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The Camino is one of the safest places in the world!!

Lirsy

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Primitivo (2017), Norte (2017), Frances (2017), Portugues (2018), La Plata (2018)
#1
Today I saw a story in the newspaper that surprised me a little:

Spain is the sixth country in the world with the lowest crime rate (after Singapore, Andorra, Liechtenstein, Ireland and Holland). - Data source: World Bank 2015.

If you add to that information that crime is largely concentrated in the larger cities, it is clear that the Camino is one of the safest places in the world.

Obviously, do not leave your luggage unattended (especially in airports, bus stations, etc.) ... the normal security measures you take everywhere!

Buen Camino & Ultreia!!!
 

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domigee

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
CF(x3), VdlP, Jerusalem, VF, Walsingham.
2018? Vf again or Via Lemovicensis
#4
They showed Ireland in this article but not England.... Odd.
 

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Albertagirl

Veteran Member
Donating Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances (2015); Ch. d'Arles: Oloron Ste Marie to Aragones; Frances (2016); V.d.l.P.; Sanabres (2017)
#6
But Lirsy! It's so much more dramatic and FUN to be afraid!
I was afraid much of the time, when I was walking the VdlP solo last fall. I did not find my situation either dramatic or fun. I suspect that that there have been other women who were in similar situations while walking a solo camino. I know that several veterans of this forum suggested that I should abandon my camino for safety's sake. I chose to continue, having evaluated the situation as best I could. I don't know if that was wise, but it certainly wasn't fun.
 

domigee

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
CF(x3), VdlP, Jerusalem, VF, Walsingham.
2018? Vf again or Via Lemovicensis
#7
I was afraid much of the time, when I was walking the VdlP solo last fall. I did not find my situation either dramatic or fun. I suspect that that there have been other women who were in similar situations while walking a solo camino. I know that several veterans of this forum suggested that I should abandon my camino for safety's sake. I chose to continue, having evaluated the situation as best I could. I don't know if that was wise, but it certainly wasn't fun.
Oh dear, I am sorry to hear this and I think you were very brave to carry on then ... Well done.
I cannot relate as I am much more scared in cities (and with reason I think :confused:) than anywhere I have been on a pilgrimage.
You are one brave lady :)
 

C clearly

Veteran Member
Donating Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances (2012, 2014, 2015, 2016). Seville-Astorga (Mar 2017). Mozarabe (Apr-May 2018)
#9
I was afraid much of the time, when I was walking the VdlP solo last fall. I did not find my situation either dramatic or fun.
I agree that fear is not generally dramatic or fun. I walked alone a lot on the VdlP in March-April (especially after most people turned left on the Sanabres and I went to Astorga). I would describe my feelings as being alert to my surroundings and nervous at times, and I consider that those feelings were appropriate. After the fact, I take pleasure in having taken those "risks" (which are real but very low) and not only survived, but mostly enjoyed it! That is true wherever I walk alone (not just VdlP).

As one gains experience in different environments, one becomes more comfortable. I am curious how you would compare your fear on the VdlP with what you feel when you hike the back country. (I would be constantly afraid of bears behind the next tree.)
 

Albertagirl

Veteran Member
Donating Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances (2015); Ch. d'Arles: Oloron Ste Marie to Aragones; Frances (2016); V.d.l.P.; Sanabres (2017)
#10
I agree that fear is not generally dramatic or fun. I walked alone a lot on the VdlP in March-April (especially after most people turned left on the Sanabres and I went to Astorga). I would describe my feelings as being alert to my surroundings and nervous at times, and I consider that those feelings were appropriate. After the fact, I take pleasure in having taken those "risks" (which are real but very low) and not only survived, but mostly enjoyed it! That is true wherever I walk alone (not just VdlP).

As one gains experience in different environments, one becomes more comfortable. I am curious how you would compare your fear on the VdlP with what you feel when you hike the back country. (I would be constantly afraid of bears behind the next tree.)
@C clearly
I agree that a sense of alertness is wise when in a situation where one might be in danger. Your description of how you felt while walking the VdlP to Astorga resembles how I often feel in the backcountry (eg. grizzly bear territory in Banff National Park). I must admit that I frequently forget to be alert and apprehensive in sheer pleasure at natural beauty. Generally, I evaluate the threat when there is a particular incident: there is something that might be a bear [it was] coming up very quickly towards the trail that I am on, so I respond by shouting loudly - there is no time to get my bear spray off my pack. Or I see a bear or definite bear sign on the route that I shall be walking for the next week or so, so I remain alert and am extra careful to tie my food bag to a tree well away from my tent.
My fear on the VdlP was a response to a particular problem with a male pilgrim: I prefer not to go into details. As I met him in Zamora, we continued to walk pretty much the same pace and stay in the same or nearby albergues all the way to Santiago. After we had some interactions which were unpleasant for me, I was apprehensive about meeting him again and very alert on the several occasions that I came upon him again along the route. So I did not enjoy walking the VdlP after those encounters, but like you I felt strong, that I had dealt with this situation and taken care of myself, finishing the 1,ooo km walk to Santiago.
 

