Buenas Dias. Buen Camino. Gracias. Por favor. Spanish words that everyone walking the Camino learn quickly. Greet everyone with a “good morning” and then wishes for a safe Camino. Thank you and please are polite words in any circumstance, but especially appropriate for the volunteers at albergues who donate their time and hard work to make your stay pleasant.
Early in my Camino, I walked into a café and ordered a hot drink without first greeting the proprietor. He looked me in the eye and said “Good morning.” Humbled, I replied in kind. Since that day, I always acknowledge the person waiting on me. Lesson learned.
As I progressed westward on the Camino, I observed that pilgrims became more and more considerate. I am not sure if this was the result of slowing down from fast-paced lives or because of the developing sense of community. I also observed that pilgrims who were only walking the last 100 km were not tuned into the “pilgrim etiquette.”
To help others become considerate pilgrims, I wrote the following guidelines.
Guidelines on pilgrim etiquette
- Be quiet.
- Respect other pilgrim’s space and property.
- Follow the albergue rules and do not demand special treatment.
- Leave the albergue, kitchen, and bathroom clean. Ask yourself if you would like to eat off the plate you washed or brush your teeth in the sink you used.
- Be hygienic. Do not lance blisters while sitting on the bed or where body fluids can contaminate an area.
- Do not carry bedbugs with you. If you get them, have your belongings professionally fumigated.
- Do not put your backpack on the bed, because it could infect or get infected with bedbugs.
- Do not litter.
- Do not shine your headlamp at people.
- Do not take toilet paper from the albergues or bars. Buy your own—biodegradable is best.
- Do not be judgmental—each person walks her own Camino.