veteran Member
Year of past OR future Camino
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@VNwalking, I saw @Kanga's comment when she first made it, and thought it might have been a bit precious. That said, it did make me wonder if there is a principle that one should conduct themselves austerely when on the camino in general, or perhaps only in certain places, like donativo albergues. Perhaps that theme should be explored?


I think the theme ought to be something akin to "do unto others as you would have them do unto you..." If it were YOUR albergue, you would want people to be:

(1) considerate of others and the owners, and

(2) generous when considering the basic albergue tariff, and what they have consumed, and ought to pay in respectful understanding of the overhead involved here. It is part of giving back.

It give a new meaning to the phrase TIP. It originally meant "to insure promptness (in service)." In our context, this discussion, it might mean "To Insure Power..."

Get the hint...
 

NorthernLight

Veteran Member
Year of past OR future Camino
Le Puy to Santiago via the Frances 2012-2013. EPW2015
Aragonese & Frances 2016
Burgos to Muxia 2017
Actually, a friend of mine from Navarra told me many years ago that it was absolutely ok to take grapes for immediate tasting, walking by. Times may have changed that...
A friend of mine in Switzerland told me many years ago it was bad manners to take grapes.

To the thread theme:
Lovely thread. Whether or not it is stealing, it's often simply wasteful.
 

VNwalking

Wandering in big circles
Year of past OR future Camino
Francés ('14/'15)
San Olav/CF ('16)
Baztanés/CF ('17)
Ingles ('18)
Vasco/CF/Invierno ('19)
Times may have changed that...
And numbers. When there are a thousand people a year walking to Santiago, that's one thing. But a few hundred thousand is quite another. That's a lot of casually eaten grapes.
And by inference the same applies to the whole planet. A billion, ok, fine...but 7.25 billion of us makes a much bigger dent.
Perhaps that theme should be explored?
That was not on my mind, Doug, but it's certainly emerged as a theme...indirectly. Restraint (or austerity, if you prefer that angle) is an act of kindness to others when there is shortage. And to the world.
I also try to remember that I need to behave as if I were paying for everything!
What a great way to frame it, Elle. Because that makes us sensitive to what we might be over-using. And in the big picture, we all are, because it's not just showers in albergues and who pays the bills for that, is it?:
"on care for our common home".
Exactly...
The time for the long, 15-min hot shower is over!
Alas. I fear you're right.

This conversation has taken an interesting and unexpected turn. I was thinking of ethical conduct...but it's quickly picked up bigger threads....
(Edited for spelling)
 
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Raggy

Veteran Member
Year of past OR future Camino
2017, 2018, 2019
I was a little surprised that I didn’t come across more coin operated electrical devices on the Camino. I saw a few coin operated washing machines and dryers but no coin operated heaters, hair dryers, or showers. I’m torn on this - I think it would detract from the “Camino spirit” if there were demands for money on every socket and tap. But it would be one way to influence people’s wasteful consumption and to let people pay for what they use.
Some places that I have stayed at have solar water heating systems (Fuenterroble albergue on VdlP, Puttenham Camping Barn on the Pilgrims Way). Once the hot tank has been used, there’ll be no more hot water until the sun shines again. So, for the sake of other pilgrims, everyone must be frugal.
In these places I take a “Bermuda” shower - I run the shower for a minute or so to get my body wet, then turn off the water while I soap up and scrub, and then turn the water back on for long enough to rinse off the soap. (I believe submariners also shower this way). It feels pretty good when you arrive late at Fuenterroble and it’s full of pilgrims and theres still some hot water for your shower. You can look around and realise that *everyone* there did that for you.
 

VNwalking

Wandering in big circles
Year of past OR future Camino
Francés ('14/'15)
San Olav/CF ('16)
Baztanés/CF ('17)
Ingles ('18)
Vasco/CF/Invierno ('19)
It feels pretty good when you arrive late at Fuenterroble and it’s full of pilgrims and theres still some hot water for your shower. You can look around and realise that *everyone* there did that for you.
It's a matter of knowing how consumption affects others, isn't it?
When we're are aware, most of us will do the right thing. Especially people who walk together day after day.
OK, so sometimes people are just clueless - but that's not necessarily an eternal state.

