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I really wish I knew that!

lisaandkids

New Member
Time of past OR future Camino
may 2024
Hi Everyone,

I've been reading various books and blogs and it struck me that perhaps I should ask about those things that either no one talks about or that you thought "I really wish I knew that before I began". For instance, I read about "a nature poo" and to be prepared. It might not apply to me because we are doing the last 100 miles rather than a long walker but it's the type of thing no one really mentions. There was also a guy that couldn't get water filled at a fountain because he didn't realize the fountain operated with foot pedals. Do any of you have anything to share that isn't mentioned in the books or blogs because it's embarrassing or not of real note but still important? We are American so we aren't familiar with European customs either.
 
The 2024 Camino guides will be coming out little by little. Here is a collection of the ones that are out so far.
The focus is on reducing the risk of failure through being well prepared. 2nd ed.
You'll probably find lots of those kind of things here if you spend time looking at older threads. There are several about using the bathroom in nature and in bars along the way. Threads about lights on timers. Threads on albergue etiquette. Threads on types of bras people like, etc.

If you spend enough time on here just browsing through old threads, you'll find a lot those kinds of things. I think the best thing is just to be open once you arrive to learning. It is comforting for some people to try to plan and learn as much as possible, but there is also something to be said for the wonder of the Camino and learning and experiencing new things as you go. Certainly if you have a specific question about something, you will get many different opinions here. Some directly contradicting another. When you finish, you'll have tidbits to share, too.

I can't think of anything that is a "secret". Lots of things that have been mildly embarrassing or annoying such as leaving your phone charger, getting locked out of the albergue when returning too late, leaving something inside the albergue and have the door lock behind you and having to wait until either someone else comes out so you can get back in to retrieve it or wait for the hospitalero to arrive later in the morning...
 
For instance, I read about "a nature poo" and to be prepared.
On the final 8-month 3,000K stage of my last 5,000K Camino -- maybe 3 times ? But yeah, carry a small roll of loo paper in a little plastic bag ...

Unless you're incontinent, I wouldn't worry too much, just be prepared ...
I walked with a friend who lives in Madrid. She told me they don't flush toilet paper in Spain
Only some places with very poor plumbing have any such rule.

Including some in Portugal.

But it's a pretty rare thing !!
 
A selection of Camino Jewellery
The water fountain tip is a good one, I too got caught out by something similar on my first Camino. There's generally somebody along within a minute or two on the busier camino's especially on the root from Saria. Just ask and somebody will happily help.

@J Willhaus is absolutely correct, seek and yee shall find ! There is very little about the camino that isn't to be found on here somewhere. Although to be fair it's not always easy to find. But we've got a long cold winter ahead of us, so plenty of time.

One really, really important one:
If you do need to go to the toilet in the wild as per numerous other threads on this issue take your used toilet paper with you (a second Ziploc bag in your toilet kit), or if it was number two please ensure you bury it properly. There are numerous other threads where ladies have given each other excellent alternative options.

walked with a friend who lives in Madrid. She told me they don't flush toilet paper in Spain
I've come across this once in Spain - it was very, very clear - labels everywhere in Spanish English German and I think Korean.

Buen Camino!
 
If you are buying produce at a larger grocery store, weigh it at the scale in that section and get a printed sticker for it. They do not do it at the register
True - but beware! Don't try and do that in a small green grocer or convenience store without asking, you'll get told off! Sometimes only the attendant is allowed to touch the produce. 😊
 
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Good point, running the gauntlet of poking at the avocados in a small supermercado or tienda to see if they're ripe enough, can get you a slap on the wrist, literally..

But not just in Spain..
as the street fruit sellers in Dublin are apt to shout at you: If ya don't want it, DON'T MAUL IT!!
 
Yes, sometimes hard to know if you are supposed to bag your own fruit and vegetables or not. In the big Mercadona we were allowed to bag up everything on our own using a disposible plastic glove and no sticker required in Jaca, but in Eroski in Muxia, you had to bag it and put on a sticker and in other stores at other places we were not to handle the produce, but an attendant would select and bag the items. Confusing and sometimes there isn't a sign or signal to let you know the etiquette. I usually just kind of watch what other shoppers are doing.
 
In the transport to / from category:

Depending on the airline, they will expect you to go up to the gate with your boarding pass some time prior to boarding, which they will manually check against your passport. And for the love of all that's holy, make sure your passport has at least 6 months left before it expires...

Also depending on the airline, they will weigh your roller bags prior to boarding ( both ways). If your bag is overweight, they will expect you to check it. They don't tend to weigh backpacks unless it's egregiously oversized.

Back to surprises... check out the discussions on cultural communications. ;)

Keys to private rooms often work on the German "two full turns to lock/ unlock" system (Germany is where I first encountered it).

Toilet flush mechanisms will vary from anything you've likely seen before. ;)
 
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I usually just kind of watch what other shoppers are doing
This is excellent advice and can be applied to bars, post offices, bus and rail stations and even busy city road intersections.