Rebekah Scott

Camino Busybody
Donating Member
Camino(s) past & future
Many, various, and continuing.
#12
Well, that went off in an unintended direction.
I am not making light of legitimate concerns. There surely are people out there with bad intentions, and everyone’s wise to listen to their gut. Albertagirl hung in there where I would’ve probably bailed out long before.

Wandering some camino sites and forums, there are those who declaim upon their phobias, and hope to find reassurance re their horror of bugs/cats/germs/dirt/snorers/what have you. The participants then gleefully begin listing all the possible threats and horrors that some pilgrim heard about happening somewhere to somebody. People pile on with sympathy and empathy and a few more scary details, until the discussion starts sounding like a scout troop telling ghost stories round the campfire...everybody’s scared half to death but having the time of their life. That is what I referred to in my initial post.
 

C clearly

Veteran Member
Donating Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances (2012, 2014, 2015, 2016). Seville-Astorga (Mar 2017). Mozarabe (Apr-May 2018)
#13

domigee

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
CF(x3), VdlP, Jerusalem, VF, Walsingham.
2018? Vf again or Via Lemovicensis
#14
Well, that went off in an unintended direction.
I am not making light of legitimate concerns. There surely are people out there with bad intentions, and everyone’s wise to listen to their gut. Albertagirl hung in there where I would’ve probably bailed out long before.

Wandering some camino sites and forums, there are those who declaim upon their phobias, and hope to find reassurance re their horror of bugs/cats/germs/dirt/snorers/what have you. The participants then gleefully begin listing all the possible threats and horrors that some pilgrim heard about happening somewhere to somebody. People pile on with sympathy and empathy and a few more scary details, until the discussion starts sounding like a scout troop telling ghost stories round the campfire...everybody’s scared half to death but having the time of their life. That is what I referred to in my initial post.
Yes, quite!
 
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Francis 2012, 2014, 2016. Many more to come in my future God willing !
#15
I have never personally had a "bad" experience while in Spain, although I did stop a pick pocketer in Pamplona while he was trying to unzip a woman's (My wife's) purse without her knowing it.
 

VNwalking

Veteran Member
Donating Member
Camino(s) past & future
Francés (2014, 2015)
St Olav/Francés (2016)
Baztanés/Francés (2017)
Ingles (July 2018)
#17
the discussion starts sounding like a scout troop telling ghost stories round the campfire...everybody’s scared half to death but having the time of their life.
The times I've been scared on the Camino (or beforehand, about the Camino) were almost entirely a result of inner ghost stories that are both addictive and very dramatic, so I chuckled out loud at Rebekah's original post, taking it as meant.

Of course bad things have happened and will happen on the Camino. It's not Disneyland.
But to freak out ahead of time about all manner of small things is unnecessary and silly. (I say this having done that myself, so I'm not pointing fingers...)

The only time I was actually legitimately frightened was no fun, and you seem to have both grace and grit, @Albertagirl, in handling the situation the way you did.
 

MinaKamina

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Jacobspad 2017
#18
Today I saw a story in the newspaper that surprised me a little:

Spain is the sixth country in the world with the lowest crime rate (after Singapore, Andorra, Liechtenstein, Ireland and Holland). - Data source: World Bank 2015.

If you add to that information that crime is largely concentrated in the larger cities, it is clear that the Camino is one of the safest places in the world.

Obviously, do not leave your luggage unattended (especially in airports, bus stations, etc.) ... the normal security measures you take everywhere!

Buen Camino & Ultreia!!!
Do you have a link for the story & in which newspaper did it appear? I'm curious to know what their definition of crime is.
 

Momonne

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances, Norte, Primtivo, Portuguese, VDLP
#20
Very interesting and detailed paper. Don’t see many articles with such depth back here at home.

