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Being alone in the albergues?

cozumel

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Madrid (Easter 2019); Frances (summer 2019)
Hi everyone, this is my 1st post although I've been reading the forum since November 2018! I haven't found any answer to a question I've been asking myself for a few days now:
I'm walking the Madrid camino in April this year, and all the info I've seen is about how lonely this camino is. I'm not a very social girl so for me it's perfect! But I just realized that although during the daytime it doesn't worry me at all, I'm having visions of being locked up in an albergue in some remote village with the one "fellow" male pilgrim and not feeling so good about it :oops:.
Am I paranoid? Is anyone on site during the night? Should I change my plans?
I haven't seen anything about this particular subject and am relying on your wise advice and experience.
To give a little bit of context, I'm a solo female traveler, I tend to have quite a strong survival instinct and stay away from trouble ;)
So should I stay in the albergues or should I book private rooms?
Thanks in advance and looking forwards to your insight. Charlotte.
 

Rebekah Scott

Camino Busybody
Camino(s) past & future
Many, various, and continuing.
Charlotte, I am a woman and I like traveling alone. I've walked the Madrid route, and I've slept alone in the albergues at times.
The smaller places give you the key, so you can lock yourself in. If another pilgrim arrives, you have to open the door and let him/her in, which gives you a chance to scope them out. Happily for me, later arrivals were very rare, and were uniformly decent, upstanding, equally exhausted people who were not interested in assaulting me.
The hospitalero's phone number was always prominently displayed, and/or I'd already stopped at their house to get the key. If I had trouble I could lock myself in the bathroom and phone the hospi, or leave the albergue and call or go to their house for help.
The only problem I ever ran into when alone was some noisy kids banging on the windows in the middle of the night, giggling their heads off. I whipped open the window and roared at them, and they ran screaming away! They obviously were having the time of their lives.
The Madrid is lonesome, but it's not dangerous. Or at least I never found it so.
 

Stephen F.

carpintero de Colorado
Camino(s) past & future
Caminho Português 2015
Via de la Plata 2016
cozumel,

There are 2 parts to your question.
1. Are you likely to find yourself alone or in a very sparsely populated albergue. I have not walked the Camino de Madrid, but 2 years ago I walked on the Via de la Plata north of Puebla de Sanabria and found myself alone in an albergue once, and in sparsely populated ones (2 to 5 people) several times. So, yes, I think that scenario is likely in parts of your Camino.

2. Does that pose a risk, or should it at least make you feel uncomfortable. That is a personal judgement. I am an older male (71) and may not be completely qualified to offer an opinion (though I have a wife and 2 daughters). In my experience, the alberques on the Via de la Plata had no one on site apart from pilgrims at night. The walking was quite solitary for the most part until I got into Galicia and even then was not crowded at all. Ourense was the first place where alberques were full. If walking alone through pretty deserted areas doesn't bother you I would not think staying in an alberque should. Still, you have to be guided by your own judgement. I will say I met a Spanish woman of about 70 on that Camino who had walked all the way from Sevilla alone. She had also walked several other Caminos solo. She said no one had ever bothered her.
 

nycwalking

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
CF: (2001, 2002, 2004, 2014). Hospitalera: 2002, Ponferrada. 2004, Rabanal del Camino.
I’ve been on CF in winter twice.

Which means I was alone in albergues a few times and a few times with a strange man or men. I was okay.

The only time I had a problem was with the refugio owner in a one horse through town. He checked on me once by hollering upstairs. He checked on me twice by coming upstairs. He checked on me a third time by entering room to tell me he was leaving for the night.

At that point I waited. If I heard his car drive off then off to sleep. If not, I was going to leave albergue and walk on to next pit stop. I heard the car.

The female radar you use in day-to-day life will suffice on camino.

Buen camino.
 

RJM

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
A few times
I stayed in an albergue on the Frances a few years ago where it was just myself and another pilgrim, a woman a few years younger than I. At closing when the hospitalero left and bid adieu, we each took one side of the albergue to ourselves with our own private bathroom and shower on each side. It was kind of cool. Neither of us felt uncomfortable and even went to dinner together.
 

OzAnnie

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
'Portuguese,Frances,Norte,Salvador/primitivo,Le puy, Inglés, CDM, Invierno, Fin/Mux, VDLP spring19
Hi @cozumel
Don’t give up yet.
I walked CdM last March but teamed up before then with 2 other forum ladies to leave Madrid together. We got on fine so kept together.

There are a few great albergues along the way - it would be a shame to miss them. You’ll more than likely end up solo but as has been said earlier .. you can make yourself safe indoors. Locks etc.

It’s very very unusual to run into other pilgrims who would frighten you.. if anything ., they will help you along the way.

If you’re not happy being in an albergue solo before you turn lights out ., find the town bar .(when you get the key, ask where things are available), then eat out and enjoy the local company until closer to your sleep time.

There are places on this route where we stayed in private rooms because there was no albergue so you’ll get a variety.

Good luck ,
Buen camino
Annie
 

marjude

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
4/2011 VdlP,
4/2014 Rota Vincentina, Portugues.
4/2016 Aragones, Frances.
4/2019 Madrid, Frances
Hi Charlotte, I walked the Aragones in 2016 and was completely alone each day and I only had 2 pilgrims join me in an Albergue of a night and one was a lady and another night a Frenchmen and I felt safe, both were walking long days so I didn’t see them again.
I always carry 2 small rubber chocks and if I feel uncomfortable when I’m alone I push then under the door, I don’t know if they would keep an intruder out but my theory is they would not be able to sneak up on me.

I’m also walking the Madrid in April starting on the 5th, when are you walking?
Buen Camino judy
 

Kiwi-family

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Past: (2012, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2018)-Frances, Baztan, San Salvador, Primitivo, Fisterra,VdlP, Madrid
I shared your concern before walking the Madrid (my first solo camino) last year.
At Tres Cantos I couldn't use the albergue as it was the weekend but the second night when I got to Mataelpino my fear was realised....it was me and one Danish gentleman. The hospitalera gave us one dorm each:) Even so, I blockaded a chair against the door before I went to bed that night. In the morning I felt very silly when I saw the man's neatly folded sheet left lying on the counter - he truly was a gentleman.
Next day I did just the short hop to Cercedilla and stopped coz the heat and jetlag were beating me. As I completed a leisurely lunch on a patio at the resturant near the polideportivo a French pilgrim joined me. We chatted for a couple of hours and that gave me plenty of time to scope him out and decide I was OK with sharing the highly mirrored gym with him! 53068
Note the respectable distance between our piles of gear! And it's only now that I notice I was nearest the door for escape!
That night signalled the end of my concerns. We ended up frequently being at the same place and that became strangely reassuring.
Everything @Rebekah Scott says is true!

The only slight concern was an elderly gentleman in Santa Maria Real de Nieva who invited me to his home a couple of times. If that happened to you I am certain your response would be exactly the same as mine (NO WAY!) He was elderly, walked with a cane and was no real threat at all.

