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Spanish Shutters - a Tutorial

Camino Badges
Camino(s) past & future
Nearly every year since 2006, often walking more than one route. 2018 was Camino #14
I have seen many pilgrims having difficulty with Spanish shutters. Here is a quick tutorial that might save you some frustration:

 

Jeff Crawley

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Contemplating yet another "final" Camino
but 2019?
I have seen many pilgrims having difficulty with Spanish shutters. Here is a quick tutorial that might save you some frustration:

Friends once had an apartment in Salou on the Mediterranean which they'd rent out.

One year a customer threatened to sue them because they'd been "sealed in" the apartment for two weeks with no way of getting fresh air because the windows were "boarded up".

It was explained that they were roller shutters and the method for opening them was clearly stated (with sketches) in the instructions taped alongside.

"Oh those? We though some child had left their drawing there and threw it in the bin . . . "
 

Raggy

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Mozarabe Almeria (2017)
Cherhill to Canterbury - Pilgrims' Way (2018)
Via Francigena (2019)
Does anyone else they were pretty obvious?
When an interface is abstracted from the object that it controls, it is inherently less obvious than a "direct" interface (e.g. a handle fixed to the shutter). With Spanish shutters, not only is the interface abstracted but it's designed to be quite unobtrusive - It gives us fewer cues than, say, a hand crank, which has a sleeved handle that communicates its operation (although not its purpose) to people that see it.
Now that this design is a "standard" in Spain, designers and manufacturers don't need to think about providing visual cues for domestic customers. It's "obvious" to Spanish people because of its consistency with the standard. For those of us who don't live in Spain, a good chunk of what makes the Spanish shutter mechanism "obvious," comes from within us - perhaps our familiarity with mechanical shutters, or our curiosity about mechanical devices. etc. But not everyone comes from a country where integrated, mechanical, roll down, shutters are commonplace. And not all of us have the same level of curiosity about devices ... And that's why something as "simple" as a shutter pulley can seem "obvious" to some users and less obvious to others.
 
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omar504

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016,2017,2018
II'm all the way from oz where we dont have them but the reason i said i found them pretty obvious was....a long fabric strap ru ning the height of the window...could be something to do with the shutters. What i STILL find confusing are the w indows that go open srveral different ways!
 

TaijiPilgrim

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances (2011), Camino Frances (2015), Camino Ingles (2017), Camino Muxia (2017)
These are not unique to Spain. I have encountered them in France - especially the south- and Portugal. And sometimes there are modern versions that are electric. In which case, go hunting for the switch (usually behind ample folds of drapes or curtains!)
 

omar504

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016,2017,2018
Some people will think that you're less intelligent than them because of their superior window opening skills.
I was trying to be light hearted...it seems unlike you
 

trecile

Camino Addict
Camino(s) past & future
SJPDP-Finisterre X 2 - 2016 & 2017, El Norte - Irun to Vilalba 2018
I've never had a problem raising the shutters, but some are a little fiddly when I try to lower them.
 

André Walker

Never loosing my way: always standing on it
Camino(s) past & future
Holland-St.Jean, Frances, Del Norte, VdlP.
I have seen many pilgrims having difficulty with Spanish shutters. Here is a quick tutorial that might save you some frustration:

I never had any problems with them: I always use the fire brigade. ;)
 

RJM

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
A few times
Nomenclature and operations of various types of window shutters worldwide aside, I just wish that more pilgrims learned that leaving them open at night allows fresh, non-stagnant air into the albergue sleeping area instead of rank, smelly and stuffy air emitting from the pilgrims within. :D
 

Saranger

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Samos-Santiago 2015 & 2016
Porto-Santiago 2017
Kumano Kodo March 2018
Ferrol-Santiago May 2019
My father-in-law, a mechanical engineer, was completely confused by them in Barcelona last September. And again in Avignon. By the third hotel he understood the concept, but but as stated in a previous post, there are differences.

My point is, I’d love a few sets of these on my SW facing windows in summer!
 

Saranger

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Samos-Santiago 2015 & 2016
Porto-Santiago 2017
Kumano Kodo March 2018
Ferrol-Santiago May 2019
And the rare case when you find air con (always by remote control) basic familiarity with icons and temp conversions will be very helpful! Use common sense to think what the icons might mean. I haven’t been stymied in two decades, but some are easier than others!

Paying attention, and being possessed of common sense does pay benefits when traveling... just sayin...
 

