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Alert Camino Coastal Litoral North from Esponse

Topics realted to Hazards on the camino de Santiago

anonperegrino12

New Member
Time of past OR future Camino
Camino Portuguese Coastal, September 2022
Hi all,

I'm sad to be posting this but I felt sharing my experience would be a cautionary tale for those moving forward. I started my Camino four days ago and have fallen in love as many do, but had an unfortunate encounter with an attempted assault and/or robbery yesterday afternoon on the Camino Portuguese Coastal, the Litoral way north of Esponsende. I decided to try the Coastal Litoral route from Esponsende moving to Castelo do Nieva. Starting in Agucadoura, I had been in frequent contact with others on the Camino, but when I moved onto the Litoral there were a lot fewer locals and peregrinos.

Somewhere between Mar and Balinho I was passed by a suspicious man who I realized had turned around and begun stalking me. Upon increasing speed, he began to jog around corners and I called Portugal's emergency number, 112. While on the phone with the police, I turned to find him about 100 yards behind me and was then rushed by him while he reached for his pants, I don't want to imagine what for. I very luckily scared him off by brandishing my large and very full metal water bottle while screaming at him and feeding the police information. He ran back south on the trail while I ran toward Balinho.

I was approached by a lovely local who offered me help and guidance, he even walked me all the way to my albergue for the night! I was cautioned by the man, who was raised and still lives in the area, that the Litoral North path is very dangerous for those traveling alone, especially women and to avoid it moving forward. I feel the police handled it well, I was contacted an hour later to give a description for the officers going to the area.

I'll be sadly stopping my camino as my walk today was filled with paranoia despite others walking with me for support. I will be back to complete my journey but for now I hope everyone travels safely.
 
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So sorry to read your post, thank you for taking time to write it and warn others. I quite understand your feeling that you want to stop now. A good evening in safe company will help you to process the assault, as it was actually an assault on your person. Candle to be lit in a moment, for your peace.
 

wayfarer

Moderator
Staff member
Time of past OR future Camino
2012, 2013, 2014.
There is continuing concern about incidents affecting female pilgrims. We reiterate the advice given by a number of pilgrim associations.

Before you set out, programme the emergency number 112 into your telephone.

If you feel threatened or uncomfortable or if you are assaulted in any way TRY TO REMOVE yourself to a place of safety immediately

Call the police – the best number to use is 112 which covers all of Portugal (and much of Europe) and which has operators who speak English.

And please, please, REPORT all incidents to the police. Too many of these unlawful aggressions are never reported, which means that the full extent of the problem is hidden from the authorities.
 

Freewalker

Member
Time of past OR future Camino
PC(16), VdlP/San(17). Mozarabe(18), Levante(18) Lucca/Rome(19)Catalan,Aragon,Ebro (19),Litoral (20)
Hi all,

I'm sad to be posting this but I felt sharing my experience would be a cautionary tale for those moving forward. I started my Camino four days ago and have fallen in love as many do, but had an unfortunate encounter with an attempted assault and/or robbery yesterday afternoon on the Camino Portuguese Coastal, the Litoral way north of Esponsende. I decided to try the Coastal Litoral route from Esponsende moving to Castelo do Nieva. Starting in Agucadoura, I had been in frequent contact with others on the Camino, but when I moved onto the Litoral there were a lot fewer locals and peregrinos.

Somewhere between Mar and Balinho I was passed by a suspicious man who I realized had turned around and begun stalking me. Upon increasing speed, he began to jog around corners and I called Portugal's emergency number, 112. While on the phone with the police, I turned to find him about 100 yards behind me and was then rushed by him while he reached for his pants, I don't want to imagine what for. I very luckily scared him off by brandishing my large and very full metal water bottle while screaming at him and feeding the police information. He ran back south on the trail while I ran toward Balinho.

I was approached by a lovely local who offered me help and guidance, he even walked me all the way to my albergue for the night! I was cautioned by the man, who was raised and still lives in the area, that the Litoral North path is very dangerous for those traveling alone, especially women and to avoid it moving forward. I feel the police handled it well, I was contacted an hour later to give a description for the officers going to the area.

