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Suggestion: Leave the Windows Open when Departing a Private Room

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Marbe2

Active member
Past OR future Camino
2015-2019 walked all or more than half of CF 7 times... CP recently cancelled by Covid 19!
We have just finished from Leon to SdC staying in private rooms in private albergues, and hotels in mainly nice weather. What I found was in the vast majority of cases the wndow(s) were closed when we arrived.
My general impression has been that housekeeping opens the window while cleaning the room, but then, likely closes the window(s) when they are finished cleaning…15-20 mnutes. Many of the windows are small and there is not always a lot of airflow. So, to help the next pilgrim out might we leave a window open when we depart so there is more opportunity for fresh air exchange?
 
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Rebekah Scott

Camino Busybody
Past OR future Camino
Many, various, and continuing.
that depends on how high up the window is, and what's down below.
At my house, where pilgrims sleep on the ground floor, a window left open means the room fills up with flies and other insects once the sun gets high.
Windows on higher floors don't usually have those issues, but sometimes the alley down below has a full garbage bin, or a collection of stray cats or dogs creating fragrances.
It doesn't really matter what you do with your windows, but lower the blind or close the drapes if they are there and accessible.
 

hel&scott

Veteran Member
Past OR future Camino
2004 St Jean - Santiago, 2008 &18 Seville - Finesterre, 2010 Ferrol - Lisbon, 2012 from Cartehenga.
Window etiquette on the camino can be very fraught, as many an antipodean battling with a continental over if the windows should be open or closed overnight in the alburgue will attest. We are used to windows open for fresh cooling air, but in Spain they tend to keep them closed to shut out the heat and other nastys, it may be more productive to leave the door open to show that the room is empty and allow for airflow thatway.
 

Marbe2

Active member
Past OR future Camino
2015-2019 walked all or more than half of CF 7 times... CP recently cancelled by Covid 19!
that depends on how high up the window is, and what's down below.
At my house, where pilgrims sleep on the ground floor, a window left open means the room fills up with flies and other insects once the sun gets high.
Windows on higher floors don't usually have those issues, but sometimes the alley down below has a full garbage bin, or a collection of stray cats or dogs creating fragrances.
It doesn't really matter what you do with your windows, but lower the blind or close the drapes if they are there and accessible.

Yes, Rebekah, I know there are some situations, especially at ground level, where it may be problematic to leave the windows open for too long a period. However, there were many situations where the windows could have been left open and simply weren’t. These windows were on upper floors and some even had screens on the windows, etc. My suggestion would be, if you are able to open the window while you are in it, leave it open when you leave so the next pilgrim may venture in with a better air exchange.
 
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My general impression has been that housekeeping opens the window while cleaning the room, but then, likely closes the window(s) when they are finished cleaning…15-20 mnutes. Many of the windows are small and there is not always a lot of airflow. So, to help the next pilgrim out might we leave a window open when we depart so there is more opportunity for fresh air exchange?
Yes, I always opt for a window open if possible. But I'm not sure how leaving the window open when I depart would help with airflow if the cleaner is closing it before the next occupant arrives, which could be a few hours?
 
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Marbe2

Active member
Past OR future Camino
2015-2019 walked all or more than half of CF 7 times... CP recently cancelled by Covid 19!
Yes, I always opt for a window open if possible. But I'm not sure how leaving the window open when I depart would help with airflow if the cleaner is closing it before the next occupant arrives, which could be a few hours?
Most of us pilgrims are out of the rooms rather early (relative to non pilgrims). It may be as much as two hours or more before housekeeping gets to that room. In the meantime, the room without any pilgrims in it will have been receiving fresh air for sometime.
 

Marbe2

Active member
Past OR future Camino
2015-2019 walked all or more than half of CF 7 times... CP recently cancelled by Covid 19!
Keeping room cool is a good idea but leaving a room unattended with an open window can lead to a lot of water damage if it rains. I deal with this in my work and even a poorly shut window, not locked and just ever slightly ajar, can let in a lot of water.
I agree, weather permitting.
 

BookGirl305

Member
Past OR future Camino
Ingles (after Covid)
May I respectfully say that you are imparting your cultural beliefs onto a country where they have different ones? If the norm in Europe and specifically Spain is to close the window, then close the window. If after a year of Covid the cultural norm hasn't shifted, then it is not going to and arguing that a window should be open just because Dr. Fauci says so isn't a good argument, any more than trying to change dinner hours.
 
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Marbe2

Active member
Past OR future Camino
2015-2019 walked all or more than half of CF 7 times... CP recently cancelled by Covid 19!
May I respectfully say that you are imparting your cultural beliefs onto a country where they have different ones? If the norm in Europe and specifically Spain is to close the window, then close the window. If after a year of Covid the cultural norm hasn't shifted, then it is not going to and arguing that a window should be open just because Dr. Fauci says so isn't a good argument, any more than trying to change dinner hours.
My suggestion to leave the windows open is based upon science …WHO …

COVID 19 does not care about what culture you are from!
 

