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Attacks On El Camino

Discussion in 'General Chat' started by Dinah, Jan 28, 2017.

  1. Dinah

    Dinah Member

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    I just read on another forum that a Koren woman was attacked at Los Arcos from Estrella. I don't know what Camino that is. The talk is that attacks do happen and no to walk alone. I just did the Norte and Frances alone and thought I was safe. I am hoping to go back alone and finish the part of the Norte I was not able to do. What do people think about this? This is worrisome. I also spoke to a taxi driver in Santiago whose son is with the Policia Civil and does the French Camino undercover all the time. That is reassuring but I doubt they are on the lesser traveled Caminos
     
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  2. Crepes4Suzette

    Crepes4Suzette Active Member

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    It was on the Frances, and it got aggressive. I'm glad she's OK - she was helped by two males who came along behind. I've had trouble, and so have others on all Caminos. There seems to be considerable under-reporting from what I've seen, and also a great deal of minimizing on some forums. I carry Mace, which passes in checked backpacks, take carbide-tipped hiking poles and take a cell phone with international service so I don't have to translate low-service messages sent by Spanish SIM card companies - with those I don't worry much. If you haven't, you might want to check out Facebook's women's site called CAMIGAS.
     
    Last edited: Jan 28, 2017
  3. RJS

    RJS Well-Known Member

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    Good information posted above and, Alas, Yes, attacks do happen on Caminos and some of these can get really nasty with one woman actually murdered not so long ago on The Camino Frances http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/art...ellow-arrows-led-straight-suspect-s-farm.html

    I also agree with what the above poster says about “Under Reporting” of any attacks on Pilgrims, but I suppose that the people on the (major) routes just have too much to lose and are doing their upmost to look after their own interests.

    I would say to follow the advice already posted and always say, be aware of your surroundings at all times and if in doubt, either walk with another pilgrim or at least keep one within sight.

    Good Luck and Buen Camino

    Rob
     
  4. Crepes4Suzette

    Crepes4Suzette Active Member

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    Thank you, Rob.
     
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  5. UnkleHammy

    UnkleHammy Donating Member Donating Member

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    Being male this is an entire area that I have no knowedge of. About 8 months ago there was another discussion on this here on this subject. I recommend that you look it up.
     
  6. Orava

    Orava Active Member

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    On my 2 caminos I've not had any problems or ever percieved any level of threat but I'm male so maybe there were situations in which someone had designs but I didn't pick up on it. What I would say is it is nigh-on impossible to walk alone if you don't want to as you will soon hook-up with others. I've had to make an effort to walk particular sections of my caminos alone (for thinking time). So if you have any concerns and ask to walk with others It's hard to envisage you receiving anything but great support and company. For example, I've had a couple. of occassions when maybe I planned to walk alone and got joined by someone for a stage because they felt a bit uneasy. Who in the world would say no? Rob's advice of keeping others in sight is also a great idea and not hard to achieve on the popular caminos etc.
     
  7. Wily

    Wily Camino Francés May 2016

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    Hey Folks - On the main routes last spring there was hardly a time when I didn't have other pilgrims in sight. However, that drastically changed when I took any of Brierley's alternate routes. I remember after Sahagun that the stretch between Calzada del Coto and Calzadilla de Los Hermanillos was particularly isolated. Even as a male I was very conscious of my isolation that afternoon as I walked along the road. Similarly, the alternate route between Hospital del Orbigo and Astorga was almost equally isolated with very few walkers. They're lovely toutes to take, but the downside of getting away from the crowd is that you're quite alone at times and I will admit to some uneasy feelings at times. Vulnerable is the best word that comes to mind. I wouldn't be comfortable having either of my daughters out alone on some of these sections. Pilgrims, use prudence and good sense when walking! I'd suggest not walking the alternate routes alone.
     
