FAQ : Attitude


                                                        Etiquette (Richard W. Tripp, Jr.)



  What are the rules of conduct and social interaction—collectively referred to as etiquette--for the Camino?


- When you are on the Camino, you will soon realize that your fellow pilgrims come from many different countries, with widely diverse backgrounds and cultural expectations (such as how close one stands next to the other person when talking).  

- If everyone insisted that the others should behave according to their own national or individual norms, there would be many unhappy pilgrims.

- Adopt a tolerant attitude and realize that perceived slights are unintentional.  

- Part of the experience of the Camino is the opportunity to meet people from other cultures and learning how they think and live.  

- That said, following are some simple rules concerning conduct in albergues  or other Camino lodgings, and while walking on the Camino.



- Boots should be removed when entering the albergues and placed in a designated area to air and dry until people leave the following morning.

- Give your donativo soon after you arrive, so you don’t forget later on.

- Find out what time the doors close, and be back in the albergue by then, or earlier if you can.

- If you arrive before the doors are opened, wait your turn to sign in when they do open. Don't jump the queue.

- Share. Be kind and thoughtful. Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.

- Keep your backpack and gear near your bunk and do not use excessive space, crowding other pilgrims.

- If you are abled-bodied and have attained or been assigned a lower bunk, if the place is filling up fast, and an elderly or obviously-suffering pilgrim arrives, give them your lower and take the upper.

- Elderly and infirm pilgrims should always have lower bunks.

- Younger and sprier pilgrims must sometimes give up what might be “rightfully” theirs, just as one would do on the bus or subway.

- The space under the bunk is to be shared by both occupants. Save half for the other person.

- Use some sort of sleep sack on your bunk.

- Don't walk around in your underwear.

- The chair is there for everyone to sit on. It is not yours for pack storage just because you got there first.

- Clean up after yourself in the shower area--and everywhere else.

- Take short showers so others will have hot water.

- Be quiet. There will be people trying to sleep according to their needs, which may not correspond to your times of activity. Respect their rights to undisturbed sleep.

- If you wish to rise and get started early in the morning before others get up, organize your belongings the night before, so your departure preparations will not disturb the others who are still trying to sleep.

- If you need an alarm to get up, use the lowest setting possible, so only you will be awoken.

- Some people will snore. If you have a tendency to do so, take action to minimize it. If you don't, protect yourself with earplugs.

- Share clothesline space. If the albergue is filling up, adjust your space so others have some room on the line. Remove your laundry as soon as it is dry.


  On the Camino

- Whether you are walking by yourself or with someone else, be alert to others walking faster than you do, and adjust your position so that they can pass.

- If you are overtaking, let the people ahead know you are there and wish to pass. Do not assume that you are making enough noise with your footsteps, labored breathing, and walking stick.

- If you are overtaking by bicycle, do not assume that a noise that is a clear signal to other bicyclists will be recognized by walkers from another country as such.  A misunderstanding resulting in a wrong move can lead to injury at worst and bad feelings at a minimum.

- Do not get so absorbed in conversation with a companion that you ignore your surroundings; your voices may also drown out sounds, such as bird song, for other pilgrims.

- Don't forget to pack toilet paper (seems like they're always out in the morning) and a plastic trowel (any outdoors store) for a "cat hole," should you need to “take advantage” of the countryside. Most of the Camino is semi-desert; what you leave behind will not decompose soon, and in any case your follow walkers do not want to see it. Bury it or pack it out, just like dog poop in the park.



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