Kanga

Moderator
Staff member
Past OR future Camino
Francés x 5, Le Puy x 2, Arles, Tours, Norte, Madrid, Via de la Plata, Portuguese, Primitivo
Yes, I think there will be some adjustments over time as a consequence of Covid 19, and the recognition of the need for air flow.

I'm an Australian, and we live with flies so almost every house has fly screens on the windows. I miss them in Spain, but then again I love the Spanish persianas - fabulous for security, keeping out the heat and for privacy. In my dream house I would combine both cultures and have both!
 
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domigee

Veteran Member
Past OR future Camino
2021
Yes, this issue of leaving windows open (or not) was a major issue with me on my last Camino (last June).
I opted for private rooms - which in hindsight was completely unnecessary because all albergues were empty 😳 I would have been on my own anyway 😳

I cannot stand sleeping in a stuffy room with a lot of people. With Covid, it became a No No! - for health reasons, not just convenience.

i am not sure how leaving a window open when you depart helps, if the housekeeper then closes it…
 

Phoenix

Generic member
Past OR future Camino
2022
One of my favorite things about Camino is understanding how fortunate I am to just observe, experience, and participate in a different culture and how things are done differently (and in many cases, better than my homeland) without feeling the need to change anything. It's quite liberating.
 

OzAnnie

Veteran Member
Past OR future Camino
2020
I love the Spanish persianas - fabulous for security, keeping out the heat and for privacy. ———-
Thanks for telling what those outside blinds are called @Kanga
I hadn’t realised it had a specific name, so I had to look it up. 😜
Just in case anyone hadn’t heard the term before - here’s the definition I brought up.
————
Many Spanish homes are fitted with outside roller blinds that can be dropped from inside the house. In Spain these are called persianas. The main object is to keep the house cool, and you will see many spanish houses with their persianas shut during the heat of the day.

—————
Im always learning something new on this forum.
 
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Smallest_Sparrow

Life is rarely what you expect or believe it to be
Past OR future Camino
2012: most of some, all of a few, a bit of others
Someone concerned about ventilation might consider, once they’ve checked in, opening the windows and not occupying the room for whatever time period makes them comfortable. I note that these aren’t hermetically sealed rooms and I expect air from the rest of the albergue and hotel will enter the room even with the door closed and especially once opened. That way no one is dealing with potential weather changes, opposing the desire of owners, or whatever. I haven’t traveled overnight since this started but will soon. I doubt the Marriott will air out my room before my arrival, and I know the entire time I’m there there is a common HVAC and as I said, non hermetically sealed rooms.
 

Smallest_Sparrow

Life is rarely what you expect or believe it to be
Past OR future Camino
2012: most of some, all of a few, a bit of others
Thanks for telling what those outside blinds are called @Kanga
I hadn’t realised it had a specific name, so I had to look it up. 😜
Just in case anyone hadn’t heard the term before - here’s the definition I brought up.
————
Many Spanish homes are fitted with outside roller blinds that can be dropped from inside the house. In Spain these are called persianas. The main object is to keep the house cool, and you will see many spanish houses with their persianas shut during the heat of the day.

—————
Im always learning something new on this forum.
We had something similar when I lived in Europe and in Florida but they were called Rouladen (?Rolladen). Not sure the purpose in Europe but Florida it was a combination of keeping out heat and protecting windows during hurricanes
 

Marbe2

Active member
Past OR future Camino
2015-2019 walked all or more than half of CF 7 times... CP recently cancelled by Covid 19!
We have almost always stayed in private rooms on caminos. Before Covid19, I cared much less about whether there was proper ventilation in our rooms. Now, given, the pressures on maids to clean the rooms in about 15-20 minutes, and Covid 19, one asks…How much airing out of the rooms can their be? I understand some cultures not wanting windows open. Many europeans on farms know exactly when the optimal time is to reduce unwanted pests. While living abroad, I learned their methods and rationals. I am certainly not faulting the maids or criticizing anyones culture. I am asking everone, from every culture, while walking caminos, if possible, when you leave your room, use common sense, and if weather and conditions permits, leave the windows open a bit. The maid will close it soon enough. But in the meantime your small kindness may reduce the chances of the next pilgrim getting sick. Remember any of us can carry the virus and not know it.
 

Robo

Veteran Member
Past OR future Camino
CF SJPdP to SdC
(May 2015)
CF Sarria to SdC
(May 2016)
CF SJPDP-SdC
(May 2018)
VdlP (2022?)
I think the owner of the property should probably be 'allowed' to determine if they want windows open or closed when the rooms are vacant. There could be 101 reasons to keep them closed when not occupied or otherwise.

