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Getting Really Nervous

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Camino(s) past & future
Camino Portugues- May (2018)
Start in Porto with Spiritual Variant
#1
There seem to be a lot of these threads, but I too am a solo female starting in May. I generally felt okay until a couple of weeks ago when a man tried to attack me. I'd really like to find someone to start walking with. I plan to start from Porto May 13th.
 

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#3
The Caminos are also part of our World, possibly a bit safer than some places. If it is of any help, I have walked and will start walking again a week before you on the Camino Frances. Honestly, though I will walk alone, there is nothing on the Camino that raises my concern, but for one thing, do I have it in me to complete the pilgrimage? But still, not a fear, simply a question.

Julia, I taught Aikido & Ki for 35 years, just retiring last year. During that time, I taught basic self defense to countless women's and children's classes. When attacked, fight back. If close, go for soft targets like feet, knees, inside of upper legs, groin, thumb knuckle punch to kidneys, crossed finger jab to base of throat, smash the nose with a hammer fist, goudge the eyes, tear off an ear (grab top and tear downward). It hurts like crazy and bleeds a lot but is not fatal, and can be sewn back on. Add to this, pinky side of hand under the nose, very touchy area.

No matter where we are, we are on pilgrimage and we are being hosted by the Roman Catholic church. These are all good reason for unsavoury individuals to respect us. BTW, most of us carry sticks. Oh what I could show you about using sticks. I pray that No One ever attacks us, but if we are attacked, they have to know that we are many and it will not be long before another will be coming along.

There will be many pilgrims on your route. It is doubtful that anything will happen.

Finally, I just downloaded an app for Spain called ALERTCOPS, which provides Police alerts and notations. Not sure if it covers Portugal as well but maybe there is a country specific app that does this?

Hope this helps. My prayers go with you.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances (June 2017)
#5
I'm really sorry to hear that you have had a bad experience while preparing for your camino. It is an awful thing to happen. I believe there is a Facebook page for solo women doing the camino so that might also be useful to look at.

When walking alone, I just asked other pilgrims if I could walk along with them for a while if I felt uneasy, for example if it was still dark. Everyone I asked was happy to walk with me for an hour or so, and I enjoyed some nice chats that way. I believe that you will find plenty of kind and supportive pilgrims to walk with you on your journey whether or not you have a pre-prepared walking buddy.

Buen camino.
 

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stgcph

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances (Aug/Sep 2017)
#7
The Caminos are also part of our World, possibly a bit safer than some places. If it is of any help, I have walked and will start walking again a week before you on the Camino Frances. Honestly, though I will walk alone, there is nothing on the Camino that raises my concern, but for one thing, do I have it in me to complete the pilgrimage? But still, not a fear, simply a question.

Julia, I taught Aikido & Ki for 35 years, just retiring last year. During that time, I taught basic self defense to countless women's and children's classes. When attacked, fight back. If close, go for soft targets like feet, knees, inside of upper legs, groin, thumb knuckle punch to kidneys, crossed finger jab to base of throat, smash the nose with a hammer fist, goudge the eyes, tear off an ear (grab top and tear downward). It hurts like crazy and bleeds a lot but is not fatal, and can be sewn back on. Add to this, pinky side of hand under the nose, very touchy area.

No matter where we are, we are on pilgrimage and we are being hosted by the Roman Catholic church. These are all good reason for unsavoury individuals to respect us. BTW, most of us carry sticks. Oh what I could show you about using sticks. I pray that No One ever attacks us, but if we are attacked, they have to know that we are many and it will not be long before another will be coming along.

There will be many pilgrims on your route. It is doubtful that anything will happen.

Finally, I just downloaded an app for Spain called ALERTCOPS, which provides Police alerts and notations. Not sure if it covers Portugal as well but maybe there is a country specific app that does this?

Hope this helps. My prayers go with you.

Wow! What an orgy of violence! I wouldn’t even dare ask you what time it is. Hope you don’t get to fight with someone who can fight back with equal methods – it could get really nasty…

I wonder what your prayers sounds like…. “May God give me strength to tear off an ear”?
 

SabineP

Veteran Member
Donating Member
Camino(s) past & future
some and then more. see my signature.
#8
And general rule of advice here on this forum is that people run away from the attacker...get to a safe place. Alert police!