I ended up alone in the dungeon of the palace (that's what it felt like after dark!) at Grajal de Campos, but by then I was delighted to finally be getting a night by myself - I had looked forward to a solitary camino, but had had at least one other in the albergues every night.

Obviously I cannot know what your tolerance for aloneness is, or how comfortable you will be with a lone stranger, but I would not hesitate to go alone again, and would no longer even be concerned about this aspect of a solo camino.
 

KinkyOne

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
I'am not perfect, but I'm always myself!!!
...Even so, I blockaded a chair against the door before I went to bed that night. In the morning I felt very silly when I saw the man's neatly folded sheet left lying on the counter - he truly was a gentleman.
...
Well, some of us are gentleman. Or maybe just too tired for waiting for that mating call ? ;)
 
Last edited:

FLEUR

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances 2012 - 2016
I stayed in a tiny 6 bed auberge in Aulnay (Voie de Tours France). The dormitory had only three sets of bunks in one room. I shared that room. Just me, a senior lady, sharing with one charming 36 year old French guy. No problem whatsoever. He slept nearest the far end by the window, I slept near the door and rickety stairs.
Actually he had tendonitis in his knee and could barely walk, he had to abandon his walk next day. We had great conversation on the arrival evening, shared tea etc.
The monastery at Urdax on the Baztan Camino had no locks on entrance door. I found this a bit spooky but I was with my 3 female companions. Just us, in a large dormitory, we had the place to ourselves.
 

Craig White

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
May 2018
Hi everyone, this is my 1st post although I've been reading the forum since November 2018! I haven't found any answer to a question I've been asking myself for a few days now:
I'm walking the Madrid camino in April this year, and all the info I've seen is about how lonely this camino is. I'm not a very social girl so for me it's perfect! But I just realized that although during the daytime it doesn't worry me at all, I'm having visions of being locked up in an albergue in some remote village with the one "fellow" male pilgrim and not feeling so good about it :oops:.
Am I paranoid? Is anyone on site during the night? Should I change my plans?
I haven't seen anything about this particular subject and am relying on your wise advice and experience.
To give a little bit of context, I'm a solo female traveler, I tend to have quite a strong survival instinct and stay away from trouble ;)
So should I stay in the albergues or should I book private rooms?
Thanks in advance and looking forwards to your insight. Charlotte.
I've stayed in a few albergues alone and with another pilgrim
 

LTfit

Veteran Member
I totally agree with Reb regarding the Camino de Madrid. I walked it this past June alone and was many times alone in an albergue or with only one or two others. Granted, this was not my first walk along a solitary Camino but I never felt unsafe.
 

jpflavin1

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
CF(10,11,17), Vasco(12), Salvador(13), CP(13), CN(14), Madrid (16), Mozarabe (18), VdlP(19)
Hi everyone, this is my 1st post although I've been reading the forum since November 2018! I haven't found any answer to a question I've been asking myself for a few days now:
I'm walking the Madrid camino in April this year, and all the info I've seen is about how lonely this camino is. I'm not a very social girl so for me it's perfect! But I just realized that although during the daytime it doesn't worry me at all, I'm having visions of being locked up in an albergue in some remote village with the one "fellow" male pilgrim and not feeling so good about it :oops:.
Am I paranoid? Is anyone on site during the night? Should I change my plans?
I haven't seen anything about this particular subject and am relying on your wise advice and experience.
To give a little bit of context, I'm a solo female traveler, I tend to have quite a strong survival instinct and stay away from trouble ;)
So should I stay in the albergues or should I book private rooms?
Thanks in advance and looking forwards to your insight. Charlotte.
Charlotte:

I was never uncomfortable in any of the Albergues I stayed in when I walked the Madrid. As I recall, they were all in nice communities and often run by the local association. I found them comfortable and welcoming.

Colemenar Viejo - I stayed in a room at a women's house. very safe and private - 20 euro's, I walked a long 1st day. No Albergue available.

Mataelpino - very clean in the heart of a small village and near everything. I believe this building is also used for some community activities. 8 Euro's.

Cercedilla - I stayed in the Albergue Juvenal, through the town at the base of the next day climb. 19 Euro's - I forget if that included food but since I was leaving early in the morning they gave me a meal to go.

Segovia - I stayed in a Hostel. First place I came across after an exhausting day walking over a snowy mountain top. This is the only real tough day on the Madrid, imo. Bonus, I had a foot of snow for 7km's.

Santa Maria - Off hand I do not recall this Albergue

Coca - Nor this one though I did stay here.

Alcazaren - Key in town, albergue very clean Bathroom shower all one open room, two or 3 restaurant/bars in town.

Puente Duero - Nice albergue with a Hospitalero, I cooked here, but eating out options available. very clean property with a nice outside area.

Penaflor - Nice Albergue with washing machine. Key, food everything at bar.

Medina - This is the convent. The nuns will give you food so I cooked here. As you get close to the town stay along the road. The Camino markings will send you on an unnecessary detour. Convent along side the road.

Villalon de Campos - Excellent Albergue, Has everything including a living room with couches, tv and books. This albergue is run by local association. Call number on door of Albergue. This Albergue is well worth the extra 5 km's (flat pedestrian pathway) versus staying in Cuenca de Campos.

I realize safety/comfort is an individual thing. I felt this Camino was safe.

Hope this helps. If you have any further questions, feel free to ask or PM me.

Best regards,
Joe
 

jpflavin1

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
CF(10,11,17), Vasco(12), Salvador(13), CP(13), CN(14), Madrid (16), Mozarabe (18), VdlP(19)
Hi Charlotte, I walked the Aragones in 2016 and was completely alone each day and I only had 2 pilgrims join me in an Albergue of a night and one was a lady and another night a Frenchmen and I felt safe, both were walking long days so I didn’t see them again.
I always carry 2 small rubber chocks and if I feel uncomfortable when I’m alone I push then under the door, I don’t know if they would keep an intruder out but my theory is they would not be able to sneak up on me.

I’m also walking the Madrid in April starting on the 5th, when are you walking?
Buen Camino judy
Charlotte/Judy:

I recommend you check weather forecast before leaving Cercedilla. I walked first week in April and encountered a foot of snow on the mountaintop. It made for a very exhausting 31 km day. A very enjoyable but sparsely traveled Camino.

Ultreya,
Joe
 
Camino(s) past & future
April 2015
Hi everyone, this is my 1st post although I've been reading the forum since November 2018! I haven't found any answer to a question I've been asking myself for a few days now:
I'm walking the Madrid camino in April this year, and all the info I've seen is about how lonely this camino is. I'm not a very social girl so for me it's perfect! But I just realized that although during the daytime it doesn't worry me at all, I'm having visions of being locked up in an albergue in some remote village with the one "fellow" male pilgrim and not feeling so good about it :oops:.
Am I paranoid? Is anyone on site during the night? Should I change my plans?
I haven't seen anything about this particular subject and am relying on your wise advice and experience.
To give a little bit of context, I'm a solo female traveler, I tend to have quite a strong survival instinct and stay away from trouble ;)
So should I stay in the albergues or should I book private rooms?
Thanks in advance and looking forwards to your insight. Charlotte.
Charlotte:

I understand your concern: on my first Camino, I spent a night locked into an Albergue with no curtains, bathroom down a long hallway, alone. I didn't sleep a wink, every noise frightened me. I wished at 5pm when no other pilgrims had checked in, I would have just gone back a ways and stayed in a very crowded (but popular) albergue that I had passed.