Assume you are not in Kansas and just spend a moment or even a minute observing what other people are doing. Like getting your queue ticket in Correos; saying “Hola, Buenas…” before making your request; like putting 50 cents on the bar if you’ve just used the facilities without any intention of making a purchase…

I only discovered Orujo because I was closely observing the gentlemen preceding me at the counter of a bar in the back end of the Picos one revelatory year in the’70’s
 
Dbier - thank you for that bit about the locks. I can envision us standing around for hours trying to get in with only one turn of the key! Also, I had no idea about the grocers or getting a queue ticket, or putting 50 cents on the bar for use of the facilities. Not sure I want to try the ourjo. We are used to the toilet paper going in the wastebin. We really like traveling in Latin America and lots of stops have this. We were in Arizona by the border once and a Walmart even had this in their restroom.
 
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I found that I preferred items on the first course (primer plato) on the pilgrim menus - things like lentil soup, mixed salad, pasta, etc. so I often ask for two first plates and no second plate, and my request has never been turned down.
Or, if you are a light eater you can order a half menu for a reduced price. The dessert, beer or wine are still included. 😊
 
There is a shortage of clothes pegs .... those drying lines in the refugio gardens? never enough - and you may find in the morning that someone has taken a few of yours away with them.
I am now in the habit of occasionally buying a card of twenty and filling up the line in the next refugio I stay in ..
 
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Dickbird, I would not have known about that either (when ordering fast food, not that we do that a bunch, it's always, "hi, can I have....". I also wouldn't have thought about the clothes pegs that David suggested so thank you! Trecile, that is nice to know that we can order a half menu and that it includes dessert, the most important part. I never eat all of the food I'm given in a restaurant.
 
Hi Everyone,

I've been reading various books and blogs and it struck me that perhaps I should ask about those things that either no one talks about or that you thought "I really wish I knew that before I began". For instance, I read about "a nature poo" and to be prepared. It might not apply to me because we are doing the last 100 miles rather than a long walker but it's the type of thing no one really mentions. There was also a guy that couldn't get water filled at a fountain because he didn't realize the fountain operated with foot pedals. Do any of you have anything to share that isn't mentioned in the books or blogs because it's embarrassing or not of real note but still important? We are American so we aren't familiar with European customs either.

Sometimes there's nowhere to hand your toiletries bag in the shower stalls. I always had a suction cup hook that I could stick to the wall. Also, I used large safety pins to hang clothes. Once a friend lost some items on a very windy day when her items were not well secured, and a gust of window carried them to a nearby running river (or maybe a stream). Either way, she had even less in her pack to carry and wear.
 
I walked with a friend who lives in Madrid. She told me they don't flush toilet paper in Spain and she assumed Portugal. She said the garbage can beside the toilet is for your toilet paper. It is a REALLY hard habit to break. I probably only did it about 40% of the time!
I only came across one place in a tiny village where there was a notice to say that toilet paper must not be flushed. As far as I know (and I've been to Spain since 1968 maybe 50 times or more), you can use toilets in Spain just like any other first-world country. I have never been told not to flush toilet paper in Spain, apart from that one time.
 
The focus is on reducing the risk of failure through being well prepared. 2nd ed.
Bring a re-usable shopping bag. The shops/markets often don't have plastic ones
My wife and I brought very lightweight small backpacks, like the one available from Sea to Summit (there are others), to use for grocery shopping. They turned out to be very helpful when we both caught colds and didn't want to carry our main packs for a week. We sent everything ahead each day, and used the smaller packs to carry water and other essentials.
 
A selection of Camino Jewellery
Hi Everyone,

I've been reading various books and blogs and it struck me that perhaps I should ask about those things that either no one talks about or that you thought "I really wish I knew that before I began". For instance, I read about "a nature poo" and to be prepared. It might not apply to me because we are doing the last 100 miles rather than a long walker but it's the type of thing no one really mentions. There was also a guy that couldn't get water filled at a fountain because he didn't realize the fountain operated with foot pedals. Do any of you have anything to share that isn't mentioned in the books or blogs because it's embarrassing or not of real note but still important? We are American so we aren't familiar with European customs either.
A universal sink/basin stopper is useful, esp for washing clothes. There often is none provided
 
I have never been told not to flush toilet paper in Spain, apart from that one time.
I returned from walking the Camino on Gran Canaria just a few days ago. Every toilet in the hostel in Las Palmas where I stayed for several days had a notice requesting that nothing 'flushable' including toilet paper went down the toilet pan. Bins provided for disposal of toilet paper, sanitary products and all other waste. Not all that unusual in my own experience in Spain.
 
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In the transport to / from category:

Depending on the airline, they will expect you to go up to the gate with your boarding pass some time prior to boarding, which they will manually check against your passport. And for the love of all that's holy, make sure your passport has at least 6 months left before it expires...

Also depending on the airline, they will weigh your roller bags prior to boarding ( both ways). If your bag is overweight, they will expect you to check it. They don't tend to weigh backpacks unless it's egregiously oversized.

Back to surprises... check out the discussions on cultural communications. ;)

Keys to private rooms often work on the German "two full turns to lock/ unlock" system (Germany is where I first encountered it).