But it would be one way to influence people’s wasteful consumption and to let people pay for what they use.
Posted information about the cost of power and water might change wasteful habits. We (most of us) just don't know what it costs to run an albergue.
Is there anyone out there who can give us a rough numbers: per month costs for power and water for an albergue wiht 'x' numbers of bunks...?
 

Albertagirl

Veteran Member
Year of past OR future Camino
Frances (2015); Aragones-Frances (2016); VdlP-Sanabres (2017); Madrid-Frances-Invierno (2019)Levante
I find this thread very uncomfortable. I conserve by instinct, but there are some situations in which I prefer not to. Generally, I do so to save myself money. And this applies to just about everything. I don't, to make my life livable. This applies to what is necessary for me. When at home, I have a hot bath every morning and soak for half an hour. This helps my arthritis and relieves the stiffness and pain which accumulate during the night. And, while I pay a certain amount communally for electricity, I don't pay more if I use more, as it is not on individual metres. When I am on pilgrimage, I regard a bathtub with hot water as a direct gift from God. But I do not expect to ever find one and I grieve when I find out that a bathtub has been removed and I must just put up with the pain. I keep the heat in my apartment turned down, as this is comfortable for me, and in winter I often have almost no heat on, because the suites all around mine are keeping mine warm. I have been a vegetarian for more than fifty years, but this is a personal choice, and I do not encourage others to do the same. If you must truck in water, then you must conserve, and will advise visitors of the necessity. I can only add that anyone who travels from a distance to go on camino, as I do, must know that production by airplanes of carbon dioxide, which is threatening the environment, is very high. This to respond to the world issue. Would I have a hot bath if I believed that the fuel to heat the water was expensive for the albergue manager or that I might be leaving little hot water for those wanting a hot shower? Yes. Am I willing to be bullied or persuaded into feeling guilty about it? Maybe.
 
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Ungawawa

Active Member
Year of past OR future Camino
2017-20: Francés, Norte, Francés, Portuguese Lisbon Coastal, Portuguese central
So lets do some maths here.

A typical hairdryer is 2200 watts. 2.2 kwh x 10 minute session (ie. one sixth ) = 0.37 kwh used. A quick google of 2018 stats shows 24 euro cents to be a typical Spanish price for a kilowatt hour, so your 10 minutes of hairdryer use costs 8.8 cents. It's unclear if taxes are included in these prices, so a possible adding on 5.1% energy tax, we get a maximum cost of 9.3 euro cents.

So yes electricity is expensive, but it's not likely to be the deciding factor here in whether they make a profit from you or not.
 

Moorwalker

Active Member
Year of past OR future Camino
The Saint's Way, Cornwall
Haha, @VNwalking , happy to be your counterpoint/devil's advocate.

I'm curious as to how you rationalise (which is not to say you're irrational, I just can't think of the right word :)) this. Say for example you get in the shower push the button and only get 10 seconds of water, do you just get out, shrug your shoulders and say "well I guess that's my ration."? Or do you have a fair amount of time in mind? Or do you have another approach.

You're right not to take water and the electricity needed to heat a shower for granted, if my quick google is to be relied upon a 5 minute hot shower costs about a $1 (this was from a US site) and uses over 60 litres of water! That would soon add up to quite a bill.
In much of Spain where water is scarce it's usual to get wet, switch off the water, lather all over, then rinse off the soap.
 
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Deleted member 67185

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A quick google of 2018 stats shows 24 euro cents to be a typical Spanish price for a kilowatt hour,

Wow!! Our residential electric rate is 2.1 cents USD. Our 3200 Sq Ft home and appliances are totally electric. Our summers get hot and our winters cold. We keep our thermostat set to 68F (winter) and 70F (summer). Our lighting is via LED bulbs. Our two-month billing for electricity is $64.00.

Even knowing our area is an anomaly with our power rates being the lowest in America, it still always takes my breath away to hear what electric rates cost away from where I live. Our two-county area owns our dams (4), and has so much surplus power that we sell it on the open market to the rest of the US.

The administrative overhead to send and process billings requires that they be sent every two months, rather than monthly. We do our payment based on a monthly-average plan, which is evaluated every year to adjust billing costs based on the previous year's power usage.
 

