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Do we need a Compostela?

domigee

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
2020? Looks like.... nowhere! 😁
Just read a couple of threads about problems experienced getting a Compostela .... I feel for both the pilgrims who cannot obtain it and for the staff/volunteers at the pilgrims’ office.

My question is, bluntly: do we really need one???

Personally, I don’t think so.
I queued like everyone else in Santiago because... it is what people did 😀 And it was quite pleasant, arriving early and maybe... a half hour wait? Chatting to/hugging fellow pilgrims you had lost sight of.... All in all quite pleasurable.

When it becomes so difficult as having huge queues, numbers, coming back the following day etc etc Is it really worth it? What does it give you?

To explain where I come from.... I walked to Jerusalem, which to me was ... I can’t even say what it meant....
Anyway 🙂 There was no Certificate at the end, nothing. Does it make it less real? Does it mean people won’t believe me? Do I have to prove to anyone I walked it? Does anyone care?
No.

So I am just asking: please ask yourselves why you need it so much and why it is worth causing so much hassle/disappointment 😉
 

Galloglaigh

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Lycra tribe.
CF (2017/8), VF (2018/9), Old Way (2020), VFnS (2020), CP (rebooked) (2021), VdT (ToDo)
Well another thread on the same subject from today supporting getting the Compostela is now a "sticky". Comments questioning whether a Compostela is needed have been removed. So you might decide that it is the policy of this site that a Compostela is a "good thing".
 

domigee

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
2020? Looks like.... nowhere! 😁
Well another thread on the same subject from today supporting getting the Compostela is now a "sticky". Comments questioning whether a Compostela is needed have been removed. So you might decide that it is the policy of this site that a Compostela is a "good thing".
OK 😳
when you wish you had shut up in the first place 😳 😁
 

domigee

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
2020? Looks like.... nowhere! 😁
Well another thread on the same subject from today supporting getting the Compostela is now a "sticky". Comments questioning whether a Compostela is needed have been removed. So you might decide that it is the policy of this site that a Compostela is a "good thing".
Can you direct me to that thread? Thanks (I can’t find it ☹)
 

Kathar1na

Member
Camino(s) past & future
To Santiago and beyond (from home; Voie de Tours; Camino Francés; Biskaya; Manche; Via Brabantica)
So I am just asking: please ask yourselves why you need it so much and why it is worth causing so much hassle/disappointment 😉
I don't think that people are desperate to get one. The discontent arises because "they got one and I didn't and that's not fair".
 

t2andreo

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
C/F: 2013, 2014
C/M: 2016
C/P: 2015, 2017
C/I: 2018
Voluntario: 2014 - 2019
When I am next at the Pilgrim Office, likely in May 2020, I plan to push for a dedicated "solo sello" stand, booth, or window at the Pilgrim Office. It is another way to siphon off some of the increasing volume.

Many folks, including many of us here, understand that once you have earned a couple of Compostelas, the credencial is truly the best souvenir you have from any Camino. After my fourth Compostela, I stopped asking for them. Going forward, I only plan to request one, if I need it for an "In Vicare Pro" purpose.

Right now, the process is "catch as catch can." If a pilgrim asks for only a stamp, we normally pull the person out of the queue, into the back door and get it done, quietly and rapidly. I want to elevate this mini-process to a formal service, as an visible and viable alternative to queuing for a Compostela.

My recommendation would be to do it somewhere other than the main processing area. One idea is to do it in the large waiting area room, on the ground floor of the adjacent rectangular building down the stairs to the garden and to the left. In that space, there is a tall counter opposite the end where the QR kiosks are located. Adding a few signs, and a spot on the large HDTV in the entry that provides information to arriving pilgrims, and we would be in business.

My thought is that either a volunteer or security person (as available in either case) can affix the two stamps after explaining the significance of closing out the credencial. It costs nothing, and takes maybe a minute for the whole transaction. Clearly the availability of an 'extra' person to do this would be a seasonal affair. But that is precisely when the alternative is needed the most.

Ideally, we might / could / would move this process out of the office campus completely. But I am at a loss to figure out where that could be accomplished, still keeping it under the aegis of the Cathedral administration. One idea, but "crazy out-of-the-box" idea, is to permit it at each of the official Cathedral gift shops, some three or four remote locations, located under, or adjacent to the Cathedral.