Security, pests, keeping the place warm, cool, keeping weather out, prevailing winds/weather, ....
 

Kathar1na

Member
Past OR future Camino
To Santiago and back (roads & paths; Tours; Francés; sea; roads & paths)
they were called Rouladen (?Rolladen)

Many europeans on farms know exactly when the optimal time is to reduce unwanted pests. While living abroad, I learned their methods and rationals. I am certainly not faulting the maids or criticizing anyones culture. I am asking everone, from every culture, while walking caminos, if possible, when you leave your room, use common sense, and if weather and conditions permits, leave the windows open a bit

I'm following this thread with some amusement. But no general comment on the recommended action for travellers from me, just a few short remarks from this European:

Rouladen is a meat dish - yummy, btw. Rollladen or Rollos is the name for the roller shutters.

Keeping windows open just a bit is of not much use in Covid-19 times. I recommend a familiarisation with the methods of Stoßlüften und Querlüften. Doesn't everybody know that? Google with these search terms Stoßlüften Querlüften Covid 19. :cool:
 
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Sirage

Member
Past OR future Camino
Le Puy to Santiago (2005), Porto to Santiago (2007), Vezelay for 200 kms (2009), From Seville, May (2015), Le Puy to Sangüesa (2016), Norte-Primitivo (Sep-Oct 2016)
I think it was Viana, June 2005 there were 2 European men from different cultures who alternated all night opening and closing a few windows, so we all, about 40 of us in triple bunks, had 50% fresh air.

But really, do we need to talk and worry about this? A bit more overthinking I suspect.
 

Turga

Camino tortuga
Past OR future Camino
CF (Aug/Sep 2017)
CF (Aug/Sep 2018)
just a few short remarks from this European:

Rouladen is a meat dish - yummy, btw. Rollladen or Rollos is the name for the roller shudders.

Sorry, not relevant(?) for this thread, just a small "cultural" remark: In my part of Europe 'roulade' normally refers to a cake made with a thin layer of dough rolled around different kinds of filling :)

Roulade.jpg
 

Kathar1na

Member
Past OR future Camino
To Santiago and back (roads & paths; Tours; Francés; sea; roads & paths)
But really, do we need to talk and worry about this? A bit more overthinking I suspect.
It is not about fresh air, it is about Covid-19 particles in the air in a room where people stay. A standard way to assess this is measuring the carbon dioxide content, CO-2 expressed in ppm. From another thread:

A pilot test carried out in albergues in Galicia to check the air quality of the rooms where pilgrims sleep, with continuous measurement of the level of carbon dioxide (CO-2), showed measurements ranging from 404 ppm (parts per million) of CO-2 to 3246 ppm, with a median of 1161.5 ppm at 00:00 hours, and from 405 ppm to 4632 ppm, with a median of 1294 ppm at 4:00 hours, indicating that the limits at which it is considered necessary to ventilate (800 ppm) are exceeded.​
 
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Smallest_Sparrow

Life is rarely what you expect or believe it to be
Past OR future Camino
2012: most of some, all of a few, a bit of others
It is not about fresh air, it is about Covid-19 particles in the air in a room where people stay. A standard way to assess this is measuring the carbon dioxide content, CO-2 expressed in ppm. From another thread:

A pilot test carried out in albergues in Galicia to check the air quality of the rooms where pilgrims sleep, with continuous measurement of the level of carbon dioxide (CO-2), showed measurements ranging from 404 ppm (parts per million) of CO-2 to 3246 ppm, with a median of 1161.5 ppm at 00:00 hours, and from 405 ppm to 4632 ppm, with a median of 1294 ppm at 4:00 hours, indicating that the limits at which it is considered necessary to ventilate (800 ppm) are exceeded.​
That’s an awfully large interval. It’s either well under or way over the limit. Willing to bet a small n.

That said, it clearly wasn’t done when I walked since the windows were always open. During heavy snow included. In cobreces we had enough room to spread out. I chose one room hoping to finally sleep in above freezing temps. Two German women refused to sleep in a room with their men and moved into mine, insisting they couldn’t sleep with their men bc the men snored. They also insisted (of course) windows open. They snored more than anyone else I met in three months 🙄
 

Marbe2

Active member
Past OR future Camino
2015-2019 walked all or more than half of CF 7 times... CP recently cancelled by Covid 19!

Very informative article.
(Excerpt)
During this pandemic, it has been shown that poorly ventilated buildings are the most dangerous environments of all because particles containing the virus can linger in the air until someone breathes them in. And although we do not have a device that can show these particles, we can measure the air quality and CO₂ concentration using a meter. The higher the concentration of CO₂, which is exhaled when we breathe, the worse the room’s ventilation. A simple measurement allows us to know if the room is loaded with air exhaled by other people or if it is well ventilated, thereby drastically reducing the risk of infection.