Yoyo

Member
Camino(s) past & future
2017: CF 800 km
2019: CF 180 km
II'm all the way from oz where we dont have them but the reason i said i found them pretty obvious was....a long fabric strap ru ning the height of the window...could be something to do with the shutters. What i STILL find confusing are the w indows that go open srveral different ways!
The secret to operating those windows is to ⚠ only move the handle while the window is closed.
So, while the window is closed and the handle pointig downward, move the handle 90º. That allows the window to be opend completely into the room, like a door. To change to the other opening position with the top of the window leaning into the room, push the window closed first, then move the handle into a vertical position pointing upwards and finally pull the window into the semi-opened position. To close, push the window closed first, then turn the handle so that it points downward again.😉
 

Icacos

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances (2013)
The secret to operating those windows is to ⚠ only move the handle while the window is closed.
So, while the window is closed and the handle pointig downward, move the handle 90º. That allows the window to be opend completely into the room, like a door. To change to the other opening position with the top of the window leaning into the room, push the window closed first, then move the handle into a vertical position pointing upwards and finally pull the window into the semi-opened position. To close, push the window closed first, then turn the handle so that it points downward again.😉
🙃 I am usually pretty good at figuring things out, but this sounds like a particularly intriguing challenge. 😊
 
Camino(s) past & future
(2014)
I have lived in Europe for some time and i still was playing around with the shutters in Pamplona. Up—no problem. Release to lower—i had forgotten where the release was.
But my most amusing thing many years ago when I moved here was how to flush a toilet. NOT standardised. The most interesting one for me was the foot plunger (not lever) I encountered at an Italian airport. It was tucked well behind the toilet. So you stand, face the toilet, and stretch out your right foot midway along the toilet towards the rear wall, and step on the plunger.
 

t2andreo

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
C/F: 2013, 2014
C/M: 2016
C/P: 2015, 2017
C/I: 2018
Voluntario: 2014 to 2018
I found they are available in the US by Googling "european style roller window shutters"

Try this on your local Google search engine, to see if they are available in your area.

It occurs to me that the best time to incorporate these shutters is when you either build or renovate a home. The alternative is likely a surface mount method, which will likely not be esthetically acceptable.

Hope this helps.
 

Kiwi-family

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Past: (2012, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2018)-Frances, Baztan, San Salvador, Primitivo, Fisterra,VdlP, Madrid
Of course the really important piece of advice is: if you are sharing the room with Italians or Spaniards, they will put the shutters down every time you put them up - so, depending on your tenacity, you could get plenty of practice. Flinging the window open wide (as we frequently do Down Under) will not make you friends - actually, my mistake....the very first Pilgrim we duelled with over this issue ended up inviting us to his home on our second visit, and took us out for a meal another time.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances, 2015
This is all very well for you folks, but, please, will someone tell me how to open this pair of vacuum packed scissors without scissors.😡🤬🥵
With a cork screw. You do carry a cork screw don't you. Cork screws don't work well for this but I can tell you from experience that they do work.
 

JohnMcM

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Some, and with luck, some more.
With a cork screw. You do carry a cork screw don't you. Cork screws don't work well for this but I can tell you from experience that they do work.
The more I read your posts, the more I think we may be from the same mother. Sadly, different planets, time dimensions, cultures and pubs.

Buen (keep being funny) Camino
 
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances 2016, Mansill de las Mulas to Finisterre and Muxia 2017, Camino Aragones 2018
Why stop with Spain?
Rick, that is an impressive selection! Though I had more in mind the various pull chains, buttons or levers that effect the flush. One can walk several days and not see any two alike!
 
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tomishy

Member
Camino(s) past & future
April/May 2019
II'm all the way from oz where we dont have them but the reason i said i found them pretty obvious was....a long fabric strap ru ning the height of the window...could be something to do with the shutters. What i STILL find confusing are the w indows that go open srveral different ways!
I love the way the windows open all different ways and I love the blinds. If I ever build again i will try and include them here in Tassie :)
 

Albertagirl

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances (2015); Ch. d'Arles: Oloron Ste Marie to Aragones; Frances (2016); V.d.l.P.; Sanabres (2017)
I don't recall having any problem with the shutters, but I still am not confident how to work the electric stove top units which are flat and just heat up the surface, if only I could figure out how to turn them on. As far as I can tell, it is a two stage process. Press one place to turn on the power and another to set it. But I didn't know anything about this when I arrive in Oloron Marie for my second camino, the Aragones, in the middle of a major rainstorm, which had closed all the facilities in town through a power failure. No restaurants, no street lights, no grocery stores (electrically powered entrance doors) and rain bucketing down. By the time I had found an old-fashioned shop with a push door and bought a generous serving of ratatouille, the power had returned, but I had to eat my meal cold, since I had no idea how to turn on the stove top element. If I come across another such in my travels, I hope that someone will be there to tutor me.
 

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