My brain keeps percolating and generating ideas. Some are better than others. Which follows, logically, that some are more hare-brained that others... But, I keep throwing the ideas out there...

Hope this helps the dialog.
 

Kanga

Moderator
Staff member
Camino(s) past & future
Francés x 5, Le Puy x 2, Arles, Tours, Norte, Madrid, Via de la Plata, Portuguese, Primitivo
Well another thread on the same subject from today supporting getting the Compostela is now a "sticky". Comments questioning whether a Compostela is needed have been removed. So you might decide that it is the policy of this site that a Compostela is a "good thing".
The only comment removed was a rather nasty one that attacked a person who wanted a Compostela.
 

biarritzdon

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
CF11, CF12, CP13, CF14, CA15, S.Anton15, CF&CI15
Ditch Pig16, CF&CP17, CdN18, CM18, CF18, LePuy19
I got one the first time I arrived in Santiago, then a second one, then a third one, then I quit after 4 of them.
I loved going to the old office with the little courtyard and the tiny staircase to the second floor.
Sitting across the street in the cafe was memorial as pilgrims hung out waiting too see friends they had made walking for the past month or so.
Ah, the old days; now it's become so technical.
 
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Arctic_Alex

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Finished: Camino Frances April/May 2019
Canceled: Primitivo May 2020
Well, I got my first Compostela this spring. I tried twice upon day of arrival. First in the late morning, when the queue was shockingly long. So I turned around and did some sight seeing, mass and all one does in Santiago first. I returned again in the evening and had to wait for maybe 20 minutes only to get to the desk.

My plan is to skip the Compostela after my next Camino. But then again, when I finished it, there is quite a chance I will re-think this and queue again nevertheless ;-)
 

Turga

Camino tortuga
Camino(s) past & future
CF (Aug/Sep 2017)
CF (Aug/Sep 2018)
To some the Compostela is a cherished document, to some “it’s just a piece of paper”. Will it’s value to you personally be any different depending on whether you waited in line for two hours (in the rain) or drew a number and waited in comfort in some bar sipping your vino tinto? Will it’s value be any different if it was not issued by a staff member at the Pilgrim’s Office but by some other “process”? The days when you were questioned about your motives to walk the Camino seem to be gone anyway, today it is just a question of getting as many Compostelas as possible handed across the counter each day.

So why not make it easy for everyone? Why not develop a website where you can enter your personal details and itinerary, maybe pay some fee and then print out your own Compostela. Yes, that means that everybody can do it and there will be no check that you walked the last 100 kms, but just like it is now, you will know if that Compostela means something special to you or not. Control is good but trust is better – or is it the other way around?
 

RJM

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
A few times
Do I need a compostela? No, of course not. It is not on my list of needs. Oxygen, food, beer and a couple of other things including walking the Camino is though, lol.
Do I want a compostela? Yes, of course and will get one every time I walk the Camino.
Do I find it a "hassle or disappointment"? LOL, no, of course not. That is laughable. I find waiting in a queue to get it a minor inconvenience and far from anything really all that bad. I have waited longer in longer queue's just to get a meal onboard a naval warship, lol. I will easily endure hanging out with fellow pilgrims chatting and such any day, thank you very much. :cool:

I did like the old, smaller pilgrim's office but I fully understand why they went to their more modern digs.
 

Bradypus

Moderator
Staff member
Camino(s) past & future
Too many and too often!
Ah, the old days; now it's become so technical.
Receiving my first Compostela was made a special occasion by the personal in-depth conversation which preceded it - a religious debriefing which helped me enormously to look back at what my own journey had involved. I cannot feel any such warmth for my more recent encounters with the process which now feels mechanical and driven by trivial rules in comparison.
 

trecile

Camino Addict
Camino(s) past & future
Francés (2016 & 2017), Norte (2018), Francés-Salvador-Norte (2019), Portuguese (2019)
When I am next at the Pilgrim Office, likely in May 2020, I plan to push for a dedicated "solo sello" stand, booth, or window at the Pilgrim Office. It is another way to siphon off some of the increasing volume.
Excellent idea
 

t2andreo

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
C/F: 2013, 2014
C/M: 2016
C/P: 2015, 2017
C/I: 2018
Voluntario: 2014 - 2019
I got one the first time I arrived in Santiago, then a second one, then a third one, then I quit after 4 of them.
I loved going to the old office with the little courtyard and the tiny staircase to the second floor.
Sitting across the street in the cafe was memorial as pilgrims hung out waiting too see friends they had made walking for the past month or so.
Ah, the old days; now it's become so technical.
Lo siento, mi amigo. It is going to get a lot more 'technical' as you put it, before it gets better. As long as the numbers continue to increase, on all routes, demand will not slack off.