Because of its reduced dimensions, the interior of a car serves as a microcosm of what happens in larger rooms. When a person gets into a car where there is one other person and the windows are closed, the concentration of CO₂ soars, as a percentage of what is breathed in has already been exhaled by the other passenger. However, simply by opening the windows just a few centimeters and generating cross-ventilation, the air gets constantly refreshed. In a house, a bar or a classroom, the premise is basically the same.
 

Smallest_Sparrow

Life is rarely what you expect or believe it to be
Past OR future Camino
2012: most of some, all of a few, a bit of others
It is not about fresh air, it is about Covid-19 particles in the air in a room where people stay.
That’s why it’s an individual risk assessment about staying in a dorm room on Camino. That said, droplets settle within minutes to a few hours depending on the size. They aren’t going to hang forever in the air waiting for the next occupant in a single room. That person in that room can deal with concerns they might have by opening windows on checking in and going somewhere else for a short time period but it’s highly unlikely particles are in the air from the previous occupant at that point. If anything they are on surfaces. However, depending on the HVAC system and the room layout, air from the rest of the building may enter later. Window open throughout stay may help some, or may pull air into room from rest of building. Everything is a risk assessment these days and no matter what CO2 levels are it is reasonable to think the more people in the room the greater the risk—mitigated somewhat by lower occupancy.

Edit: cross ventilation is important but one open window doesn’t cross ventilate—which is why I mention room layout.
 

Marbe2

Active member
Past OR future Camino
2015-2019 walked all or more than half of CF 7 times... CP recently cancelled by Covid 19!
I think the owner of the property should probably be 'allowed' to determine if they want windows open or closed when the rooms are vacant. There could be 101 reasons to keep them closed when not occupied or otherwise.

Security, pests, keeping the place warm, cool, keeping weather out, prevailing winds/weather, ....

Yes indeed, and the-maid will close it!
 

Smallest_Sparrow

Life is rarely what you expect or believe it to be
Past OR future Camino
2012: most of some, all of a few, a bit of others
To expand on my post after reading the article posted by @Marbe2, all situations in article depend on someone being ill—which isn’t a given (but I understand the concern). windows open in dorm rooms even I would agreed with while freezing to death. But windows open doesn’t create good ventilation. It must be windows or doors on opposite sides of the room, or an HVAC system to really move air but windows on one side open is better than no windows open at all—while people are in the room. Again, particles settle and once pilgrims are gone, no new particles are in the room air until more arrive. HVAC syste move air around to other rooms so can also be a potential risk depending on the filter, occupancy, air volume etc.


It’s all a variance of risk. There are roads on the camino that are probably adding more risk to the average walker. Do whatever it takes to make you feel comfortable with the risk, and if you’re still uncomfortable it may be best not to go. I wouldn’t walk now more from concern that a positive test could delay my return but that’s because I need to be able to return in a hurry if needed.

And to reply to post that happened while I wrote this, the long time is hours for the fine aerosol. Not saying don’t open windows but people are forgetting these rooms will be empty at some point and the particles will drop to surfaces
 
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Smallest_Sparrow

Life is rarely what you expect or believe it to be
Past OR future Camino
2012: most of some, all of a few, a bit of others
This re fine aerosol (spoiler: 3 hours): https://www.nejm.org/doi/full/10.1056/nejmc2004973

FWIW (not much) as a physician who did public health before retirement, if I were walking now (and everyone’s risk varies, mine are age and some recent heart issues and a need to get home quickly for family so I wouldn’t walk now) I would stay in a private room if I had risk factors, I’d be vaccinated, I would open the window on arrival (only if there’s no room vents or I could close vents) and because it’s cold and flu season I would wipe down common touch surfaces. Then I’d wash my hands and know I’ve done all I can do. If I was uncertain how long the room had been vacant I might leave for an hour or two—sightsee, shop, sit in the sun and make vitamin D. I’d wear a mask inside the common areas.

Thanks to the op for such an interesting topic

Buen (and healthy) Camino!
 

Kathar1na

Member
Past OR future Camino
To Santiago and back (roads & paths; Tours; Francés; sea; roads & paths)
And to reply to post that happened while I wrote this, the long time is hours for the fine aerosol. Not saying don’t open windows but people are forgetting these rooms will be empty at some point and the particles will drop to surfaces
I deleted my post because I felt that it didn't contribute much to the discussion. You make a good point: Even if there are tiny virus-laden aerosols floating around in the room when an infected pilgrim leaves his or her room in the morning - where, based on currently accepted scientific studies, it is totally unknown whether there would ever be a high enough concentrated virus load to infect the next guest - they will have floated to a surface by the time the next guest arrives, and there is nothing left to breath in.

