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Safety for women

Katy Hansen

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
(2016)
My sister-in-law and I are on the verge of committing to a walk from Leon to Santiago the middle of September, 2018. We are both over 60, though youthful and fit ; - ). My husband is very concerned about safety with "no one around to defend us". Egads. Does anyone have any thoughts for me? And if this should be posted on a different thread or Forum, please let me know - I'll admit I'm a novice to forums. Thank you so much in advance for your advice.
 
Camino(s) past & future
2015. Levante, Avila-Toro & Sanabres, Ourense-Santiago
2017. Invierno & Oseira monastery
I am a 69 year old woman. In 2015, I walked alone from Avila to Toro, and from Ourense to Santiago de Compostela. In 2017, I walked alone from Ponferrada to Santiago de Compostela on the Camino de Invierno, with an excursion for a retreat at the monastery in Oseira. I also walked for a few days on the Frances with a friend. I did not need anyone to defend me, ever. I do think you need to use common sense and exercise the same precautions that you would anywhere you travel. I met many more people on the Frances than on either of the more solitary routes I took. For that very reason, I felt a greater need to exercise more caution on the Frances than on the other routes. All of my experiences on the Caminos were fabulous, privileged moments of grace and personal development.

One amusing anecdote: in 2015, my husband joined me in Santiago after I finished my solitary walk of about 200 miles. When I offered to run an errand for him, he asked me, "Will you be able to find your way back to the hotel?" The men who love us have a tendency to underestimate our competence, even in the face of strong evidence! I hope this is an expression of their loving concern for us, and not merely male chauvinism....
 

Katy Hansen

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
(2016)
I am a 69 year old woman. In 2015, I walked alone from Avila to Toro, and from Ourense to Santiago de Compostela. In 2017, I walked alone from Ponferrada to Santiago de Compostela on the Camino de Invierno, with an excursion for a retreat at the monastery in Oseira. I also walked for a few days on the Frances with a friend. I did not need anyone to defend me, ever. I do think you need to use common sense and exercise the same precautions that you would anywhere you travel. I met many more people on the Frances than on either of the more solitary routes I took. For that very reason, I felt a greater need to exercise more caution on the Frances than on the other routes. All of my experiences on the Caminos were fabulous, privileged moments of grace and personal development.

One amusing anecdote: in 2015, my husband joined me in Santiago after I finished my solitary walk of about 200 miles. When I offered to run an errand for him, he asked me, "Will you be able to find your way back to the hotel?" The men who love us have a tendency to underestimate our competence, even in the face of strong evidence! I hope this is an expression of their loving concern for us, and not merely male chauvinism....
Thank you!
 

Annie Little

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances Sept-Oct 2016
I walked as a 60 yr old unfit alone female from St Jean de pied France to Santiago Spain sept 2016 .... I was careful , cautious , happy and sensible .... I watched my back and was safe the whole way .... if I wanted company I could have it as there are many walkers ....

Safety comes from planning , using common sense and I really have to say there is also some luck involved . People can come into unlucky circumstances anywhere at anytime through no fault of their own .
But that shouldn’t stop one from Living and Loving life

Ultreia
 

C clearly

Moderator
Staff member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances (2012, 2014, 2015, 2016), VDLP (2017), Mozarabe (2018), Vasco/Bayona (2019)
"no one around to defend us". Egads.
Hahahahahah:D:D:D:D
From Santiago Pilgrim office statistics, in September 2017, there were 42,189 people who claimed compostelas, and not everyone bothers to do that! (Of those, 9501 were over 60 years old, and roughly 50% would be women.) That would be an average of 1406 pilgrims per day, or roughly one person every 100 meters along the way.

You'll be safe. Leap over the verge and make that reservation!
 

FLEUR

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances 2012 - 2016
Voie de Paris / Tours Aulnay to Saintes 2017
Camino del Baztan 2018
No problem. There are two of you, just take care and look out for each other. Girl friend and I walked the CF (both over 60) with no problem. One part I did for three days on my own and didn't feel threatened.
Go for it! You only live once!
 

