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yet another safety question

Discussion in 'Personal Safety' started by wayfaring stranger, Mar 8, 2017.

  1. wayfaring stranger

    wayfaring stranger New Member

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    Hello to all.........

    I have a question re safety............This may be a fairly dumb question, but perhaps something to consider even so.............

    From the guide books, the VDLP does seem to include some fairly empty, rural sections.....How concerned need one be about walking through such areas alone in an off season like November - December..? Although long distance walking is generally really safe, times do seem to be changing......People now get assaulted and robbed on the long trails in North America, and a pilgrim was murdered on the CF not so long ago...........

    Thank you kindly for any advice and suggestions.....

    Happy trails,
    WS
     
  2. Antonius Vaessen

    Antonius Vaessen New Member

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    Camino(s) past & future:
    2015-2016 Via de la Plata - Camino Sanabres
    2016. Camino Primitivo
    I don't think walking on the VdlP or any other Camino is more dangerous than walking in any city here in the Netherlands or in any other country I know. On the contrary it is probably much safer. So I would not worry about that. The only way to avoid all risks is staying indoors behind closed doors and that clearly is not what you want. I walked the VdlP in March/April 2015 and liked it very much.
     
  3. bsewall

    bsewall Active Member Donating Member

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    Location:
    Richmond, California
    Camino(s) past & future:
    Via de la Plata & Camino Frances (2013 & 2016).
    My impression is that most of the reported cases of violence to pilgrims occur in the areas just outside of the cities along the route. In those areas I do pay extra attention to my environment and potential threats (thankfully on the VdlP those moments are few and far between).

    I've always felt safest in the rural areas.
     
    CaroleH, SYates and Anniesantiago like this.
  4. Aurigny

    Aurigny Member

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    Location:
    Geneva, Switzerland (temporarily)
    Camino(s) past & future:
    Francés (SJPP-SdC), 2016; Portugués (Porto-SdC), 2017.
    I did the Portugués in January this year: the so-called "interior" or "central" route. I was fighting a deadline, so most days I was out well before sunrise, and was still walking hours after the sun went down. In all that time, my path crossed (and then only for a few moments) with just two other pilgrims. For most of the journey I was completely alone.

    And I felt very safe, especially after dark. The reason was that individuals with malign intentions don't hang around in places where nobody is likely to show up for days on end. They go where the people are.

    There is a definite safety angle to consider, though, when you're out on lonely parts of the trail in wintertime by yourself. It's not that you're going to be mugged or assaulted; the risk of that is extremely low. It's that if you're immobilised by anything from a sprained or broken ankle to a torn muscle, which is not at all an improbable eventuality, it might be a very long time before anyone else comes along who can summon assistance for you. In the albergues at which I overnighted, the visitors' books were showing me as the first pilgrim to stay in three or four days. Mobile 'phone coverage can be spotty in the country districts, and I'd hate to have to depend on it if I couldn't move far, or at all.

    One thing to consider, then, is filing a flight plan, as it were, with a relative or friend at the beginning of each day. Let them know where you're going, and when you're expected to arrive. If you're many hours overdue without checking in, they can tell the authorities where to start looking.
     
    Last edited: Mar 8, 2017
  5. mspath

    mspath Veteran Member Donating Member

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    Camino(s) past & future:
    Frances, autumn/winter; (2004), (2005-2006), (2007), (2008), (2009), (2010), (2011), (2012), (2013), (2014) (2015)
    Aurigny's "flight plan" is a great idea!

    During my first caminos my husband and I communicated when necessary by land-line telephone; since 2008 I have carried a smartphone which also serves as my camera and computer on which I write my blogs. Since we both are in our 70's whilst apart we text each other good morning, briefly cite our daily plans, and text again at day's end. Simple, swift and efficacious this helps keep each of us in the other's loop.
     
  6. Rick of Rick and Peg

    Rick of Rick and Peg Veteran Member Donating Member

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    Location:
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    Camino(s) past & future:
    SJPdP-SdC-Finisterre-Muxia (66 days, May-July 2015)
    This post doesn't really discuss a safety application but the app may be useful to ease your mind or your loved ones' minds while you are on your travels. There are other apps that do more, like allowing you to have others track you in real time but this one is simple and cheap.