Toilet flush mechanisms will vary from anything you've likely seen before. ;)

How useful this forum is . . . I was cheerfully planning a winter camino and when I read this post I realized that my passport was expiring soon. Thanks . . . you've saved me from being stuck in Spain! Hmmmm . . . .
 
My wife and I brought very lightweight small backpacks, like the one available from Sea to Summit (there are others), to use for grocery shopping. They turned out to be very helpful when we both caught colds and didn't want to carry our main packs for a week. We sent everything ahead each day, and used the smaller packs to carry water and other essentials.
Ditto except mine is from Decathlon, 18l, ways only about 120 grams and packs super small. Ideal for grocery shopping, exploring the town, or if you get stuck and have to use bag transport as above.
 
The focus is on reducing the risk of failure through being well prepared. 2nd ed.
Ohhhhh! The water in the shower and "c" for "chaud" NOT cold as in my American mind I would have assumed! and the fixtures! Plus the bathroom light going off after 10 seconds! I would have never known that!
 
Whenever you have to order something or ask for something, say ´buenas dias´ and wait for a response before saying what you want. Interaction before transaction.
This is REALLY important in all of Europe, possibly even more so in France. I have been asked numerous times by travellers from the other side of the Atlantic "why are the locals so rude?" when I have witnessed said traveller walk up to a bar and, without preamble, bark out "hi, gimme a (beer, coffee, whatever)."
It always makes me wish the ground would open up and swallow me. Even if you've come to tell him his car is on fire, addressing a Spanish bartender/shopkeeper without wishing him/her a good day, and waiting for a response, will brand you as an uncouth Yahoo. (The Swiftian kind.)
 
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Two more things for the list:
1) Most albergues will not allow you to bring your boots to the bunk area — so some sort of recovery shoe/sandal is essential, not just a nice-to-have for walking around later. Knowing this might have influenced my second shoe choice.

2) If you walk in autumn, you may be walking during hunting season, so having something bright orange or neon yellow/green/pink to tie to your pack (towel, bandana, cover, etc.) will help you stay visible and safe when walking through hunting areas. (Note — this is not to spark a debate on hunting, just passing along practical advice).

Happy planning!
 
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I wish I knew that we oldies (+60) are entitled to the railway system's Tarjeta Dorada, Gold Ticket, which you can buy at any railways station in Spain for 6 €, and it will give you a 25% discount on any railway trip in Spain for 12(!) months.

Since most pilgrims are arriving in intl. hubs like Madrid, Barcelona, etc. You need to make your way to your start location, and you can just as well do it by train, enjoying the passing landscapes, having a sandwich/tinto en the restaurant coche, and relax. It is a great way to travel in Spain.
 
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In Alicante today. Wandered into Sento Ramblas for a vino and a Pingui. Third visit this week. “Hey, Buenas Tardes”; “Hola, Buenas! Tarino?” “Si”. “pingui?” “Si”. “¿Dónde está tu mujer?”, “Siesta!”. “Con suerte!”
The strangers at the bar shouting “Dos tintos, dos tintos” looked bewildered as I was served over their heads.

Before anyone strives to correct me - my Spanish is execrable - but I am aware of the niceties. It doesn’t matter if you can’t pronounce Pingui correctly, what matters is that you treat the Camarero with the respect he deserves
 
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This is REALLY important in all of Europe, possibly even more so in France. I have been asked numerous times by travellers from the other side of the Atlantic "why are the locals so rude?" when I have witnessed said traveller walk up to a bar and, without preamble, bark out "hi, gimme a (beer, coffee, whatever)."
It always makes me wish the ground would open up and swallow me. Even if you've come to tell him his car is on fire, addressing a Spanish bartender/shopkeeper without wishing him/her a good day, and waiting for a response, will brand you as an uncouth Yahoo. (The Swiftian kind.)
Very important in Spain: Politeness/respect.

I once asked in the reception of a hotel for the rest room (bath room in the rest of the world; I don't sleep there) by saying "Donde esta il bano?" and got a prompt answer "por favor!!"

She didn't tell me until I added the "please".

It says something about the need of being polite in Spain...
 
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It's also "C" in Spain for caliente, though it seems like at least half the showers I've used are plumbed backwards.
Discovering backwards plumbing in the showers/tubs is definitely not unusual. In addition, there are often different styles and shapes of the fixtures, so a "learning curve" is needed before stepping in a shower or tub in any European country for me.
 
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Ok - I'll bite. What is a Pingui in this context? My mind has just gone in two different directions: the Monty Python 'albatross' sketch and the 2010 Xacobeo mascot! :)
View attachment 160904
In this context it’s a portion of Morcilla bothered on the plancha till it gets a bit of char, a quails egg cracked onto the plancha, the both served in a toasted bun with blue cheese and a squelch of Almond mayo. Helps to take the edge off the afternoon tintos.

The Beloved’s siesta will come to its end soon. The Brass Bands will be kicking off again down by the Belen. Time to find a bar…
CD80800C-0544-4473-A699-5F054503637A.jpeg
 
I walked with a friend who lives in Madrid. She told me they don't flush toilet paper in Spain and she assumed Portugal. She said the garbage can beside the toilet is for your toilet paper. It is a REALLY hard habit to break. I probably only did it about 40% of the time!
That's Greece, not Spain. I have stayed in Madrid several times and walked many Caminos, and never saw any advice to put a$$wipes in trash.
 
