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What to do and not to do in a Refugio/Albergue

Robo

Veteran Member
Year of past OR future Camino
CF SJPdP to SdC
(May 2015)
CF Sarria to SdC
(May 2016)
CF SJPDP-SdC
(May 2018)
VdlP (2022?)
That happened on the first stage of the Inglés. Several experienced pilgrims removed the articles with the help of the hospitalero..

I was curious as to the correct procedure ;)

It sounds like how the Brits used to poke fun at the Germans in the beach resorts.
How the Germans would 'claim' the best poolside chairs with their beach towels at about 6 am :)

PS. I do love the Germans. Lived there for a few years ;)
 
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Robo

Veteran Member
Year of past OR future Camino
CF SJPdP to SdC
(May 2015)
CF Sarria to SdC
(May 2016)
CF SJPDP-SdC
(May 2018)
VdlP (2022?)
I stayed in an inexpensive hotel in Burgos for a few days when I was beginning my service as a hospitalera and the date when I was to start was changed. I noticed the signs requesting silence when I checked in, but I did not know how noisy it would get. Wooden floors, wooden doors and no set bed time, as in an albergue. The evening meal was very late and so people returned from their meal very late, and saw no particular reason to be quiet. Couples argued, or enthusiastically enjoyed their holiday time together. In general, the few nights which I spent in hotels did not offer me any more sleep than if I were in albergues, just higher prices.

Very true! I've had some very noisy nights in Hotels.
A couple if times I was about ready to pack up and start walking........
 

Spiritual Lady

New Member
Year of past OR future Camino
I have walked half the French in 2014 and would like to walk the whole this year, 2020.
Hi all … I received Ivar’s pilgrimage update, the world is beginning to open up again .. as well as veterans going through their kit there are plenty of brand new pre-pilgrims planning, some confident, some rather nervous, so I thought I would start a ‘do this’ and ‘don’t do that’ thread. Starting with refugios/albergues.

For first time pilgrims – it is like going to big school; you are nervous a few days before, a bit frightened on the day, then you turn up wondering about how to do Everything, you don't know anyone and you feel lost - but after just a few days you know how it all works and slip into the rhythm, you belong – refugios are like that.

Refugios – at first they are really strange, uncomfortable, daunting, but then, just a few days later? They are home, each one is a refuge, a pleasant home, and all is well.

So some things not to do in a refugio
1. Don’t be impatient or rude or demanding to the hospitalero.
2. Don’t wear your outdoor footwear indoors.
3. Don’t get wildly drunk and ruin everyone else’s night.
4. Don’t get up in the dark early morning and start re-packing your rucksack by your bunk (do it the night before or carry it all quietly out of the dormitory and sort it elsewhere).
5. Don’t give pennies in a donativo (donations, not fixed price) refugio – be generous, really, be generous.

Some things to do
1. Be grateful. Spain owes you nothing. The Camino owes you nothing. Be grateful, for everything.
2. Be kind. If you see someone with an equipment problem, or looking sad, or hurt, or lonely – be kind, offer help (but don’t be upset if it is refused, they will remember the offer).
3. Be willing to move bunks. You have a bottom bunk and someone old or exhausted or injured comes in later? Offer them your bunk so they don’t have to climb to a top bunk.
4. Be discreet, don’t stare at half-dressed pilgrims, shield your eyes.
5. Do switch your phone off, so you don’t wake the whole dorm when a message comes in.

Oh – there is So much more! 🤔😉

Buen Camino!
Great advice David.
I have had some experience of the refuges and all good as we are all on a pilgrimage journey.
 

Icacos

Veteran Member
Year of past OR future Camino
Camino Frances (2013)
Icacos, the young man in question was being extremely rude and loud and cussing older people, he was in fact showing off in front of his mates. His mates were right to walk out without him. Giving him the chance to reflect on his actions by himself. For forgiveness to work there has to be a certain amount of repentance from the offender. Be kind yes, but don't allow others to take advantage of your good nature. Turn the other cheek but walk away when it's the right time to do so.
Valid points all. As I said, it was a very unfortunate occurrence all round. I do hope the young man has reflected on his actions, has chosen a better path and has been able to keep this awful incident out of memory. I too witnessed a pilgrim being shunned because of his/her behaviour. Unfortunately this pilgrim’s companion suffered also, by association. It was painful for me to watch, and is painful now for me to remember. Unfortunately, at the time, because of my own lack of emotional resources, I was incapable of offering any help/friendship to either of them.

I find there is great comfort to be found in the words of a well-known prayer, “ .... forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us.”

Peace to all. 😊
 

Robo

Veteran Member
Year of past OR future Camino
CF SJPdP to SdC
(May 2015)
CF Sarria to SdC
(May 2016)
CF SJPDP-SdC
(May 2018)
VdlP (2022?)
I don't mean this to sound like some kind of 'smart ass' remark or question.
But reading threads like this make me wonder what the attraction of shared accommodation really is.
OK, it's cheaper, I get that.
And you can get a great sense of 'community' I get that.
I'm just concerned that I wouldn't last 3 nights before totally 'losing it' :rolleyes:

Or is that the point?
That it's a great lesson in tolerance and forgiveness?

Serious question......

It sounds a bit like walking with a pebble in your shoe, just to make sure you remember that suffering makes the experience richer. ;)

(Note. I tend toward private accommodation or private rooms in Albergues)

Afterthought. Maybe it's about expectations? For me a Camino is quite a solitary / reflective journey. So perhaps the thought of being in crowded accommodation settings leads to that trepidation?
 
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Canche

Volcano Climber
Year of past OR future Camino
2016
Hi all … I received Ivar’s pilgrimage update, the world is beginning to open up again .. as well as veterans going through their kit there are plenty of brand new pre-pilgrims planning, some confident, some rather nervous, so I thought I would start a ‘do this’ and ‘don’t do that’ thread. Starting with refugios/albergues.

For first time pilgrims – it is like going to big school; you are nervous a few days before, a bit frightened on the day, then you turn up wondering about how to do Everything, you don't know anyone and you feel lost - but after just a few days you know how it all works and slip into the rhythm, you belong – refugios are like that.