VNwalking

Wandering in big circles
Year of past OR future Camino
Francés ('14/'15)
San Olav/CF ('16)
Baztanés/CF ('17)
Ingles ('18)
Vasco/CF/Invierno ('19)
Such a post just makes me want to reach out and hug the poster in thanks.
Please consider this a virtual hug.
Awwww...Gee, thanks, John.🙏
@Albertagirl, I love your honesty.
Me too, and your strength of character that's willing to say something different:
Would I have a hot bath if I believed that the fuel to heat the water was expensive for the albergue manager or that I might be leaving little hot water for those wanting a hot shower? Yes. Am I willing to be bullied or persuaded into feeling guilty about it? Maybe.
I'm sorry, @Albertagirl , that was absolutely not my intention. Mostly it was to start a conversation about something that had been an eye-opener for me, seeing things from the opposite perspective than I usually see them. About how we may be assuming entitlement, when that feeling is not actually justified or realistic.

I am guessing (based on my impression of you from your posts) that you would be the first person to offer more if you took that bath and then (after the fact) realized that it would cost the owner more than was covered by the the room rate. That's really all I was thinking about in the original post, nothing to do with the bigger picture....

So yes electricity is expensive, but it's not likely to be the deciding factor here in whether they make a profit from you or not.
Well, maybe not, on a per capita basis.
But multiply that by the numbers of people per night and the nights per year...
A lot of a little equals a lot. Like stolen grapes, a few kwh can add up.
 
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C clearly

Moderator
Staff member
Year of past OR future Camino
2021
Because I'd never thought of things that way, instead have only focused on what I get or don't.
seeing things from the opposite perspective than I usually see them.
????? You hadn't????? :rolleyes: I find that incredible, having known and liked you online (and even in person) for a few years now. Maybe that is why I'm with @Albertagirl on there being something about this thread that bothers me. However, I certainly agree with the following sentiment...
And here I see it a different way. Thinking of others as much as myself and what I get or feel entitled to is not overthinking, but merely thinking of us rather than just me... Because someone has to pay, even if it's not me.
Of course, this is the way it should be. It is excellent to point out, for those who were unaware of the cost of electricity, that the excessive use of hair dryers, heaters, etc., is a problem at albergues on tight budgets. This information should be passed on and does not have to be tied up in a transformational moment.

I'm just a very undramatic person!
 

VNwalking

Wandering in big circles
Year of past OR future Camino
Francés ('14/'15)
San Olav/CF ('16)
Baztanés/CF ('17)
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????? You hadn't????? :rolleyes: I find that incredible, having known and liked you online (and even in person) for a few years now.
No, honestly. Completely oblivious about how much overhead albergues carry...and (for example) being the kind of person who (if there are no other pilgrims queuing up for showers) would take as long and as hot a shower as possible. I can take others into account if they are pilgrims, but I had honestly not thought much about albergue costs, figuring they were 'covered.'
So what @Kanga said startled me: "Oooo. I have been stealing..." was my inner rather surprised response. And I care about that kind of stuff. Hence the thread.
 

biarritzdon

Veteran Member
Year of past OR future Camino
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You need to account for the bulk of the traffic is from April through October, so for 5 months or so there is relatively no income coming in.
 

C clearly

Moderator
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Year of past OR future Camino
2021
Completely oblivious about how much overhead albergues carry...
The reason I was surprised was that I know you are very aware that people need to donate to "donativos" with the knowledge that someone has to pay for the people who don't or cannot. I just assumed that the same awareness would extend to businesses, especially small family ones. Just like toilets in bars - they don't exist for the world to use without maintenance by someone. :)
 

Ungawawa

Active Member
Year of past OR future Camino
2017-20: Francés, Norte, Francés, Portuguese Lisbon Coastal, Portuguese central
Well, maybe not, on a per capita basis.
But multiply that by the numbers of people per night and the nights per year...
A lot of a little equals a lot. Like stolen grapes, a few kwh can add up.

I know what you're saying, but the more people, the more per-person fees as well, so it should scale fine, regardless of numbers. The only problem would be in a donotivo if lots of people with hairdryers arrived but never gave the minimum 5 euros. But I'm guessing the sort of person who travels that frugally wouldn't carry a hairdryer with them ;-)
 
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Phil71

Active Member
Year of past OR future Camino
Portuguese (2014,2016),Primitivo (2015), San Salvador (2017), Norte (2018), Ingles (2018)
Wow!! Our residential electric rate is 2.1 cents USD. Our 3200 Sq Ft home and appliances are totally electric. Our summers get hot and our winters cold. We keep our thermostat set to 68F (winter) and 70F (summer). Our lighting is via LED bulbs. Our two-month billing for electricity is $64.00.
Wow. I'm in the UK. Converting to US dollars for comparison I'm paying about 20 cents per unit. But my 2 month bill is about 75 dollars. I guess I am a) being ripped off and b) pretty frugal!
 