That is why I am seeking process alternatives, and diversification of the product line, as it were, into the optional express processing system. This said, I think it is too much change too soon for the hierarchy.

We shall see what develops...
 
Camino(s) past & future
CF 2018
When I am next at the Pilgrim Office, likely in May 2020, I plan to push for a dedicated "solo sello" stand, booth, or window at the Pilgrim Office. It is another way to siphon off some of the increasing volume.

Many folks, including many of us here, understand that once you have earned a couple of Compostelas, the credencial is truly the best souvenir you have from any Camino. After my fourth Compostela, I stopped asking for them. Going forward, I only plan to request one, if I need it for an "In Vicare Pro" purpose.

Right now, the process is "catch as catch can." If a pilgrim asks for only a stamp, we normally pull the person out of the queue, into the back door and get it done, quietly and rapidly. I want to elevate this mini-process to a formal service, as an visible and viable alternative to queuing for a Compostela.

My recommendation would be to do it somewhere other than the main processing area. One idea is to do it in the large waiting area room, on the ground floor of the adjacent rectangular building down the stairs to the garden and to the left. In that space, there is a tall counter opposite the end where the QR kiosks are located. Adding a few signs, and a spot on the large HDTV in the entry that provides information to arriving pilgrims, and we would be in business.

My thought is that either a volunteer or security person (as available in either case) can affix the two stamps after explaining the significance of closing out the credencial. It costs nothing, and takes maybe a minute for the whole transaction. Clearly the availability of an 'extra' person to do this would be a seasonal affair. But that is precisely when the alternative is needed the most.

Ideally, we might / could / would move this process out of the office campus completely. But I am at a loss to figure out where that could be accomplished, still keeping it under the aegis of the Cathedral administration. One idea, but "crazy out-of-the-box" idea, is to permit it at each of the official Cathedral gift shops, some three or four remote locations, located under, or adjacent to the Cathedral.

My brain keeps percolating and generating ideas. Some are better than others. Which follows, logically, that some are more hare-brained that others... But, I keep throwing the ideas out there...

Hope this helps the dialog.
It is clear that the Compostela is important to the majority of people at some point in their Camino life. I really like the idea of a final, special, dated, maybe larger stamp from Santiago on the last page of the Credential.

It could mean as much as a separate document. It would be faster to despatch, and could be obtained from a range of churches in Santiago?

Some of my fondest memories are when stamps were provided by an older person in a village church, who was passionate about the Camino themselves, and keen to meet peregrinos on their path and wish them well.

I hope a way can be found that retains this essence, and avoids a growing sense of ‘entitlement’.
 

PK Smit

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
(015)Irun to Santiago
(017)Lisboa to S
2018Caminha to Santiago
(2018) Camino English Ferrol Santiago
Since the Camino de Santiago has become a commercialised hike to the masses and not a pilgrimage any more, I personally do not see the need for a Compostela any more. But on the other hand, for me, who still treats the Camino as a sacret pilgrimage, it would be my reward at the end of the journey to Santiago de Compostela.
 

SabineP

Camino = Gratitude + Compassion.
Camino(s) past & future
some and then more. see my signature.
Since the Camino de Santiago has become a commercialised hike to the masses and not a pilgrimage any more, I personally do not see the need for a Compostela any more. But on the other hand, for me, who still treats the Camino as a sacret pilgrimage, it would be my reward at the end of the journey to Santiago de Compostela.

Of course I see your post as your highly personal and subjective point of view.
Surely you do not mean that only the " Happy Few "can go on a pilgrimage?
I sincerely hope your use of the term " the masses " is tongue in cheek? If not, well...:confused:
 

Dani7

Stop wishing, start doing.
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances
When the time is right
When I am next at the Pilgrim Office, likely in May 2020, I plan to push for a dedicated "solo sello" stand, booth, or window at the Pilgrim Office. It is another way to siphon off some of the increasing volume.

Many folks, including many of us here, understand that once you have earned a couple of Compostelas, the credencial is truly the best souvenir you have from any Camino. After my fourth Compostela, I stopped asking for them. Going forward, I only plan to request one, if I need it for an "In Vicare Pro" purpose.

