A little about Albuergues

Casa Asturia in Los Arcos foot pool
If you are contemplating this journey, you are wise to consider your level of patience.  

Everyone has quirks and preferences.  For me, I need the bathroom first thing.  Some people snore and can’t help it.  Some people are hot at night, me included while others are cold.  Some like to arrive and nap, while others like to get up way before the sun rises.  Some have no problem changing clothes in front of any gender while others like me change in the shower stall.

While there is no right way to do El Camino, there are some wrong ways.

First, if you are a light sleeper or snoring bothers you, bring ear plugs (those people can’t help it and you being nasty in the morning is not very pilgrim like).  Ear plugs will also help with sleeping through fiestas and other talking outside.  You may want to sleep early, but the Spanish don’t have to follow your pilgrim schedule.  If lights bother you and you like to go to sleep before lights out or want to sleep in past 5:30 a.m., bring an eye mask.  If you are likely to be cold, bring a blanket.  You can cover yourself if it’s cold, but other pilgrims can’t do anything about a stuffy hot room if you close all windows and doors so you aren’t cold.

For heaven sake, please have some modesty.  Not all cultures are used to watching people they aren’t married to in their birthday suit.  I can’t tell you how many people I can’t unsee.  This is a pilgrimage, not the beaches of Southern Europe.  Use the stalls!

Everyone already knows in many Albuergues your bunk is assigned.  Whatever you do, please stick to your assignment.  It is a very uncomfortable situation for the incoming pilgrim who now may not know what to do.

Showers…thankfully the only 5 minute shower was in Orrison.  However, again this is an area you can earn some scorn.  If you know there are 30 of you awaiting to shower, try to be reasonable.  I never had the ‘run out of hot water’ experience, but just not making your fellow pilgrim wait too long should be enough.

This morning I was in an Albuergue with two sinks in the ladies bathroom.  The ladies were lined up.  Some even already brushing their teeth awaiting and yet the one blocking one of the sinks was simply brushing her hair.  Tomorrow should be interesting as this one has one sink and at least 25 women.

This I’m sure you’ve heard before, but please leave plastic bags at home.  In the Camino we are using a gallon ziplock for our dirty clothes.  That bag only comes out after our afternoon showers so we can take our clothes to the laundry area.  The rest is all in quiet dry sacks.  We’ve seen the glare of other pilgrims, leave plastics at home.

So with this in mind, I urge you, if the Camino is something you wish to do, don’t forget to pack patience and consideration.

Tell me what you think!