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Bottom bunks

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JabbaPapa

"True Pilgrim"
Time of past OR future Camino
100 characters or fewer : see signature details
In very many cases, even if you get in late, and provided that you have a genuine reason for needing a bottom bunk, younger pilgrims currently occupying one will happily swap places for you.
 

dick bird

Moderator
Staff member
Time of past OR future Camino
Plata, Ingles, Madrid, Norte, Primitivo, Invierno, Aragones, Olvidado, Chemin D'Arles
Short answer is 'no', but the more conscientious hospis try to assign upper bunks to younger, fitter pilgrims first and save lower bunks for those who need one. Hopefully, the spirit of the camino will prevail and if you need a lower bunk, someone will offer to swap for you. If you are concerned, use private albergues who will take reservations and keep a lower bunk for you. They are generally not much more expensive than munis and at least as social.
 

Willy Pooler

New Member
Time of past OR future Camino
2023
Hello. Is it possible to secure bottom bunk beds in advance on the French way, or is it just a case of being early to hostel to grab one? Thank you.

Short answer is 'no', but the more conscientious hospis try to assign upper bunks to younger, fitter pilgrims first and save lower bunks for those who need one. Hopefully, the spirit of the camino will prevail and if you need a lower bunk, someone will offer to swap for you. If you are concerned, use private albergues who will take reservations and keep a lower bunk for you. They are generally not much more expensive than munis and at least as social.
Thank you Dick, I need to get up in the night 3 or 4 times these days, but don't want to have to explain that in person. I will look at private hostels.
 

JabbaPapa

"True Pilgrim"
Time of past OR future Camino
100 characters or fewer : see signature details
Thank you Dick, I need to get up in the night 3 or 4 times these days, but don't want to have to explain that in person. I will look at private hostels.
Same here, though I am not embarrassed by such things.

If asked, which is rare, I simply say that one of my medications is a diuretic, which BTW is true.

Not my own reason for needing a bottom bunk, and when I was younger it didn't bother me to climb up and down 2-4 times in the night, though I do understand that others might be less unembarrassed than I am.

Well, maybe as your Camino progresses you will find that you become more trusting, and open at least to pilgrims. We can be a terribly candid, frank, and open bunch sometimes !!
 
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Original Camino Way markers made in bronze. Two models, one from Castilla & Leon and the other from Galicia.

Vacajoe

Traded in my work boots for hiking ones
Time of past OR future Camino
2019
Some albergues will simply issue you a number which corresponds with the next available bed, leaving you to have to trade on your own if you get assigned a top bunk. While many pilgrims are willing to give up a bottom bunk, there are a number of reasons why someone may not, even if they appear more agile. Foot/leg/back pain, inability to climb, blisters, or even a fear of heights can afflict folks of any age. If you absolutely need a lower bed, seek out albergues without bunk beds or with private rooms.
 

Antonius Vaessen

Active Member
Time of past OR future Camino
2015-2016 VdlPlata - Sanabres
2016.Primitivo
2017 Salvador
2018 Norte (to Sobrado)
2019 Norte again
If you have to climb down 3 or 4 times during the night it is not only an inconvenience to you but also to the person in the lower bed. The proces if climbing is most of the time noisy and shaky. This is an argument you could use in persuading the" other party" to change beds
 

Jodean

Active Member
Time of past OR future Camino
22 Sept. to 21 Oct. 2015, Pamplona to Santiago
6-23.04 Porto to Santiago 2018
17.09-30.09 CF 2018
I made about 32 reservations by email for my Camino this past spring. In all of them, I said I was an older woman and would like to have a bottom bunk. They all said yes. For the 8 reservations I did with booking dot com, I included this in my messages to them. Am also one to go off to the WC multiple times per night, so a bottom bunk is almost imperative.

Have had albergues tell me that they do save the bottom bunks for those over 60, or with leg issues.
 

Vacajoe

Traded in my work boots for hiking ones
Time of past OR future Camino
2019
Not that young (except on the Camino!!!😂) at 55yo, but I far prefer the top bunk simply because I’m not subjected to all the headlamps sweeping the room at zero-dark-thirty as pilgrims pack up their bags for early starts.
 
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dick bird

Moderator
Staff member
Time of past OR future Camino
Plata, Ingles, Madrid, Norte, Primitivo, Invierno, Aragones, Olvidado, Chemin D'Arles
Some albergues will simply issue you a number which corresponds with the next available bed, leaving you to have to trade on your own if you get assigned a top bunk. While many pilgrims are willing to give up a bottom bunk, there are a number of reasons why someone may not, even if they appear more agile. Foot/leg/back pain, inability to climb, blisters, or even a fear of heights can afflict folks of any age. If you absolutely need a lower bed, seek out albergues without bunk beds or with private rooms.
As hospis we knew that the bottom bunks had odd numbers. This made our life a lot easier.
 

good_old_shoes

Active Member
Time of past OR future Camino
Francés ('15, '19)
Via Coloniensis ('16)
Trier-Nancy + Le Puy-Fisterra ('17)
Aragonés ('18)
You'll be fine.