Right now, the process is "catch as catch can." If a pilgrim asks for only a stamp, we normally pull the person out of the queue, into the back door and get it done, quietly and rapidly. I want to elevate this mini-process to a formal service, as an visible and viable alternative to queuing for a Compostela.

My recommendation would be to do it somewhere other than the main processing area. One idea is to do it in the large waiting area room, on the ground floor of the adjacent rectangular building down the stairs to the garden and to the left. In that space, there is a tall counter opposite the end where the QR kiosks are located. Adding a few signs, and a spot on the large HDTV in the entry that provides information to arriving pilgrims, and we would be in business.

My thought is that either a volunteer or security person (as available in either case) can affix the two stamps after explaining the significance of closing out the credencial. It costs nothing, and takes maybe a minute for the whole transaction. Clearly the availability of an 'extra' person to do this would be a seasonal affair. But that is precisely when the alternative is needed the most.

Ideally, we might / could / would move this process out of the office campus completely. But I am at a loss to figure out where that could be accomplished, still keeping it under the aegis of the Cathedral administration. One idea, but "crazy out-of-the-box" idea, is to permit it at each of the official Cathedral gift shops, some three or four remote locations, located under, or adjacent to the Cathedral.

My brain keeps percolating and generating ideas. Some are better than others. Which follows, logically, that some are more hare-brained that others... But, I keep throwing the ideas out there...

Hope this helps the dialog.
Hi T2
When I am next at the Pilgrim Office, likely in May 2020, I plan to push for a dedicated "solo sello" stand, booth, or window at the Pilgrim Office. It is another way to siphon off some of the increasing volume.

Many folks, including many of us here, understand that once you have earned a couple of Compostelas, the credencial is truly the best souvenir you have from any Camino. After my fourth Compostela, I stopped asking for them. Going forward, I only plan to request one, if I need it for an "In Vicare Pro" purpose.

Right now, the process is "catch as catch can." If a pilgrim asks for only a stamp, we normally pull the person out of the queue, into the back door and get it done, quietly and rapidly. I want to elevate this mini-process to a formal service, as an visible and viable alternative to queuing for a Compostela.

My recommendation would be to do it somewhere other than the main processing area. One idea is to do it in the large waiting area room, on the ground floor of the adjacent rectangular building down the stairs to the garden and to the left. In that space, there is a tall counter opposite the end where the QR kiosks are located. Adding a few signs, and a spot on the large HDTV in the entry that provides information to arriving pilgrims, and we would be in business.

My thought is that either a volunteer or security person (as available in either case) can affix the two stamps after explaining the significance of closing out the credencial. It costs nothing, and takes maybe a minute for the whole transaction. Clearly the availability of an 'extra' person to do this would be a seasonal affair. But that is precisely when the alternative is needed the most.

Ideally, we might / could / would move this process out of the office campus completely. But I am at a loss to figure out where that could be accomplished, still keeping it under the aegis of the Cathedral administration. One idea, but "crazy out-of-the-box" idea, is to permit it at each of the official Cathedral gift shops, some three or four remote locations, located under, or adjacent to the Cathedral.

My brain keeps percolating and generating ideas. Some are better than others. Which follows, logically, that some are more hare-brained that others... But, I keep throwing the ideas out there...

Hope this helps the dialog.
hi t2andreo. When un may will you be there?
 

Galloglaigh

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Lycra tribe.
CF (2017/8), VF (2018/9), Old Way (2020), VFnS (2020), CP (rebooked) (2021), VdT (ToDo)
Of course I see your post as your highly personal and subjective point of view.
All postings will be highly personal and a subjective point of view. For example, if I have a pilgrim credential and have 2 cups of coffee over 5 days from Sarria, I will get a Compostela.

If I have a Starbucks Loyalty Card and have 2 cups of coffee over 5 days, I will get a free Starbucks coffee. So you could argue that a Compostela is equivalent to a free coffee.

Each to their own, but some may think a Compostela doesn't do justice to the actual pilgrimage.
 

c0484

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
2013
Just read a couple of threads about problems experienced getting a Compostela .... I feel for both the pilgrims who cannot obtain it and for the staff/volunteers at the pilgrims’ office.

My question is, bluntly: do we really need one???