Of course someone could now argue that it is better that these aerosols are swept out of the window instead of sinking to the carpet or the lampshade.

There are gloves, of course, and the disinfectant that the pilgrim brought from home and will generously apply to his room in case the maid did not clean and infect things properly ....

😶

Me? I would do what I have always done. Put the window and any curtains and shutters into the state in which I found them. I also now go to restaurants, take off my facemask, eat, drink, talk and laugh, and I don't even disinfect the cutlery first.
 
Past OR future Camino
2018
We have just finished from Leon to SdC staying in private rooms in private albergues, and hotels in mainly nice weather. What I found was in the vast majority of cases the wndow(s) were closed when we arrived.
My general impression has been that housekeeping opens the window while cleaning the room, but then, likely closes the window(s) when they are finished cleaning…15-20 mnutes. Many of the windows are small and there is not always a lot of airflow. So, to help the next pilgrim out might we leave a window open when we depart so there is more opportunity for fresh air exchange?
In Leon, I left the windows open in my pensión only to find an hour later an unexpected rain storm came through and it was wet inside.
 
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Walton

Active Member
Past OR future Camino
2016 Sjpp to Sdc. 2018 Lisbon to Sdc to Finisterre. Next up hopefully VDP or Del Norte.
All I can say is don't go to live in China if you are wanting your windows closed.

When I was living and working in Shanghai many years ago, the delightful cleaning ladies always left my windows open, sun, rain and snow. Coming home late to find my windows wide open and snow drifting through past the billowing curtains in winter time kind of wakes you up.

They believed, if you felt cold, you should wear more clothes and that fresh air is always good for you no matter whether it was hot or cold. It didn't matter if the wind carried smoke from the nearby coal fueled power stations right into my room all day long. Fresh air was good according to them!

I had many, many fruitless discussions with those ladies about the windows, until one day, I left a note for them written in Chinese character, thanking them for cleaning my unworthy room and if they closed the windows before they left, then they could have a small gift in return.

I discovered that fresh fruit was their favourite gift and on the evening before cleaning day, I would walk to the village market and buy them an apple each, or a banana or something like that for a few cents.

Win - Win! :)

One day, it was really hot, and I wasn't working for some reason, and on impulse I went out and bought them an icecream each. Did that make their day! I swear they chortled happily and sang songs as they busied themselves that day!!
 

Sixwheeler

Active Member
Past OR future Camino
2013
Window etiquette on the camino can be very fraught, as many an antipodean battling with a continental over if the windows should be open or closed overnight in the alburgue will attest. We are used to windows open for fresh cooling air, but in Spain they tend to keep them closed to shut out the heat and other nastys, it may be more productive to leave the door open to show that the room is empty and allow for airflow thatway.
Reminds me of the night we spent in a mountain hut in France with about thirty French hikers, we opened all the windows so one of them got up and closed them, so one of us got up and opened them again so one of them................well you get the idea and so it went on. I seem to remember ending up asleep outside in the end.
 

Kanga

Moderator
Staff member
Past OR future Camino
Francés x 5, Le Puy x 2, Arles, Tours, Norte, Madrid, Via de la Plata, Portuguese, Primitivo
The easiest to understand explanation I have heard is to consider someone with Covid is like someone breathing out cigarette smoke. Is the ventilation so poor that cigarette smoke will linger in the air? If not, then I'm comfortable. If yes, then I'm feeling at risk.
 

RodlaRob

Oz Member
Past OR future Camino
Torres (2016) Portuguese (2016)
🤣🤣 .... glad to see the Caminos opening up and getting back to tackling the Big issues on this forum 😳
Don't take this the wrong way Marbe2... finally discussing recent real life experiences rather than hypotheticals 😎.
 

Lhollo

Active Member
Past OR future Camino
CF pt2, Belorado to Sarria, May 21 – June 12, 2022
I am so glad this thread exists! Covid is such a tricky topic: so many people disagree with doing x or y, and countries have acted at different rates and in different ways. I pointedly avoided talking about it with other pilgrims during our section of the CF this summer, partly out of embarrassment, which I’ll explain below. We were staying in private rooms throughout, for my own health reasons as well as because of Covid. But Covid was a regular topic between myself and my partner.

The ventilation issue bothers me for personal reasons. I’ll explain this in case it helps anyone else, or maybe casts light on how people such as myself are still affected. I both know that my situation is far from typical at this stage, and know that it isn’t unique. Although I’m double vaccinated and only at moderate risk myself, I live with someone who, even after three vaccines (two plus a booster last week) is still very much at risk, being currently unable to breathe well because of a lifelong condition (we’ve had a recent hospital trip: low oxygen). I’ve been doing everything I can to protect this person since March 2020. It’s difficult in the U.K. now because so many people think everything is ‘normal’. Maybe it needs to be, for most people. In my household, we are trying to judge what we do cautiously, waiting for case numbers to drop very low, when we may dare to venture into restaurants again. We shop online or at local farms, and wear FFP3 (N99) masks in any necessary public indoor spaces, (although in Spain we sometimes used N95 types instead because everyone else wore masks too). Maybe our approach is extreme, but for us it is sensible. I felt and still feel really uncomfortable about it: it’s a strangely taboo subject.