Very important in Spain: Politeness/respect.

I once asked in the reception of a hotel for the rest room (bath room in the rest of the world; I don't sleep there) by saying "Donde esta il bano?" and got a prompt answer "por favor!!"

She didn't tell me until I added the "please".

It says something about the need of being polite in Spain...
Quite right too! I was once soundly rebuked by a French bus driver for asking him what time the bus left without prefacing my question with a "bonjour monsieur"
 
The one from Galicia (the round) and the one from Castilla & Leon. Individually numbered and made by the same people that make the ones you see on your walk.
The shower fixtures! Sooooo different from the North American versions.
FLOW -- Left. <=====> Right -- TEMP

(And if you are in France, "C" is for chaud (hot) )
Seems like every shower and sink faucet-set is different and rarely labeled. One never knows which side "Hot" is on or which way to turn the knob/lever, so beware. Fortunately, the water rarely comes out instantly hot, so you are not likely to get scalded. I often turn on both faucets or put the lever in neutral full flow, and then feel the pipes to see which side is hot. Rarely, you might need to turn on the electric water heater before showering; not so much in albergues and hotels, but happens in some AirBNBs and Mom and Pop facilities.

If you cannot get the lights to turn on in your hotel room, look for the card slot inside the entry door. Put the room key card in the slot to close the main switch for the room.

Check morning opening times in the albergues. Sometimes they lock you in and you cannot exit until they unlock the door in the morning. Had it happen at a small auberge in St. Jean and in the large municipal albergue in Burgos. Hard to believe firecodes allow this.

I have been locked out of a few albergues returning after curfew by only minutes. 3x because the restaurant dinner check came late--a lot of restaurants don't open until 2030 or 2100, and waiters are in no hurry to give you the check. On the Del Norte, so many hostels and albergues had no curfew that I got careless, so was late once. I usually check for alternative ways to get into the albergues should the unforeseen happen. Also helps to have the phone number of another pilgrim/s on the inside to let you back in.
 
The one from Galicia (the round) and the one from Castilla & Leon. Individually numbered and made by the same people that make the ones you see on your walk.
That's Greece, not Spain. I have stayed in Madrid several times and walked many Caminos, and never saw any advice to put a$$wipes in trash.
Possibly this was an exception, but this past October on the Madrid Way in Spain, we were instructed at one hostel to put "all" our used TP in the receptacle next to the toilets. The bathrooms were impeccably clean and the receptacles emptied often, so thankfully I never noticed anything disgusting.
 
True - but beware! Don't try and do that in a small green grocer or convenience store without asking, you'll get told off! Sometimes only the attendant is allowed to touch the produce. 😊
Agree--just watch what others do. In larger markets, you can collect your own produce, but in small shops, often only the shopkeeper is to touch the produce. Also definitely helpful to have your own shopping bag to avoid having to buy, and use, a plastic one.
 
In this context it’s a portion of Morcilla bothered on the plancha till it gets a bit of char, a quails egg cracked onto the plancha, the both served in a toasted bun with blue cheese and a squelch of Almond mayo. Helps to take the edge off the afternoon tintos.
I'll rather drink sour milk. I hate it, but blood sausage beats it. Had enough of that stuff in my childhood. The rest of the ingredients are also worse than sour milk, IMHO. And I enjoy the afternoon tintos...
 
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In this context it’s a portion of Morcilla bothered on the plancha till it gets a bit of char, a quails egg cracked onto the plancha, the both served in a toasted bun with blue cheese and a squelch of Almond mayo. Helps to take the edge off the afternoon tintos.

The Beloved’s siesta will come to its end soon. The Brass Bands will be kicking off again down by the Belen. Time to find a bar…
View attachment 160907
Not unlike a cojanuda!
 
Ohhhhh! The water in the shower and "c" for "chaud" NOT cold as in my American mind I would have assumed! and the fixtures! Plus the bathroom light going off after 10 seconds! I would have never known that!
I might have been exaggerating a bit with '10 seconds'; you might get as long as 15 seconds ;).
 
The one from Galicia (the round) and the one from Castilla & Leon. Individually numbered and made by the same people that make the ones you see on your walk.
Not unlike a cojanuda!
It’s why my Spanish remains at foreigner level no matter how hard I try. Everywhere has got a different name for the same damn thing. Though it is refreshing to be in a part of Spain where there is only one Paella. All the other rice dishes are “arroz a” or “arroz con”. Unless, of course, you are trying to meet the needs of the innocent and your grandmother has already passed. In which case you can offer a carta of 42 different paella and go to confession regularly
 
Not unlike a cojanuda!
Thank you! I had to Google that to find out if it meant what I thought at first. Apparently not which was something of a relief. Delighted to read in this article that in origin the word is a close match to the somewhat bizarre English use of "the dog's bollocks" as a superlative! :cool:

 
Possibly this was an exception, but this past October on the Madrid Way in Spain, we were instructed at one hostel to put "all" our used TP in the receptacle next to the toilets. The bathrooms were impeccably clean and the receptacles emptied often, so thankfully I never noticed anything disgusting.
I have come across this on a few occasions in Spain and Portugal. It really isn't unusual.
Here in Greece it is universal!
 