Refugios – at first they are really strange, uncomfortable, daunting, but then, just a few days later? They are home, each one is a refuge, a pleasant home, and all is well.

So some things not to do in a refugio
1. Don’t be impatient or rude or demanding to the hospitalero.
2. Don’t wear your outdoor footwear indoors.
3. Don’t get wildly drunk and ruin everyone else’s night.
4. Don’t get up in the dark early morning and start re-packing your rucksack by your bunk (do it the night before or carry it all quietly out of the dormitory and sort it elsewhere).
5. Don’t give pennies in a donativo (donations, not fixed price) refugio – be generous, really, be generous.

Some things to do
1. Be grateful. Spain owes you nothing. The Camino owes you nothing. Be grateful, for everything.
2. Be kind. If you see someone with an equipment problem, or looking sad, or hurt, or lonely – be kind, offer help (but don’t be upset if it is refused, they will remember the offer).
3. Be willing to move bunks. You have a bottom bunk and someone old or exhausted or injured comes in later? Offer them your bunk so they don’t have to climb to a top bunk.
4. Be discreet, don’t stare at half-dressed pilgrims, shield your eyes.
5. Do switch your phone off, so you don’t wake the whole dorm when a message comes in.

Oh – there is So much more! 🤔😉

Buen Camino!
Excellent advice. Thank you.
 

Phoenix

Active Member
Year of past OR future Camino
2014, CF: partial
2016, CF
2018, CF: partial
2019, CP
I don't mean this to sound like some kind of 'smart ass' remark or question.
But reading threads like this make me wonder what the attraction of shared accommodation really is.
OK, it's cheaper, I get that.
And you can get a great sense of 'community' I get that.
I'm just concerned that I wouldn't last 3 nights before totally 'losing it' :rolleyes:

Or is that the point?
That it's a great lesson in tolerance and forgiveness?

Serious question......

It sounds a bit like walking with a pebble in your shoe, just to make sure you remember that suffering makes the experience richer. ;)

(Note. I tend toward private accommodation or private rooms in Albergues)

Afterthought. Maybe it's about expectations? For me a Camino is quite a solitary / reflective journey. So perhaps the thought of being in crowded accommodation settings leads to that trepidation?
An incident here or a gripe there gets diluted by all the great experiences while on Camino. When the wailing and gnashing of teeth are titrated into one "place," e.g., a thread like this, it makes it appear staying in an albergue is hell on earth. It's not.
 
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Icacos

Veteran Member
Year of past OR future Camino
Camino Frances (2013)
I don't mean this to sound like some kind of 'smart ass' remark or question.
But reading threads like this make me wonder what the attraction of shared accommodation really is.
OK, it's cheaper, I get that.
And you can get a great sense of 'community' I get that.
I'm just concerned that I wouldn't last 3 nights before totally 'losing it' :rolleyes:

Or is that the point?
That it's a great lesson in tolerance and forgiveness?

Serious question......

It sounds a bit like walking with a pebble in your shoe, just to make sure you remember that suffering makes the experience richer. ;)

(Note. I tend toward private accommodation or private rooms in Albergues)

Afterthought. Maybe it's about expectations? For me a Camino is quite a solitary / reflective journey. So perhaps the thought of being in crowded accommodation settings leads to that trepidation?
I’m thinking about what you have said, @Robo. In the meantime, please know:

1. the very few times I stayed in an albergue setting - as opposed to private accommodation - I found it excruciatingly uncomfortable;
2. I feel things acutely (have been told that by a shrink) so you may want to take that into account when I rush ‘to forgive and be forgiven.’ (I’m not asking or expecting any special consideration here, just that others may not feel the same way I do, and I should appreciate that.)
 

trecile

Camino Addict
Year of past OR future Camino
Francés (2016 & 2017), Norte (2018), Francés-Salvador-Norte (2019), Portuguese (2019)

Robo

Veteran Member
Year of past OR future Camino
CF SJPdP to SdC
(May 2015)
CF Sarria to SdC
(May 2016)
CF SJPDP-SdC
(May 2018)
VdlP (2022?)
@Robo and @Icacos - If you walk the Camino Francés don't miss Albergue La Finca in Población de Campos, just 4 km past Fromista. Each "bunk" is like a tiny room. There are no ladders - the upper level is accessed via mini staircases.

Yes I've seen the website. I wish I had known.
The problem of staying in the main stopping places.........without adequate research
 
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David

Veteran Member
Year of past OR future Camino
2005
I don't mean this to sound like some kind of 'smart ass' remark or question.
But reading threads like this make me wonder what the attraction of shared accommodation really is.
OK, it's cheaper, I get that.
And you can get a great sense of 'community' I get that.
I'm just concerned that I wouldn't last 3 nights before totally 'losing it' :rolleyes:

Or is that the point?
That it's a great lesson in tolerance and forgiveness?

Serious question......

It sounds a bit like walking with a pebble in your shoe, just to make sure you remember that suffering makes the experience richer. ;)

(Note. I tend toward private accommodation or private rooms in Albergues)

Afterthought. Maybe it's about expectations? For me a Camino is quite a solitary / reflective journey. So perhaps the thought of being in crowded accommodation settings leads to that trepidation?

Ah, there is the thing .. it is continued exposure to refugio life that leads it to become 'normal', actually, welcoming. It takes a few nights before this happens - three nights and run away means one never crosses that threshold into acceptance. And we humans, we are tribal, we bond. The refugio life means that we bond with a set of pilgrims - meet them, lose them, find them again ... the best human experiences can be lived when we stay with the refugios rather than the isolation of hotels. Sure, it is messy, but life is messy.
It is an ego thing really - a watching thing. Always watching everyone and what they are doing, always listening, always, well, judging, really .... but after use comes acceptance, just a few nights getting through that and it becomes quite different.

Being solitary, being reflective - these are internal things. It is common for people in these modern times to go for walks in beautiful silent places to find this, or to find a solitary tree and sit under it in fine weather - but none of this leads to anything internal - the person is still actually being conscious of the outside, measuring it, judging it ... an aeroplane goes overhead or a dog barks and 'spoils it' for instance.

