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Bed Bugs/Clinches?

After a year of walking various routes and making use of albergues (those that let me in) I've just had my first ever bed bug experience. Turns out I'm even more allergic to them than I am to mosquito blanco (my initial suspect).

On one hand I think be a bit lenient with the management. Even the less official private albergues barely make big cash and provide safe overspill accommodation. On the other hand, I've just suffered 3 miserable days of uncomfortable ugliness and expensive medical costs. If they had offered disposable sheets and pillow cases at extra cost I would have taken them, but they pretend the problem doesn't exist.

Initially I suspected mosquito blanco (the only other insect/parasite I know I'm hyper-allergic to), so I took a second nights stay last night. Now I have to go through the whole miserable, puss ridden, blister sore, aching, blood infected, expensive hell again. Won't detail the ugliness here. You don't need to know. Let's just say I felt oblidged to offer to pay for replacement bed sheets at the hotel I booked into to use a hot bath.

Forget the discomfort. It's cost me over €160.

I'm not going to name and shame here, but I will do on my blog after I've spoken with the owner. I have absolutely no doubt she is aware of the problem. Is it something we should just put up with? I don't think so. Time they got their act together. I'll be naming on my blog tomorrow after talking (although, I suspect that's only going to get denial, sweet smiles and little bother from unofficial type business protection). List the bad ones. We won't use them. They will have to address the problem. Should be that easy no?

I'm a little bit angry to say the least.

Anyone suffering the way I am - a €20 return bus trip to use the hot springs at Ourense from Santiago is well worth it. Painfully hot, but the only thing that gave me any relief.

*Rant over*
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Just found out I´m in a room of pilgrims who are in the middle of disinfecting themselves from a bed bug infestation. DAMMIT I JUST GOT FINISHED WITH THE LAST ROUND! Oh well, I´m spraying myself again tonight.

WolverineDG said:
Just found out I´m in a room of pilgrims who are in the middle of disinfecting themselves from a bed bug infestation. DAMMIT I JUST GOT FINISHED WITH THE LAST ROUND! Oh well, I´m spraying myself again tonight.


I just threw a wobbly here (I'm posting from Acuario in Santiago). Fully appreciate that my reaction to them is possibly a bit more severe than others - really not looking forward to the next couple of days. I'm already popping up 1 inch blisters everywhere :(

As I suspected, they firstly denied all knowledge. Rubbish, I know for fact they knew they had an infestation more than Two weeks ago, and knew which beds were infested most. Yet, they chose to carry on collecting the cash.

Now they're telling me "O.K. we know, but, it's not just us, it's the whole camino". It may well be. It's mid September - prime time, but they should have closed for the night and fumigated on the first suspicion before letting others pay for the displeasure.

I've spoken to 7 others today who have been bitten to shreds. One poor girl got a full on face attack.

I did wobble a bit on my complaints, and now some good person has given me their powder to relieve the burning, but tomorrow I will hardly be able to move a limb, or fit into any of my clothes. I'm going to sleep on the porch. The chance of a couple of mosquito bites is far less threatening.

56 beds at 7€ a night. It's not big cash, but it's far more than Hilton are collecting on a business responsible suite per night. This is like a converted garage with hippie shit. They should be accountable IMO. I'm not letting it go. I'm 6 days work, and €160 down.
They're getting horrible with me now. I simply asked for a complaint form.

I don't want to pay for another night of bed bug crap. I asked for a complaint form (do albergues have a legal responsibility to provide one?).

They say they have called Policia. I just want to sleep on the porch, because I'm to effing tired to trapse around town with my backpack whilst my body is blistering and swelling and burning up horribbly. Can they charge me for sleeping on the porch?

They're still taking money from perigrinos even though they now undoubtedly know they have an infestation. "You're happy to continue taking money even though you know people are going to get bitten?" I asked. Spread bed bugs to other albergues. Homes even. This is the last stop for many.

"We call Policia" they say.

FFS! I'm only sleeping in the porch because I don't want to get bitten anymore, and would really like to see other pilgrims get a bit more respect.

Seems bed bugs are just something we have to accept. Why?
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Are you in Santiago right now? The owners I´ve talked about this with have been quite sympathetic. They have done what they can to keep the bugs out. From what another poster said, it´s the irresponsible ones who do nothing that cause problems for everyone else.

I´ve seen newer beds & mattresses, something these folks can ill afford to get but have had to, as well as at one albergue, a lady keeping an eye out for those who might have been bitten & requiring them to segregate their clothing & backpacks from the rest (Leon). Of course it doesn´t help matters either when those who have been infested (but have little or no reaction to the bugs) refuse to clean themselves or their stuff & instead go from albergue to albergue spreading the joy, so to speak.

WolverineDG said:
Are you in Santiago right now?...

Oh well, at least I got a solid 9 hours, bug free sleep outside the cathedral last night.

I'm in Santiago - the final day of my year long pilrimaging for childrens charities art project. I left albergue Acuario last night after giving the owner a right 'dressing down'. After finally admitting she was made aware of the problem over 2 weeks ago, she said 'but, the bed bugs just come from nowhere, it's not my fault'. Well, no that is not her fault. What is her fault is not closing and fumigating at first sign before they're carried on to the next albergue, home, or hotel.

She didn't call the police. Finally gave me a complaint form which I filled in. When I asked for my copy there wasn't one. That was the final piss take. No apology. No offer to let me wash all my clothes and sleeping bag. No offer of refund. Frankly, her attitude was appauling. Whilst all this was going on she continued to accept money from pilgrims booking in.

Personally, I'm more willing to believe that the bugs stay dormant all year round in this particular albergue. It's not a good place.

I would love to book in to a pension and take a long hot bath, but after last weeks expense I can't afford to, so I'll be sketching the cathedral all day and trying to sell all my remaining stock of sketches at low prices before taking a bus to meet friends near Leon tonight.

I look a plague ridden contagious mess. Hands and arms covered with weeping blisters. That may not help my cause :( Then again, it might get me a sympathy vote :)

It's an issue that spoils camino experience for many and really needs to be addressed. I know it's impossible to irradicate, but a bit more care from albergue hosts could control the problem quite easily.

Another beautiful sunny day here. I'm going to try and make the most of it anyway. A few beers will help I'm sure.
I apologise if this sound like a dumb question but is there anything one can do to prevent from being bitten ? Is there a spray of sorts that I can use on myself, and/or on my clothes ?

Sorry about your troubles, LostProtographer (dont know ur name). I can appreciate how you feel as I once had to undergo a series of steriod injections to control my infection from an allergic reaction whilst on a trip. I now carry with me strong antihistamines.

Keep well


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Camino Frances - Lourdes v SJPDP - Santiago (June/July 2010) Camino Frances - SJPDP - Santiago (July/August 2015) Camino Frances - SJPDP - Santiago (June/July/August 2017)
Hi Guys out there,about the Bed Bugs have been told about a spray ,Permathrin which you use on the outside of sleeping bags etc,i am about to do the walk in 2010,will be taking a tent ! first because its holy year,the hostels will be packed ! and second i would sooner sleep on hard ground than be eaten alive while i sleep, :shock:

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