Last Spring, I hiked up to a small family run albergue just past VillaFranca (Pradela). I shared the tiny bunk area with 3 men. Shortly after the lights were out, one of the guys began to, ah, yeah. I laid there aghast. Part of me wanted to go flick the light on, or say out loud, "REALLY?" But it was 3 miles up to this village and a lonely walk down to join up with the trail. I didn't want to cause a situation, maybe make him mad, so I just lay there and waited until he was finished (sorry).

It might be hard for some to think this is an issue, but for me, it ruined that pleasant time up there, and made me nervous. Thank God there were two other gentlemen (snoring by this time) in the room who, I'm sure, would have stopped anything from happening. If I had been in the room alone with him, I would have freaked out. If you don't feel safe, it's better to find another place to stay. In cities, I always stayed in a hotel room, to give myself a break and lock my things up securely. I hope this helps.
 

cozumel

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Madrid (Easter 2019); Frances (summer 2019)
Charlotte, I am a woman and I like traveling alone. I've walked the Madrid route, and I've slept alone in the albergues at times.
The smaller places give you the key, so you can lock yourself in. If another pilgrim arrives, you have to open the door and let him/her in, which gives you a chance to scope them out. Happily for me, later arrivals were very rare, and were uniformly decent, upstanding, equally exhausted people who were not interested in assaulting me.
The hospitalero's phone number was always prominently displayed, and/or I'd already stopped at their house to get the key. If I had trouble I could lock myself in the bathroom and phone the hospi, or leave the albergue and call or go to their house for help.
The only problem I ever ran into when alone was some noisy kids banging on the windows in the middle of the night, giggling their heads off. I whipped open the window and roared at them, and they ran screaming away! They obviously were having the time of their lives.
The Madrid is lonesome, but it's not dangerous. Or at least I never found it so.
Brilliant! Thanks so much for your detailed answer. I had a hard time visualizing what sleeping in an albergue entailed and you magnificently cleared that up. I feel much better now knowing what to expect. It's funny how I've been planning this first camino for weeks (planning's half the fun, right!) and was totally immersed in the rain jacket/poncho debate when all of a sudden I just hit me that sleeping in a communal (but solitary) setting was totally alien to me!
 

cozumel

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Madrid (Easter 2019); Frances (summer 2019)
cozumel,

There are 2 parts to your question.
1. Are you likely to find yourself alone or in a very sparsely populated albergue. I have not walked the Camino de Madrid, but 2 years ago I walked on the Via de la Plata north of Puebla de Sanabria and found myself alone in an albergue once, and in sparsely populated ones (2 to 5 people) several times. So, yes, I think that scenario is likely in parts of your Camino.

2. Does that pose a risk, or should it at least make you feel uncomfortable. That is a personal judgement. I am an older male (71) and may not be completely qualified to offer an opinion (though I have a wife and 2 daughters). In my experience, the alberques on the Via de la Plata had no one on site apart from pilgrims at night. The walking was quite solitary for the most part until I got into Galicia and even then was not crowded at all. Ourense was the first place where alberques were full. If walking alone through pretty deserted areas doesn't bother you I would not think staying in an alberque should. Still, you have to be guided by your own judgement. I will say I met a Spanish woman of about 70 on that Camino who had walked all the way from Sevilla alone. She had also walked several other Caminos solo. She said no one had ever bothered her.
I appreciate your answer and passing on your experience. I realize that this being my 1st experience on the camino I very excited and slightly nervous! I've never had any bad experiences traveling solo so this adventure shouldn't be different but still, just happy I asked ;)
 

cozumel

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Madrid (Easter 2019); Frances (summer 2019)
Hi @cozumel
Don’t give up yet.
I walked CdM last March but teamed up before then with 2 other forum ladies to leave Madrid together. We got on fine so kept together.

There are a few great albergues along the way - it would be a shame to miss them. You’ll more than likely end up solo but as has been said earlier .. you can make yourself safe indoors. Locks etc.

It’s very very unusual to run into other pilgrims who would frighten you.. if anything ., they will help you along the way.

If you’re not happy being in an albergue solo before you turn lights out ., find the town bar .(when you get the key, ask where things are available), then eat out and enjoy the local company until closer to your sleep time.

There are places on this route where we stayed in private rooms because there was no albergue so you’ll get a variety.

Good luck ,
Buen camino
Annie
Hello Annie! Your camino report of March 2018 is one of the 1st I read on the forum and is invaluable concerning the heating situation in albergues at this time of the year! (Amongst other things :D) You are right about me not wanting to miss out on some great albergues, especially the one in Grajal. So I'm happy to see all the answers about everyone's experience on the camino about this particular subject that gives me, and hopefully others, precious information.
 

cozumel

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Madrid (Easter 2019); Frances (summer 2019)
Hi Charlotte, I walked the Aragones in 2016 and was completely alone each day and I only had 2 pilgrims join me in an Albergue of a night and one was a lady and another night a Frenchmen and I felt safe, both were walking long days so I didn’t see them again.
I always carry 2 small rubber chocks and if I feel uncomfortable when I’m alone I push then under the door, I don’t know if they would keep an intruder out but my theory is they would not be able to sneak up on me.

I’m also walking the Madrid in April starting on the 5th, when are you walking?
Buen Camino judy
Hey Judy! Thanks for the imput. I'm landing on the 6th and not sure yet if I'll be starting cold in the afternoon or doing the tourist thing and starting on the 7th. I guess the weather will decide: if it's sunny I'll be on the road, definitly🆒 We might bump into each other!
 

cozumel

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Madrid (Easter 2019); Frances (summer 2019)
I shared your concern before walking the Madrid (my first solo camino) last year.
At Tres Cantos I couldn't use the albergue as it was the weekend but the second night when I got to Mataelpino my fear was realised....it was me and one Danish gentleman. The hospitalera gave us one dorm each:) Even so, I blockaded a chair against the door before I went to bed that night. In the morning I felt very silly when I saw the man's neatly folded sheet left lying on the counter - he truly was a gentleman.
Next day I did just the short hop to Cercedilla and stopped coz the heat and jetlag were beating me. As I completed a leisurely lunch on a patio at the resturant near the polideportivo a French pilgrim joined me. We chatted for a couple of hours and that gave me plenty of time to scope him out and decide I was OK with sharing the highly mirrored gym with him! View attachment 53068
Note the respectable distance between our piles of gear! And it's only now that I notice I was nearest the door for escape!
That night signalled the end of my concerns. We ended up frequently being at the same place and that became strangely reassuring.
Everything @Rebekah Scott says is true!

The only slight concern was an elderly gentleman in Santa Maria Real de Nieva who invited me to his home a couple of times. If that happened to you I am certain your response would be exactly the same as mine (NO WAY!) He was elderly, walked with a cane and was no real threat at all.