And I do not think that unsavoury types give a toss that pilgrims are walking as hosts of the Catholic Church..:rolleyes:
 
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances (June 2017)
#9
@Julia I noticed that the woman who started this thread "First Camino, need some advice" is planning to start from Porto on 15th. Maybe pm her.
 

Colette Zaharie

Happy Pilgrim
Donating Member
Camino(s) past & future
CF-Fisterre-Muxia March 2017
Slovakia Camino Kosiče-Levoča Oct 2017
El Norte March 1 2018
#10
If you stay the night before starting in the Porto public albergue you’re most likely to meet someone to start walking with. I faced my fears and walked the Norte alone now in March and it’s got some fairly long remote uninhabited parts. I carry a knife for apples (seconds as a weapon) plus this time I took a tiny can of pepper spray which I threw out after week 1 - it was more a psychological soother. From a practical point. I downloaded the Spanish police App ALERTCOPS. Maybe Portugal has similar. You fill out your info, tel #, name, I’d number, emergency/family contacts. When walking you can with one click call, they have your location via satellite and they’ll speak with you in English or Spanish (perhaps even Portuguese or German). I tested it and I felt safer knowing someone would look for me ASAP if activated. But I concur, the Camino is safe. As an older female having observed younger pilgrims, I might remind you to take care with fellow male pilgrims, people get emotionally close very quickly on the Camino and it can be taken wrongly by some (ie romantic advances). Buen Camino
 

John Sikora

Active Member
Donating Member
Camino(s) past & future
(2015) Frances
(2018) Portuguese/Coastal Sept
(2019) Via de la Plata - Seville to Santiago May
#11
The world isn't a safe place but in terms of relative safety, walking any of the Caminos is one of the safer spots to be in for two reasons:

1) when you are alone - you're definitely safe (unless you do something stupid while walking like not watching where you are walking :) :) :) )
2) when walking with others - the overwhelmingly large percentage of people are friendly, helpful, and not dangerous in any sense (other than talking your ear off - no reference to previous posts).

Granted, there may be a crazy lurking out there somewhere and good advice has been supplied with regard to that. But, all in all, you're probably safer on a Camino walk than in your own neighborhood.

Enjoy the walk.
 
#12
Wow! What an orgy of violence! I wouldn’t even dare ask you what time it is. Hope you don’t get to fight with someone who can fight back with equal methods – it could get really nasty…

I wonder what your prayers sounds like…. “May God give me strength to tear off an ear”?
Sorry you took it that way @stgcph. But I am used to individuals with no martial arts experience responding in this manner.

The reason for your response is a lack of understanding of me, my religious beliefs and the base philosophy of all the martial arts. When you evaluate all the other acts I describe, there is no blood drawn but there is a definite effect, all of which are designed to get the attacker's mind on themselves and off the target.

The short answers are that I am Christian, Buddhist and Bahai. In martial arts, especially Aikido & Ki, it is my sole purpose to bring my attacker back into harmony with the universe. The defence tactics provided have little to nothing to do with that art. They are basic self defence tactics and for the OP, we do not have several years to train her in Aikido & Ki.

Would you rather I not try to help a fellow Peregrina?

And the main prayer that I use on the Camino is," Lord, I place myself in the palm of your hand. I am here to do your will. I pray to be worthy of your kindness. I am humbled by all You have done for me already."Do you have a prayer?
 

Sidekick

New Member
Donating Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Francis SJdPP to Astorga (Apr 2018)
#13
Ok I’ll jump in. I’m on the camino Frances now. Walking as a solo woman I’m older and in decent shape if that matters but I just want to say to you don’t worry. It’s safe as safe can be. There are pilgrims everywhere and from my viewpoint everyone wants to help. I’ve not felt the least bit threatened since I started on 5 April. Leave the fears at home go have some fun and trust in yourself. If I can do it so can you. You’ll understand once you start. Be smart, but enjoy your camino!
 