No, the way to really do this is to do the opposite. Go to a large mall on a busy day or a railway station at rush hour ... find a bench and just sit, be still, eyes downwards, unfocused half open, be relaxed - and be still, not fighting the swirling noises .. in a surprisingly short while the noises and movement become a great calm swirl of which you are part of, truly peaceful, even joyful .. you cannot learn to swim by standing on the bridge watching, you have to enter the stream.
When this comes, there the true reflection and solitary consciousness, but one that is integral to this swirling manifestation around us. .. anger dissolves away, judgement dissolves away (that we didn't know we even had) and one becomes rather calmly joyous - do this, learn this, and then you will find that it doesn't matter where you are, what is going on around you.
And that pretty walk, that perfect tree? Once that judgement dissolves - "this pretty place is good, that ugly place is bad" - one finds that All is 'pretty', All is perfect - the concrete factory and the tree? - the loud small child in the mall and the Buddhist monk in the temple? - the same, just different forms of the same.

So - when we 'run away' from the hubbub of humanity to find 'peace', such as by moving from refugios to hotels, all we do is to comfort our egos - it is merely changing channels on a television .... try the mall, you may be pleasantly surprised you know ;).

"There is nothing either good nor bad but thinking makes it so". Shakespeare (Hamlet).
 
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D

Deleted member 61803

Guest
Chinacat you can forgive others as much as you want, but for it to work, the "other" must also be prepared to go some way towards repentance. Otherwise you become a doormat. It is important though that the "other" is made aware of the forgiveness. Ignoring situations and forgiveness are two totally different things. I ignore snorers acts of snoring, I inform and forgive space trespassers and window whingers.
 

chinacat

Veteran Member
The inner ‘work’ of forgiveness springs from many things, especially compassion, born of the recognition of one’s own fallibility.

It does not involve the (little) ego, so the question of being a ‘doormat’ does not come into it.

It is irrelevant whether or not the ‘other’ ‘becomes aware of it’.

We are all ‘the other’.
 

SabineP

Camino = Gratitude + Compassion.
Year of past OR future Camino
some and then more. see my signature.
The inner ‘work’ of forgiveness springs from many things, especially compassion, born of the recognition of one’s own fallibility.

It does not involve the (little) ego, so the question of being a ‘doormat’ does not come into it.

It is irrelevant whether or not the ‘other’ ‘becomes aware of it’.

We are all ‘the other’.

Correct!
See the philosophy of Emmanuel Lévinas. The Other with capital O.
 
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dick bird

Active Member
Year of past OR future Camino
Plata, Ingles, Madrid, Norte, Primitivo, Invierno, Aragones, Olvidado, Chemin D'Arles
I don't mean this to sound like some kind of 'smart ass' remark or question.
But reading threads like this make me wonder what the attraction of shared accommodation really is.
OK, it's cheaper, I get that.
And you can get a great sense of 'community' I get that.
I'm just concerned that I wouldn't last 3 nights before totally 'losing it' :rolleyes:

Or is that the point?
That it's a great lesson in tolerance and forgiveness?

Serious question......

It sounds a bit like walking with a pebble in your shoe, just to make sure you remember that suffering makes the experience richer. ;)

(Note. I tend toward private accommodation or private rooms in Albergues)

Afterthought. Maybe it's about expectations? For me a Camino is quite a solitary / reflective journey. So perhaps the thought of being in crowded accommodation settings leads to that trepidation?
I know that the camino is a reflective journey, but the reason you make it is that millions (even in this century alone it adds up to millions) have made exactly that same journey before. I remember coming off the Primitivo and being confronted by literally crowds walking along the roadside. It made me deeply uncomfortable, but then I realised we were part of a great flow of humanity, a river of people unceasingly flowing to the same one destination. Here is a poem:

“Walking. I am listening to a deeper way.
Suddenly all my ancestors are behind me.
Be still, they say. Watch and listen.
You are the result of the love of thousands.”

-Linda Hogan

Our fellow beings can be noisy, smelly and obnoxious; but so can we. If you can last three nights in the municipales, you'll be good.
 
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D

Deleted member 61803

Guest
Forgiveness and compassion are bedfellows. The fact is that, in the context of Albergue living, not all are aware of their anti social behaviour until it is pointed out to them in a compassionate way. Your fellow bag on bed Pilgrim may actually not be aware of bedbugs etc. If someone doesn't know they are in the wrong then just let them know, gently. Then your forgiveness may work, not just for your own self satisfaction but for the benefit of others.
 
Year of past OR future Camino
2019
Albergues have really helped me discern what I want as opposed to what I really need. Which isn't much.

That it's a great lesson in tolerance and forgiveness?
Equanimity develops in the face of whatever life throws at us. This flowers best when there's enough challenge, but not too much. Like in albergues. They're like mini-monasteries: we all get thrown together for a night, with no choice of who our roomies are, and have to manage our reactivity somehow.

And that's is an inside job. I can drive myself crazy with people doing things I disapprove of or take to be inconsiderate. Well, maybe they are being inconsiderate, but that's only the molehill. The mountan I make. And if I stay within my comfort zone I never get to see how I'm constructing mountains. Albergues are great for seeing that.

So with idiots being idiots...can I notice judgement, irritation, pride, self-righteousness, resentment (or whatever), and see these as a passing show without amplifying them? And so on with noise or whatever. Sometimes yes, sometimes no. It's a practice no less challenging than any more contemplative purification.

In this, endurance or overwhelm are not useful.
So if it's too much...there are actually lots of ways to mitigate the amount of challenge, even before getting a single room or staying in a hotel.*

And honestly? The number of nights I can think of that have been genuinely awful? Three, one of which had nothing to do with other people. It was freezing and the albergue was an ancient pile of stones with no heating (San Juan de Ortega).
It's usually not that bad. We do go on about it, so you'd think they're awful.
Not. At. All. ☺️

*Like:
• Staying 'between stages,' thus avoiding the crowds.
• Staying in albergues that don't have electricity or wifi, which selects for the contemplative crowd.
• Staying in parroquials with 'rules,' ditto.
• Staying in private albergues that cost a bit more, which selects for the older crowd who are more likely to want to sleep than party.
• Avoiding an albergue that has gianormous numbers of bunks in one room cuts the burden of sound.
• And sometimes you just need to keep an eye out for particular pilgrims who have been too challenging (intentionally or not), and go someplace else if you see them.

