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Solo women on Camino Portugues- advice please

Camino(s) past & future
CF- SJPP- SdC Oct/Nov (2013)
Kumano Kodo Japan (2016)
Next TBC - (2019)
#1
After reading threads reporting some pretty scarey experiences by solo women on CP, and I know its impossible to really know, but I am wondering how isolated or common these incidents might be. Could women who have walked any of the Camino Portugues routrs solo please relay your experiences? I am planning to walk from Lisbon alone early next year. I, and im sure others, would be keen to hear. Muchos Gracios mi amigas.
 

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Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances 2015
VDLP 2016
Portuguese March 2017
Sanabres September 2017
#2
Hi Jennifer
Last year I walked alone from Lisbon to Coimbra and then from Porto to Santiago. I was fine. No bad experiences. The reason I didn't walk from Coimbra to Porto was because I was tired and footsore.

It's really difficult when you hear these warnings. For me, I love to walk alone and I intend to keep doing so - life isn't safe and there are risks in everything we do that keeps us alive and give our lives meaning.

I tell myself to be careful, be strong...
 
Camino(s) past & future
Portuguese (2018)
#3
My thoughts too. You are probably going to see many things you do not want to see, hurt animals, pollution, bad smells, and people hanging out that make one nervous. Exhibitionists rarely touch people, they scare people and shock them. Opening one’s eyes is always a risk - but that is part of experience.
 

Anamya

Keeping it simple
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances (2015)
Camino Portugues (2017)
Lebaniego (Planning)
#4
I have not walked solo, so my view is not totally relevant for this matter. However, I felt safe all the time - and it was not because I had a walking companion, it wa because the trail from Porto to Santiago. I didnt see anyone 'weird' or dodgy.

The only moment I was scared was when I passed by a fence with hanging doll heads, but appearantly the place is quite famous along the trail - they are meant to be scarecrows. They are surely bizarre! lol :p
 

surya8

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Portugues Central, Santarem-Santiago - 2017; Portugues Interior, Sanabres, Fisterra & Muxia - 2018
#5
I walked Porto to Santiago in Apr last year, loved the country and people so much that I returned to walk Santarem to Porto at the end of Oct. Porto to Santaigo is a very safe stretch to walk on your own, it's always busy and you see pilgrims ahead or behind a lot, especially after Tiu. I started alone from Porto but then walked on and off with some people. If you don't feel like walking alone you could always find a walking companion on the road. Lisbon to Porto stretch is a bit different though, longer stages, fewer pilgrims. I started walking there on my own, felt safe, then met some people on the way and felt very comfortable walking with them, so 4 of us decided to walk together to Porto. That was the very end of Oct, at the end of the season, and apart from our group there were 2-4 more pilgrims on the same stage at a time, so you are never alone. We'd talked to hospitalieros on the way and they said that Lisbon to Porto is getting very popular now, there will be even more people walking next year. I came back to walk Portugues Interior route from Viseu this June, we walked alone for 8 days, very rural, very picturesque and also felt very safe. Now am looking at other caminos in Portugal for the future as the country is beyond amazing! Bom Camino! :)
 
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KJFSophie

My Way, With Joy !
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances (2014 & 2015 ) ,Via San Francesco, Italy (2017 )
Camino Portugese (2018 )
#6
Will be walking Porto to Santiago this September and can simply say to be prepared for the uneasiness of a few of the worlds undesirables. I met exhibitionists in Italy, was pinned against an alburgue wall in the night by a drunk pilgrim in Spain, was grabbed and kissed right on the mouth by a local in Burgos out of the blue, and woke up in an albergue to a man touching my neck....All of these were in the presence of others. I also had the very unfortunate scare of being followed slowly by a car with two men in it , catcalling and making lewd gestures , as I walked to the lighthouse in Finesterre when I was completely alone. You will find bad/sick people everywhere in the world. It's not worth worrying about things you cannot change, but prepare tactics to react. I took a completely dead cell phone out of my hip pack in Finisterre and put it up to my ear pretending to have a conversation with someone for nearly the entire way as I was being followed. I think that prevented the uglies in the car from approaching me. ( I might add...I was a nurse in a maximum security prison for men and am not at all an over-reactor ) Trust your gut. Don't be afraid to latch onto others. Alert others and authorities if anything scary happens. Always be aware of how much trail is ahead and how much you've left behind, so you can assess which direction to run in if needed. Do not walk with earbuds and music/podcasts in...be aware of surroundings. Be alert and it will be alright :)
 
#7
There seems to be a burst of posts about women being harassed.
I’ve posted on some of those threads but will add just a few comments here. Of the five or six times it has happened to me, I was walking with another women in all but one or two cases (thankfully, the memories fade). And with regard to the eternal question about whether the incidence has gone up or whether we are just learning more about it now, I can tell you that between 2000 and 2006, I was flashed at least four times. And when talking to others in albergues, etc, I learned that I was by no means alone. I remember hearing about it many times on my first camino in 2000, all the way from the Pyrenees to Monte Gozo. The underreporting makes good statistical tracking very difficult.

Whether or not the amount of flashing has increased, what has remained constant is the extremely low level of violent criminal activity. I believe I saw some figures after the murder of Denise Thiem that reported that on all caminos over the last twenty years, the number of violent crimes was under 20. I am in no way trying to diminish the importance of these disgusting incidents, but I think that, as others have said, in today’s world, the Camino remains one of the very safest places to be.

