Santiago pilgrims warned to stay in groups
The Universe would like to warn anyone planning a pilgrimage along the historic Camino de Santiago in Spain to travel in a group, rather than alone.
Our warning comes after police launched an investigation following the disappearance of an American woman on 5th April and a recent attempted abduction, both occurring in the area.
Denise Thiem, from Arizona was last seen in the town of Astorga, close to the church of Santa Marta. The 41-year-old was walking along the Camino Frances, one of the most popular pilgrimage routes to Santiago de Compostela, which is attempted by hundreds of thousands of people each year.
Fears have grown since her disappearance following a further incident where two men in a car approached a local woman who was out jogging. According to the national press, the woman, who is in her 50s was approached by the young men who attempted to get her attention.
The jogger noticed that one of the men had partially covered his face and one of them attempted to manhandle her into the car before she managed to escape, hide in a bush and call for help on her mobile phone. She described the incident as a “terrible experience”.
The Guardian has reported that a popular English-language forum for pilgrims has advised solo walkers to avoid walking between Astorga and Rabanal del Camino. The website’s administrator, Ivar Rekve noticed that the amount of incidents being reported on the site was enough to set alarm bells ringing and decided to inform people.
“The Camino has been a very safe place, and it still is, but it only takes a few to make the situation more uncertain. This message is not made to scare anyone, but more to inform of the situation, so that if you are walking this section in the next few days/weeks can make the necessary adjustments and find a walking partner”, Mr Rekve said in a post on the forum.
His warning resulted in others coming forward with their own experiences along the stretch. They included a New York woman who told of a young biker who tried to touch her breasts and a German woman who said that she was passed by a white car four times. She said that a man got out of the car and although she tried to avoid looking at him, she believed that he might have been masturbating. She managed to deter the man when she caught up with a group of Irish pilgrims ahead of her who had stopped to wait for her after noticing the car.
The Camino de Santiago stretches for 500 miles across northern Spain, ending at the shrine of St James the Great in the cathedral in Galicia.