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Our Atmospheric H30 poncho offers lightness and waterproofness. Easily compressible and made with our Waterproof fabric, its heat-sealed interior seams guarantee its waterproofness. Includes carrying bag.

€60,-
Discovering backwards plumbing in the showers/tubs is definitely not unusual. In addition, there are often different styles and shapes of the fixtures, so a "learning curve" is needed before stepping in a shower or tub in any European country for me.
The various styles of plumbing are confusing - especially where the shower is in a bath. The first time I couldn't figure how to get the shower to work, while the water was coming out of the spout. Similarly, bathroom sinks/basins have a little stalk behind the spout that you pull up to close the plug, and push to drain. Mostly they don't seal well enough to keep the water in. And baths have a round knob above the drain for the plug!
Regarding backwards plumbing - I have found that mostly the US plumbing is backwards to the rest of the world.
 
Prepare for your next Camino on Santa Catalina Island, March 17-20
Regarding backwards plumbing - I have found that mostly the US plumbing is backwards to the rest of the world.
I have found that in most countries, as in the US, the left tap is hot and the right one is cold.
Lots of times the plumbing has been done wrong. The left tap is marked as hot (or caliente in Spain), or with a red dot indicating hot, but the plumber has the lines mixed up so that the left is cold and the right is hot.
 
Good point, running the gauntlet of poking at the avocados in a small supermercado or tienda to see if they're ripe enough, can get you a slap on the wrist, literally..

But not just in Spain..
as the street fruit sellers in Dublin are apt to shout at you: If ya don't want it, DON'T MAUL IT!!
Also Greece 😂
 
Fear not Alex. I have been to a few Greek islands and cities (all tourist destinations) and do not recall having to do that. I suppose it depends how far off the beaten path you are planning to go.
I too have visited multiple Greek islands and major cities over the years ( plus worked in Greece for two seasons), and have had to do it on many many occasions. Far more often than not. One of the main things it depends on is the age of the plumbing systems. All of the older ones used very small bore pipes and block extremely readily hence the Prohibition. Blame the British. They did the majority of it in the 1930s and 40s and subsequent work was simply done to match.
Properties that have been renovated or built since I think the late 90s early 2000s - I could be a little out on my timing here - generally have larger pipes fitted when possible. But is I understand it they are still the exception as opposed to the rule.

Incidentally this is also very common ( correction , the norm) in countries like Türkiye and China.

@Camino Chrissy , perhaps you were just fortunate. Or staying at more upmarket establishments than I 😉
 
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€149,-
I too have visited multiple Greek islands and major cities over the years ( plus worked in Greece for two seasons), and have had to do it on many many occasions. Far more often than not. One of the main things it depends on is the age of the plumbing systems. All of the older ones used very small bore pipes and block extremely readily hence the Prohibition. Blame the British. They did the majority of it in the 1930s and 40s and subsequent work was simply done to match.
Properties that have been renovated or built since I think the late 90s early 2000s - I could be a little out on my timing here - generally have larger pipes fitted when possible. But is I understand it they are still the exception as opposed to the rule.

Incidentally this is also very common ( correction , the norm) in countries like Türkiye and China.

@Camino Chrissy , perhaps you were just fortunate. Or staying at more upmarket establishments than I 😉
That makes sense it is common in the older places in Greece with ancient plumbing. I visited Athens, 2 islands, all major cities and tourist sites while touring the entire country via rental car, but I stayed in the cheapest of AirBNB's and Booking hotels. Nearly every place I stayed, ate or drank at had the signs in the bath asking to put TP in trash can. The tour books I read prior to going advised me of this, so I was prepared.
 
In Morroco and most of the Sahel the usual arrangements are a jug and a tap. Having hovered over that little pit you use jug of water and your left hand to do the necessary and dry yourself with your own little towel. What? You haven’t got a towel? Oh well. It’s a warm breeze, you’ll dry soon enough 😉
 
In Morroco and most of the Sahel the usual arrangements are a jug and a tap. Having hovered over that little pit you use jug of water and your left hand to do the necessary and dry yourself with your own little towel. What? You haven’t got a towel? Oh well. It’s a warm breeze, you’ll dry soon enough 😉
The preferred method for my Kurdish friends here in west Wales too. Fortunately a few months in India a long time ago gave me plenty of opportunity to practice the technique. And sadly the urgent necessity on occasion too!
 
Ideal pocket guides for during and after your Camino. Each weighs just 40g (1.4 oz).
In Morroco and most of the Sahel the usual arrangements are a jug and a tap. Having hovered over that little pit you use jug of water and your left hand to do the necessary and dry yourself with your own little towel. What? You haven’t got a towel? Oh well. It’s a warm breeze, you’ll dry soon enough 😉
In Singapore they have a hole in the floor, sometimes porcelain lined, and a couple feet of garden hose. No attendant with hot towels......unless you are in the fancier establishments.
 