SuzyL80

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino de Invierno
I am a 69 year old woman. In 2015, I walked alone from Avila to Toro, and from Ourense to Santiago de Compostela. In 2017, I walked alone from Ponferrada to Santiago de Compostela on the Camino de Invierno, with an excursion for a retreat at the monastery in Oseira. I also walked for a few days on the Frances with a friend. I did not need anyone to defend me, ever. I do think you need to use common sense and exercise the same precautions that you would anywhere you travel. I met many more people on the Frances than on either of the more solitary routes I took. For that very reason, I felt a greater need to exercise more caution on the Frances than on the other routes. All of my experiences on the Caminos were fabulous, privileged moments of grace and personal development.

One amusing anecdote: in 2015, my husband joined me in Santiago after I finished my solitary walk of about 200 miles. When I offered to run an errand for him, he asked me, "Will you be able to find your way back to the hotel?" The men who love us have a tendency to underestimate our competence, even in the face of strong evidence! I hope this is an expression of their loving concern for us, and not merely male chauvinism....


Hi
I'm planning to walk from Ponferrada to Santiago de Compostela on the Camino de Invierno in April . Can you please give me some advice regarding weather and accommodation? I've heard that some places don't open on that route until June time. Is that correct?
Thank you
Suzy
 

t2andreo

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
C/F: 2013, 2014
C/M: 2016
C/P: 2015, 2017
C/I: 2018
Voluntario: 2014 - 2019
You will be just fine. Walking with a partner / friend is a good idea. Tell hubby not to worry...

Even if walking solo / sola, all any woman needs to do is pick up a group in the morning as you start out. Ask someone if they mind if you "tag along" with them.

As long as they are within shouting distance, safety is assured. I have never met a pilgrim who would not help any other pilgrim in distress or need.

Other common sense tips include, but are not limited to these:
  • FOLLOW THE ARROWS, do not go off the line-of-march on a hunch... A yellow "X" means this is the wrong way.
  • Walk during daylight hours, when you can see and be seen.
  • If it makes you feel better, wear a loud whistle on a lanyard or chain around your neck, where you can get to it. The international signal for distress is three blasts on the whistle, followed by a pause, followed by three blasts, etc... Hunters use three gunshots, pause, three shots, etc. And the international S-O-S is three short, three long, three short, etc. So, the pattern holds.
  • Also, have a mobile / cell phone with a valid SIM. The international emergency number in most all of Europe, including Spain and Portugal is 112.
  • In this regard, for smartphones there is an app called Alert Cops, developed by the Spanish Policia National. It is available on iOS and Android. It allows you to pre-register your presence in Spain and send rapid alerts using the app to summon aid.
  • Calling 112 is faster, IMHO. If you do, there will be help in English if you ask "ayuda en ingles, por favor" (ai-judha in en-glheese, por fahvor) [help in English please] when the phone is answered.
Hope this helps assuage hubby's concerns...;)
 

Jacqueline17

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino del Norte (2016/2017)
Camino Ingles (2017)
Santiago to Muxia (2018)
Hi Katy
I'm 60. I walked the Camino del Norte with my daughter last year and then went on to walk the Camino Ingles by myself. We never felt threatened or in danger in any way. The latter Camino was particularly quiet with days where I met only a few workmen along the way and very few pilgrims. You just need to be aware of possible dangers. To be honest, it's probably more dangerous going to my local pub back in the UK!
 

kaixo

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances 2012
Norte 2012
Geneva/Le Puy/SJPP/Bilbao 2015
Prague/Geneva ?
As a solo walker in her 50's, I agree with @Jacqueline17, I have never felt threatened or in danger.
Riding BART in the Bay Area sometimes raises the hair on the back of my neck, but that never happened while on camino.
Please rest assured, you will have plenty of company from Leon to Santiago.
Buen camino.
 

SYates

Camino Fossil AD 1999, now living in Santiago de C
Camino(s) past & future
First: Camino Francés 1999
...
Last: Santiago - Muxia 2019