But I felt free when walking in Spain! And far safer than here in the U.K. What a relief it was, to be outdoors for so long! To be able to eat outside fairly easily everywhere we went. We didn’t eat indoors at any point, because of lack of ventilation, as well as because… well, when in Spain, it’s nice to eat outdoors if you’re from the U.K. where it’s usually too cold! (albergue’s where the only difficult places for meals; we were sad to miss some of this aspect of the Camino).

We aired our rooms as best we could before spending time in them. I was surprised that so many rooms had the windows or balcony doors shut, no ventilation, but hoped that perhaps this had been taken care of before we arrived. I based this partly on my twice-weekly conversations with people in Spain; they’ve often talked of how they’re aware of precautions such as ventilation. Another factor was that it’s been common in the U.K., until recently, that guest houses and hotels have early check-outs and late check-ins, to allow time for ventilation as well as for cleaning. Obviously this isn’t the case in Spain now, perhaps as others have said, because of mosquitos, heat, etc. We did enter one or two rather musty private rooms on the Camino, but they aired out fairly well.

I ask myself whether I’d behave differently if my partner and I lived alone. We would probably take more calculated risks; I certainly felt easier toward the start of our time in Spain than I did when I knew I was nearing our return home. We’d probably at least eat in some restaurants. I’d still ventilate the rooms, I think, because it just feels fresher given the situation. I’d presume other people would also see this as a courtesy, but equally, I know that across cultures, presumptions are dangerous things to have!

I find it odd, and concerning, that ventilation hasn’t been given a more central focus, at least in the U.K., I don’t know about the US or elsewhere. But Belgium issued a carbon dioxide mandate back in July 2021. I researched this stuff obsessively at various points during the first year of Covid (some of the links people have posted above, etc, I won’t bore you!). But good masks, and ventilation. It should be so simple.

It’s a miserable topic, isn’t it? I’m sorry if the tone of the above isn’t ideal, and I don’t mean to upset people who’ve made different decisions. I’ve previously felt unable to talk about this aspect of my Camino. And the topic of ventilation… it should always have been at the forefront of what we think of in the fight against Covid. If it hasn’t been central, that’s probably a failure of messaging and of policy from government authorities. Anyway… let’s hope it’s a redundant topic soon!
 
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sambajammer

New Member
Past OR future Camino
Camino Frances 2017
Camino del Norte 2018
May I respectfully say that you are imparting your cultural beliefs onto a country where they have different ones? If the norm in Europe and specifically Spain is to close the window, then close the window. If after a year of Covid the cultural norm hasn't shifted, then it is not going to and arguing that a window should be open just because Dr. Fauci says so isn't a good argument, any more than trying to change dinner hours.
I agree.
 
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Hi @Lhollo I haven’t had a good appreciation of the ventilation issue - but I do appreciate your well considered and clearly articulated post. I can understand why this is an important topic for you and others I’m sure. It’s good that you felt comfortable to make your post. Expressing an opinion on a contentious topic can be tricky in life, and on this forum. Bravo to you. And best wishes for you and your partner. 🙏
 
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Robo

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CF SJPdP to SdC
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VdlP (2022?)
I am so glad this thread exists! Covid is such a tricky topic: so many people disagree with doing x or y, and countries have acted at different rates and in different ways. I pointedly avoided talking about it with other pilgrims during our section of the CF this summer, partly out of embarrassment, which I’ll explain below. We were staying in private rooms throughout, for my own health reasons as well as because of Covid. But Covid was a regular topic between myself and my partner.

The ventilation issue bothers me for personal reasons. I’ll explain this in case it helps anyone else, or maybe casts light on how people such as myself are still affected. I both know that my situation is far from typical at this stage, and know that it isn’t unique. Although I’m double vaccinated and only at moderate risk myself, I live with someone who, even after three vaccines (two plus a booster last week) is still very much at risk, being currently unable to breathe well because of a lifelong condition (we’ve had a recent hospital trip: low oxygen). I’ve been doing everything I can to protect this person since March 2020. It’s difficult in the U.K. now because so many people think everything is ‘normal’. Maybe it needs to be, for most people. In my household, we are trying to judge what we do cautiously, waiting for case numbers to drop very low, when we may dare to venture into restaurants again. We shop online or at local farms, and wear FFP3 (N99) masks in any necessary public indoor spaces, (although in Spain we sometimes used N95 types instead because everyone else wore masks too). Maybe our approach is extreme, but for us it is sensible. I felt and still feel really uncomfortable about it: it’s a strangely taboo subject.