    Last edited: Jan 29, 2017
  8. BROWNCOUNTYBOB

    BROWNCOUNTYBOB Active Member

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    I walked the camino with my wife (and am 6'3" / 205 lbs) so never worried about our personal safety. This fall we will be joined by my brother and his wife. That said, during our last camino, we encountered many females walking alone on remote parts of the camino. One safety measure that's easy, inexpensive and lightweight item is to bring a whistle to hang on a lanyard that can be heard over a long distance if the pilgrim feels unsafe - or becomes injured.
     
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  9. Greg Canning

    Greg Canning Active Member

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    This is very disappoint to hear but unfortunately the Camino reflects all of human life. I too am male and have not as yet experienced anything bad on the Camino but last year we met a man walking on his own just outside Logrono who told us he had walked that morning from Viana through Logrono. He told us he had had an unsettling experience when a number of people from an encampment on the way into Logrono had come out onto the road and followed him. Luckily he came across a group of other peregrinos and was able to walk with them.

    My partner and I would always keep an eye out for pilgrims walking on their own. Last year on section we came across some untethered dogs who were a bit aggressive. We knew there was a young Korean woman behind us so we just waited for her to catch up and made sure she got past ok. I'm sure many others would do the same.

    Having said all that I do believe that the Camino is probably far safer then most of the cities we live in including my hometown of Dublin. I think if you take reasonable precautions, study the routes and where appropriate make sure you are within sight of other peregrinos where possible then you should be ok.

    Yes there are times when we all like to have the Way to ourselves but undertaking the Camino makes us part of a community and we all share a responsibility to each other.

    Buen Camino

    Greg

    PS forgot to mention, the Osprey packs incorporate an emergency whistle into the chest strap.
     
    Last edited: Jan 30, 2017
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  10. Wily

    Wily Camino Francés May 2016

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    This discussion reminds me of the title of Robert Heinlein's 1961 novel "Stranger in a Strange Land." Whether we call ourselves tourists, pilgrims, world travelers, etc., I think it's important to remember that when we travel, we are all visitors in someone else's back yard. Any location that draws a large number of visitors will also attract, unfortunately, a criminal element with purposes very different from those of us visiting or passing through. As idyllic as the Camino may seem to be, there are people whose sole intention is to pray upon others without regard to the consequences it brings to that person's journey. A Camino friend of mine had her daypack stolen from her as she relaxed one afternoon in a city park in Burgos. Luckily, she wan't physically assaulted or harmed, but the theft was still unnerving enough and a violation of her person to cause her enough anxiety to consider returning home. She was fortunate enough to be traveling with good friends who were able to help her find the strength and courage to continue her pilgrimage. Most of us who have traveled extensively have probably experience what it is like to be victimized at one time or another. The bottom line is that one must stay vigilant to their surrounding and the people around them. The Camino is no different in that respect from any other place we may find ourselves traveling to. Care, caution, and good decision making will always win the day! Buen Camino!
     
  11. Greg Canning

    Greg Canning Active Member

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    As Wily says it really is a matter of paying attention and being somewhat vigilant. I visited another forum to check out this report and there is quite an animated discussion going on there. A lot of talk of people arming themselves with mace, walking poles etc. I understand the concerns but I think there is a danger of people becoming over anxious and spoiling their Camino.

    I am not saying people should not be careful, they certainly should but I think in comparison to life in many of the cities in which we live the Camino is a relatively safe environment. As I said earlier I think that as peregrinos we all have a responsibility to look after each other and ourselves. Many people like to walk alone and that is absolutely fine but you can generally manage to do this in sight of other pilgrims (well at least on the Frances most of the year).

    I would be a little concerned about people considering using their walking poles or mace in such situations. Muggings are by their very nature stressful and we can't really predict how we will react. There is the danger that the item you might try to use to defend yourself could be taken from you and used against you.

    If at all possible I would say to try to avoid remote places where you might be isolated. We do this in our home cities, we know places where you shouldn't walk alone, ATMs where it is not advisable to be seen taking out large sums of money etc . With a bit of care and attention we should be able to identify such places abroad too. But it does take a little bit of vigilance and I would absolutely agree with the advice not to wear ear phones when walking alone.