I'll be sadly stopping my camino as my walk today was filled with paranoia despite others walking with me for support. I will be back to complete my journey but for now I hope everyone travels safely.
I am so very sorry to hear this. It is an awful experience that will stay with you for awhile - it has happened to me 4 times on different Caminos. 3 in Portugal and once in northern Spain near Santiago. I have reported all to Police and the nearest albergues. I have had mixed responses. A few Portuguese women blamed me for walking alone, others were extremely sympathetic. Some hospitaleros shrugged it off as mental health issues and that Portugal is a poor country with little resources to combat this abuse !!
The first time it happened to me in Portugal, on my first Camino. To be honest, I was traumatized for months after arriving home but did indeed continue on along the Camino Central to Santiago. Most fellow pilgrim men were fantastic and became angry and told me to threaten them with my poles. I now do that ... contrary to the experts. The subsequent 3 times I have run after them with camera in hand and shouting that I'm going to kill them with poles flailing in the air. They run away trying to pull up their pants/trousers. A terrible comic skit really.....

By no means do I want to come across as insensitive but please don't cut your Camino short ---- carry on along the Portuguese Central Camino (which is quite busy)and speak to everyone about it ! Good therapy for you and info for other women.
Please carry on away from the Litoral (I have walked it too and quite quiet). Be ready with your camera. Now I am ready for them.....if I see a man alone up ahead or following me I start videoing them and the surrounding area pretending to be oblivious to them. It usually works and they disappear.

Wishing you tons and tons of healing my fellow pilgrim ! Sending lots of love and positivity.. If you want to PM me please don't hesitate.

The warmest and safest wishes
Mary xox

Ps : sorry for the jumbled response as in a rush here.
 
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EibhlinC

New Member
Time of past OR future Camino
Camino Portuguese coastal route early Oct
Hi all,

I'm sad to be posting this but I felt sharing my experience would be a cautionary tale for those moving forward. I started my Camino four days ago and have fallen in love as many do, but had an unfortunate encounter with an attempted assault and/or robbery yesterday afternoon on the Camino Portuguese Coastal, the Litoral way north of Esponsende. I decided to try the Coastal Litoral route from Esponsende moving to Castelo do Nieva. Starting in Agucadoura, I had been in frequent contact with others on the Camino, but when I moved onto the Litoral there were a lot fewer locals and peregrinos.

Somewhere between Mar and Balinho I was passed by a suspicious man who I realized had turned around and begun stalking me. Upon increasing speed, he began to jog around corners and I called Portugal's emergency number, 112. While on the phone with the police, I turned to find him about 100 yards behind me and was then rushed by him while he reached for his pants, I don't want to imagine what for. I very luckily scared him off by brandishing my large and very full metal water bottle while screaming at him and feeding the police information. He ran back south on the trail while I ran toward Balinho.

I was approached by a lovely local who offered me help and guidance, he even walked me all the way to my albergue for the night! I was cautioned by the man, who was raised and still lives in the area, that the Litoral North path is very dangerous for those traveling alone, especially women and to avoid it moving forward. I feel the police handled it well, I was contacted an hour later to give a description for the officers going to the area.

I'll be sadly stopping my camino as my walk today was filled with paranoia despite others walking with me for support. I will be back to complete my journey but for now I hope everyone travels safely.
Sorry to hear that . I will be doing that stretch early Oct alone. Is there a time of day that might be busier or safer ???
 

jungleboy

Spirit of the Camino (Nick)
Time of past OR future Camino
A few in the past; more in the future!
Sorry to hear that . I will be doing that stretch early Oct alone. Is there a time of day that might be busier or safer ???
You might consider following the arrows on the 'official' coastal camino that day, as it is inland and this awful incident happened on the Senda Litoral, along the coast. For what it's worth, I really enjoyed the inland trail that day. Here's my description of that stage here on the forum, if that helps.
 
Time of past OR future Camino
Yearly and Various 2014-2019
Via Monastica 2022
I'm so sorry this happened to you @anonperegrino12, and salute you for handing it so well. A very good idea to pause and gather yourself - time to quietly be with what may be many reactions. Posting here is a big service to all those behind you, many thanks. Take good care of yourself and buen camino when you resume your walk!

I was cautioned by the man, who was raised and still lives in the area, that the Litoral North path is very dangerous for those traveling alone, especially women and to avoid it moving forward.
At the moment it may be very wise for people walking alone to follow this local advice.
 

Maria Man

Member
Time of past OR future Camino
2015 Astorga-Santiago;2016 Le Puy-Najera ; 2017 Najera -Santiago-Finisterre-Muxia & Lisbon-Fatima
Hi all,

I'm sad to be posting this but I felt sharing my experience would be a cautionary tale for those moving forward. I started my Camino four days ago and have fallen in love as many do, but had an unfortunate encounter with an attempted assault and/or robbery yesterday afternoon on the Camino Portuguese Coastal, the Litoral way north of Esponsende. I decided to try the Coastal Litoral route from Esponsende moving to Castelo do Nieva. Starting in Agucadoura, I had been in frequent contact with others on the Camino, but when I moved onto the Litoral there were a lot fewer locals and peregrinos.