But I felt free when walking in Spain! And far safer than here in the U.K. What a relief it was, to be outdoors for so long! To be able to eat outside fairly easily everywhere we went. We didn’t eat indoors at any point, because of lack of ventilation, as well as because… well, when in Spain, it’s nice to eat outdoors if you’re from the U.K. where it’s usually too cold! (albergue’s where the only difficult places for meals; we were sad to miss some of this aspect of the Camino).

We aired our rooms as best we could before spending time in them. I was surprised that so many rooms had the windows or balcony doors shut, no ventilation, but hoped that perhaps this had been taken care of before we arrived. I based this partly on my twice-weekly conversations with people in Spain; they’ve often talked of how they’re aware of precautions such as ventilation. Another factor was that it’s been common in the U.K., until recently, that guest houses and hotels have early check-outs and late check-ins, to allow time for ventilation as well as for cleaning. Obviously this isn’t the case in Spain now, perhaps as others have said, because of mosquitos, heat, etc. We did enter one or two rather musty private rooms on the Camino, but they aired out fairly well.

I ask myself whether I’d behave differently if my partner and I lived alone. We would probably take more calculated risks; I certainly felt easier toward the start of our time in Spain than I did when I knew I was nearing our return home. We’d probably at least eat in some restaurants. I’d still ventilate the rooms, I think, because it just feels fresher given the situation. I’d presume other people would also see this as a courtesy, but equally, I know that across cultures, presumptions are dangerous things to have!

I find it odd, and concerning, that ventilation hasn’t been given a more central focus, at least in the U.K., I don’t know about the US or elsewhere. But Belgium issued a carbon dioxide mandate back in July 2021. I researched this stuff obsessively at various points during the first year of Covid (some of the links people have posted above, etc, I won’t bore you!). But good masks, and ventilation. It should be so simple.

It’s a miserable topic, isn’t it? I’m sorry if the tone of the above isn’t ideal, and I don’t mean to upset people who’ve made different decisions. I’ve previously felt unable to talk about this aspect of my Camino. And the topic of ventilation… it should always have been at the forefront of what we think of in the fight against Covid. If it hasn’t been central, that’s probably a failure of messaging and of policy from government authorities. Anyway… let’s hope it’s a redundant topic soon!

I can understand your stress about 'exposure' @Lhollo .

We all have to take whatever precautions we feel right for our own circumstances.

In our case for example, we simply opt not to travel yet. We just don't believe the risk is worth it.

Even when International travel opens up for us here in Australia, late November perhaps, I will be in no rush to fly anywhere. I would much prefer to wait things out a while longer and see what the impact of 'opening up' and increased air travel is.

When we do travel, we'll just have to take things as they come, and make our own assessments and decisions around Covid safety. I will expect to 'adapt' to the local conditions, rather than vice versa.

Not that you are suggesting that in your post.
 

sambajammer

New Member
Past OR future Camino
Camino Frances 2017
Camino del Norte 2018
The suggestion has nothing to do with changing cultural norms, but with good health/hygiene practices. However, I would leave the room as I found it. While I am occupying the room I will open or close the window according to my comfort.
I think a good position. Look after yourself and don't presume to look after others without their permission.
 
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Stephan the Painter

Active Member
Past OR future Camino
Frances(2020)
Personally I'd be grateful if someone aired out my hotel room. I very much doubt anyone would be seriously offended or bothered. Get a life!
Obviously you don't open windows if there is a good reason not to, like insects, etc.
 

sambajammer

New Member
Past OR future Camino
Camino Frances 2017
Camino del Norte 2018
This re fine aerosol (spoiler: 3 hours): https://www.nejm.org/doi/full/10.1056/nejmc2004973

FWIW (not much) as a physician who did public health before retirement, if I were walking now (and everyone’s risk varies, mine are age and some recent heart issues and a need to get home quickly for family so I wouldn’t walk now) I would stay in a private room if I had risk factors, I’d be vaccinated, I would open the window on arrival (only if there’s no room vents or I could close vents) and because it’s cold and flu season I would wipe down common touch surfaces. Then I’d wash my hands and know I’ve done all I can do. If I was uncertain how long the room had been vacant I might leave for an hour or two—sightsee, shop, sit in the sun and make vitamin D. I’d wear a mask inside the common areas.

Thanks to the op for such an interesting topic

Buen (and healthy) Camino!
I think the best articulated posting dealing with health and also allows for the proprietors and their staff to look after the place as they deem fit.
 