Chinacat you can forgive others as much as you want, but for it to work, the "other" must also be prepared to go some way towards repentance. Otherwise you become a doormat.
True forgiveness is not transactional but rather without condition. It's totally independent of what that other person does or does not do. It absolutely does not create passivity: compasionate action comes from forgiveness, and that action can be quite powerful - precisely because we aren't wasting energy in demands or expectations. We're no longer recycling and dragging around our pain, resentment, hurt, or expectations of others. We are free, and stronger for it.
 
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Camino Chrissy

Take one step forward...then keep on walking..
Year of past OR future Camino
Frances 2015;
Norte/Primitivo 2016;
Frances 2017;
Le Puy 2018;
Portuguese/FishermanTr. 2019
@VNwalking, lots of good and positive input here from you and with forgiveness especially, we should aspire to do that; often a challege in life. Sometimes things are "easier said than done".
I have always enjoyed the albergues, but like to throw in other options too, for a variety of experiences...including a bathtub on occasion.😊
 
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NorthernLight

Veteran Member
Year of past OR future Camino
Le Puy to Santiago via the Frances 2012-2013. EPW2015
Aragonese & Frances 2016
Burgos to Muxia 2017
I once rented a camper van and drove around New Zealand. About every 5 or 6 days, I checked into a hotel because I wanted more space and my own bathroom. At one hotel, the hostess said that most camper/rv people seemed to do this every few days. I do the same thing on camino, every 5 or 6 days (or sometimes every few days), I stay at a hostal or hotel rather than an albergue, because I want the space and the bathroom.

So, do plan your budget to stay in a variety of accommodations, not just albergues. Your mental health will thank you.
 

dick bird

Active Member
Year of past OR future Camino
Plata, Ingles, Madrid, Norte, Primitivo, Invierno, Aragones, Olvidado, Chemin D'Arles
Hmmm, following this thread I think I perceive a change in tone. Initially I felt there was a lot of THESE ARE THE RULES.

Now there seems to be more of a “ compassion, equanimity, acceptance “ mood.

I prefer the new mood. I return to the Caminos because of it.
Thank you. As one of the chief offenders with regard to rules, I agree that needed to be said.
 

Kanga

Moderator
Staff member
Year of past OR future Camino
Francés x 5, Le Puy x 2, Arles, Tours, Norte, Madrid, Via de la Plata, Portuguese, Primitivo
I don't mean this to sound like some kind of 'smart ass' remark or question.
But reading threads like this make me wonder what the attraction of shared accommodation really is.
OK, it's cheaper, I get that.
And you can get a great sense of 'community' I get that.
I'm just concerned that I wouldn't last 3 nights before totally 'losing it' :rolleyes:

Or is that the point?
That it's a great lesson in tolerance and forgiveness?

Serious question......

It sounds a bit like walking with a pebble in your shoe, just to make sure you remember that suffering makes the experience richer. ;)

(Note. I tend toward private accommodation or private rooms in Albergues)

Afterthought. Maybe it's about expectations? For me a Camino is quite a solitary / reflective journey. So perhaps the thought of being in crowded accommodation settings leads to that trepidation?

When I am walking solo, without a doubt, staying in albergues makes my experience much richer. It is by staying in albergues that I have met people who became my walking companions and some very dear friends. I tend to stop walking quite early in the day, and there are long hours before bedtime. In an albergue those hours are filled with companionship, as we communally bath, wash clothes, prepare meals (or go out together) and sit around and talk. In private accommodation it can be very lonely.

I'm with @NorthernLight - a bed and bathroom to myself once a week.
 

C clearly

Moderator
Staff member
Year of past OR future Camino
2022
I'm just concerned that I wouldn't last 3 nights before totally 'losing it'
Robo, I think you have attached way too much importance to your still-anticipated first albergue experience. That is unfortunate - your expectations are way too high, or way too low, or way too whatever. With that approach, you are almost guaranteed to be disappointed.

Albergues are just one element of the camino. I think they are a significant and interesting part of the experience, that I want to have from time to time. I recommend that you do, too, since you are such a big Camino fan. However, don't generalize too much - some will be good and some will be bad, and you'll need to try a few in order to get a reasonable picture.

But you don't need to do 3 in a row, if you don't feel like it! If you do 1 night and feel the need to go private for a week, that is fine. Maybe next week the situation will arise where an albergue seems like a good option. You probably won't be a convert to communal living, and I expect you'll use private accommodation more often, but the hype (in your own mind) can end! It does not need to be a watershed moment.

I usually choose private lodging. But I am very glad to have the albergue experience as an option, for whatever reason, and I enjoy knowing what people are talking about.
 
D

Deleted member 61803

Guest
Robo, the albergues are worth it. Even for dedicated soloists like myself. Having grown up through dormitory arrangements, (very large family, Boarding schools, forces) the albergues, in general, are not the worst. I have to say that in hindsight I walked at a time of year where the "bed race" did not matter as there weren't enough pilgrims to affect the amount of Albergue accommodation available. Given that anyone daring to put their pack on my cot would have it placed neatly in the far corner of the room, it never happened. The actual total amount of bad memories is actually the sum total of one, which I already mentioned in this op.

When you get many people recalling their one or two bad memories, it makes it look like these places are awful to new (and old) forum dwellers who are planning walks. In fact my unproven opinion is that as a group we accidentally make them appear a lot worse than they are. So my future rule for Albergues is to make more use of them.
 
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Lindsay53

Active Member
Year of past OR future Camino
Frances April / May 19
I do. But everyone tells me I 'must' try communal sleeping!
Be warned, I'm on my way to an Albergue near you :cool:
I think the snoring issue is rather overrated. Pilgrims are (or should be) aware that communal living has its pros and cons and a decent set of earplugs will go a long way to alleviating the noise from snoring that is an inevitable part of the communal sleeping arrangements.
 