    The free app is called My GPS Coordinates. I have it on my android smartphone but it is also available for iPhones.

    Turn on your device's GPS (and optionally take a few pictures.) Start the My GPS Coordinates app and the screen will tell you your latitude and longitude coordinates. Click one button to send the coordinates via email (and optionally you can attach those pictures and know in the future where you took them.) Another button allows you to share the coordinates through other methods (including a copy of the coordinates that you can then paste into your journal, etc.)

    If you leave your GPS receiver on you get faster access to the coordinates but using GPS severely depletes your battery so remember to turn GPS off when you aren't really using it. If you are out in the middle of nowhere you may not have wifi or cellular service to immediately send your email but it should be sent once service is found again. For that reason I would add the time of day to the text of your message before sending it or attempting to send it. If hiking with someone maybe have a selfie taken with your partner as one of those optional pictures that you will attach to the email. Then, if things go bad, your email recipients can send authorities a current picture of you, what you were wearing, who you were with, at what time and what place.

    While on a hike I tried the app out by emailing my location to myself by three of the ways that the app provides. See the results below, each message within dashed lines. Note that two of the text messages provide a link to Google Maps so your recipient can see where you were (and maybe be able to use Streetview for the location.)

    ---------

    Latitude : 42.53107 (42° 31′ 51.85″ N)
    Longitude : -71.31921 (71° 19′ 9.17″ W)
    accuracy of signal : 3 m
    show on google maps

    https://maps.google.com?q=42.53107,-71.319215

    This message was sent with My GPS Coordinates , a free Android application

    ---------

    http://maps.google.com/?q=42.5311,-71.31923

    ---------

    42.532475,-71.315295

    ---------

    Links are:
    1. Android: https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.gpscoordinatesandlocation&hl=en
    2. iPhone: https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/my-gps-coordinates/id945482414?mt=8

    Also available as My GPS Coordinates No Ads ($0.99) and My GPS Coordinates Pro ($4.99)
     
  7. Peter Fransiscus

    Peter Fransiscus Veteran Member Donating Member

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    Location:
    Zwijndrecht , Netherlands
    Camino(s) past & future:
    2014 , Sarria to Finistere
    2015 , SJPdP to SdC
    2016 , Porto to SdC.
    2017 , Irun to SdC ( Camino del Norte and Primitivo )
    I do the same with my wife.
    Works great for both of us to.

    Wish you well,Peter.
     
  8. Scottlovelace87

    Scottlovelace87 New Member

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    Over the past two years I have spent over 30 days walking parts of the Camino. I never once felt unsafe. And, after Sarria you never have to worry because there are so many pilgrims walking that stretch you are seldom alone.
     
    Catahoula19 likes this.
  9. poogeyejr

    poogeyejr Active Member Donating Member

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    Location:
    Vancouver, BC
    Camino(s) past & future:
    Norte, May 2011
    Norte, Sept 2013
    Started the Frances, 2017
    WS - If you feel unsafe walking alone anywhere, then by all means you should not walk alone on the Camino, take someone with you.
     
  10. LTfit

    LTfit Veteran Member Donating Member

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    My record to date has been 16 days walking alone without a pilgrim in sight, this was along the Mozárabe from Granada in 2014. I was even alone in all the albergues. It was at times lonely but I never felt unsafe.
     
  11. grayland

    grayland Moderator Staff Member Donating Member

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    Location:
    Seattle
    Camino(s) past & future:
    Camino Frances (2009);
    Camino Frances (2010);
    Camino Frances (2011);
    Le Puy Route (2012)
    Via de la Plata 2013 (August hot..hot..hot);
    Camino Sanabres. (2013)
    Camino del Norte (2014)
    Primitivo (2015)
    Camino Portugese ( Coastal). (2015);
    Winter Camino Frances (Jan 2016);
    Florence to Rome (Sept 2016)
    I was alone on the VdlP from Sevilla to Salamonca and only saw two very lonely cyclists....but that was mid August when no one but bucket-list fools would be walking.
     