I ended up alone in the dungeon of the palace (that's what it felt like after dark!) at Grajal de Campos, but by then I was delighted to finally be getting a night by myself - I had looked forward to a solitary camino, but had had at least one other in the albergues every night.

Obviously I cannot know what your tolerance for aloneness is, or how comfortable you will be with a lone stranger, but I would not hesitate to go alone again, and would no longer even be concerned about this aspect of a solo camino.
I'm very aware my question is a nooby one and thank-you all for your gracious inputs! Sleeping in an albergue is part of the camino experience and I was sad to question the sanity of it on the Madrid route because of its lonelyness but you're all on the path (pardon the pun) to convincing me I'll be fine as long as I keep my female-radar on (nycwalking!)
 

cozumel

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Madrid (Easter 2019); Frances (summer 2019)
Charlotte:

I was never uncomfortable in any of the Albergues I stayed in when I walked the Madrid. As I recall, they were all in nice communities and often run by the local association. I found them comfortable and welcoming.

Colemenar Viejo - I stayed in a room at a women's house. very safe and private - 20 euro's, I walked a long 1st day. No Albergue available.

Mataelpino - very clean in the heart of a small village and near everything. I believe this building is also used for some community activities. 8 Euro's.

Cercedilla - I stayed in the Albergue Juvenal, through the town at the base of the next day climb. 19 Euro's - I forget if that included food but since I was leaving early in the morning they gave me a meal to go.

Segovia - I stayed in a Hostel. First place I came across after an exhausting day walking over a snowy mountain top. This is the only real tough day on the Madrid, imo. Bonus, I had a foot of snow for 7km's.

Santa Maria - Off hand I do not recall this Albergue

Coca - Nor this one though I did stay here.

Alcazaren - Key in town, albergue very clean Bathroom shower all one open room, two or 3 restaurant/bars in town.

Puente Duero - Nice albergue with a Hospitalero, I cooked here, but eating out options available. very clean property with a nice outside area.

Penaflor - Nice Albergue with washing machine. Key, food everything at bar.

Medina - This is the convent. The nuns will give you food so I cooked here. As you get close to the town stay along the road. The Camino markings will send you on an unnecessary detour. Convent along side the road.

Villalon de Campos - Excellent Albergue, Has everything including a living room with couches, tv and books. This albergue is run by local association. Call number on door of Albergue. This Albergue is well worth the extra 5 km's (flat pedestrian pathway) versus staying in Cuenca de Campos.

I realize safety/comfort is an individual thing. I felt this Camino was safe.

Hope this helps. If you have any further questions, feel free to ask or PM me.

Best regards,
Joe
Thanks so very much Joe to take the time to answer my question so very comprehensively ;) I've read many treads on the Camino de Madrid and yours in particular. I love reading reports from the caminos: they are so inspiring since everyone's experience is different and on a logistical note things can change from one year to another.
 

cozumel

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Madrid (Easter 2019); Frances (summer 2019)
Charlotte/Judy:

I recommend you check weather forecast before leaving Cercedilla. I walked first week in April and encountered a foot of snow on the mountaintop. It made for a very exhausting 31 km day. A very enjoyable but sparsely traveled Camino.

Ultreya,
Joe
Will totally do that! I read that in case of snow on the pass I could always take the train. I'm doing my homework :)
 

Iriebabel

Iriebabel & the cyborg turtle
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances April (2018)
Camino Del Norte 26 March 2019
I recommend you Download the “alert cops” app to you mobile phone which you can use to alert the spanish police as need be. Let your family or friends know your route. Me personally I check in with my sister every night before bed she knows where I am and what route I will take the next day. Carry a whistle with you and overall just use you spider sense ....if something doesn’t feel right don’t blow it off, take note of it and take what ever action you see fit. Most pilgrims and locals are agreeable but there is that one in a million who might not be. It’s no different if you were walking down a dark street in your home town...no need to be afraid just take precautions. Good luck. We are alone as solo walkers but never truly alone as solo pilgrims.
 

cozumel

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Madrid (Easter 2019); Frances (summer 2019)
Charlotte:

I understand your concern: on my first Camino, I spent a night locked into an Albergue with no curtains, bathroom down a long hallway, alone. I didn't sleep a wink, every noise frightened me. I wished at 5pm when no other pilgrims had checked in, I would have just gone back a ways and stayed in a very crowded (but popular) albergue that I had passed.

Last Spring, I hiked up to a small family run albergue just past VillaFranca (Pradela). I shared the tiny bunk area with 3 men. Shortly after the lights were out, one of the guys began to, ah, yeah. I laid there aghast. Part of me wanted to go flick the light on, or say out loud, "REALLY?" But it was 3 miles up to this village and a lonely walk down to join up with the trail. I didn't want to cause a situation, maybe make him mad, so I just lay there and waited until he was finished (sorry).

It might be hard for some to think this is an issue, but for me, it ruined that pleasant time up there, and made me nervous. Thank God there were two other gentlemen (snoring by this time) in the room who, I'm sure, would have stopped anything from happening. If I had been in the room alone with him, I would have freaked out. If you don't feel safe, it's better to find another place to stay. In cities, I always stayed in a hotel room, to give myself a break and lock my things up securely. I hope this helps.
This is exactly the kind of story you laugh about AFTER the fact! I remember reading in another tread this situation happened in a full albergue and one male pilgrim shouted after a while something along the lines of "Jesus and all of his saints are watching you!" Thought I'd remember the line... just in case...
 

2knees

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
hopefully 2023
cozumel,

There are 2 parts to your question.
1. Are you likely to find yourself alone or in a very sparsely populated albergue. I have not walked the Camino de Madrid, but 2 years ago I walked on the Via de la Plata north of Puebla de Sanabria and found myself alone in an albergue once, and in sparsely populated ones (2 to 5 people) several times. So, yes, I think that scenario is likely in parts of your Camino.

2. Does that pose a risk, or should it at least make you feel uncomfortable. That is a personal judgement. I am an older male (71) and may not be completely qualified to offer an opinion (though I have a wife and 2 daughters). In my experience, the alberques on the Via de la Plata had no one on site apart from pilgrims at night. The walking was quite solitary for the most part until I got into Galicia and even then was not crowded at all. Ourense was the first place where alberques were full. If walking alone through pretty deserted areas doesn't bother you I would not think staying in an alberque should. Still, you have to be guided by your own judgement. I will say I met a Spanish woman of about 70 on that Camino who had walked all the way from Sevilla alone. She had also walked several other Caminos solo. She said no one had ever bothered her.
 

2knees

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
hopefully 2023
Cosumel,
I have not yet walked the Comino. However, I have read at least 2dozen books by those who have; one of whom was CW Lockhart( I may have mispelled her name) who was walking alone and became the target of a man in late twenties, early thirties who seemed convibced that she was supposed to have sex with him. At one albergue,where she paid for a private room, he convinced the key key custodian that they were "together"when CW was not at dinner. She came back to find him in her bed. There is more to CW's experience, the end being that she left in the middle of the night walking in the dark until she felt safe enough to sleep in a field. You can find her book by her name, it was one of the top 5 compelling, can't put it down books I've read. I doubt that would be your experience, apparently loud screaming helps immensely.
 