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Albertagirl

Veteran Member
Year of past OR future Camino
Frances (2015); Aragones-Frances (2016); VdlP-Sanabres (2017); Madrid-Frances-Invierno (2019)Levante
a decent set of earplugs will go a long way to alleviating the noise from snoring that is an inevitable part of the communal sleeping arrangements.
On four long caminos, I have only twice been kept awake for most of a night by the actions of other pilgrims. The first time was on my very first night on camino, at Orisson. Every bed in a small dorm was occupied (me in a bottom bunk) and the windows all shut tight when I came to bed. The stuffiness kept me awake most of the night, until I discovered that the small washroom near my bed had a window, which I left open, as well as the door from the washroom, which was near my bunk, and I then fell asleep. The second occasion was in an albergue where I had the bottom bunk and the top bunk was occupied by a sturdy young man who tossed and turned energetically for most of the night. Both nights, I used ear plugs and was undisturbed by the snores of the sleepers. Maybe I have just been lucky or else very tired after walking.
 

Rick Chollett

Member
Year of past OR future Camino
Spring of 2018.
Hi all … I received Ivar’s pilgrimage update, the world is beginning to open up again .. as well as veterans going through their kit there are plenty of brand new pre-pilgrims planning, some confident, some rather nervous, so I thought I would start a ‘do this’ and ‘don’t do that’ thread. Starting with refugios/albergues.

For first time pilgrims – it is like going to big school; you are nervous a few days before, a bit frightened on the day, then you turn up wondering about how to do Everything, you don't know anyone and you feel lost - but after just a few days you know how it all works and slip into the rhythm, you belong – refugios are like that.

Refugios – at first they are really strange, uncomfortable, daunting, but then, just a few days later? They are home, each one is a refuge, a pleasant home, and all is well.

So some things not to do in a refugio
1. Don’t be impatient or rude or demanding to the hospitalero.
2. Don’t wear your outdoor footwear indoors.
3. Don’t get wildly drunk and ruin everyone else’s night.
4. Don’t get up in the dark early morning and start re-packing your rucksack by your bunk (do it the night before or carry it all quietly out of the dormitory and sort it elsewhere).
5. Don’t give pennies in a donativo (donations, not fixed price) refugio – be generous, really, be generous.

Some things to do
1. Be grateful. Spain owes you nothing. The Camino owes you nothing. Be grateful, for everything.
2. Be kind. If you see someone with an equipment problem, or looking sad, or hurt, or lonely – be kind, offer help (but don’t be upset if it is refused, they will remember the offer).
3. Be willing to move bunks. You have a bottom bunk and someone old or exhausted or injured comes in later? Offer them your bunk so they don’t have to climb to a top bunk.
4. Be discreet, don’t stare at half-dressed pilgrims, shield your eyes.
5. Do switch your phone off, so you don’t wake the whole dorm when a message comes in.

Oh – there is So much more! 🤔😉

Buen Camino!
And PLEASE Please please DON'T have sex in the Alburgue! This actually happened and the noise was ridiculous! The offending couple seemed upset that others had a problem with it.
 

david g

Active Member
Year of past OR future Camino
camino frances/finistere sept 2012
Frances May 2015
Aragones/Portugese May 2016
Primitivo July 2017
Interesting , i did not know that was possible i thought that the people who check you in would assign you a specific bed
I’ve found that usually you’re assigned a bed by the hospitalero
 

david g

Active Member
Year of past OR future Camino
camino frances/finistere sept 2012
Frances May 2015
Aragones/Portugese May 2016
Primitivo July 2017
I don’t think this was mentioned but PLEASE don’t take a roll of toilet paper from the albergue you stay at. I’ve seen women do this because ‘I may need it and they have plenty there’. Stop at a tienda and buy some
 
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I don’t think this was mentioned but PLEASE don’t take a roll of toilet paper from the albergue you stay at. I’ve seen women do this because ‘I may need it and they have plenty there’. Stop at a tienda and buy some
Good point. In the past I have been guilty of unwinding just a little bit off the roll for a potential emergency and putting it in my pocket, but eventually switched to pantyliners for a similar solution. I do agree with what you say...live and learn.🙂
 

Jean Ti

Active Member
If you are young and sleeping in an albergue. Please Leave the lower bed free and take the top one.

You arrive first of course but the older people are walking slower and would prefer to sleep on the lower bed.

Remember that older may go 4 to 5 time to the bathroom per night and they will keep you awake all night. They also fear the lader to...
 
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That those who are going to be inconsiderate won't read it. 😕

Quite so, but I soon became aware that many of those on the Camino have no experience of communal living, never having had to do military service, or being members of groups of scouts etc. As well, many have not attended the pilgrim training sessions so helpfully provided by many national pilgrims' groups. I think many of them honestly have never thought about it, and really don't have a clue, and would like to know. A brief guide would help them. But obviously, not everybody!
 

davebugg

A Pilgrimage is time I spend praying with my feet
Year of past OR future Camino
2019
My daddy was a career Army soldier. He ended his military career as a Sergeant Major, having spent his last 15 years in various capacities as a training NCO within various subsets of the Infantry Branch of the U.S. Army. . . Jungle Warfare, Arctic and Mountain Warfare, Desert Warfare. We were a family of 6 kids, growing up on Army bases, with parents that had to deal with a very tight budget.

Many Forum members likely have the same attitude instilled into them from childhood, that was a core value passed on by mom and dad: Do not be a doormat, but be considerate of others to the point of assessing how, what you are doing or want to do, impacts others around you. Try not to be an intrusive force. Reciprocity is NOT to be expected or required. This was my parents notion of going beyond the letter of 'Do Unto Others', to focusing on the Spirit of the Golden Rule.

It was also likely their attempt to have us 6 kids figure out how to survive together in somewhat 'cramped' quarters where there was infrequent opportunity to be truly alone inside those quarters.

Albergue life, to me, is one of the few serious 'testing points' to the above. Differing cultures each with different upbringings and behavioral norms, all viewing THIER sense of propriety as 'The Norm'. Diverse opinions on behavior, hygiene, personal space, even varying views on allowing circulating fresh air from open windows at night. . .