    hecate105, nycwalking and Kanga like this.
  12. jsalt

    jsalt Jill Donating Member

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    Portugués, Francés, Chemin du Puy, Rota Vicentina, Voie de Soulac, Norte
    That is the best advice I have seen in a very long time. It's all in the mind.
    Jill
     
    hecate105, gerardcarey and C clearly like this.
  13. poogeyejr

    poogeyejr Active Member Donating Member

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    Norte, May 2011
    Norte, Sept 2013
    Started the Frances, 2017
    Not about safety, but this might help someone. I love the app FollowMee it tracks your movements in intervals you have chosen, from daily or hourly to every minute. Any thing over 10 minute increments is really good on your battery. I use 1 minute increments for my hikes and it does tend to drain the battery but I always carry a larger battery backup.

    Check this out if you are interested in seeing the tracks that you walked. Private Message me if you have any questions about the app.
     
  14. Kanga

    Kanga Moderator Staff Member Donating Member

    Joined:
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    Location:
    Sydney, Australia
    Camino(s) past & future:
    Francés (2001, 2003, 2004, 2015 and 2016), Le Puy (2009, 2010), Arles (2011), Tours (2012), Norte (2015) VdlP (2017)
    I am not a risk-taker. But on Camino I like to push myself outside my comfort zone. It makes me grow. So, for me, a risk/benefit analysis works. The benefit of facing down my out-of-proportion fears? Huge.

    Eighteen months ago I was walking the route from Astorga. With a friend, admittedly. We had been asked to look for suitable places to plant a tree in homage to Denise, the pilgrim who was murdered. We decided it would honour her and the Camino if we walked to Castrillo de la Polvazares, the detour she took. We stayed there the night. It did push us outside our comfort zones. Walking to the village and back to the main route the next morning, we were very conscious of the violence that had occurred. As far as we could tell we were the only people staying in the village overnight, and we did not see anyone walking the detour. The village is effectively a museum, and everyone leaves at the end of the day to go home to Astorga. We sat outside on the balcony. Absolute silence. A clear night sky. Stars so bright and numerous. Leaving the next morning in the early morning mist. Glistening dew drops on the vegetation. Sweet blossoms all around.

    They talk about "thin places" and this definitely was. It was easy to think about Denise, to feel connected, and to know that she is at peace.

    Definitely worthwhile.

    "Ultreïa!" is said to have been the pilgrim greeting during medieval times. My favourite translation of the word is the phrase "Go beyond!" It sums up so much.
     
    notion900, CaroleH, Klogwog and 10 others like this.
  15. Pathfinder075

    Pathfinder075 Member

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    Location:
    Sheffield, UK
    Camino(s) past & future:
    Frances (Villada to SdC) (2016)
    Madrid Madness (Madrid to SdC via Invierno/VdlP) (May 2017)
    Maybe Porto (????? to SdC) (Sept/Oct 2017)
    Carry a proper first aid kit if you are going to be rural with the possibility of no phone signal and no other pilgrims. If you break something or damage something, you are going to have to walk at the very least, to somewhere where you can get a phone signal or raise an alarm. For me that means good quality painkillers, something that can take the edge off a broken ankle while I hop to somewhere. Also a good tourniquet and depending how far off the beaten track some instant clot. You will probably never use any of it. But you pack it for the one time that you do need it. Its not a lot of weight for easy peace of mind.

    Same goes for the flight plan idea. let people know your plans and check in.

    I doubt you will have issues with personal safety. If you have a problem, it will be more likely to be a health one.
     
    hecate105 likes this.
  16. Pat Beals

    Pat Beals Member

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    Location:
    Colorado USA
    Camino(s) past & future:
    Start Camino Frances Sept 9 2015
    Camino Frances 2017
    You will laugh. My family was concerned about me walking alone so they bought me a SPOT. I hooked it on the strap for my backpack. I would turn it on every morning when I started walking and it hooked up with satellites. If, at anytime I was in danger, there were two buttons. One, to let someone, like a friend or family member that I had a problem (In this case we had agreed f they didn't get an all clear in a set amount of time, they would call the authorities), and the second connected with emergency personnel regardless of where I was. I am from the USA, for Spain, it would have connected directly with them.