    I hope such incidents will not put people off walking the Camino, whether in a group or on their own. It really is a wonderful experience.

    Buen Camino

    Greg
     
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  12. Dinah

    Dinah Member

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    Yes I think there is under reporting which is too bad. I did El Camino Norte and down to the Frances alone and felt safe. I want to return but now I won't feel safe. I went alone and really didn't have anyone to go with me. No one seems to go at my pace so even if I meet someone after a little while they take off. I'm old and have many physical challenges and can't keep up with all these young whipper snappers (LOL). Now I am worried about doing another Camino alone. I didn't like the Frances where I know there are more people. I had to go over to the Frances from the Norte due to and losing 9 days due to feet problems. So I'd like to finish the Norte. This is really very sad.
     
  13. Wily

    Wily Camino Francés May 2016

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    Hey Dinah - Without a doubt, crime is under reported on the Camino as it is elsewhere. Fortunately, I've only been victimized a few times, but once was in your backyard in San Francisco, Guatemala, on my way up to Todos Santos. I was pick-pocketed on a crowded bus during a local fiesta. My fault! I was carrying too much money unsecured in one of my pockets. No, I didn't report it!

    I think that all of us who travel to certain parts unknown need to remember not to be naive about the realities of others out there looking to take advantage of what they see as an easy mark. But, then as you indicated, these types of incidences may make us fearful of traveling in general or, in this case, travel along. I'm certainly pleased that you traveled the Camino safely, but I thoroughly understand your trepidation about going solo in the future. Perhaps it will be serendipidous that, with a little patience, the perfect traveling partner will come along allowing you to finish the Camino del Norte.
     
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  14. Dinah

    Dinah Member

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  15. Dinah

    Dinah Member

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    Well, gee whiz Wily sorry the bad stuff was in both SF and Guatemala. I am very, very, VERY careful. In fact things have gotten so bad here in Guatemala that I now take the tourist police with me. They are free and great. They can wield a machete and cut down the brush and they are armed. I feel very safe with them The only draw back is that you have to set it up 3 days in advance. One provides them with food and transportation. However, then it isn't as private as going with friends. I had hoped to be on the top of Acatenango by now, but it will have to wait and the weather is perfect now. :(
     
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  16. Crepes4Suzette

    Crepes4Suzette Active Member

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    Dinah, it might not be the answer, but CAMIGAS, a women's Facebook site for those wanting to hike among others, has a google-doc sign-up list for women looking for other females who will be hiking around the same time. I'm looking for others to hike loosely among this summer for a 3rd Camino, most likely the Frances again because even on the Frances I hiked without seeing another hiker for hours on many days in many areas - despite having good plans for how to stay among others. I did have some problems both times related to being alone - not ones I was injured during, but problems nonetheless. I hope you find someone to hike the rest of the Norte with, as I hear it is very beautiful.
     
    Last edited: Feb 6, 2017
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  17. fraluchi

    fraluchi 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2015

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    In this age and days we should always be aware of our location and surroundings. The Camino(s) are spread out over hundreds of kilometers, and the lonely stretches would be wise to be walked with caution, possibly in company of fellow pilgrims.
     
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  18. Josh unçu

    Josh unçu Member

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    Yes " Fraluchi ", no-one, male or female is safe, if they are not aware of theirs location and surrondings where ever we go. I was inform of the attatc and felt sorry for the lady.
    All those advises given before me, are good to be taken and to put into practtice during the Way.
    Each one choose how to walk:- with other pilgrims or alone, with a close partner (family-friend) or someone fresh met the firts days. This year I am specting to beging doing the French as guide-guard-helper-companion etc. of an elder pilgrim to fullfill a promise and/or desire. Later will be others with different motives or reasons.
    But , advise to all, be safe and
    ULTREIA !!!!
     
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