Helen1

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
London to Santiago (2014)
Narbonne to Oloron (2015)
Camino Portugues (2016)
Sentier Cathar (2017)
I was in Madrid/Segovia last week for work. At the weekend it was glorious hot sunny t-shirt weather during the day but it was almost down to freezing at night in Madrid. There was quite a lot of snow on the hills.

I snore so I'm not much of an albergue person but I have stayed alone/ with another person in other albergues and it takes a bit of getting used to. I wouldn't say it's unsafe but I think your mind can get a bit overexcited. My 'best' experience was in a guest house on the CP. The owners didn't stay there at night and the place was like something out of a Victorian gothic horror novel with creaky wooden stairs and old dark wood furniture. I was staying there alone and all the creaks and rattles of an old building really freaked me out. I let out a squeal at one point when I thought I saw a ghost move across the room - in reality it was a weird reflection of car lights though a shutter. Funny now but it scared the pants off me at the time!

Less travelled routes make for more interesting experiences!
 

KinkyOne

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
I'am not perfect, but I'm always myself!!!
"Hi there, it's just you and me alone in this albergue tonight, apparently. Nice to meet you. You can call me "Kinky." :::cue horror music:::
Hahahahaha, to tell the truth when I compile my guidebooks and print them on the first page there is this Copyright sign @ KinkyOne :D:D:D
And nobody ever made an attempt at me in albergues! Might be different with (kinky) ladies though ;)


PS (Just to explain that this kind of jokes is completely OK between me and @JillGat because we are also in PVT conversation and kinda know each other.)
 
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JillGat

la tierra encantada
Camino(s) past & future
C. Frances
SJPP - Finisterre - Muxia, May 2016
C. Frances, Sept 2017
Camino Portugues, June 2019
I have no problem with Kinky.
 

Jackieduda

Member
Camino(s) past & future
CF September (2018)
Hi everyone, this is my 1st post although I've been reading the forum since November 2018! I haven't found any answer to a question I've been asking myself for a few days now:
I'm walking the Madrid camino in April this year, and all the info I've seen is about how lonely this camino is. I'm not a very social girl so for me it's perfect! But I just realized that although during the daytime it doesn't worry me at all, I'm having visions of being locked up in an albergue in some remote village with the one "fellow" male pilgrim and not feeling so good about it :oops:.
Am I paranoid? Is anyone on site during the night? Should I change my plans?
I haven't seen anything about this particular subject and am relying on your wise advice and experience.
To give a little bit of context, I'm a solo female traveler, I tend to have quite a strong survival instinct and stay away from trouble ;)
So should I stay in the albergues or should I book private rooms?
Thanks in advance and looking forwards to your insight. Charlotte.
Hello Charlotte. Perhaps you have not seen this thread because it is not a very frequent topi here. I too am a woman alone, travelled alone, stayed at albergues nearly every night for 6 weeks. Never did i feel even the slightest discomfort or worry for my safety in any albergue. That being said, as with all places, one can never be guaranteed of safety 100%, but i can tell you i felt safer in the albergues than in my own home alone at night. Hope this helps your decision to walk the Camino, relax, make friends even though you describe yourself as not very social. You will meet many people who describe themselves this way. Go, go on the Camino. Don’t look back on your decision. Buen Camino!
Jackie
 

cozumel

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Madrid (Easter 2019); Frances (summer 2019)
Cosumel,
I have not yet walked the Comino. However, I have read at least 2dozen books by those who have; one of whom was CW Lockhart( I may have mispelled her name) who was walking alone and became the target of a man in late twenties, early thirties who seemed convibced that she was supposed to have sex with him. At one albergue,where she paid for a private room, he convinced the key key custodian that they were "together"when CW was not at dinner. She came back to find him in her bed. There is more to CW's experience, the end being that she left in the middle of the night walking in the dark until she felt safe enough to sleep in a field. You can find her book by her name, it was one of the top 5 compelling, can't put it down books I've read. I doubt that would be your experience, apparently loud screaming helps immensely.
Euh...Thanks...I guess....Unless...Yes! Of course! It's a joke! Silly me :p
 

cozumel

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Madrid (Easter 2019); Frances (summer 2019)
Hello Charlotte. Perhaps you have not seen this thread because it is not a very frequent topi here. I too am a woman alone, travelled alone, stayed at albergues nearly every night for 6 weeks. Never did i feel even the slightest discomfort or worry for my safety in any albergue. That being said, as with all places, one can never be guaranteed of safety 100%, but i can tell you i felt safer in the albergues than in my own home alone at night. Hope this helps your decision to walk the Camino, relax, make friends even though you describe yourself as not very social. You will meet many people who describe themselves this way. Go, go on the Camino. Don’t look back on your decision. Buen Camino!
Jackie
Hey Jackie, thanks for your reply and encouragements! I'm not worried about staying in albergues it's just that I know I'll be walking during low season on a solitary route so being completely alone at night: no problem, being around a few other fellow pilgrims: no problem, what I'm a little nervous about is being with ONE person, at night, in a closed setting where I'm supposed to let my guard down to get some sleep;) But the answers here have mostly (!) been very helpful and I know the probabilities are completely on my side. I'm just a bit of a planner!
 

cozumel

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Madrid (Easter 2019); Frances (summer 2019)
I was in Madrid/Segovia last week for work. At the weekend it was glorious hot sunny t-shirt weather during the day but it was almost down to freezing at night in Madrid. There was quite a lot of snow on the hills.

I snore so I'm not much of an albergue person but I have stayed alone/ with another person in other albergues and it takes a bit of getting used to. I wouldn't say it's unsafe but I think your mind can get a bit overexcited. My 'best' experience was in a guest house on the CP. The owners didn't stay there at night and the place was like something out of a Victorian gothic horror novel with creaky wooden stairs and old dark wood furniture. I was staying there alone and all the creaks and rattles of an old building really freaked me out. I let out a squeal at one point when I thought I saw a ghost move across the room - in reality it was a weird reflection of car lights though a shutter. Funny now but it scared the pants off me at the time!

Less travelled routes make for more interesting experiences!
How about a tread on ghost stories on the camino for next Halloween!!!
 

cozumel

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Madrid (Easter 2019); Frances (summer 2019)
I'm heading off in 3 weeks and would like to thank all that contributed to this tread: lovely thoughtful answers and I can get back to sorting out the hydration bladder or water bottles dilemma with a relieved mind😌 Hope I'll be able to contribute something interesting after my small 2 week experience.
 