    On the Camino, people would ask what it was and I called it my adult baby monitor. Personally, I never felt threatened, but it was nice to have back up.

    It was also fun because everyday I could send a message to ten people with my geo-location and they could follow me. My Father had lived in Spain for many years and although he is not strong enough to travel anymore, he can travel through me. He also sends me emails telling what to do and look for

    Buen Camino
     
    hecate105 and nycwalking like this.
  17. Patricia Benish

    Patricia Benish redrose

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    Location:
    Pennsylvania, USA
    Camino(s) past & future:
    Camino Francis September/October 2015
    I walked the Camino Francis Sept/Oct 2015. The day we started was the day Denise's murderer was arrested. I prayed for her my whole camino and left handmade rosaries for her family at the pilgrim resource center for her family. I also made a special stop at the cathedral in Astorga that she went to on Easter Sunday and prayed for her. I will always keep her in my prayers.
     
    Flem and Tina-Marie Brownie like this.
  18. Ralph Keith Redhead

    Ralph Keith Redhead New Member

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    Camino(s) past & future:
    Camino Francés May-June 2016
    Hi WayfaringStranger. There's a lot of good, shared, sensible advice and anicdotes for you to read in this post, from people who have had their own special experiences. I've lived in cities and in the countryside in different countries. I'm from London where I was most deffinately far more careful than anywhere else in the world - in Los Angeles, before I left to go there, people were saying to me 'OMG! you'll be mugged, murdered, be careful.' Yet my experience was of the most friendly, kind, helpful people I have ever met in a big city. Yes - life is unpredictable. People are unpredictable. But there are a lot of good and special things to see and enjoy, and special people out there too. The Camino, no matter what route you take, is enormous, wonderful.

    My advice is that you find your 'comfort zone' - read the advice, take and do what makes you feel comfortable and secure before you go, if it helps you, but don't take fear in your heart and mind. If you're satisfied with your preperations then go and enjoy the wonderful experience with an open heart and mind. You will relax more and more along the Way, find people who will give you excellent advice and help, or friendship, and you will grow. Good luck and Buen Camino :)
     
    C clearly likes this.
  19. Silverton

    Silverton Member Donating Member

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    Location:
    Ireland
    Camino(s) past & future:
    CF (2003-2004, 2006-2011, 2013-2016), Portugués from Porto (2012), from Tui (2014), Sanabres (2010), Aragon (2007) Carríon de los Condes to ?? (April 2016)
    For an added feeling of safety --on whichever camino route--pilgrims mightlike to download the Spanish Ministry of the Interior Alertcops.app. (https://alertcops.ses.mir.es/mialertcops/). Ivar kindly explained how the app works here on the Forum in Sept 2015 (you can check that safety thread). I found it easy to download before I walked last year--never needed to use it, but it was reassuring to know that I could contact someone easily, in English, if I sprained my ankle, got lost (impossible, you say) or felt threatened ...
     
    Yoyo and Rick of Rick and Peg like this.
  20. Rick of Rick and Peg

    Rick of Rick and Peg Veteran Member Donating Member

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    SJPdP-SdC-Finisterre-Muxia (66 days, May-July 2015)
    Yoyo likes this.
  21. Joodle

    Joodle Active Member

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    Location:
    Washington state
    Camino(s) past & future:
    Camino Frances May 10th through June 21st 2016 Yahooo!!
    Did you find it cold and very wet during that time? We leave to walk the VDLP this month.
     
  22. Antonius Vaessen

    Antonius Vaessen New Member

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    Camino(s) past & future:
    2015-2016 Via de la Plata - Camino Sanabres
    2016. Camino Primitivo
    The first weeks it was really hot, later on it was colder, some (threatening) rain. Only one day I walked for a few hours in the rain
     
  23. piggyhinton

    piggyhinton New Member

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    If you worried about every little thing you would not cross the road! but just be sensible and if you feel insecure, just ask a group of walkers if you can join them
     

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