I've never seen that when someone asked the others in the dormitory to change from a top to a bottom bunk (or the other way around) that there wasn't someone willing to do that.

Just ask your fellow pilgrims, it won't be a problem :)
 
Last edited:
Time of past OR future Camino
CF 2013, CF from Lourdes 2015, CP Porto 2022
I was in the muni in Burgos, assigned to a top bunk and, try as I might, I could not hoist my extra-size posterior up to the top. None of the young bucks around me offered to trade and, of course, I did not ask.

After several tries, determined to outsmart gravity, I gave up and went back to the hospitalero who insisted there was nothing he could do.

I stood there, pondering and pondering, as he continued to check people in. Miracle of miracles, eventually he had a change of heart! He found a bottom bunk for me (where must it have been hiding??) and we all had a good sleep.

I was a rousting 65 at the time.
 
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VeronicaF1

New Member
Time of past OR future Camino
Walked from Pamplona to Los Arcos, Planning to continue from Los Arcos
Hello. Is it possible to secure bottom bunk beds in advance on the French way, or is it just a case of being early to hostel to grab one? Thank you.
If you travelling in a pair they usually allocate you 1 top, 1 bottom bunk. In Agres (?) We obviously looked like tired old ladies and were each offered a single bed in a bunk room,. In Burgos I was stranded in a top bunk until it got light - trenfy uncomfortable ladder.
 

TalTi

New Member
Time of past OR future Camino
1st timer.
Starting my 1st Camino on Aug 20th
Hello. Is it possible to secure bottom bunk beds in advance on the French way, or is it just a case of being early to hostel to grab one? Thank you.
Hi. I call a head and ask for a bottom bed to be kept for me. usually they are happy to oblife.
Buen Camino
 

lt56ny

Veteran Member
Time of past OR future Camino
10/22 Aragones/Frances
Thank you Dick, I need to get up in the night 3 or 4 times these days, but don't want to have to explain that in person. I will look at private hostels.
I walk in October/November/December and I have encountered crowded albergues. If there may be a crowded albergue I have called in advance and asked for a bottom bed (cama de abajo or cama inferior but i always say cama de abajo without issue) and when I have not called and have never had a problem. (I am 68 years old and also always mention this when I call).
I have no idea what it is like when the camino is crowded as I have not walked on the CF in high season since 2113.
I forgot to mention I call whether it is a private/municipal/donativo and have never had pushback in any of them.
 

Keith H

Active Member
Time of past OR future Camino
😱
I have been the older fella on hikes and my younger mate needed the bottom bunk because he had to go in the middle of the night. He got no end of ribbing from the others in the huts (I may have let it slip how much younger he was 😉).
 
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Original Camino Way markers made in bronze. Two models, one from Castilla & Leon and the other from Galicia.
Pocket guide that pack a punch
1.4 oz (40g) pocket guides with gems of wisdom to ponder during and after your Camino

mark connolly

Active Member
Time of past OR future Camino
sept 2016 CF
sept 2017 Lourdes to SJPDP via Piemonte
SJPDP to SDC via CF
2019 CF (God willing)
I have the same issue of getting up in the middle of the night and going to the bathroom, etc. Getting to alburgues early is probably the only way to guarantee of getting one. So, follow the above advice. Since I need getting a bottom bunk, and if none are available, I would go hotel/pension or request a private room.

Good luck.

Mark
 
Time of past OR future Camino
CF 2015 and 2018 SJPP- SDC
Various 2016 2019
In very many cases, even if you get in late, and provided that you have a genuine reason for needing a bottom bunk, younger pilgrims currently occupying one will happily swap places for you.
This was usually my experience - if you ask nicely and look like you need it! I could walk up to 30kms a day (very slowly) but getting up and down a ladder rung without shoes - near impossible!
 

Kev&Kath

Active Member
Time of past OR future Camino
Camino Frances - Oct/Dec 2021
VdlP - Apr/Jun 2023
I can navigate the ups & downs of the dorm bunks…and manage it, surprisingly, relatively quietly. I am, however, always nervous with that 2am flush…which always sounds like it will ‘wake the dead’ 🤔
 

taigirl

Active Member
Time of past OR future Camino
Frances 2019
Hello. Is it possible to secure bottom bunk beds in advance on the French way, or is it just a case of being early to hostel to grab one? Thank you.
I am 70 and walked with another 79 year old. There was no consideration re top bunks no matter how early we checked in or even booked day before. Most times we were allocated a bottom bunk and the one above it . Did not make for good sleeping especially if bunks were in the middle of the room with no railing. Terrified of rolling off onto concrete floor below.
 