Somewhere between Mar and Balinho I was passed by a suspicious man who I realized had turned around and begun stalking me. Upon increasing speed, he began to jog around corners and I called Portugal's emergency number, 112. While on the phone with the police, I turned to find him about 100 yards behind me and was then rushed by him while he reached for his pants, I don't want to imagine what for. I very luckily scared him off by brandishing my large and very full metal water bottle while screaming at him and feeding the police information. He ran back south on the trail while I ran toward Balinho.

I was approached by a lovely local who offered me help and guidance, he even walked me all the way to my albergue for the night! I was cautioned by the man, who was raised and still lives in the area, that the Litoral North path is very dangerous for those traveling alone, especially women and to avoid it moving forward. I feel the police handled it well, I was contacted an hour later to give a description for the officers going to the area.

I'll be sadly stopping my camino as my walk today was filled with paranoia despite others walking with me for support. I will be back to complete my journey but for now I hope everyone travels safely.
This incident reminds me of something happened to me today when I started to walk from Coimbra in the midday. As there was also a man running along the Camino up and down the road when it was just me and him. He kept checking on me and he stopped sometimes very weirdly which alert my attention. He didn't try to do anything to me in the end because at one point I think he tried to speak to me but I didn't look his way. I don't know if you are a religious person but when I walk the Camino, every step I make I am praying the rosary for protection and to clear my mind. In my reflection of what happened to the weird man, I think he really thought I could be his target today, but somehow a force stopped him and it's because of my prayers and the rosary is really a powerful weapon against the devil, that's why I pray the rosary all the time when I start walking on the Camino and carry at least one rosary on me and one on the backpack. I don't know if you pray the rosary or not but tomorrow when I start walking I will pray a rosary for you. Also if you need any assistance in Portugal, you can contact me as I live in Portugal and I speak Portuguese. If you want a good companion to give you confidence to continue walking to Santiago, you can let me know but just I am a bit far behind you right now as tomorrow I will only reach Mealhada. But from Porto I will take a bus to Caminha and continue along the coast to Santiago. If you haven't been walking from Lisbon to Santiago, you can try walking with me in the central part of Portugal. I can show you around this part of Portugal as it's my 2nd time on this route and I am doing it very slowly to enjoy every moment on the Camino and I don't mind to share the pleasant moment with you.

I do want to tell you some positive aspects of such kind of incidents in Portugal because I actually have my little place on the Camino to Santiago and Fatima to provide a shelter and a place to rest for peregrinos, it's donativo and one of the member @jungleboy should know who I am as he and his wife Wendy met me in my place. Anyway what I try to say is that we speak to different pilgrims everyday and we have different news from them about the Camino. One of the good news is that there was a pervert that exposes himself to solo peregrinas near Albergaria and now he is caught and he needs to report to the police from time to time to ensure he continues to behave well. Another news is that an old man who likes to hug solo foreign peregrinas in a very weird sexual way (I was one of the victims) , who has a shelter place on the Camino from Lisbon to Fatima, has died a few months ago. When I heard about these news, I thought the Camino is finally safe for solo peregrinas but from your incident it sure is not yet... but there is hope !!!

May you continue to have peace, love and joy no matter what happens to you !

God bless,
Maria
 
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K3Lee

New Member
Time of past OR future Camino
Portuguese Coastal Camino (planned for Sept 2022)
I plan to be walking between Esposende and Viana do Castelo on 19 September and will take the Coastal Way rather than the Senda Litoral for this section. If any other solo peregrinas would like some company, let me know.
 

jungleboy

Spirit of the Camino (Nick)
Time of past OR future Camino
A few in the past; more in the future!
I plan to be walking between Esposende and Viana do Castelo on 19 September and will take the Coastal Way rather than the Senda Litoral for this section. If any other solo peregrinas would like some company, let me know.
It’s a pleasant stage featuring forests and churches so I’m sure you will enjoy it besides having more peace of mind. Bom caminho.
 

EibhlinC

New Member
Time of past OR future Camino
Camino Portuguese coastal route early Oct
Hi I plan to walk from Matosinhos to Vila do Conde Sat Oct 1st
Vila do Conde to Apulia Sun Oct 2nd
Apulia to Chafe on Mon Oct 3rd
Chafe to Carreco on Tue Oct 4th if anyone is planning to walk that route on those days I am happy to be in contact so that we don't walk alone. After that I meet a friend to bike the rest of the way. Be safe.
 