Marbe2

Active member
Past OR future Camino
2015-2019 walked all or more than half of CF 7 times... CP recently cancelled by Covid 19!
I think the best articulated posting dealing with health and also allows for the proprietors and their staff to look after the place as they deem fit.
Must disagree….we have learned more since this article was published in April of 2020 that provide more direction from governments worldwide to the travel industry.
 
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Sirage

Member
Past OR future Camino
Le Puy to Santiago (2005), Porto to Santiago (2007), Vezelay for 200 kms (2009), From Seville, May (2015), Le Puy to Sangüesa (2016), Norte-Primitivo (Sep-Oct 2016)
Another opinion - the CO2 monitors are useful for air-conditioning installers and maintainers to get good airflow measurements once their respective buildings are in operation, and for building regulators to check and do research et al....

From a personal virus avoidance tool, completely useless. If the CO2 is above some number or below, not meaningful regards staying the night. Just sleep with windows-open people. :):)

As the Delta variant is highly contagious with a vial load 1,200 times the original, and any possible new variant most likely to be more contagious to compete with Delta, and assuming the current vaccines are good "enough?" against any variant in the next few years, soon there will only be 2 types of people walking the Camino:

1. Those effectively vaccinated (ie it worked for them)

2. Those that have contracted COVID and are no longer contagious (noting the time to be contagious is between ~~ 10 - 20 days).

There are probably anti-VAXer hermits, and people in poorer countries living in remote villages but they won't be walking a Camino.

So chill out for a few months, and then travel with ease.
 

Marbe2

Active member
Past OR future Camino
2015-2019 walked all or more than half of CF 7 times... CP recently cancelled by Covid 19!
As the Delta variant is highly contagious with a vial load 1,200 times the original, and any possible new variant most likely to be more contagious to compete with Delta, and assuming the current vaccines are good "enough?" against any variant in the next few years, soon there will only be 2 types of people walking the Camino:

1. Those effectively vaccinated (ie it worked for them)

2. Those that have contracted COVID and are no longer contagious (noting the time to be contagious is between ~~ 10 - 20 days).

There are probably anti-VAXer hermits, and people in poorer countries living in remote villages but they won't be walking a Camino.

So chill out for a few months, and then travel with ease.
All hoping it will be that simple but anti-vaxers in my home country won’t be hermits… and we have no idea of what is to come with the next variants.
My motto is discern about acceptable risks, mitigate as much as possible, , keep up with vaccinations, and seize the right moment to go..which of course will be different for ach of us! But thinking that this will all go away in a very near future waiting for an ideal time…in 2022…may not come to pass
To expand on my post after reading the article posted by @Marbe2, all situations in article depend on someone being ill—which isn’t a given (but I understand the concern). windows open in dorm rooms even I would agreed with while freezing to death. But windows open doesn’t create good ventilation. It must be windows or doors on opposite sides of the room, or an HVAC system to really move air but windows on one side open is better than no windows open at all—while people are in the room. Again, particles settle and once pilgrims are gone, no new particles are in the room air until more arrive. HVAC syste move air around to other rooms so can also be a potential risk depending on the filter, occupancy, air volume etc.
We agree cross ventilation is the best option. What I do when I have two windows is to leave them a bit open…It will be sufficient in most cases for cross ventilation based upon the article I posted. When I do not, and have direct access to outside, I open whatever window there is, and the door for a few minutes, before lleaving, while we can monitor the room..depending on the location. If there is only a small window ( like in the bathroom)I I try and l leave it fairly wide during our visit, circumstances permitting, when we leave. I leave it to housekeeping to decide when to close it.

Those of you who want to make this a cultural issue, or a joke, of course are free to do so, but I believe a world wide pandemic should call all cultures, including my own, to examine best practices in our current situation.
 
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Sirage

Member
Past OR future Camino
Le Puy to Santiago (2005), Porto to Santiago (2007), Vezelay for 200 kms (2009), From Seville, May (2015), Le Puy to Sangüesa (2016), Norte-Primitivo (Sep-Oct 2016)
but anti-vaxers in my home country won’t be hermits
Hoping not to labour the point / slight humour, the odds are nearly all of them in your country will be soon or already exposed to the virus, had COVID or soon will get sick to various degrees, and no longer be contagious. I guess it is their choice to play Russian roulette and have a lower priority for health care when triage is necessary.
 

Smallest_Sparrow

Life is rarely what you expect or believe it to be
Past OR future Camino
2012: most of some, all of a few, a bit of others
Must disagree….we have learned more since this article was published in April of 2020 that provide more direction from governments worldwide to the travel industry.
You can only know for sure what you do. And you can only control yourself. Trying to do otherwise will create unnecessary anxiety. You know for sure the room is ventilated if you open the window then leave for whatever period makes you comfortable, and know that the virus does eventually settle—it doesn’t linger forever in the air. I wrote that to comfort you. do as you wish. Buen Camino.
 
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