lt56ny

Active Member
Donating Member
Camino(s) past & future
2013-Frances SJP-Finisterre, 2015 Camino Le Puy-Santiago, 2017 Portugues Lisbon-Santiago 2018 Norte
#15
Hi,
I don’t know if this will bring you any comfort and security but here goes. I have walked 3 Caminos and have meet all kinds of people. I looked at your profile photo and fro the back you look younger. I am the father of 2 adult daughters who are my life.
Besides all the fantastic people you will meet men and women young and old there are lots of fathers out there on all the Caminos who have feel about their daughters just as I do. Last year on the Portugues Camino I was walking with a friend grom
University and a fantastic Irishman. We all have girls. One day in an Albergue we met a young German Doctor who
was a little fearful of an ass who was giving her the creeps. We all started chatting and she told us of her concern and asked if we could walk with her and or just keep an eye out for her. Of course we did. The next day my friend asked why she picked us. She said are you kidding it’s obvious you are all dads and you all are nuts about your girls. You spent 30 minutes talking and bragging about them. So don’t worry you will find people especially old dads like us out there. We are everywhere on the Camino.
Buen Camino and all you dads in Portugal take care of our new Pilgrim!!!
 

stgcph

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances (Aug/Sep 2017)
#16
Would you rather I not try to help a fellow Peregrina?
No, I appreciate your effort to help, I just don’t think it is the right way.

They are basic self defence tactics and for the OP, we do not have several years to train her in Aikido & Ki.
No, and therefore this appears to me much like giving a weapon to a person who has no knowledge and training of how to use it and no perception of the possible consequences of using it.

But I am used to individuals with no martial arts experience responding in this manner.
Well, I have a little “second hand” knowledge of martial arts.

Let me tell you what happened to my son a couple of years ago. He has been practicing martial arts for many years, he has a very high “rank” in those circles, he has been teaching martial arts for the last 7-8 years and in his spare time (he is a lawyer) he acts as a security counsellor and coordinator at major public events. In his martial arts classes, they put a lot of emphasis on “negotiation and mediation” techniques and other means to avoid any violent confrontations.

A long story short (there is a lot of details): One night in town some guy confronted him and threatened to beat him up if he didn’t hand over his money. When my son told him he didn’t have much cash, the guy ordered him to walk along to the nearest ATM and take out a lot of cash. In the end my son gave him what equals around 100 euro.

I said to my son “so you actually freely gave the guy who tried to rob you money?” And my son said “Well, we got to talk a little on the way to the ATM and he didn’t really appear to be a bad guy and he looked so thin and sad and unhappy.”

The bottom line is, that there is not a shadow of doubt in my mind, that my son could have broken the nose on the offender, ripped his ears off and done other awful things –but he chose another strategy.. And I felt proud of him.

Violence is very rarely the answer and when used it comes with the risk, that the whole situation could escalate into something far worse –for you.

And yes, I have a prayer and I keep it to myself.
 

Rebekah Scott

Camino Busybody
Donating Member
Camino(s) past & future
Many, various, and continuing.
#17
I think Michelle offered her expert counsel in good faith, with good intentions. The OP can take it or leave it as she chooses. Questioning Michelle´s motives is presumptuous, assuming that she is a violent person is unfair.
This is a forum. Everyone has a voice. Let´s give everyone the benefit of a doubt.
 

JabbaPapa

"True Pilgrim"
Camino(s) past & future
100 characters or fewer : see signature details
#18
How awful -- but the likelihood of such attacks is independent of whether you're on pilgrimage or not.

My own imposing bulk does protect me, personally -- but I am still always aware of this ever-present threat upon all of us everywhere, as that same bulk I can see being perceived as a looming threat by some around me.

And I was directly threatened with violence by one of our local numbskulls about 3 weeks ago regardless.

Do try and get in with a Camino family -- this beautiful tradition stretching back into mediaeval times is there, among many excellent purposes, for our mutual protection from such outlaws.

I personally can get by without one, though I've loved to bits the two times that I've belonged to such a family -- but for some, they're a necessary, not an optional.

Be safe, peregrina, and buen Camino !!
 

grayland

Moderator
Staff member
Donating Member
Camino(s) past & future
Yes
#20
This thread has morphed into a two member discussion on the use of force.
There seems to very little in the discussion that is useful to Julia (the original poster)

Hopefully, Julia was able to get some comfort from the other posts in the thread.

The thread will be closed for now.
 
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