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NM99

Member
Time of past OR future Camino
Francés - StJPP-Santiago May-June 2022
Hello. Is it possible to secure bottom bunk beds in advance on the French way, or is it just a case of being early to hostel to grab one? Thank you.
I walked the Francés in May/June of this year and a friend joined me from León. Prior to her arrival, I could request a bottom bunk and get one most of the time. However, when we called ahead for two people, we always ended up being assigned the same bunk bed, so one of us had to take the top bunk. It wasn’t until the very end of the Camino that we finally figured out that if we called separately to reserve and request a bottom bunk that we would actually each be granted one on arrival. The shortage of the coveted bottom bunk beds led me to conclude that in addition to, or even in the absence of, the so-called “bed race” there’s always the “bottom bunk race”.
 

SusanH

Active Member
Time of past OR future Camino
Walked 2014
Hello. Is it possible to secure bottom bunk beds in advance on the French way, or is it just a case of being early to hostel to grab one? Thank you.
In advance - yes! If the place takes reservations, they will do it for you. I never had a problem.
 

Colette Z

Happy Pilgrim
Time of past OR future Camino
CF; Norte; Ingles; Augustine; Portugues Central
Thank you Dick, I need to get up in the night 3 or 4 times these days, but don't want to have to explain that in person. I will look at private hostels.
I likewise get up 1-2 times and whenever I book ahead (private or municipal) I do request with a bit of begging, a bottom bunk. I’ve been pretty lucky. Other times I’ve asked a young pilgrim to switch offering a modest dinner or a drink etc. only had a refusal once.
 
Time of past OR future Camino
2020
Some albergues will simply issue you a number which corresponds with the next available bed, leaving you to have to trade on your own if you get assigned a top bunk. While many pilgrims are willing to give up a bottom bunk, there are a number of reasons why someone may not, even if they appear more agile. Foot/leg/back pain, inability to climb, blisters, or even a fear of heights can afflict folks of any age. If you absolutely need a lower bed, seek out albergues without bunk beds or with private rooms.
Hi. The location of the cell phone charger may also be an issue for someone who otherwise would be kind enough to give up a lower bunk.
I carry a 6 foot 3-pronged (USB-B, USB-C, iPhone) charging cable that has made it easier to get a fellow pilgrim to give this not-too-tall pilgrim their lower bunk. : )
 
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henrythedog

Veteran Member
Time of past OR future Camino
Rather a lot, and hopefully more to come
So "bottom bunk" in Spanish is ? 🤔 🤔

cama inferior ?
litera de abajo?
cama de abajo?
A bunk is una litera, a bed being una cama.

A bottom bunk could be ‘una litera inferior’ ( vs ‘superior’ for top) but I’d go for una litera de abajó (vs ‘de arriba’ for top)
 
Time of past OR future Camino
2020
A bunk is una litera, a bed being una cama.

A bottom bunk could be ‘una litera inferior’ ( vs ‘superior’ for top) but I’d go for una litera de abajó (vs ‘de arriba’ for top)
The man at the Camino office in SJPDP suggested that I ask for 'una baja cama.' 🤔
I am currently taking a much-needed Spanish language class in prep for 2023. 🤓
 

henrythedog

Veteran Member
Time of past OR future Camino
Rather a lot, and hopefully more to come
The man at the Camino office in SJPDP suggested that I ask for 'una baja cama.' 🤔
I am currently taking a much-needed Spanish language class in prep for 2023. 🤓
That’s ‘a low bed’, vs ‘una cama alta’ for a high bed. We’re into ‘angels dancing on the head of a pin’ territory here. Any of the combinations will be obvious enough.

(Theoretically the adjective goes after the noun, so ‘una cama baja’; but this supposed fixed rule appears to be ignored 90% of the time. Marking Spanish exams must be a dream job as pretty much anything goes in real Spanish!)
 

Sparleb644

Member
Time of past OR future Camino
Via Podiensis 2017
del Norte 2018
Fisterra 2018
Primitivo 2019
Madrid (2020)
If you travelling in a pair they usually allocate you 1 top, 1 bottom bunk. In Agres (?) We obviously looked like tired old ladies and were each offered a single bed in a bunk room,. In Burgos I was stranded in a top bunk until it got light - trenfy uncomfortable ladder.
Uncomfortable ladders…. As I walk with my better half, she gets the bottom bunk - just basic chivalry. Which usually was ok. I do get up once in the night. But if its a metal bunk bed with tubular rungs (usually about 2.5 cm or 1 inch in diameter), the ladder was torture. I love a wooden ladder with flat rungs
 

trecile

Moderator
Staff member
Time of past OR future Camino
PAST - Francés, Norte, Salvador, Portuguese
Hi. The location of the cell phone charger may also be an issue for someone who otherwise would be kind enough to give up a lower bunk.
I carry a 6 foot 3-pronged (USB-B, USB-C, iPhone) charging cable that has made it easier to get a fellow pilgrim to give this not-too-tall pilgrim their lower bunk. : )
I actually bring a 10 ft/3 meter charging cable. I can only recall one occasion when it wasn't long enough to reach my bunk.
 
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