VNwalking

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I just assumed that the same awareness would extend to businesses, especially small family ones. Just like toilets in bars - they don't exist for the world to use without maintenance by someone. :)
I knew about toilets in bars, of course, but was less mindful of the actual costs to private albergues...a personal blind spot, and I'm guessing I'm not the only one to have it.

I know what you're saying, but the more people, the more per-person fees as well, so it should scale fine,
Only if everyone stays within the narrow break-even margins. It's not just hairdriers. It's heating, water, WiFi data use, toilet paper, laundry...and things that we probably can't even imagine unless we've been hospitaleras/os. There are lots of potential places to overuse/overspend, blithely thinking it's 'included.'
 
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D

Deleted member 67185

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Wow. I'm in the UK. Converting to US dollars for comparison I'm paying about 20 cents per unit. But my 2 month bill is about 75 dollars. I guess I am a) being ripped off and b) pretty frugal!

What is a unit there? Convert it to the standard kW/H to get a comparison. Also, is your home and appliances, including heating, all electric. We use a heat pump/electric furnace and central air.
 
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CF SJPdP to SdC
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Wow!! Our residential electric rate is 2.1 cents USD. Our 3200 Sq Ft home and appliances are totally electric. Our summers get hot and our winters cold. We keep our thermostat set to 68F (winter) and 70F (summer). Our lighting is via LED bulbs. Our two-month billing for electricity is $64.00.

Even knowing our area is an anomaly with our power rates being the lowest in America, it still always takes my breath away to hear what electric rates cost away from where I live. Our two-county area owns our dams (4), and has so much surplus power that we sell it on the open market to the rest of the US.

The administrative overhead to send and process billings requires that they be sent every two months, rather than monthly. We do our payment based on a monthly-average plan, which is evaluated every year to adjust billing costs based on the previous year's power usage.

I'm moving @davebugg ! My 3 month bills here are usually $1,500! (Sydney Australia)
 
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Elle Bieling

Elle Bieling, PilgrimageTraveler
Year of past OR future Camino
A total of eight in the past 6 years!
@Albertagirl I also never intended for those who have medical reasons to take a hot bath to deny themselves relief from pain. I also have arthritis in my hands and understand the comfort of hot water. Any accommodations in Spain with a bath tub I also consider it a gift from God. They are very few and far between even in hotels and those that do have a tub, often the drain plug is removed! Thank you for being honest and noting that there are many points of view. As always there are no true blacks or whites, just individual situations.
 
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Davey Boyd

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Year of past OR future Camino
Again, soon as possible!
We could probably use more electricity in albergues without feeling bad if people stop nicking the toilet rolls every day! The toilet roll nickers really get my goat! Shame on you!

Brierleys guidebook does not work well as loo roll I have found.

Just saying
Davey
 

NorthernLight

Veteran Member
Year of past OR future Camino
Le Puy to Santiago via the Frances 2012-2013. EPW2015
Aragonese & Frances 2016
Burgos to Muxia 2017
We could probably use more electricity in albergues without feeling bad if people stop nicking the toilet rolls every day! The toilet roll nickers really get my goat! Shame on you!

Brierleys guidebook does not work well as loo roll I have found.

Just saying
Davey
And they don't even have the courtesy to wait until morning!
 
D

Deleted member 397

Guest
In much of Spain where water is scarce it's usual to get wet, switch off the water, lather all over, then rinse off the soap.
Coming from Oz I'm also aware that water can be a scarce resource so I have been surprised to see wide bore hoses washing down streets in Spain..a very wasteful practice. I've seen this is small villages as well as Salamanca,Toledo and Avila
 

Davey Boyd

Veteran Member
Year of past OR future Camino
Again, soon as possible!
Coming from Oz I'm also aware that water can be a scarce resource so I have been surprised to see wide bore hoses washing down streets in Spain..a very wasteful practice. I've seen this is small villages as well as Salamanca,Toledo and Avila

I used to live in Istanbul, Turkey. In most normal (local) accommodation there, including where I lived, they had plumbed water but it was certainly not drinkable. We had fresh water delivered every so often (twice a week or more) in small 5 litre barrels for drinking. I lived on the 5th floor, we had to carry it up the stairs as there was no lifts. You sure did not waste water there!