As an Introvert, a compelling case can be made to separate myself from the masses, and seek individual accommodations. And I have and will do so. . sometimes. But there is something compelling about communal dormitory life as a pilgrim; I don't know if it is compelling because of the challenge, or because of a sense that it is an essential part of the experience, or because sometimes a great connection is made with someone from another culture (or your own country), or if it comes under the heading of being a gawking 'lookie-loo' at traffic accidents. Probably a combination of all of the above.

Anyway, I have no specific point, this thread just sorta triggered a series of personal thoughts on the issue.
 
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wayfarer

Moderator
Staff member
Year of past OR future Camino
2012
Quite so, but I soon became aware that many of those on the Camino have no experience of communal living, never having had to do military service, or being members of groups of scouts etc. As well, many have not attended the pilgrim training sessions so helpfully provided by many national pilgrims' groups. I think many of them honestly have never thought about it, and really don't have a clue, and would like to know. A brief guide would help them. But obviously, not everybody!
I have no military experience, had no experience in communal living except being from a large family nor did I attend pilgrim training and I never had any problems when I hitch hiked around Europe in the 70's or walked the Camino in 2012. As I said in an earlier post, behave decently and just make rules for yourself and you will be fine.
 
Hi all … I received Ivar’s pilgrimage update, the world is beginning to open up again .. as well as veterans going through their kit there are plenty of brand new pre-pilgrims planning, some confident, some rather nervous, so I thought I would start a ‘do this’ and ‘don’t do that’ thread. Starting with refugios/albergues.

For first time pilgrims – it is like going to big school; you are nervous a few days before, a bit frightened on the day, then you turn up wondering about how to do Everything, you don't know anyone and you feel lost - but after just a few days you know how it all works and slip into the rhythm, you belong – refugios are like that.

Refugios – at first they are really strange, uncomfortable, daunting, but then, just a few days later? They are home, each one is a refuge, a pleasant home, and all is well.

So some things not to do in a refugio
1. Don’t be impatient or rude or demanding to the hospitalero.
2. Don’t wear your outdoor footwear indoors.
3. Don’t get wildly drunk and ruin everyone else’s night.
4. Don’t get up in the dark early morning and start re-packing your rucksack by your bunk (do it the night before or carry it all quietly out of the dormitory and sort it elsewhere).
5. Don’t give pennies in a donativo (donations, not fixed price) refugio – be generous, really, be generous.

Some things to do
1. Be grateful. Spain owes you nothing. The Camino owes you nothing. Be grateful, for everything.
2. Be kind. If you see someone with an equipment problem, or looking sad, or hurt, or lonely – be kind, offer help (but don’t be upset if it is refused, they will remember the offer).
3. Be willing to move bunks. You have a bottom bunk and someone old or exhausted or injured comes in later? Offer them your bunk so they don’t have to climb to a top bunk.
4. Be discreet, don’t stare at half-dressed pilgrims, shield your eyes.
5. Do switch your phone off, so you don’t wake the whole dorm when a message comes in.

Oh – there is So much more! 🤔😉

Buen Camino!
I love this and I have experienced all the good parts and the bad parts on my 3 Camino journeys. Thanks for sharing.
 

Camino Chrissy

Take one step forward...then keep on walking..
Year of past OR future Camino
Frances 2015;
Norte/Primitivo 2016;
Frances 2017;
Le Puy 2018;
Portuguese/FishermanTr. 2019
Remember that older may go 4 to 5 time to the bathroom per night and they will keep you awake all night. They also fear the lader to...
Oh good! I must still be young.🙂 My feet, however, hate the ladders!
 

margritdv

New Member
Good list David. My friends who walked last year when restrictions eased up during the summer mostly stayed in hotels, pensions etc, but on the occasions they stayed in dorms they said be aware that some Albergues are lax on distancing etc, so my suggestion( if it is important to you from a safety point of view) check out the arrangements such as their distancing between sleepers , are the rooms well ventilated and likely to stay that way, what can you do to help such as talking outside etc. It's a bit of a bum note I have sounded here but this is where we are at the moment.

Buen Camino
I found room ventilation quite a problem.
Certain nationalities just do not like sleeping with windows open and been in situations (before covid) where it was stinking hot, at least 20 to the room and people kept on closing the window🙄😉
 

trecile

Camino Addict
Year of past OR future Camino
Francés (2016 & 2017), Norte (2018), Francés-Salvador-Norte (2019), Portuguese (2019)
I found room ventilation quite a problem.
Certain nationalities just do not like sleeping with windows open and been in situations (before covid) where it was stinking hot, at least 20 to the room and people kept on closing the window🙄😉
Hopefully, with the increased focus on ventilation those attitudes will change.
 
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Deleted member 61803

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Oh good! I must still be young.🙂 My feet, however, hate the ladders!
Due to the bladder I hate the ladder.

Actually, truthfully, the rungs cause my bare feet quite a lot of discomfort. I've never worked out an easy way to get up and down without footwear.
Rarely happened on Camino due to my obvious age and grey beard. But happens quite often in UK YHAs since most walking people who use them have their bus passes, it seems to me.
Does anyone have a rule for this?
 

Jean Ti

Active Member
I remember sleeping in a dormitory were 76 pilgrims were sleeping in the same room. I mean in the same space... If you have a light sleep. You will ear a symphonic orquestra in action in the middle of the night with a rare varieties of sounds

I wonder if this music would be selling if recorded properly... Perhaps on this site were we have knowledgeable and expérience people.
 
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dick bird

Active Member
Year of past OR future Camino
Plata, Ingles, Madrid, Norte, Primitivo, Invierno, Aragones, Olvidado, Chemin D'Arles
I’ve found that usually you’re assigned a bed by the hospitalero
Usually, if the hospitalero is there when you arrive. For hospis, it means they can keep a running tally of how many people are in the albergue, avoid bunk reserving and also assign lower bunks to people who need one (rather than people who prefer one). When we worked as hospis, we numbered the bunks to make this easier (odd numbers were lower bunks). However, a lot of albergues are staffed by local volunteers who cannot be there all the time or council employees who have to go home at some time in the day. This is much more common on caminos other than the Francés but I guess not unknown even there.
 
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peregrina2000

Moderator
Staff member
Due to the bladder I hate the ladder.

Actually, truthfully, the rungs cause my bare feet quite a lot of discomfort. I've never worked out an easy way to get up and down without footwear.