Paul McG

Member
Time of past OR future Camino
Francés, Portugués, S. Salvador, Primitivo, Inglés
Hi all,

I'm sad to be posting this but I felt sharing my experience would be a cautionary tale for those moving forward. I started my Camino four days ago and have fallen in love as many do, but had an unfortunate encounter with an attempted assault and/or robbery yesterday afternoon on the Camino Portuguese Coastal, the Litoral way north of Esponsende. I decided to try the Coastal Litoral route from Esponsende moving to Castelo do Nieva. Starting in Agucadoura, I had been in frequent contact with others on the Camino, but when I moved onto the Litoral there were a lot fewer locals and peregrinos.

Somewhere between Mar and Balinho I was passed by a suspicious man who I realized had turned around and begun stalking me. Upon increasing speed, he began to jog around corners and I called Portugal's emergency number, 112. While on the phone with the police, I turned to find him about 100 yards behind me and was then rushed by him while he reached for his pants, I don't want to imagine what for. I very luckily scared him off by brandishing my large and very full metal water bottle while screaming at him and feeding the police information. He ran back south on the trail while I ran toward Balinho.

I was approached by a lovely local who offered me help and guidance, he even walked me all the way to my albergue for the night! I was cautioned by the man, who was raised and still lives in the area, that the Litoral North path is very dangerous for those traveling alone, especially women and to avoid it moving forward. I feel the police handled it well, I was contacted an hour later to give a description for the officers going to the area.

I'll be sadly stopping my camino as my walk today was filled with paranoia despite others walking with me for support. I will be back to complete my journey but for now I hope everyone travels safely.
It's terrible to hear that - and along with so many other stories here and on other threads. I hope it does not colour your view of the Camino/Portugal altogether.
I walked the Littoral Route and found it lovely, but it is very isolated; so it is depressing that these sorts of miserable characters would go and expoit that.
I also found creeps on the Portugués [and I'm a man], all of which ruined the atmosphere, though nothing like what you describe.
 
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Nini

New Member
Time of past OR future Camino
Portugal
I'm so sorry this happened to you @anonperegrino12, and salute you for handing it so well. A very good idea to pause and gather yourself - time to quietly be with what may be many reactions. Posting here is a big service to all those behind you, many thanks. Take good care of yourself and buen camino when you resume your walk!


At the moment it may be very wise for people walking alone to follow this local advice.
What about the Southern Costal Way? Starting from the very south. Is it safe?
 

Nini

New Member
Time of past OR future Camino
Portugal
Hi all,

I'm sad to be posting this but I felt sharing my experience would be a cautionary tale for those moving forward. I started my Camino four days ago and have fallen in love as many do, but had an unfortunate encounter with an attempted assault and/or robbery yesterday afternoon on the Camino Portuguese Coastal, the Litoral way north of Esponsende. I decided to try the Coastal Litoral route from Esponsende moving to Castelo do Nieva. Starting in Agucadoura, I had been in frequent contact with others on the Camino, but when I moved onto the Litoral there were a lot fewer locals and peregrinos.

Somewhere between Mar and Balinho I was passed by a suspicious man who I realized had turned around and begun stalking me. Upon increasing speed, he began to jog around corners and I called Portugal's emergency number, 112. While on the phone with the police, I turned to find him about 100 yards behind me and was then rushed by him while he reached for his pants, I don't want to imagine what for. I very luckily scared him off by brandishing my large and very full metal water bottle while screaming at him and feeding the police information. He ran back south on the trail while I ran toward Balinho.

I was approached by a lovely local who offered me help and guidance, he even walked me all the way to my albergue for the night! I was cautioned by the man, who was raised and still lives in the area, that the Litoral North path is very dangerous for those traveling alone, especially women and to avoid it moving forward. I feel the police handled it well, I was contacted an hour later to give a description for the officers going to the area.

I'll be sadly stopping my camino as my walk today was filled with paranoia despite others walking with me for support. I will be back to complete my journey but for now I hope everyone travels safely.
Hi,
So sorry to read about your experiences. I guess it was quite a trauma and you'll need some time to handle it totally.
I've never even thought there are attack cases on caminos.

Have some questions so far:
1. Is the Coastal way safer for a woman alone? (In fact "litoral" has a similar meaning to "coastal", and I've thought it was the same. Obviously, not. Sorry, I am not experienced. )

2. If the described part is dangerous, does that mean, all the other ones are safe?

3. What about the Southern Coastal Way - eg. from Sagres to Porto Covo? Is it safe? Are there proper albergues there?
Thanks all.
 

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