Camino Tip No. 20: Take along a shower caddy

Camino Tip No. 20: Take along a shower caddyIt is such a delight to take a shower after walking hours on the Camino. If the weather is dry, dust clings to your body; if it is wet, mud cakes onto the legs. I always felt better following a shower—hot or cold.

Most albergues have separate male and female shower rooms. A few have only one, but with individual stalls. Many run out of hot water in the late afternoon, so it is wise to shower first, before doing other chores. In hopes of conserving water, some albergues have controls that you push for a time-limited amount of water. This can get tricky, especially when the time is set for only a few seconds. When the time limits on the hot and cold controls are different, you juggle pushing the buttons, washing,  and getting scalded or frozen. If you have such controls, consider using your walking poles to keep them depressed, jamming on end on the shower door or wall and the other on the control. This way, you will have both hands free to wash up.

Most showers have no shelf for soap, shampoo, and other toiletries. Many have no dry place to hang your clothes and towel; it seems that all the hooks are in the direct splash area. In Galicia, the showers had no door or shower curtain—and no place to hang clothes. My tiny quick-dry towel could not hide my body as I walked across the room to get my clothes.

I placed my clothes in a plastic shopping bag and hung that with a bungee cord on the outside of the door,  if there was one, or from anything that might shield the clothes. Shoes get wet; carrying shower thongs is helpful.  On my next Camino, I will carry a 4.5-ounce toiletry caddy that has a pocket that I will use for clothes. I am hoping that it if I face it away from the shower, the water-resistant fabric will keep my clothes and towel dry. At least, it will provide a place to put everything.

After taking a shower, be prepared to mop the floors. For some reason, most showers leak into the room. For this reason, albergues leave a mop and pail in the shower rooms for the pilgrims to sponge up the water. Picking up after yourself becomes part of the pilgrim routine.

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