Which is why it used to be quite the insult in some Arabic and African countries to offer a greeting or to eat with the left hand....which, AFAIK, is not a problem in Spain.
 
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Which is why it used to be quite the insult in some Arabic and African countries to offer a greeting or to eat with the left hand....which, AFAIK, is not a problem in Spain.
A question which has occasionally puzzled me. Why did Robert Baden-Powell - a soldier who had served in both Africa and in India - decide that the Scout movement which he founded and which very rapidly became international and multifaith in its membership should use a left-handed handshake? When physical contact with the left hand is so actively discouraged in many societies? Seems very odd.
 
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If it takes you more than about 10 seconds to satisfy your needs in the toilet, the light will go out. You need to move -- wave your arms -- to get the light to come back on.
You may want to bring a light source in with you in case your arms, wildly waving in the dark, do not register.
 
If you are buying produce at a larger grocery store, weigh it at the scale in that section and get a printed sticker for it. They do not do it at the register
I was buying some fruit and the cashier noticed me about 3 people back in line and started telling me to go back and weigh. Didn't really know what I was supposed to do so I just went to put the fruit back then noticed the scales and the number beside each box of produce. So put fruit on scales punched in number and out came the price sticker. I was now a seasoned Spanish grocery shopper.
 
The 2024 Camino guides will be coming out little by little. Here is a collection of the ones that are out so far.
@Camino Chrissy , perhaps you were just fortunate. Or staying at more upmarket establishments than I 😉
Not sure if I was just fortunate or staying at higher end places, but I definitely did not encounter bins for throwing the used TP.
Alex may need to investigate his Greece trip a bit more on where to stay to avoid staying in lodgings with narrow plumbing pipes.
 
I walked with a friend who lives in Madrid. She told me they don't flush toilet paper in Spain and she assumed Portugal. She said the garbage can beside the toilet is for your toilet paper. It is a REALLY hard habit to break. I probably only did it about 40% of the time!
Not true. Yes, everyone once and awhile you'll need to use the facilities where it has been used by a recently unloaded tour bus of over fifty individuals. So yes it will plug up. Not because of the toilet paper but because it's not designed for that many flushes in that short of time.
 
Two prices on menu items in the NorthEast part of Spain. I couldn’t figure it out. Thought it might be am vs. pm pricing, but despite there being two prices, I always seemed to be charged the higher of the two prices. And then, when we got to Burgos in late September and we were eating a meal in a restaurant and I got my bill it was for the lower price! I couldn’t figure out what was so special about that meal. I asked others I was dining with. It’s the indoor price vs. the outdoor price! It was freezing in Burgos and I hadn’t realized that I hadn’t had an indoor meal before then. Who knew?
 
A Treasure Trove Of Interesting Pilgrim Hacks! Learn & Share Your Own Too!
A question which has occasionally puzzled me. Why did Robert Baden-Powell - a soldier who had served in both Africa and in India - decide that the Scout movement which he founded and which very rapidly became international and multifaith in its membership should use a left-handed handshake? When physical contact with the left hand is so actively discouraged in many societies? Seems very odd.
You’re metaphorically putting down your shield which would (for the majority) be in the left hand whilst leaving the other party holding their spear. A sign of trust I suppose.

B-P was many things, but as a product of his time, hardly multi-cultural.
 
Some very nice contributions, but as with so many posts/threads on here, you would need an archaeologist and a monk to extract the pertinent tidbits from the confines of the superfluous.
  • Throwing the used TP into a bin is most assuredly the extreme exception. This is Western Europe, not outhouses along the Ganges
  • Since so many seem to be preoccupied with the topic of toilet arts, I recommend bringing your favorite flushable toilet wipes from home and a few ziplocks. Carry a few “easy access” in a ziplock, and the remainder in your backpack. Quality flushable wipes were hard to find along Camino Frances. As mentioned by others, these are best tossed in the trash
  • It’s your Camino. If you feel tired/slightly injured, don’t be afraid to use Jacotrans, or another backpack transport service. The real tip here is whilst recovering, park your gear at a central hotel that you’re staying at for a few days, then use taxis to transport you back to the Pueblo of your last taxi pickup, so you can continue without “cheating,” but with the comfort and consistency of one hotel room. Advised to have a packable daypack or robust crossbody/waistbag while your main gear is at the hotel room
  • If using a transport service and you miss the deadline to schedule a pickup for your bag, all is not lost! You can text them on their WhatsApp (numbers available on their respective websites). Jacotrans and Caminofácil will usually respond and accommodate after hours
  • Despite the prevailing myths that everyone loves peregrinos, in cities like Burgos, for example, when peregrinos exit the “Camino economic envelope” to enter trendy establishments not normally frequented by peregrinos, they are often - but not always - looked upon as though they are “lower” and unwelcomed by either the clientele, staff, or both. Do your homework before getting into potentially awkward situations
  • Partially continuing on from my previous point, a certain population of road bike cyclists are elitistas and seemingly rude/cold towards peregrinos on the Camino and at the cafes. Be prepared for it, and as Marcus Aurelius would espouse, it’s insignificant
  • If you are a drinker, there is a drink popular in Basque Country called calimocho or kalimotxo. It’s 50/50 Coca-cola (or Coke Zero) and red wine. Especially some younger people along the Camino, that’s all they drank. It’s best described as a quickly kung-fu’d sangria without the fruit. I wouldn’t order it at a high brow place.
That’s all for now. Best of luck and success!!!
 
