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The Camino Albergue: Don’t Fear the Bunk Bed!


Five fabulous facts about Camino bunk-beds-

You have decided to walk the Camino de Santiago, bags are packed and you have everything you need, a plane ticket is bought. You are expecting a leisurely walk with a few minor hills, lovely hostels, and Albergues along the way.  It will be a time to spend the night relaxing and meeting new friends.

For the most part, this is true, but if you have ever shared a bedroom with a sibling and bunk beds you know what this warning is about.  OK, a warning may be too strong of a word, maybe caution is better or how about make you aware of, yes that’s good.

Albergue Bunk beds
Our very first Albergue in Pamplona

Wikipedia knows:

A bunk bed is a type of bed in which one bed frame is stacked on top of another. The nature of bunk beds allows two or more people to sleep in the same room while maximizing available floor space for activities. This leads to them being used in places with limited floor space, such as on ships and in army garrisons or in places where floor space needs to be maximized, such as dormitories, summer camp cabins, hostels, children’s rooms, prison cells, or university residence halls.  In Spanish, it is called: “La Litera”

The Albergue Upper Bunk

The upper bed is for many a kind of bogey – man.   Of course, it is possible to drop out of it. As often as you may drop out of your futon-bed. It just hurts a little bit more. But – the upper bed is to prefer:  if you ever had the lower bunk-bed and had a good view on the underneath of a quite “antique” mattress, you know what I mean.

Most of the bunk beds that we came across were metal. That means the ladder to climb up and down are metal bars which really hurt the feet and that’s the last thing you want. Bring your flip flops or sandals to the bed with you and slip them on before you climb the ladder.

Camino Bed Bugs

Wooden bunkbeds are like paradise for bedbugs. They love to settle in the cracks and corners of the wooden frames. Bunk-beds made of iron or synthetic materials are not so attractive to bugs.

There is a very interesting phenomenon to be witnessed in every Albergue: There are beds which seem to attract people more than others. Try to avoid those! The more popular the bed, the higher the risk of a bedbug population living in it.

We found bed bugs only once and it was too late we paid and there was nowhere else to go. It was a private room with a bathroom so all the bags, everything went into the tubs for the night.

The Albergue Lower Bunk

There are rules for upper and lower bunks. Although they are easy, they are not well known. The piles (headboard bars) of the upper bunk belong to the upper bed! This is the only space the upper sleeper has to hang up his items.  The bars are not a wardrobe for the clothes of the low bunk sleeper. It is not very nice for someone to sleep close to the sweaty or even filthy stuff of someone else. The low-bunk sleeper is able to put his stuff smoothly on the ground, which the upper bunk sleeper can´t or on their lower bars.  As you see, it is very disrespectful and selfish to reserve any available space if you are a “low-bunker”.

Btw: The same counts for the funny idea of some (mostly female) pilgrims to place their clothes under the upper mattress as a kind of curtain. Just imagine some neighbour would use a wall of your house for his construction work, just because it’s so convenient.

Camino Albergue
Beware the Albergue triple bunk bed
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