I am surprised at how many people I see going down the ladder from a top bunk facing out. Much easier to have your body facing the bed, in fact you can usually just slide down to the floor without using the ladder at all. Going up, though, you’ll probably need to use the ladder unless you hold some sort of a record for high jumping.
 

CalgaryLynn

Active Member
Year of past OR future Camino
2021
On four long caminos, I have only twice been kept awake for most of a night by the actions of other pilgrims. The first time was on my very first night on camino, at Orisson. Every bed in a small dorm was occupied (me in a bottom bunk) and the windows all shut tight when I came to bed. The stuffiness kept me awake most of the night, until I discovered that the small washroom near my bed had a window, which I left open, as well as the door from the washroom, which was near my bunk, and I then fell asleep. The second occasion was in an albergue where I had the bottom bunk and the top bunk was occupied by a sturdy young man who tossed and turned energetically for most of the night. Both nights, I used ear plugs and was undisturbed by the snores of the sleepers. Maybe I have just been lucky or else very tired after walking.
I am exactly the same way. At home, I have to have an open window and fresh air or I can't sleep. It can be -20C and I leave my window open a smidge.
 
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Camino Chrissy

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Frances 2017;
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Portuguese/FishermanTr. 2019
I am surprised at how many people I see going down the ladder from a top bunk facing out. Much easier to have your body facing the bed, in fact you can usually just slide down to the floor without using the ladder at all. Going up, though, you’ll probably need to use the ladder unless you hold some sort of a record for high jumping.
Interesting you mention that, Laurie. I will never forget the young new college grad fom the US who had the top bunk across the aisle from me on the Norte. She was at least 6' tall with very long legs and must have been a high jumper. I literally witnessed her jump up onto her bunk backwards without using the ladder a number of times. It was amazing to see!
We shared dinner together that night. Here she is on the right and a German gal on the left.
Screenshot_20210601-212719~2.png
 
Year of past OR future Camino
2002, Toulouse/Aragon 2005, Cami S Jaume/Aragon 2007/9, Mont Saint Michel/Norte/Vadiniense 2011, Norte/Primitivo 2013, Norte/Primitivo 2014. Norte 2015, Cami S Jaume/Castellano-Aragonese 2016
I have no military experience, had no experience in communal living except being from a large family nor did I attend pilgrim training and I never had any problems when I hitch hiked around Europe in the 70's or walked the Camino in 2012. As I said in an earlier post, behave decently and just make rules for yourself and you will be fine.
Indeed, but if we all had the same rule book for behaving decently, this would have been a very short thread.
 

Sam - AU

Member
Year of past OR future Camino
Camino Frances - Apr/May 2018, Feb/Mar 2019 .... upcoming Nov/Dec 2019
Definitely PLEASE pack your bag or at least 90% of it the night before.

On the Donativo point, so many people have infuriated me by saying that it was 'Free', pay at least what the going Municipal Albergue rate is, if it includes a meal add on the average price of a pilgrim menu.

Also one of the stranger experiences I had on one of my caminos, was that every day after showers most of the men would lay around their bunks in their underwear. They genuinely weren't being 'creepy', they just felt way too comfortable. As a female, and with these guys being as old as my dad, it disturbed me greatly to think if my dad went on a trip and was doing that around women strangers and younger women.
 
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Year of past OR future Camino
2002, Toulouse/Aragon 2005, Cami S Jaume/Aragon 2007/9, Mont Saint Michel/Norte/Vadiniense 2011, Norte/Primitivo 2013, Norte/Primitivo 2014. Norte 2015, Cami S Jaume/Castellano-Aragonese 2016
Definitely PLEASE pack your bag or at least 90% of it the night before.

On the Donativo point, so many people have infuriated me by saying that it was 'Free', pay at least what the going Municipal Albergue rate is, if it includes a meal add on the average price of a pilgrim menu.

Also one of the stranger experiences I had on one of my caminos, was that every day after showers most of the men would lay around their bunks in their underwear. They genuinely weren't being 'creepy', they just felt way too comfortable. As a female, and with these guys being as old as my dad, it disturbed me greatly to think if my dad went on a trip and was doing that around women strangers and younger women.
Things may have changed since my albergue days (for the past 7 caminos I used private accommodation) but I encountered this phenonomon among women pilgrims, generally German and Dutch, and of all ages. I assumed that this was for their comfort and not my benefit so I ignored it and read or chatted. As a Saxon pilgrim I met noted, textiles and modestry are not necessarily linked.
 
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Sam - AU

Member
Year of past OR future Camino
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Things may have changed since my albergue days (for the past 7 caminos I used private accommodation) but I encountered this phenonomon among women pilgrims, generally German and Dutch, and of all ages. I assumed that this was for their comfort and not my benefit so I ignored it and read or chatted. As a Saxon pilgrim I met noted, textiles and modestry are not necessarily linked.
Haha! Oh wow, women too! Maybe it’s you and I that have an unrealistic preference for strangers to be clothed 😂
 

Albertagirl

Veteran Member
Year of past OR future Camino
Frances (2015); Aragones-Frances (2016); VdlP-Sanabres (2017); Madrid-Frances-Invierno (2019)Levante
Haha! Oh wow, women too! Maybe it’s you and I that have an unrealistic preference for strangers to be clothed 😂
I am currently lounging around wrapped in a towel after my morning bath. I would not be comfortable in underwear in the presence of persons of both genders. But I can understand how persons whose bodies are hot and moist after bathing, or showering, might not want to put clothing on over wet bodies or damp underwear, while at the same time getting out of the bathing area so that others might shower. In warm weather, dressing when damp might leave clothing wet for much of the day: not very comfortable.
Edit: It will be 31 degrees in Calgary today, which is maybe why I was thinking of comfort before modesty.
 
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trecile

Camino Addict
Year of past OR future Camino
Francés (2016 & 2017), Norte (2018), Francés-Salvador-Norte (2019), Portuguese (2019)
Also one of the stranger experiences I had on one of my caminos, was that every day after showers most of the men would lay around their bunks in their underwear.
I guess that I have gotten used to that. However that guy in the orange thong.... that was another matter!
 