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Some very nice contributions, but as with so many posts/threads on here, you would need an archaeologist and a monk to extract the pertinent tidbits from the confines of the superfluous.
  • Throwing the used TP into a bin is most assuredly the extreme exception. This is Western Europe, not outhouses along the Ganges
  • Since so many seem to be preoccupied with the topic of toilet arts, I recommend bringing your favorite flushable toilet wipes from home and a few ziplocks. Carry a few “easy access” in a ziplock, and the remainder in your backpack. Quality flushable wipes were hard to find along Camino Frances.
  • It’s your Camino. If you feel tired/slightly injured, don’t be afraid to use Jacotrans, or another backpack transport service. The real tip here is whilst recovering, park your gear at a central hotel that you’re staying at for a few days, then use taxis to transport you back to the Pueblo of your last taxi pickup, so you can continue without “cheating,” but with the comfort and consistency of one hotel room. Advised to have a packable daypack or robust crossbody/waistbag while your main gear is at the hotel room
  • Despite the prevailing myths that everyone loves peregrinos, in cities like Burgos, for example, when peregrinos exit the “Camino economic envelope” to enter trendy establishment not normally frequented by peregrinos, they are often - but not always - looked upon as though they are “lower” and unwelcomed by either the clientele, staff, or both. Do your homework before getting into potentially awkward situations
  • Partially continuing on from my previous point, a certain population of road bike cyclists are elitistas and seemingly rude/cold towards peregrinos on the Camino and at the cafes. Be prepared for it, and as Marcus Aurelius would espouse, it’s insignificant
  • If you are a drinker, there is a drink popular in Basque Country called calimocho or kalimotxo. It’s 50/50 Coca-cola (or Coke Zero) and red wine. Especially some younger people along the Camino, that’s all they drank. It’s best described as a quickly kung-fu’d sangria without the fruit. I wouldn’t order it at a high brow place.
That’s all for now. Best of luck and success!!!
Putting toilet paper in the bin is common across plenty places across east, south, north, central and east Europe!
 
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Some very nice contributions, but as with so many posts/threads on here, you would need an archaeologist and a monk to extract the pertinent tidbits from the confines of the superfluous
You say the nicest things - this is a sympathetically-moderated forum, not a guidebook - separating the wheat from the chaff is part of the experience. I’m largely chaff unless the discussion is on food and drink.

I’ve been along a stretch of the Ganges and the lack of toilet paper didn’t even make the list of ‘top ten things which remind you you’re not at home’. TP bins in Spain are still a thing - sometimes the TP is in, as opposed to on or around, them.


as Marcus Aurelius would espouse, it’s insignificant
Bringing the cultural reference down to my level: as the late Ken Dodd would have said, Marcus Aurelius never had to play second house at the Glasgow Empire.
 
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I hope that the ziplock a are for the used wipes, since even "flushable" wipes shouldn't be put in the toilet.
Ditto!! @ajpm2222 , Toilet paper is designed to disintegrate in our pipes and sewage systems, but flushable wipes are not. They're typically made with synthetic materials, plastics or polyester, that won't break down. So even if they flush down your toilet, they end up clogging our sewers.
I know that they're labelled as flushable but it's actually a disastrous marketing ploy. Frankly I personally feel the manufacturers should be sued for false advertising.
 
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Not sure if I was just fortunate or staying at higher end places, but I definitely did not encounter bins for throwing the used TP.
Alex may need to investigate his Greece trip a bit more on where to stay to avoid staying in lodgings with narrow plumbing pipes.
It is often is age and ‘quality’ of establishment and I have seen loads in the majority of European countries, particularly in the south and south east. . I tend to stay in cheap, old, located in the suburbs properties to save money, so that figures! There are even ‘squat’ toilets is some euro countries.
 
There are even ‘squat’ toilets is some euro countries.
True I'd forgotten about those! I knew about them from pictures etc, the first time I came across them was at a cafe in Italy. Rather a surprise. I've since them in many countries.
Still beats the hell out of the giant pits that I came across in China. Horrendous in cold weather, in summer oh my goodness...
You made sure to go to the toilet before lunch....
 
True I'd forgotten about those! I knew about them from pictures etc, the first time I came across them was at a cafe in Italy. Rather a surprise. I've since them in many countries.
Still beats the hell out of the giant pits that I came across in China. Horrendous in cold weather, in summer oh my goodness...
You made sure to go to the toilet before lunch....
Indeed saw one in Turin a couple of weeks ago. Seem to be popular in places that have a broad ‘balance’ of cultures such as Belgrade, Sarajevo. But yes countries to east, look for the upscale bars and restaurants for the modern ones.
 