Personally, I don’t think so.
I queued like everyone else in Santiago because... it is what people did 😀 And it was quite pleasant, arriving early and maybe... a half hour wait? Chatting to/hugging fellow pilgrims you had lost sight of.... All in all quite pleasurable.

When it becomes so difficult as having huge queues, numbers, coming back the following day etc etc Is it really worth it? What does it give you?

To explain where I come from.... I walked to Jerusalem, which to me was ... I can’t even say what it meant....
Anyway 🙂 There was no Certificate at the end, nothing. Does it make it less real? Does it mean people won’t believe me? Do I have to prove to anyone I walked it? Does anyone care?
No.

So I am just asking: please ask yourselves why you need it so much and why it is worth causing so much hassle/disappointment 😉
You need a "passport" in order to get a "compostela" (a certificate for completing the Camino) when you reach Santiago. They are easily obtained in St. Jean Pied de Port. You can also get one from www.americanPilgrims.org.
 

hecate105

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
'09 Portuguese Estellas '14 Aurelia '16 St Davids '17 Via Augusta/V dl P. '18/'19 Michael Mary Way
A final stamp sounds like a good idea - especially for the serial pilgrims among us. It would prove you arrived and allow you to obtain albergue services on your return journey - if u do so. Bittersweet tho it is returning against the tide or trickle of pilgrims - it is a wonderful feeling to get your last stamp at your local church/cathedral and step back thru homes doorway...!
 

RJM

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
A few times
Of course I see your post as your highly personal and subjective point of view.
Surely you do not mean that only the " Happy Few "can go on a pilgrimage?
I sincerely hope your use of the term " the masses " is tongue in cheek? If not, well...:confused:
There is a bit of truth to that post. Evident in so much commercialism associated with the Camino these days and also the sea of walkers on the path for partying etc. I have met many pilgrims whilst on the path that had no idea of its origins.
 

t2andreo

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
C/F: 2013, 2014
C/M: 2016
C/P: 2015, 2017
C/I: 2018
Voluntario: 2014 - 2019
Hi T2

hi t2andreo. When un may will you be there?
I am looking at potential Caminos now. Once I figure out a route, I will start planning. I usually start a full week AFTER Easter to get that clog in front of me.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Lots ;0)
The OP, @domigee, asked of the Compostela "do we really need one???". They didn't ask about meaning or value of, or even historic validity against machine age value. I appreciate that members will, and have, approached the original question from a variety of original angles.

So, need. Need for what purpose? Are we to offer the ghost of a document to The Holder of the Keys to Heaven as we stand in supplication at St Peter's Gate? Bragging Rights - I did that and I've got the certificate to prove it (it sits, framed, next to my Cycling Proficiency Test and my 2.1 PhD)? A treasured memento; alongside that olive-branch from Parnassus and that bit of shrapnel M.A.S.H dug out and popped in a jar. Something to be produced to steer the dinner-party conversation away from (insert your own contentious topic).

I see nothing commercial in the Compostela, they are provided gratis to those who put in a little effort, such as spending 5 days strolling through Galicia and a day in a queue. Interestingly obtaining the Distance Certificate that recognises the achievement of anyone who has walked from say Bratislava or Benidorm requires a fee and a day in that same queue. History will tell us whether the current crisis in Compostela Land (or the Pilgrims Office) is just a blip in administration or the herald of doom. Whether the PO finally found a way to cope with 2019's September surge will eventually be revealed.

Meanwhile, to @Domingee's original question: "Do we really need [a compostela]?" I think we don't. The process of walking Camino(s), caminar, is what we need. The Compostela is but an adjunct. And if we really walk all the way to the shrine of Santiago just to get a Compostella then we need to go back and start again.
 

WalkingJane

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
May and October 2015
(2015 October)
June 2018 Portuguese
Just read a couple of threads about problems experienced getting a Compostela .... I feel for both the pilgrims who cannot obtain it and for the staff/volunteers at the pilgrims’ office.

My question is, bluntly: do we really need one???

Personally, I don’t think so.
I queued like everyone else in Santiago because... it is what people did 😀 And it was quite pleasant, arriving early and maybe... a half hour wait? Chatting to/hugging fellow pilgrims you had lost sight of.... All in all quite pleasurable.

When it becomes so difficult as having huge queues, numbers, coming back the following day etc etc Is it really worth it? What does it give you?