SSojourn

Member
Camino(s) past & future
2019 Plan walk solo in April. SJP to St. James, Santiago
Hi everyone, this is my 1st post although I've been reading the forum since November 2018! I haven't found any answer to a question I've been asking myself for a few days now:
I'm walking the Madrid camino in April this year, and all the info I've seen is about how lonely this camino is. I'm not a very social girl so for me it's perfect! But I just realized that although during the daytime it doesn't worry me at all, I'm having visions of being locked up in an albergue in some remote village with the one "fellow" male pilgrim and not feeling so good about it :oops:.
Am I paranoid? Is anyone on site during the night? Should I change my plans?
I haven't seen anything about this particular subject and am relying on your wise advice and experience.
To give a little bit of context, I'm a solo female traveler, I tend to have quite a strong survival instinct and stay away from trouble ;)
So should I stay in the albergues or should I book private rooms?
Thanks in advance and looking forwards to your insight. Charlotte.
You said you have great survival sense so remember that the only thing to fear is fear its self. Conquer that fear.
 

Walton

Member
Camino(s) past & future
2016 Sjpp to Sdc. 2018 Lisbon to Sdc to Finisterre. Next up hopefully VDP or Del Norte.
I have no problem with Kinky.
Ah well - that reminds me of a story that might amuse you all.

I used to teach Event Management to International Faculty Chinese students at a University in Shanghai, China.

Chinese names can be difficult for westerners to pronounce properly and so each student is required to give themselves an English name for western professors to use when teaching.

In order to prevent students changing their English names and thus confusing me endlessly throughout a semester, my rule was that once their chosen English name was entered into the roll books, that was it - no changes were permitted.

Some of the names were interesting. Some students chose names based on a name they heard and liked the sound of, or a movie hero or something like that. There were names such as Thirteen, Oval, Ferrari, and Minimum, among names such as Joyce, Brian, Peter, Barbara and so on. Then there was "Kinky".

Kinky was a great student. She was short in comparison to most of the class, had a huge smile, intelligent, always sat at the front desk and was an absolute delight to teach.

Anyway, the University rules required that the roll be called at the beginning of class.

In order to prevent one student saying "here" to several names, you had to call the name and then check visually that the student called was there otherwise you'd call the roll with say thirty names on it and get thirty "here" replies and then do a head count and find only 27 in class. So you'd have to do the roll call again.

Unfortunately, when it came to Kinky's name being called, I would always have trouble for some strange reason, trying not to laugh.

A few weeks in to the semester, I felt really embarrassed for her, by my difficult to hide, behaviour, so I asked for a meeting with Kinky and with her class Captain also present. (Every class had a Captain - someone who spoke passable English and who had leadership qualities).

I took our staffroom English dictionary to that meeting and asked the class Captain to translate in Chinese the English meanings of Kinky. Kinky eventually blushed bright red when she actually realised the sexual meaning of her name. The class Captain told me she liked the sound of the word and that is why she chose it.

I then asked her to decide before the next class if she wanted to keep her English name or change as I would allow her one time, and one time only to change her name because of the special circumstances that she was now aware of.

At the next class, I came to Kinky's name and before I could say her name, she said very softly - "Helen now".
The class, good naturedly, broke out in laughter and so that was the end of "Kinky".

Cheers
 

MoniRose

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
(5/28-7/4, 2012) Camino Frances - SJPP to Santiago
(7/22-8/2, 2013) Camino Finesterra
(?) Camino Le Puy
On the CF, I booked a bed early afternoon in Momientos. There were many pilgrims there, including several that I knew well. It was a lovely, relaxing afternoon.
When bedtime arrived, I went into my room that housed four beds (two sets of bunks) and got in bed. Then my roommates arrived - three younger men all traveling together. They got in their beds and the last one closed the door and shut off the light. Awkward! And worrisome thoughts stirred up in my head, but it was late and the albergue was full, so I stayed... and they could have cared less about me.
Nonetheless, there are no guarantees who you will be bunking with. Exercise caution, listen to your gut, and then lay the rest in God’s hands.
 

Delphinoula

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino PdC 2018 Finisterre Muxía 2018
C Franconia 2019
Camino desde Algeciras Sevillia (2019)
I recommend you Download the “alert cops” app to you mobile phone which you can use to alert the spanish police as need be. Let your family or friends know your route. Me personally I check in with my sister every night before bed she knows where I am and what route I will take the next day. Carry a whistle with you and overall just use you spider sense ....if something doesn’t feel right don’t blow it off, take note of it and take what ever action you see fit. Most pilgrims and locals are agreeable but there is that one in a million who might not be. It’s no different if you were walking down a dark street in your home town...no need to be afraid just take precautions. Good luck. We are alone as solo walkers but never truly alone as solo pilgrims.
Police App. Thank you did not know that one!
I stayed in A Guarda with an older man alone in the Albergue. He was laying at the door I in the corner across from him. Not that he gave me any reason, but for my own comfort I slept with my kitchen knife but had not to have an emergency cook out during the night. 😆 I understand you concerns very well. You need to do what feels right for you and if you need to share your concerns maybe with the host? Maybe there is then a solution for you that feels better more save. I would like to say that I walked very often alone and I found this very relaxing and felt save. Fear has a function, but use your resources. Assess the situation, stay calm and think. And if in need act decisively. Best wishes. If this helps Madrid has very dry air.
 

Acordner

New Member
Don't be paranoid to the point that you ruin your walk, but ALWAYS trust your radar. The one time I told myself I was being crazy I ended up being mugged after every warning bell in my head had told me I was putting myself in a stupid situation and NO it was not on any camino. It was a taxi I should have gotten out of in Istanbul. I've experienced nothing but hospitality walking and I feel nothing but pity for the lone Korean man who had to put up with my snoring in an empty albergue several years ago - it was me he had to fear not the other way around!
 

mspath

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances, autumn/winter; 2004, 2005-2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015
Whenever alone in an albergue at night not all noises are bad; some may eventually be comforting.

Over past years I have spent many cosy Sahagun nights in the albergue de peregrinos Cluny but an October 2007 overnight is perhaps the most memorable. After a delicious lunch at Casa Barrunta in the village of San Nicolas the 'fun' began. From the highway which parallels the camino a taxi horn honked several times and the excited driver explained that a young 'hoodlum' wearing camouflage was walking nearby on the camino.

Within 10 minutes footsteps behind me crunched the gravel path. Bingo! It was a young guy wearing pink and grey camouflage! We looked at each other. I said "Hola!"; he grunted and passed.

Arriving at the municipal Cluny albergue I tried to explain the situation to the hospitalera who gave me a key to lock myself in since the huge place was empty and I was the sole pilgrim. Time passed. Later while in the shower I heard heavy footsteps mounting the stairs. Covered in soap suds I dashed for my poncho. Two big cops and two slim male cyclists appeared! "Senora, we've brought you some protection" said the cops. We all laughed, shook hands and I clad only in that sudsy poncho brewed tea for the five of us. After tea GREATLY relieved I finished showering, climbed into a cosy bunk to blissfully sleep protected by those most welcome cyclists.
 
Camino(s) past & future
(2009): Camino Frances
(2011): Sevilla-Salamanca, VdlP
(2012): Salamanca-SdC, VdlP
(2014): SJpdP-Astorga
(2015): Astorga-SdC
(2016) May Pamplona-Moratinos; Sept.:Burgos-SdC
(2016): August/Sept: Camino San Olav (Burgos-Covarubbias), Burgos-Sarria
(2017): May: Portuguese; Sept: Pamplona-SdC
Don't trust anybody who goes by "Kinky One". ;)
Completely agree. I'll sleep on my back entirely, with one eye open all night, and the next day sitting inside a cafe with my head down, watching him slide past, then me going veery slowly, making sure he's walking to the next town or two, never meeting him again,...The next days, I was walking slowly... And I never saw him again.. :D

To be serious: Who are the pilgrims? People like you and me.