The 2024 Camino guides will be coming out little by little. Here is a collection of the ones that are out so far.
Still beats the hell out of the giant pits that I came across in China. Horrendous in cold weather, in summer oh my goodness...
In many American forest preserves, and national forests we have "pit toilets" which I have used often. Many of them are clean and well taken care of, but when they are not...😝.
I have encountered the squat toilets in Turkey twice. I appreciated them as a novelty and a trip memory.🤣
 
There are even ‘squat’ toilets is some euro countries.
I spent six months in India over the winter of 1989/90. On Indian Railways and in some other places there was often a choice between squat toilets or "Western-style" toilets. After mastering the squat technique I generally opted for the squat toilets which were usually much cleaner and better maintained. Less to make contact with.
 
I may have missed it above; but whoever sells bath and sink plugs in Spain is probably having to play the guitar in an underpass to make ends meet; whereas whoever has the ‘cerrado’ sign franchise on the Camino Portuguese drives a Porche.

Take a universal sink plug.
 
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Our Atmospheric H30 poncho offers lightness and waterproofness. Easily compressible and made with our Waterproof fabric, its heat-sealed interior seams guarantee its waterproofness. Includes carrying bag.

€60,-
I spent six months in India over the winter of 1989/90. On Indian Railways and in some other places there was often a choice between squat toilets or "Western-style" toilets. After mastering the squat technique I generally opted for the squat toilets which were usually much cleaner and better maintained. Less to make contact with.
I found it rather disconcerting looking down and seeing the sleepers passing by.

Mrs HtD and I spent our honeymoon with the Iban in a longhouse up the Skrang river in Borneo for a month. We were the first western visitors to that area since 1st Battalion The Gloucesters and slept under a regimental photograph and two shrunken Japanese heads. (Sorry folks, but that’s history right there).

The ‘facilities’ in deference to our supposed needs included a plastic toilet seat that looked as though it had been violently removed from its last installation.

More disconcerting was the pig-pen directly underneath. Whilst I don’t claim to be over-endowed in the trouser-department, those pigs have rather impressive teeth and I didn’t exactly settle down to read the Daily Telegraph.

From the rather limited menu (which was basically ‘pork’ or ‘whatever got shot this morning’); I passed on the pork.
 
3rd Edition. More content, training & pack guides avoid common mistakes, bed bugs etc
I only came across one place in a tiny village where there was a notice to say that toilet paper must not be flushed. As far as I know (and I've been to Spain since 1968 maybe 50 times or more), you can use toilets in Spain just like any other first-world country. I have never been told not to flush toilet paper in Spain, apart from that one time.
Same here. Seventeen months in Spain, slept in more than 41 cities/villages without ever even hearing of such a thing. Nor was it suggested to me at the two places I was volunteer staff. Common in Mexico, though. I heard it happens in other Latin American countries, but I didn’t encounter it in El Salvador, Honduras, or Perú.
 
A selection of Camino Jewellery
the Basques much prefer hearing courtesies in Euskara than Spanish.
Fewer than half of people in País Vasco can actually speak Basque, though no doubt they would still appreciate it. I am amused every time I see graffiti demanding “independentzia” instead of using the Basque word (burujabetasun).
 
Two more things for the list:
1) Most albergues will not allow you to bring your boots to the bunk area — so some sort of recovery shoe/sandal is essential, not just a nice-to-have for walking around later. Knowing this might have influenced my second shoe choice.
We had that rule, but most pilgrims were content to go upstairs with just socks on their feet.
 
3rd Edition. More content, training & pack guides avoid common mistakes, bed bugs etc
Discovering backwards plumbing in the showers/tubs is definitely not unusual. In addition, there are often different styles and shapes of the fixtures, so a "learning curve" is needed before stepping in a shower or tub in any European country for me.
In Villamayor de Monjardín, there was just one button to turn on the shower ()and repeat when it times out in a few minutes). But in many other places, there was a marvelous device with one thermostat knob to set the temperature, and a separate on/off knob.
 
We walked most of our first camino before we discovered that:

1) You can ask to replace french fries in a menu with a small salad. No one seems to mind doing that.

2) Just because something isn't on the menu doesn't mean you can't ask. We often order fried eggs with toast for breakfast and have seldom been denied that pleasure.

3) You can ask for mayonnaise for your bocadilla.

And, not food related:
4) It really helps to zigzag along a steep trail (uphill or downhill) if there is room to do that.
 
Despite the prevailing myths that everyone loves peregrinos, in cities like Burgos, for example, when peregrinos exit the “Camino economic envelope” to enter trendy establishment not normally frequented by peregrinos, they are often - but not always - looked upon as though they are “lower” and unwelcomed by either the clientele, staff, or both. Do your homework before getting into potentially awkward situations
I didn’t experience that anywhere, not even my three months in Burgos. Perhaps speaking Spanish made me exempt.
 
Be part of the Camino Cleanup team! Help us pick up litter from Ponferrada to Sarria.
I didn’t experience that anywhere, not even my three months in Burgos. Perhaps speaking Spanish made me exempt.
I have a friend who lives in Burgos and she also says people tend to dress up a bit there, but in most "pilgrim" areas, you should be fine. We always stay at the very nice AC Hotel near the cathedral on Marriott points. It caters more to business clientel and we've never been looked down on (at least not overtly!)
 

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