And one p.s., sorry. In light of some of the recent threads about “disconnecting” and being more in the moment, those who carry a cell phone can walk with a lot less worry, because the coverage on the Caminos is very good. I’ve done a mental calculation of the pros and cons of walking with a cell phone and I have no doubt about which is best for me, and I say at the risk of being provocative, it is also a good idea for anyone who is neither immortal nor immune from bad things happening.
 
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Camino(s) past & future
CP Coastal July, 5, 2016
CP Central July 25, 2015
CP Interior or Burgos to Santiago 9/18/18???????
#9
I walked Porto to Santiago in Apr last year, loved the country and people so much that I returned to walk Santarem to Porto at the end of Oct. Porto to Santaigo is a very safe stretch to walk on your own, it's always busy and you see pilgrims ahead or behind a lot, especially after Tiu. I started alone from Porto but then walked on and off with some people. If you don't feel like walking alone you could always find a walking companion on the road. Lisbon to Porto stretch is a bit different though, longer stages, fewer pilgrims. I started walking there on my own, felt safe, then met some people on the way and felt very comfortable walking with them, so 4 of us decided to walk together to Porto. That was the very end of Oct, at the end of the season, and apart from our group there were 2-4 more pilgrims on the same stage at a time, so you are never alone. We'd talked to hospitalieros on the way and they said that Lisbon to Porto is getting very popular now, there will be even more people walking next year. I came back to walk Portugues Interior route from Viseu this June, we walked alone for 8 days, very rural, very picturesque and also felt very safe. Now am looking at other caminos in Portugal for the future as the country is beyond amazing! Bom Camino! :)
Hello Surya8, I am leaving for my third camino on the 18th of September and trying to decide on the CP starting in Viseu also. How is the terrain? I have done the CP coastal and central and loved them both in different ways. Would love to hear more about the start in Viseu.
 

KariC

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Caminho portugûes (2016)
#10
I walked solo 2 years ago. Not only did I have no problems; at one point I tried to do a stage and a half, ending in a city along the variante espiritual which google and a tourist agency told me had lodging. Turns out it didn't. I accepted a ride to a city with lodging several miles away from a complete stranger, something I would never do in the US. One of the many angels along the caminho.
 

surya8

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Portugues Central, Santarem-Santiago - 2017; Portugues Interior, Sanabres, Fisterra & Muxia - 2018
#11
Hello Surya8, I am leaving for my third camino on the 18th of September and trying to decide on the CP starting in Viseu also. How is the terrain? I have done the CP coastal and central and loved them both in different ways. Would love to hear more about the start in Viseu.
I've done a report on CPI recently, you can have a look here: https://www.caminodesantiago.me/com...rtugues-interior-june-2018.56758/#post-641067
It's a solitary Camino, so think carefully if you are ready for it and if you want it. It's very different from the Coastal or Central ways from Porto. If you have any question PM me. Bom Caminho! :)
 
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Camino(s) past & future
2012 - 2015 CF
2015 SdC-Fisterra-Muxia
2016 Porto-SdC
2017 Salvador&Primitivo
2017 Mozarabe
#12
I agree with those who advise not getting too concerned about walking alone, and echo some of the words of @peregrina2000.
I walked alone from 2012 to 2017 and never had a moment of personal danger that I was aware of but then I am a bit short sighted. Although I would never dismiss any of the reports on this forum or elsewhere about things that have happened to some people which are both upsetting and in some cases truly awful, I know they are so infrequent given the number of people who walk these wonderful paths in Spain, Portugal and other countries, that we should try to keep believing in the fact that it may be safer being on a Camino than walking in our own neighbourhood!
I walked Porto to Santiago partially alone in 2016 and felt very safe but then I sort of believe that I will be okay and I was always aware of other people either in front of me or behind. For extra reassurance maybe think about having the app- alertcops.es on your phone?
Enjoy the wonderful Portuguese Camino whichever trail you take.
 
Camino(s) past & future
CF- SJPP- SdC Oct/Nov (2013)
Kumano Kodo Japan (2016)
Next TBC - (2019)
#13
I agree with those who advise not getting too concerned about walking alone, and echo some of the words of @peregrina2000.
I walked alone from 2012 to 2017 and never had a moment of personal danger that I was aware of but then I am a bit short sighted. Although I would never dismiss any of the reports on this forum or elsewhere about things that have happened to some people which are both upsetting and in some cases truly awful, I know they are so infrequent given the number of people who walk these wonderful paths in Spain, Portugal and other countries, that we should try to keep believing in the fact that it may be safer being on a Camino than walking in our own neighbourhood!
I walked Porto to Santiago partially alone in 2016 and felt very safe but then I sort of believe that I will be okay and I was always aware of other people either in front of me or behind. For extra reassurance maybe think about having the app- alertcops.es on your phone?
Enjoy the wonderful Portuguese Camino whichever trail you take.
Many thanks!
 
Camino(s) past & future
Portuguese (2018)
#14
Hello Jennifer,

I walked solo from Porto to Santiago in April of this year. I had no issues other than the old man on the hill who wanted to kiss all the women passing by.

Talking with other women in the albergues or while walking, 2 young women experienced men masturbating on the coast on the way from Porto. In both cases, they moved to the Interior to continue on.

I felt safe on my trek, but chose not to walk from Lisbon because of what I had read over the previous year.

Have a great Camino!
 
Camino(s) past & future
CF- SJPP- SdC Oct/Nov (2013)
Kumano Kodo Japan (2016)
Next TBC - (2019)
#15
Again, many thanks to everyone for your responses, your words of experience have been very much appreciated.
 

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