I once was making a dinner in an albergue; Too much for me alone, so I asked a heavily tattoed skinhead if he wanted to share some of it with me. He looked really scaring; all muscles, tall, tattoes everywhere, and bald shaved head. He very much appreciated my cooking...!

The next day, as I was walking past a cafe, he was sitting there, yelled at me to come join them: 10! skinheads!!!! They bought me a beer, and we had a great time: He had obviously told them about my cooking for myself and him.. Great guys! Free beer! :D

Don't judge the dog by its hair. A fantastic comrade that I met several times. Get out of your comfort zone.
 
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JillGat

la tierra encantada
Camino(s) past & future
C. Frances
SJPP - Finisterre - Muxia, May 2016
C. Frances, Sept 2017
Camino Portugues, June 2019
Completely agree. I'll sleep on my back entirely, with one eye open all night, and the next day sitting inside a cafe with my head down, watching him slide past, then me going veery slowly, making sure he's walking to the next town or two, never meeting him again,...The next days, I was walking slowly... And I never saw him again.. :D

To be serious: Who are the pilgrims? People like you and me.

I once was making a dinner in an albergue; Too much for me alone, so I asked a heavily tattoed skinhead if he wanted to share some of it with me. He looked really scaring; all muscles, tall, tattoes everywhere, and bald shaved head. He very much appreciated my cooking...!

The next day, as I was walking past a cafe, he was sitting there, yelled at me to come join them: 10! skinheads!!!! They bought me a beer, and we had a great time: He had obviously told them about my cooking for myself and him.. Great guys! Free beer! :D

Don't judge the dog by its hair. A fantastic comrade that I met several times. Get out of your comfort zone.
I like that! Skinheads, walking the Camino.

I mostly ride my motorcycle alone, but occasionally, with the opportunity to visit a new part of the region, if I don't want to go alone I'll join a group of Harley riders. We don't talk politics, religion, guns or gender. We talk about travel, our dogs, and motorcycles, and I thoroughly enjoy myself!
 

JillGat

la tierra encantada
Camino(s) past & future
C. Frances
SJPP - Finisterre - Muxia, May 2016
C. Frances, Sept 2017
Camino Portugues, June 2019
Whenever alone in an albergue at night not all noises are bad; some may eventually be comforting.

Over past years I have spent many cosy Sahagun nights in the albergue de peregrinos Cluny but an October 2007 overnight is perhaps the most memorable....
Wait, there is somewhere else someone would sleep in Sahagun besides the Viatoris??
 
Camino(s) past & future
(2009): Camino Frances
(2011): Sevilla-Salamanca, VdlP
(2012): Salamanca-SdC, VdlP
(2014): SJpdP-Astorga
(2015): Astorga-SdC
(2016) May Pamplona-Moratinos; Sept.:Burgos-SdC
(2016): August/Sept: Camino San Olav (Burgos-Covarubbias), Burgos-Sarria
(2017): May: Portuguese; Sept: Pamplona-SdC
I like that! Skinheads, walking the Camino.

I mostly ride my motorcycle alone, but occasionally, with the opportunity to visit a new part of the region, if I don't want to go alone I'll join a group of Harley riders. We don't talk politics, religion, guns or gender. We talk about travel, our dogs, and motorcycles, and I thoroughly enjoy myself!
Doesn't change my attitude on kinkies: I will definitely sleep on my back. Always! :D:D
 

Delphinoula

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino PdC 2018 Finisterre Muxía 2018
C Franconia 2019
Camino desde Algeciras Sevillia (2019)
About scary duds. When I was 13 I was the first punk in my school more likely in town. Only I didn’t know it. When Xanadu hair style was in I wore mine ultra short a plaid skirt and Army boots and little bells on the laces. Yep you heared me coming down the steps no nose ring for me. So when more spiky hair tied pants and loud music came to town I had no difficulties with anybody, except with those once who had only make up and boys in their brain. I don’t think I was scary , but who knows an outspoken female... I work with guys that have their hair shaven, but are not skinheads. Many of them have tattoos all over and come over as big and scary Heman . If you can look them in the eyes they are just people. One of them actual put himself in harms way to protect me. Drunk high and bat she.. crazy that maybe something to look out for.😜
 

handzondeck2

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
CF (x2); VdLP (x4); Portuguese (x2); Madrid (x2); S/Salvador, Primitivo, Ingles ('17) Camino 19 tba
Cozumel, I've walked the Camino various routes solo. Rule No.1 if the hospitalero says don't open the door after 10:00pm or a certain time - Don't!. Rule No.2 grab a lower bunk close to the door, if no lower bed near door available go for one in the corner. Rule No.3 carry a loud whistle to wake up the neighborhood. Rule No.4 check the entire albergue before you turn in for the night. Rule No.5 Have one of your hiking poles nearby (don't collapse them - they can make a good weapon if required. After all think of them as an extension of your arm). Rule No.6 refer to rule No1. But don't worry you should be fine
 

handzondeck2

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
CF (x2); VdLP (x4); Portuguese (x2); Madrid (x2); S/Salvador, Primitivo, Ingles ('17) Camino 19 tba
Me too. I get the near the door one, but not in the corner? Please explain Handzondeck2, I'm curious.
If You can't get near the door back against the wall is the next option with a loud whistle.
 

Robo

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
CF SJPdP to SdC
(May 2015)
CF Sarria to SdC
(May 2016)
CF SJPDP-SdC
(Apr/May 2018)
VdlP (2020)
The owners didn't stay there at night and the place was like something out of a Victorian gothic horror novel with creaky wooden stairs and old dark wood furniture. I was staying there alone and all the creaks and rattles of an old building really freaked me out. I let out a squeal at one point when I thought I saw a ghost move across the room - in reality it was a weird reflection of car lights though a shutter. Funny now but it scared the pants off me at the time!

Less travelled routes make for more interesting experiences!
You'd love our House. We actually have a resident Ghost we call Big Mama :eek:.
She and her husband, a carpenter I think, were the original owners back in 1880 according to local records.
She hangs out in the living room though, not near the bedrooms so that's cool with us ;)
 

handzondeck2

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
CF (x2); VdLP (x4); Portuguese (x2); Madrid (x2); S/Salvador, Primitivo, Ingles ('17) Camino 19 tba
OK now we are all wondering.........
Near the door I can understand.
your back is against the wall is a saying which means you have been cornered by an unfavorable situation with no futher room to retreat. Therefore if you think that you won't feel safe don't stay alone in the albergue and get a private Hostal. If you are staying alone think safety first. Have a great day.
 

KinkyOne

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
I'am not perfect, but I'm always myself!!!
Ah well - that reminds me of a story that might amuse you all.