To explain where I come from.... I walked to Jerusalem, which to me was ... I can’t even say what it meant....
Anyway 🙂 There was no Certificate at the end, nothing. Does it make it less real? Does it mean people won’t believe me? Do I have to prove to anyone I walked it? Does anyone care?
No.

So I am just asking: please ask yourselves why you need it so much and why it is worth causing so much hassle/disappointment 😉
When I walked the Frances I did get a Compostela, which I have lost in the course of moving. I do have the Credencial, which means a lot more to me as it brings back memories and nostalgia. At the end of doing the Portuguese, I didn't bother to even see if there was a line; having the Credencial and photos was once again plenty. I do have a small relief map, with the Camino designated in red, that I enjoy.
 

t2andreo

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
C/F: 2013, 2014
C/M: 2016
C/P: 2015, 2017
C/I: 2018
Voluntario: 2014 - 2019
To answer the OP question, I agree with Tink... No , we do not need a Compostela... But for better or worse, one has been available in various formats for nigh on to one-thousand years. I do not see it going away anytime soon.

I still think the idea of validating and stamping credencials followed by providing a credencial sized, non-personalized copy of the Compostela, has merit. The credencial validates the Compostela, not the other way around.

Just a thought...
 
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Camino(s) past & future
Sarria to Santiago august 2018
St Jean pier de port to Leon 2019
Camino Norte/Primitivo 2020
The Camino gave me a new view on my own need for «things» in general - I managed so long with so much less than in my everyday life - so at the end it felt right to not get this «Compostela-thing». I guess one could say, «It is your Compostela». It is a gift, that we do not all feel and think the same :)
 

KinkyOne

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
I'am not perfect, but I'm always myself!!!
When I am next at the Pilgrim Office, likely in May 2020, I plan to push for a dedicated "solo sello" stand, booth, or window at the Pilgrim Office. It is another way to siphon off some of the increasing volume.

Many folks, including many of us here, understand that once you have earned a couple of Compostelas, the credencial is truly the best souvenir you have from any Camino. After my fourth Compostela, I stopped asking for them. Going forward, I only plan to request one, if I need it for an "In Vicare Pro" purpose.

Right now, the process is "catch as catch can." If a pilgrim asks for only a stamp, we normally pull the person out of the queue, into the back door and get it done, quietly and rapidly. I want to elevate this mini-process to a formal service, as an visible and viable alternative to queuing for a Compostela.

My recommendation would be to do it somewhere other than the main processing area. One idea is to do it in the large waiting area room, on the ground floor of the adjacent rectangular building down the stairs to the garden and to the left. In that space, there is a tall counter opposite the end where the QR kiosks are located. Adding a few signs, and a spot on the large HDTV in the entry that provides information to arriving pilgrims, and we would be in business.

My thought is that either a volunteer or security person (as available in either case) can affix the two stamps after explaining the significance of closing out the credencial. It costs nothing, and takes maybe a minute for the whole transaction. Clearly the availability of an 'extra' person to do this would be a seasonal affair. But that is precisely when the alternative is needed the most.

Ideally, we might / could / would move this process out of the office campus completely. But I am at a loss to figure out where that could be accomplished, still keeping it under the aegis of the Cathedral administration. One idea, but "crazy out-of-the-box" idea, is to permit it at each of the official Cathedral gift shops, some three or four remote locations, located under, or adjacent to the Cathedral.

My brain keeps percolating and generating ideas. Some are better than others. Which follows, logically, that some are more hare-brained that others... But, I keep throwing the ideas out there...

Hope this helps the dialog.
Good idea.
Because it's more or less seasonal issue as you said maybe a small cart with roof or a sunscreen parked outside on the street would do so the "solo sello" pilgrims wouldn't even have to enter the PO. Or a small booth by the main entrance with large sign in different languages.

Next door Post Office also have "the last stamp" which is very nice.
 

t2andreo

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
C/F: 2013, 2014
C/M: 2016
C/P: 2015, 2017
C/I: 2018
Voluntario: 2014 - 2019
There are any number of Solo Sello alternative locations. However, outside in front of the office is not one of them.

The Concello / City Administration seriously frowns on anything being outside. I got in trouble several years ago for having a stainless steel dog watering bowl, filled with water, outside, because I had lettered the bowl "Oficina de Peregrinos" using a Brother labeling machine. A city official actually threatened a summons... go figure...