Now: http://egeria.house/
My sister-in-law and I are on the verge of committing to a walk from Leon to Santiago the middle of September, 2018. We are both over 60, though youthful and fit ; - ). My husband is very concerned about safety with "no one around to defend us". Egads. Does anyone have any thoughts for me? And if this should be posted on a different thread or Forum, please let me know - I'll admit I'm a novice to forums. Thank you so much in advance for your advice.
Defend from what??? September is still main (busy!) pilgrims season and you will be hardly ever alone on the way. Crime on the Camino is extremely rare and mainly the occasional pick pocketing /opportunity (unsupervised charging electronics) theft. I walk pretty much always alone, many, many Caminos and felt safer there than in most towns/cities I have ever lived in. Buen Camino, SY
 

marylynn

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
2011-2019 CF, Arles/Aragones
2015 & 2017 HærvejenDK
You will be fine! The Camino Frances is probably the safest place in the world to be. It is hard to get lost - but if you head off in the wrong direction, it is not unusual for a Local to suddenly appear and turn you around and/or point to where you need to go. There are a lot of good, informative videos on You Tube and Vimeo, and it might be helpful (and reassuring) to your husband to watch a few to get a feel for what it is like to walk on the Camino Frances.

Assure your husband that there is a large, extended Camino community--locals, fellow pilgrims, hospitaleros, pharmacists, Civil Guard, restaurant and bar owners, etc.--who will watch out for you and will care for you. It is very safe.
 
D

Deleted member 67185

Guest
Anecdotal experiences aside (the large majority of people walking anywhere in the world have done so in peace), you will not be alone. :)
 
D

Deleted member 75649

Guest
My sister-in-law and I are on the verge of committing to a walk from Leon to Santiago the middle of September, 2018. We are both over 60, though youthful and fit ; - ). My husband is very concerned about safety with "no one around to defend us". Egads. Does anyone have any thoughts for me? And if this should be posted on a different thread or Forum, please let me know - I'll admit I'm a novice to forums. Thank you so much in advance for your advice.
Hi, my first post yeh! I am a 63 year old female and walked alone from SJPP to Santiago in August 2017 in 29 days. I loved it and miss it still.I had a Black swan daypack and had done minimal planning. I stayed mostly at Private Albergues as I learnt very quickly I preferred a sheet on the bed and less people for maximum sleep. I didn't book ahead just walked as far as my feet wanted 17km to 40km a day as I had 5 weeks before my flight. I didn't feel alone however meeting lots of wonderful people along the way. Julio from Brazil, Mary and Gary from Australia, Kristof from Germany, Lee from China, Gary from Cronulla, Agnes from France, Lesa Lotte from Denmark, Andy from Switzerland, Dee from the USA and the amazing Celeste and Olivia from Spain who started with me in SJPP and finished with me in Santiago.
I never walked alone in the dark or if I did, it was with others. I didn't feel safe in the dark alone. I started walking at 7am. I got lost one day walking into Burgos however the wonderful Olivia and Celeste welcomed me into their group and I followed them through the industrial area to a hostel. I met another pilgrim who got really lost outside Burgos. Olivia and Celeste also helped me find a hostel in another town when I couldn't find one. They were amazing as I didn't speak Spanish and they didn't speak English, just a few words, smiles and sign language.
I did come to a shell arrow that I felt was pointed in the wrong direction. I just waited for other pilgrims who reassured me that the sign was pointed in the wrong direction. I came across a tall man begging in a park outside one of the towns. He asked me firstly in French, then English and the Spanish for money I was alone at the time and felt uneasy so gave him 2 euros from my bumbag with the remainder of my valuables hidden in a money belt. He walked off quite happily. A fellow female pilgrim didn't give him anything and he ran after her. I did feel intimidated by 2 obese, tall women outside Sarria who were supposedly deaf. They carried clip boards with names and addresses of people who had donated 45 euros to their organisation. I stupidly gave 5 euros however they saw the 20 euros and asked me for it verbally. I declined and they disappeared in a flash.
The best thing I bought for my safety was my walking poles in SJPP. I loved them. They protected my knees and saved me from a fall when I was singing my 1000th rendition of '10 green bottles'. I left them by mistake at one of the hostels one morning. I returned to find the hostel closed as the manager hadn't slept there that night due to a festival, I emailed her that night and 'voila'she kindly sent them to the hostel I was staying at the following night. I thought it was Xmas. Another delightful act was when a lovely Spanish hostel manager spontaneously came around her desk and gave me a French kiss because it was my birthday the day before. She had seen my birth date on my passport
Overall, I didn't feel unsafe at all and I was alone so you will be fine with the two of you. I did greet the wonderful Spanish people in the small towns and asked for their help if mildly lost. Some pilgrims had their location on their phones constantly but I didn't deem it to be necessary. Enjoy the journey as I didn't enjoy finishing. Until the next one....
 