But very sad stats regarding the number of women murdered. There is a reason we see so many posters and graffittis reminding people that “Machismo mata”.

At least, for us tourists, the stats on thefts with violence in public are dropping (although I can’t help but wonder what they were prior to the crisis in 2008).
 

kaixo

Active Member
Donating Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances 2012
Camino del Norte 2012
Geneva/Le Puy/SJPP/Bilbao 2015
Prague/Geneva 2018
#21
My fear on the VdlP was a response to a particular problem with a male pilgrim:
Encounters with creepy people can and sometimes do occur. I'm glad @Albertagirl that you were able to finish your camino. Hats off to you, I'm not sure I would have stayed the course.

As a suggestion to others when you find yourself in step with someone annoying, unpleasant, or downright creepy, consider: 1) a rest day, 2) a side trip, 3) a bus ride ahead, 4) a bus ride back to a favorite spot, or 5) jump to another route. Any other suggestions?
 

Momonne

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances, Norte, Primtivo, Portuguese, VDLP
#22
As a suggestion to others when you find yourself in step with someone annoying, unpleasant, or downright creepy, consider: 1) a rest day, 2) a side trip, 3) a bus ride ahead, 4) a bus ride back to a favorite spot, or 5) jump to another route. Any other suggestions?
On the Frances I have seen pretry young women getting more attention that they were comfortable with from some men. Luckily on the Frances there are lots and lots of people around and the women would either ask not be be left alone, or for people to keep an eye on things, or cowalkers who had noticed the siutation would do so automatically. Don’t be afraid to ask others to run interference, make sure you are never alone, or even tell the creepies to bugger off on your behalf.
 

kaixo

Active Member
Donating Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances 2012
Camino del Norte 2012
Geneva/Le Puy/SJPP/Bilbao 2015
Prague/Geneva 2018
#23
Great addition @Momonne.

6) Ask others to run interference, make sure you are never alone.
 

Albertagirl

Veteran Member
Donating Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances (2015); Ch. d'Arles: Oloron Ste Marie to Aragones; Frances (2016); V.d.l.P.; Sanabres (2017)
#24
Friends,
I appreciate your suggestions and all would no doubt be relevant to other pilgrims in my situation. I am neither young nor pretty. but I am determined. The only suggestion which I was willing to apply to my situation was to take an extra rest day. As the man who was annoying me did so also, this proved to be of no particular use. I was determined to walk every step of the VdlP and earn the Distance Certificate which I brought home with me. For some reason, I liked the idea of walking 1,000 km and had planned for it for a long time. I did take a detour one day, but my pursuer turned up in the village where I arrived the same afternoon that I did. I slammed a bar door in his face, and he wisely stayed out. I did not have time to hang around on the route any longer than I had scheduled, and besides, I felt that I was only in danger of meeting him while on the camino, so to finish it would separate us definitively. In fact, I saw him one last time at the Pilgrim Office in Santiago. What did work for me, to guarantee that we would not be sharing overnight accommodation, was that I noticed he was only staying in the cheapest albergues, so I stayed in hotels or pensions for the final days of my camino. There were very few people walking the VdlP in mid to late November, and I prefer to walk alone. I arrived safely, but almost half my pilgrimage was extremely uncomfortable. If I walk again, I shall have to rethink how to avoid such situations.
 

Momonne

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances, Norte, Primtivo, Portuguese, VDLP
#25
Friends,
I appreciate your suggestions and all would no doubt be relevant to other pilgrims in my situation.
.
I don’t beleive any of these suggestions were direxted at you and your sitation, nor a remark on what you should have done differently. It was a tangeant discussion off of your experience. Noone is claiming you dod not act appropriately. And in my post I was clear: “ on the Frances”.
 

kaixo

Active Member
Donating Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances 2012
Camino del Norte 2012
Geneva/Le Puy/SJPP/Bilbao 2015
Prague/Geneva 2018
#26
@Albertagirl I admire your fortitude and determination. I am saddened that a large portion of your camino was spoiled, when my hope for every pilgrim is to experience peace and freedom.
I appreciate you sharing your experience and describing the methods you employed to avoid your pursuer.
What did work for me, to guarantee that we would not be sharing overnight accommodation, was that I noticed he was only staying in the cheapest albergues, so I stayed in hotels or pensions for the final days of my camino.
7) Find alternative sleeping accommodations.

Peregrina @Albertagirl, I hope one day you are able to return to the camino for a more peaceful journey.
 

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