Still, there are several alternative location inside the building that involved partnering with other entities, plus there are several locations on the office campus that might work. My interest is in keeping this extra traffic out of the office entirely if possible.

We shall see...
 

Galloglaigh

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Lycra tribe.
CF (2017/8), VF (2018/9), Old Way (2020), VFnS (2020), CP (rebooked) (2021), VdT (ToDo)
Still, there are several alternative location inside the building that involved partnering with other entities
If you compare the number of people queing for the Compostela with the number of pilgrims attending the pilgrim mass, it tells its own story. I would have been very disappointed to have missed the mass it was so moving, but so many do.

As a suggestion, why not offer it after pilgrim mass to those attending pilgrim mass. Then people can make their own choice.
 

henrythedog

Loved and fed by David
Camino(s) past & future
Frances 2017, 2018, 2019, Ingles 2018, (Madrid 2019 partial - retired hurt!) (more planned)
The OP, @domigee, asked of the Compostela "do we really need one???". They didn't ask about meaning or value of, or even historic validity against machine age value. I appreciate that members will, and have, approached the original question from a variety of original angles.

So, need. Need for what purpose? Are we to offer the ghost of a document to The Holder of the Keys to Heaven as we stand in supplication at St Peter's Gate? Bragging Rights - I did that and I've got the certificate to prove it (it sits, framed, next to my Cycling Proficiency Test and my 2.1 PhD)? A treasured memento; alongside that olive-branch from Parnassus and that bit of shrapnel M.A.S.H dug out and popped in a jar. Something to be produced to steer the dinner-party conversation away from (insert your own contentious topic).

I see nothing commercial in the Compostela, they are provided gratis to those who put in a little effort, such as spending 5 days strolling through Galicia and a day in a queue. Interestingly obtaining the Distance Certificate that recognises the achievement of anyone who has walked from say Bratislava or Benidorm requires a fee and a day in that same queue. History will tell us whether the current crisis in Compostela Land (or the Pilgrims Office) is just a blip in administration or the herald of doom. Whether the PO finally found a way to cope with 2019's September surge will eventually be revealed.

Meanwhile, to @Domingee's original question: "Do we really need [a compostela]?" I think we don't. The process of walking Camino(s), caminar, is what we need. The Compostela is but an adjunct. And if we really walk all the way to the shrine of Santiago just to get a Compostella then we need to go back and start again.

Not trying to start a Tinca fan club here - it might be a bit draughty in a big empty room - but he’s on the money once again.

The commercial value of a compostella is clearly zero - there is no charge, and the value in religious terms likewise. I’m certain that St Peter doesn’t check the paperwork.

Once I thought it was something to aspire to - and I’ll confess that they, together with credenciales and other paperwork have been (embarrassingly) produced after dinner (or after a few scoops more accurately).

Later in life, I treasure the memories and aspire to more. I don't want the baggage of more documents.

Your experience may vary, natch.
 
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NorthernLight

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Le Puy to Santiago via the Frances 2012-2013. EPW2015
Aragonese & Frances 2016
Burgos to Muxia 2017
We get stamps in a variety of churches along the way, why not be able to get that final -end of the series- stamp at the cathedral? It could be on a counter in the area where they sell the audio tours ... like in Burgos.
 

TMcA

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Pamplona to Santiago (2013)
Le Puy to Pamplona in segments (2013 - 2016)
Pamplona to León
My wife and I each received our compostela in 2013...

I am with several who have posted that these were then placed in the tubes that we purchased, as I recall, to safeguard them on our journey home. They remain there today. I believe we took a quick look at them after our return home and considered having them framed...whoa, where to put those framed pieces of paper...take down pictures of our wedding, our children, our grandchildren etc.?

Much more important than those compostelas were the fond memories we still have of that first walk on the CF...the people we met, their stories, the views, the towns where we stopped/overnighted, and even the foot problems we experienced. This is what we remember. This is why we have returned for the following six years. Not for another piece of paper. That sounds harsh... it was the journey and the enrichment provided by our friends, fellow hikers, the people we met, and the experiences good and bad that we enjoyed and briefly suffered, plus the many and varied contemplations of life and, in particular, our lives that we were able to think about as we walked, always, to SdC.

We have been fortunate to be able to go back. The value of the compostela??? For us, it pales in comparison to the journey.

Just my opinion. Shared by my spouse.
 