Karl Oz

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances
Portuguese
Aragones
Sanabres
Piamonte
Elizabethpfad
My sister-in-law and I are on the verge of committing to a walk from Leon to Santiago the middle of September, 2018. We are both over 60, though youthful and fit ; - ). My husband is very concerned about safety with "no one around to defend us". Egads. Does anyone have any thoughts for me? And if this should be posted on a different thread or Forum, please let me know - I'll admit I'm a novice to forums. Thank you so much in advance for your advice.
Take a broadsword and mace...
Seriously, you will be fine.
 

Bob from L.A. !

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Francis 2012, 2014, 2016. Camino Norte 2018. Many more to come in my future God willing !
Having 300,000 people completing the Camino this last year you will be begging for solitude !!!!!!!!!! Just go !! Seldom will you be alone.

Buen Camino !
 
Camino(s) past & future
Francés : Sarria-Santiago (2013)
Via Podiensis : (2014-17)
Via Tolosana : Arles-Toulouse-(2018-19)
You're fine if you take normal precautions. I felt a lot safer than in the US. On the other hand, if you like you can join a group of women on Facebook, called CAMIGAS, where you can share concerns you may have with other women walkers and post potential problems or issues. https://www.facebook.com/groups/CaminoBuddySystemForWomen/
 

Thornley

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances x 2 , Norte x 2 , Le Puy x 3 , Portuguese x 2,
Mont St Michel , Primitivo .
My husband is very concerned about safety with "no one around to defend us". Egads. Does anyone have any thoughts for me? And
Tell your husband that you will be twice as safe on the Camino compared to where you live and it is irrelevant where you live , the answer is the same.
 

SeaHorse

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances 2015 (SJPDP-Finisterre), planning Norte
I walked from SJPDP to Santiago-Finisterre-Muxia in 2015. There were lots of people and generally walking was safe. Started solo but in a few days found friends to walk together.
Still my walking buddies and me did take a bus over a stretch where a female pilgrim went missing that spring. On one occasion a fake pilgrim aka beggar took a fancy in some of our equipment and was following us quite close and long time. 1 him vs 4 of us, we were not too terrified but it didn't feel right either, did report him in 112 at the next stop when we sat down and compared the descriptions that we wanted to give the police. And yes, the operator can connect to English interpreter. After that we all took a taxi to get ahead of him.
And then there were those Romanas trying to get us sign some petition or whatnot, sure for money, they were waiting in a quiet empty stretch of road where both sides went right up, looked like a trap. Again we were 4, they 2. Maybe they would have been more assertive if the pilgrim was just solo. Safety in numbers.
 
Camino(s) past & future
2012-2018 Frances, Via de la Plata, Portugues Central and Seaside, Norte
My sister-in-law and I are on the verge of committing to a walk from Leon to Santiago the middle of September, 2018. We are both over 60, though youthful and fit ; - ). My husband is very concerned about safety with "no one around to defend us". Egads. Does anyone have any thoughts for me? And if this should be posted on a different thread or Forum, please let me know - I'll admit I'm a novice to forums. Thank you so much in advance for your advice.
I did my first Camino when I was 65, alone. I've done 6 since then, alone. I'm going alone again this May. I have never had any problem or any had any reason to be afraid. Use common sense and you will be fine.
 

pelerine

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Norte 10, Primitivo 13, Plata 14+15, Salvador 16, Torres 17, Portugues 18, Mozarabe 19
Hi Katy! I did my first camino at 70, alone 2300 km aroound the coast of Brittany from my home near St Malo and then the whole of the Atlantic coast of France and on to the Norte, and on to Fisterra. Since then I have “done” the Plata, Primitivo, Salvador and Torres, always alone except for a few days when one or two of my children walked with me for a few days. Never any problem. And on the Torres you are completely alone - there are NO other pilgrims at the same time unless you bring one with you. I am now 78 and continue walking and planning....

So far I have not walked on the Frances, but I agree with what “pray’n walk” implies in her post ie that the great number of people on the Frances may well attract criminals because of the probability of “success”.

Anyway, there has been so much good advice on this thread already. so go for it and buen camino!
 