I used to teach Event Management to International Faculty Chinese students at a University in Shanghai, China.

Chinese names can be difficult for westerners to pronounce properly and so each student is required to give themselves an English name for western professors to use when teaching.

In order to prevent students changing their English names and thus confusing me endlessly throughout a semester, my rule was that once their chosen English name was entered into the roll books, that was it - no changes were permitted.

Some of the names were interesting. Some students chose names based on a name they heard and liked the sound of, or a movie hero or something like that. There were names such as Thirteen, Oval, Ferrari, and Minimum, among names such as Joyce, Brian, Peter, Barbara and so on. Then there was "Kinky".

Kinky was a great student. She was short in comparison to most of the class, had a huge smile, intelligent, always sat at the front desk and was an absolute delight to teach.

Anyway, the University rules required that the roll be called at the beginning of class.

In order to prevent one student saying "here" to several names, you had to call the name and then check visually that the student called was there otherwise you'd call the roll with say thirty names on it and get thirty "here" replies and then do a head count and find only 27 in class. So you'd have to do the roll call again.

Unfortunately, when it came to Kinky's name being called, I would always have trouble for some strange reason, trying not to laugh.

A few weeks in to the semester, I felt really embarrassed for her, by my difficult to hide, behaviour, so I asked for a meeting with Kinky and with her class Captain also present. (Every class had a Captain - someone who spoke passable English and who had leadership qualities).

I took our staffroom English dictionary to that meeting and asked the class Captain to translate in Chinese the English meanings of Kinky. Kinky eventually blushed bright red when she actually realised the sexual meaning of her name. The class Captain told me she liked the sound of the word and that is why she chose it.

I then asked her to decide before the next class if she wanted to keep her English name or change as I would allow her one time, and one time only to change her name because of the special circumstances that she was now aware of.

At the next class, I came to Kinky's name and before I could say her name, she said very softly - "Helen now".
The class, good naturedly, broke out in laughter and so that was the end of "Kinky".

Cheers
Sorry for stealing the thread just for a while but there's a history about my nickname that has very little or almost nothing to do with being "kinky".
But when I read your Shanghai story I remembered similar glitch. Coming from Slovenia I speak our language of course which is usually named as Slovene and we as Slovenes. Well, "slovene" (language) also means obscene (language) as I know so I insist on using Slovenian/s in this case :)
 

KinkyOne

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
I'am not perfect, but I'm always myself!!!
About scary duds. When I was 13 I was the first punk in my school more likely in town. Only I didn’t know it. When Xanadu hair style was in I wore mine ultra short a plaid skirt and Army boots and little bells on the laces. Yep you heared me coming down the steps no nose ring for me. So when more spiky hair tied pants and loud music came to town I had no difficulties with anybody, except with those once who had only make up and boys in their brain. I don’t think I was scary , but who knows an outspoken female... I work with guys that have their hair shaven, but are not skinheads. Many of them have tattoos all over and come over as big and scary Heman . If you can look them in the eyes they are just people. One of them actual put himself in harms way to protect me. Drunk high and bat she.. crazy that maybe something to look out for.😜
We have similar (musical/subculture) history obviously :)
Although I was in no way the first one. Many people from different groups that determine themselves with music are extremely non-violent. Especially to others. We did dance pogo dance but we only kicked ourselves, punks in the legs. And even better example. There's a MetalFest music festival in my country and in several years there didn't occure one single fight. Can you imagine that regarding the Heavy/Black/Death etc. Metal music they are listening to??? And with all the bear dranked...

So I'll go completely along with @alexwalker to not judge dog by its hair (or hairstyle because today I look like ISIS djihadist :D ).
 

cozumel

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Madrid (Easter 2019); Frances (summer 2019)
Nonetheless, there are no guarantees who you will be bunking with. Exercise caution, listen to your gut, and then lay the rest in God’s hands.
[/QUOTE]
@ MoniRose: You got me thinking... I could also use my Macabi skirt and let everyone assume I'm a nun? Would that be totally inappropriate? ;)
 

David Tallan

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances (1989 and 2016), Portugues - from Porto (2018)
Hi everyone, this is my 1st post although I've been reading the forum since November 2018! I haven't found any answer to a question I've been asking myself for a few days now:
I'm walking the Madrid camino in April this year, and all the info I've seen is about how lonely this camino is. I'm not a very social girl so for me it's perfect! But I just realized that although during the daytime it doesn't worry me at all, I'm having visions of being locked up in an albergue in some remote village with the one "fellow" male pilgrim and not feeling so good about it :oops:.
Am I paranoid? Is anyone on site during the night? Should I change my plans?
I haven't seen anything about this particular subject and am relying on your wise advice and experience.
To give a little bit of context, I'm a solo female traveler, I tend to have quite a strong survival instinct and stay away from trouble ;)
So should I stay in the albergues or should I book private rooms?
Thanks in advance and looking forwards to your insight. Charlotte.
I can't answer this from personal experience, and even if I could, my experience as a guy would not be applicable to your concerns. But you might find a series of vlogs by Sara Dhooma interesting and applicable. She walked the Ruta de la Lana camino solo. It is also a lesser walked camino and her experiences may be similar to what you are likely to encounter. You can find the videos here: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLkWTKtiUr2pf1a_Av7b-fPwYOcnI7DdTA.
 

AZgirl

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances 2012 , via de la Plata 2014
Madrid/frances Sept/Oct 2017
Next : Levante Sept 2019
Hi everyone, this is my 1st post although I've been reading the forum since November 2018! I haven't found any answer to a question I've been asking myself for a few days now:
I'm walking the Madrid camino in April this year, and all the info I've seen is about how lonely this camino is. I'm not a very social girl so for me it's perfect! But I just realized that although during the daytime it doesn't worry me at all, I'm having visions of being locked up in an albergue in some remote village with the one "fellow" male pilgrim and not feeling so good about it :oops:.
Am I paranoid? Is anyone on site during the night? Should I change my plans?
I haven't seen anything about this particular subject and am relying on your wise advice and experience.
To give a little bit of context, I'm a solo female traveler, I tend to have quite a strong survival instinct and stay away from trouble ;)
So should I stay in the albergues or should I book private rooms?
Thanks in advance and looking forwards to your insight. Charlotte.
Nothing much to add in terms of advice that hasn't already been said. I did the Madrid as a solo female in September of 17, and met maybe 10 pilgrims in total, and spent quite a few nights completely solo in the albergues. Most places you kind of had to track down the key, so normally there wasn't any late night arrivals in my experience. So if you felt un comfortable you would have time to find alternative accommodations. I don't know if this makes sense, but I kinda feel safer on less travelled routes. It seems like with fewer travellers there may be less opportunity for illicit gain? I would do the Madrid route again in a heartbeat I really enjoyed it. If you can make sure to see the church of Santiago in Medina de Rio seca. When I was there you had to book a tour for it but it was only 7 euros and included other sights in town. I was alone on that as well so I got to feel like I had a personal guide, though my Spanish isn't great it was worth the extra rest day I had to take (closed on Mondays ) the town is so charming. You will have a great time!
 

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