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Haha! Oh wow, women too! Maybe it’s you and I that have an unrealistic preference for strangers to be clothed 😂
As I noted, many Europeans do not link modesty with textiles. One of my rosary-rattling friends quotes St John Paul II to the effect that there is nothing impure in the human body, only that which we bring to it. My preferences in such matters, should they exist, are in the aesthetic, even if it be the aesthetic of a person who is lively in their body, and defiant of age and infirmity.
 
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David Tallan

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1989
Definitely PLEASE pack your bag or at least 90% of it the night before.

On the Donativo point, so many people have infuriated me by saying that it was 'Free', pay at least what the going Municipal Albergue rate is, if it includes a meal add on the average price of a pilgrim menu.

Also one of the stranger experiences I had on one of my caminos, was that every day after showers most of the men would lay around their bunks in their underwear. They genuinely weren't being 'creepy', they just felt way too comfortable. As a female, and with these guys being as old as my dad, it disturbed me greatly to think if my dad went on a trip and was doing that around women strangers and younger women.
I have never done so in an albergue BUT...

As a guy, we are raised to think it is acceptable in a number of social situations (e.g. swimming pool, beach - even if not swimming, etc.) to be attired in just a bathing suit. These bathing suits often do not cover more than underwear does. And, on the Camino, not everyone packs a bathing suit and I've heard of people on Camino just swimming in their underwear instead. Perhaps these men see lying in their bed as equivalent to lying in their bed in a bathing suit - not completely inappropriate for mixed company.
 
Year of past OR future Camino
2019
not completely inappropriate for mixed company.
Perhaps. But a beach or pool are big spacious places. The dorm of some albergues? Not so much.

Personally, I live in a place where modesty is a cultural trait, and in a situation where genders' living quarters are strictly separated. On my first camino I was shocked when realizing the situation on the camino is the opposite.
:eek:o_O
Eeeek. Flesh!
🤣🤣🤣

I don't like it, but guarding the eyes is a refuge, especially when an overweight mamil parades inches from my bunk with next to nothing on.
 
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mspath

Veteran Member
Year of past OR future Camino
Frances, autumn/winter; 2004, 2005-2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015
The worst is a guy on the top bunk, displaying pretty much everything when he comes down the ladder.
😲
Word to the wise: don't put the head of your sleeping bag next to the ladder if you can avoid it.
🙃
VN,
Brings back Viana 2013 memories !!
 

Camino Chrissy

Take one step forward...then keep on walking..
Year of past OR future Camino
Frances 2015;
Norte/Primitivo 2016;
Frances 2017;
Le Puy 2018;
Portuguese/FishermanTr. 2019
VN,
Brings back Viana 2013 memories !!
I just read your memories post again. Oh my! I think I would be blushing in the dark if my face could be seen, and for sure I would have put my pillow over my head if I had no earplugs! Yikes...glad it was your experience and not mine!
 

trecile

Camino Addict
Year of past OR future Camino
Francés (2016 & 2017), Norte (2018), Francés-Salvador-Norte (2019), Portuguese (2019)
The worst is a guy on the top bunk, displaying pretty much everything when he comes down the ladder.
😲
Word to the wise: don't put the head of your sleeping bag next to the ladder if you can avoid it.
🙃
If you are on the bottom bunk hanging your towel by your head is a good strategy for guarding your eyes.
 

Albertagirl

Veteran Member
Year of past OR future Camino
Frances (2015); Aragones-Frances (2016); VdlP-Sanabres (2017); Madrid-Frances-Invierno (2019)Levante
Great idea! I never thought of that.
But then I'm guessing your towel is much bigger than mine - which is about the size of an average dishcloth.:oops:
But those who carry a sarong (I don't) are really in luck.
My towel is about the size of two dishcloths, and would not do much for "custody of the eyes."
 
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JillGat

la tierra encantada
Year of past OR future Camino
2018
I relish my time alone, walking the Camino. I do meet people along the way who become friends and I enjoy stopping for a glass of wine together. But mostly, walking is ideally a solitary experience for me. I see, hear, experience everything so much more when I'm not chatting with somebody. I'm not interested in joining a group I may have to keep up with or slow down for, either.

That being said, I mostly love the albergues. There have been at least two times where I had a reservation for a private albergue or room and stopped before that (eating the cost of my reservation) to stay in the municipal albergue instead because it looked really appealing.

Yes, I am judgmental - one might say even a bit intolerant - and can let myself get seriously annoyed by people who apply strong smelling ointments on their feet in a communal room. My earplugs mostly block out the snorers, but sometimes not the plastic bag rustlers early in the morning. But I also come away with good stories: the bald Italian guy on the bunk below mine who carried a hand-held hair dryer, which he used to dry the pages of his guidebook. The woman who made a scene about not wanting a bunk anywhere near where men might be, because they snore. Then she dropped into an afternoon nap and you have NEVER HEARD SNORING LIKE THAT IN YOUR LIFE! I tape recorded it. The time I shared a two-bed room with a Korean man who proudly weilded a big can of bug poison, which he liberally powdered all around the base of his bed and then mine. Cough cough! A guy sitting next to my bed, clipping his toenails liberally, all around my bunk. The Romanian guy I met in the common room; I had a wonderful bottle of Bierzo wine and offered some to him. Later, I went back to my bed and he had left a cake; a Whole Cake, on my bed as thanks.

I don't know if it ties into my love of slumber parties when I was a young girl, but I feel comforted and protected, staying in an albergue. I miss it.
 

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Camino Chrissy

Take one step forward...then keep on walking..
Year of past OR future Camino
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Frances 2017;
Le Puy 2018;
Portuguese/FishermanTr. 2019
Jill, I loved reading your amusing little stories! My first chuckle of the morning. 🙂
 

Sam - AU

Member
Year of past OR future Camino
Camino Frances - Apr/May 2018, Feb/Mar 2019 .... upcoming Nov/Dec 2019
I relish my time alone, walking the Camino. I do meet people along the way who become friends and I enjoy stopping for a glass of wine together. But mostly, walking is ideally a solitary experience for me.
Thanks for sharing your memories Jill. Brings back so many funny and delightful cherished memories of my own.
 
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