Last edited:

javier60

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
camino del ingles (futuro)
[QUOTE = "Katy Hansen, post: 576195, miembro: 50788"] Mi cuñada y yo estamos a punto de comprometernos a dar un paseo de León a Santiago a mediados de septiembre de 2018. Los dos tenemos más de 60 años, aunque joven y en forma; -). Mi esposo está muy preocupado por la seguridad con "nadie cerca para defendernos". Egads. ¿Alguien tiene alguna idea para mí? Y si esto se publicara en un hilo o foro diferente, hágamelo saber: admito que soy un novato en los foros. Muchas gracias de antemano por su consejo. [/ QUOTE]
Hola
1.españa es uno de los lugares más seguros de europa, no obstante, como en todas las partes a veces sal un loco suelto, pero no es nada habitual
1.is ir con tranquilidad, nadie os molestara.
 

Katy Hansen

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
(2016)
I walked from SJPDP to Santiago-Finisterre-Muxia in 2015. There were lots of people and generally walking was safe. Started solo but in a few days found friends to walk together.
Still my walking buddies and me did take a bus over a stretch where a female pilgrim went missing that spring. On one occasion a fake pilgrim aka beggar took a fancy in some of our equipment and was following us quite close and long time. 1 him vs 4 of us, we were not too terrified but it didn't feel right either, did report him in 112 at the next stop when we sat down and compared the descriptions that we wanted to give the police. And yes, the operator can connect to English interpreter. After that we all took a taxi to get ahead of him.
And then there were those Romanas trying to get us sign some petition or whatnot, sure for money, they were waiting in a quiet empty stretch of road where both sides went right up, looked like a trap. Again we were 4, they 2. Maybe they would have been more assertive if the pilgrim was just solo. Safety in numbers.
Thank you
 

Katy Hansen

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
(2016)
Hi Katy! I did my first camino at 70, alone 2300 km aroound the coast of Brittany from my home near St Malo and then the whole of the Atlantic coast of France and on to the Norte, and on to Fisterra. Since then I have “done” the Plata, Primitivo, Salvador and Torres, always alone except for a few days when one or two of my children walked with me for a few days. Never any problem. And on the Torres you are completely alone - there are NO other pilgrims at the same time unless you bring one with you. I am now 78 and continue walking and planning....

So far I have not walked on the Frances, but I agree with what “pray’n walk” implies in her post ie that the great number of people on the Frances may well attract criminals because of the probability of “success”.

Anyway, there has been so much good advice on this thread already. so go for it and buen camino!

Thank you!
 

FourSeasons

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
CF Sept/Oct 2013
CF April/May 2016
del Norte (July/August 2019)
There will be times on the Frances you will be longing for solitude. I am a female solo traveler who has done the CF twice and in my opinion, solo is the way to go. Just use common sense and be aware of your surroundings as in every day life. The two of you are going to have a blast. It's nice you have each other but tell your husband there are plenty of Camino Angels out there if and when the time arises.

I'm very excited for you and your friend. :)
Buen Camino,
Angela
 

Katy Hansen

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
(2016)
Thank you!
I did my first Camino when I was 65, alone. I've done 6 since then, alone. I'm going alone again this May. I have never had any problem or any had any reason to be afraid. Use common sense and you will be fine.
Tell your husband that you will be twice as safe on the Camino compared to where you live and it is irrelevant where you live , the answer is the same.
There will be times on the Frances you will be longing for solitude. I am a female solo traveler who has done the CF twice and in my opinion, solo is the way to go. Just use common sense and be aware of your surroundings as in every day life. The two of you are going to have a blast. It's nice you have each other but tell your husband there are plenty of Camino Angels out there if and when the time arises.

I'm very excited for you and your friend. :)
Buen Camino,
Angela

Thank you! We are so looking forward to it!
 

spagirl

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
frances(Sept 2018)
I am aslo a female walking alone with my sons scared that they won't be able to reach me. I for one am looking forward to the solitude!!
However if it makes our loved ones feel better for a small amount of money you can purchase a GPs tracker that they can check on you. Some models have a feature that you can press for assistance in an emergency.
You can set them up to 'ping' your family once a day...once an hour- whatever you set it up to do. They can see where you are. Might be fun for your husband to follow you on line.
1528391633717.jpeg


Here is the link to one below.

https://www.amazon.ca/s/?ie=UTF8&ke...targid=kwd-299954542043&ref=pd_sl_phsgw9yu1_e
 

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