So, I have to admit I'm struggling today with whether or not to change my plans.
Last night, on the forum, a pilgrim posted he had been robbed on the Via de la Plata right before Guillena! Two masked men with knives forced him to spread out his belongings on the ground. They took his money and his phone. He begged them and was able to keep the phone.
At first I thought maybe this was just a fluke. But then Luka posted on the forum that two bicigrinos had their bikes stolen from them by the same men right before Real de la Jara. and then I hear reports of other pilgrim robberies on those first few stages, as well as in an albergue further up north.
I'm planning to bus up to Zafra, so I would be past the troubled area.
But for some reason, my gut is telling me perhaps I should consider sticking to the Camino Frances this year again. It is busy with pilgrims. A person never walks alone there. The area I"m considering walking in southern Spain on the Via de la Plata has very few pilgrims - one is alone much of the time - and I'm just not feeling comfortable after these reports.
I have to ask myself, what is my goal?
I have seen Seville, Cordoba, Zafra, and much of southern Spain.
I was hoping to finish the VDLP, but that is not as important to me as keeping my money in my pocket and being able to walk for my health for those few weeks. I can do the same amount of walking in familiar territory on the Frances, where there is safety, as well as have more lodging options and even the option of bag transport.
I'm not hoping to have an unexpected adventure - I'm walking for my health.
I don't have cash to spare - so getting robbed, which has never before been a concern, is now on my plate as a real concern.
If only one pilgrim had been robbed, I would probably just shrug.
Or if it were just a "story" I"d heard.
But I heard it here from the horse's mouth.
A pilgrim was robbed at knifepoint.
Before I read about the two bikes being taken, I also would have shrugged.
But now, there is a knife, the robbers are attacking pairs (not just single walkers).
And there are reports of robberies further up the trail.
A 60 plus woman walking alone feels an awfully lot like an easy target to me.
So, I'm thinking today.
It's not too late to change my plans and just stick to the Camino Frances.
The only cash I"d lose would be my $45 deposit to the Poor Clares in Seville.
I could just count it as a donation to their African mission.
Maybe the VDLP is just not in the cards for me.
Or maybe I should wait and walk it next year when Joe or another walker can accompany me.
I've been told I"m brave,
but I've never been told I'm stupid.
Walking into a den of snakes feels stupid.
What would YOU do???