However, I often saw the same thing, washing down the streets. Once, while working in a local cafe I asked about it, why? And wasn't it wasteful? Because this cafe would wash down the street a few times a day at least. They said it was because it is really dusty there in summer (with narrow streets channeling the wind), and they needed to so people could eat outside. Maybe that is the answer? (They did not use drinking water)!

As an aside, my Turkish friends were completely shocked that here in the UK we flush our toilets with 'fresh' water! They thought that was a terrible waste!

Davey
 

Albertagirl

Veteran Member
Year of past OR future Camino
Frances (2015); Aragones-Frances (2016); VdlP-Sanabres (2017); Madrid-Frances-Invierno (2019)Levante
I have been listening this evening to a radio documentary about a family during the war in Syria: the mother marries a doctor, bears him a child, and films a documentary about the horrific situation in which he tries to save the dying. In the end, they have to decide whether to leave the child behind in the crumbling remnants of Syria, or take her with them and risk her being murdered if they are captured. This documentary, on at present at Hot Docs in Toronto, is called "For Sama" after the name of their little girl.
What does this have to do with the camino? I am embarrassed at being drawn into a conversation about excess water usage in Spain. I am perfectly capable of surviving indefinitely on sponge baths, barring the occasional hair wash. And I don't care. What I am looking for now, when I have booked my flight to Spain and am asking myself why I am going, is a reason to justify my extravagance in going on camino yet again. There is nothing wrong with being concerned that one's own wastefulness may cost others something: whether their own chance for a hot shower or excess electricity bills. But I want to open the eyes of my heart to those who are suffering. If I am called to go on camino, it is not in order to be comfortable. Perhaps this discussion is helping me to let go of all the careful planning to be comfortable on my walk and instead to just be open to others.
 
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VNwalking

Wandering in big circles
Year of past OR future Camino
Francés ('14/'15)
San Olav/CF ('16)
Baztanés/CF ('17)
Ingles ('18)
Vasco/CF/Invierno ('19)
But I want to open the eyes of my heart to those who are suffering. If I am called to go on camino, it is not in order to be comfortable.
Oh that more of us on this planet were thinking and feeling this, @Albertagirl. It sounds like you're already well on your way to doing that - and walking the Camino will only deepen both the reflection anx the connection.
 

Phil71

Active Member
Year of past OR future Camino
Portuguese (2014,2016),Primitivo (2015), San Salvador (2017), Norte (2018), Ingles (2018)
What is a unit there? Convert it to the standard kW/H to get a comparison. Also, is your home and appliances, including heating, all electric. We use a heat pump/electric furnace and central air.
Hi Dave. A unit here is a kw/hr so I think the same? But heating is gas and no air conditioning needed here!
 
D

Deleted member 67185

Guest
Hi Dave. A unit here is a kw/hr so I think the same? But heating is gas and no air conditioning needed here!

:) Good to know.

Air conditioning is definitely needed here, as our summers are in the 90 to 105 F/32.2 to 40.5 C range during the daytime, and our winters are in the 30 F to 9 F / -1.2 to -12.7 C range. :)
 

chinacat

Veteran Member
Wish I could remember where I saw this, but I seem to remember reading that Spain had managed to supply all its (domestic?) electricity needs from renewable resources. It was a few years ago, I think. Very impressive!

I realise that this doesn’t really contribute to this thread as such, but it did make me think, especially when I read here that electricity is the most highly taxed form of energy, at point of usage.
 

dougfitz

Veteran Member
Year of past OR future Camino
Spain: Mar 2010, Apr 2014, May/Jun 2016. Norway/Sweden: 2012, 2018. Other: 2011, 2019. CP (tbc)
Wish I could remember where I saw this, but I seem to remember reading that Spain had managed to supply all its (domestic?) electricity needs from renewable resources. It was a few years ago, I think. Very impressive!

I realise that this doesn’t really contribute to this thread as such, but it did make me think, especially when I read here that electricity is the most highly taxed form of energy, at point of usage.
There progress on renewables is good, but I don't think it is that good. In 2014 they were generating a bit over 40% of their electricity from renewables according to Wikipedia.
 
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Nana6

Active Member
Year of past OR future Camino
France ( 2020)
Wow. I'm in the UK. Converting to US dollars for comparison I'm paying about 20 cents per unit. But my 2 month bill is about 75 dollars. I guess I am a) being ripped off and b) pretty frugal!
You are extremely blessed with your electric bill. Mine for a 2500 square foot is anywhere from 150 to 400 depending on the month
 
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Thornley

Veteran Member
Year of past OR future Camino
Frances x 2 , Norte x 2 , Le Puy x 3 , Portuguese x 2,
Mont St Michel , Primitivo .
Coming from Oz I'm also aware that water can be a scarce resource so I have been surprised to see wide bore hoses washing down streets in Spain..a very wasteful practice. I've seen this is small villages as well as Salamanca,Toledo and Avila

And Paris , 4am every day
And Tokyo who have no rubbish bins in the street , not one .
And Singapore which is spotless.
Wouldn't i love it in Little Bourke St.[ China Town]

** Cleanliness is the next thing to Godliness
 
Year of past OR future Camino
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This is a good thread, and definitely has me thinking. As we rode the Camino, we weren't allocated wed to get beds until all the walkers had been accommodated. This is of course only fair because someone who has walked miles and is totally exhausted won't be able to go much further. Whereas we could always ride a few more miles to another albergue. But, of course, this inevitably meant that we got used to cold showers. To be honest, in the middle of July, a nice cold shower was all you wanted :).

But the thought of using up electricity has me thinking because, now that I'm much older, I have had to resort to using an e-bike. This would need recharging every few nights and, as a full recharge can take anything up to four or five hours, this would be a lot of electricity used. If I am ever lucky enough to find myself in a position of being able to ride the Camino again, I would definitely be willing to pay to recharge the bike battery. Something I would probably never have picked up on before reading this thread.
 
Year of past OR future Camino
2018
Wow. I'm in the UK. Converting to US dollars for comparison I'm paying about 20 cents per unit. But my 2 month bill is about 75 dollars. I guess I am a) being ripped off and b) pretty frugal!
I am a Yank and I say with full knowledge: most Americans are very wasteful with water and power, and have no clue of the true cost or how to conserve energy. I learned this on my first trip to Paris, in 1973, aged 19, staying with my parents' friends, Sylvie and Jacques. Sylvie showed me around their tiny flat and admonished me to NEVER leave a light burning when I left a room, to ALWAYS turn off appliances and consider the high cost of power (l'électricité coûté extrêmement chère en France, les américains ne comprennent pas...). To this day, I hear her voice, reminding me to switch off those lights - here in Australia, we have solar power but electricity is costly and water is rationed. I wince on trips back to the USA, lights blazing in every room, AC set to frigid and extravagant baths, showers, fountains, pools. There is a high price for this. Better to learn now, even my American grandkids will eventually have to pay dearly for the waste.
 

David Tallan

Veteran Member
Year of past OR future Camino
2018
I think the theme ought to be something akin to "do unto others as you would have them do unto you..." If it were YOUR albergue, you would want people to be:

(1) considerate of others and the owners, and

(2) generous when considering the basic albergue tariff, and what they have consumed, and ought to pay in respectful understanding of the overhead involved here. It is part of giving back.

It give a new meaning to the phrase TIP. It originally meant "to insure promptness (in service)." In our context, this discussion, it might mean "To Insure Power..."

Get the hint...
While I generally agree with your post, it does end with a false etymology. Your "original" meaning for "tip" is a cute story but readers should be aware that it is a complete (albeit popular) fabrication. According to the learned lexicographers at Oxford, the verb originated in thieves cant: https://blog.oxforddictionaries.com/2017/08/14/origin-posh-tip/

Had that really been the etymology, the verb would have been "tep - to ensure promptness". Insuring is what insurance companies do. :) Brought to you by your community pedant.
 
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David Tallan

Veteran Member
Year of past OR future Camino
2018
When we were walking the Camino in July/August 2016, my teenage son was flabbergasted by the paucity of air conditioning in Spain. He could not believe that, with those temperatures, in this century, air conditioning would not be ubiquitous. I explained it was related to the price of electricity.
 
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