VNwalking

Wandering in big circles
Camino(s) past & future
Francés ('14/'15)
San Olav/CF ('16)
Baztanés/CF ('17)
Ingles ('18)
Vasco/CF/Invierno ('19)
My question is, bluntly: do we really need one???
Well, @Tincatinker said it much better than I was about to. Gracias, amigo:
Meanwhile, to @Domingee's original question: "Do we really need [a compostela]?" I think we don't. The process of walking Camino(s), caminar, is what we need. The Compostela is but an adjunct. And if we really walk all the way to the shrine of Santiago just to get a Compostella then we need to go back and start again.

Not trying to start a Tinca fan club here
Ah well. That already exists, in any event. ;)

I got in trouble several years ago for having a stainless steel dog watering bowl, filled with water, outside, because I had lettered the bowl "Oficina de Peregrinos" using a Brother labeling machine. A city official actually threatened a summons... go figure...
:eek: OFGS! That's profoundly petty.
 

t2andreo

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
C/F: 2013, 2014
C/M: 2016
C/P: 2015, 2017
C/I: 2018
Voluntario: 2014 - 2019
Well, @Tincatinker said it much better than I was about to. Gracias, amigo:



Ah well. That already exists, in any event. ;)

:eek: OFGS! That's profoundly petty.
Welcome to local government in Spain. It can be hit and miss... But it is never dull... At times, entertaining... at other times frustrating... but never boring...
 
Camino(s) past & future
2013 Camino Frances SJPP / 2014 Camino Portugues / 2015 Camino Ingles / 2015 Hospitalero Training
2016 (fall) Camino Sanabre / Hospitalero?
Just read a couple of threads about problems experienced getting a Compostela .... I feel for both the pilgrims who cannot obtain it and for the staff/volunteers at the pilgrims’ office.

My question is, bluntly: do we really need one???

Personally, I don’t think so.
I queued like everyone else in Santiago because... it is what people did 😀 And it was quite pleasant, arriving early and maybe... a half hour wait? Chatting to/hugging fellow pilgrims you had lost sight of.... All in all quite pleasurable.

When it becomes so difficult as having huge queues, numbers, coming back the following day etc etc Is it really worth it? What does it give you?

To explain where I come from.... I walked to Jerusalem, which to me was ... I can’t even say what it meant....
Anyway 🙂 There was no Certificate at the end, nothing. Does it make it less real? Does it mean people won’t believe me? Do I have to prove to anyone I walked it? Does anyone care?
No.

So I am just asking: please ask yourselves why you need it so much and why it is worth causing so much hassle/disappointment 😉
Tradition is important too.
 

t2andreo

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
C/F: 2013, 2014
C/M: 2016
C/P: 2015, 2017
C/I: 2018
Voluntario: 2014 - 2019
Since the Camino de Santiago has become a commercialised hike to the masses and not a pilgrimage any more, I personally do not see the need for a Compostela any more. But on the other hand, for me, who still treats the Camino as a sacret pilgrimage, it would be my reward at the end of the journey to Santiago de Compostela.
There are frequently, two sides to every argument. The challenge is in finding balance.

There is an old adage that goes: "you can please some of the people some of the time, but you can rarely (never) please all the people all of the time..."

The corollary adage is that: "... you can have it good fast or cheap...pick two..."

I have found these to be true during my commercial, then long, government professional careers.

Going forward, I am cautiously optimistic, but also soberly realistic, about prompting any changes or meaningful process improvements at the Pilgrim Office. At times, almost every day in fact, I feel like Don Quixote de la Mancha jilting at windmills. I think this is an apt metaphor...

Hope this helps.
 

Dolphin9898

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
September (2019)
Just read a couple of threads about problems experienced getting a Compostela .... I feel for both the pilgrims who cannot obtain it and for the staff/volunteers at the pilgrims’ office.

My question is, bluntly: do we really need one???

Personally, I don’t think so.
I queued like everyone else in Santiago because... it is what people did 😀 And it was quite pleasant, arriving early and maybe... a half hour wait? Chatting to/hugging fellow pilgrims you had lost sight of.... All in all quite pleasurable.

When it becomes so difficult as having huge queues, numbers, coming back the following day etc etc Is it really worth it? What does it give you?

To explain where I come from.... I walked to Jerusalem, which to me was ... I can’t even say what it meant....
Anyway 🙂 There was no Certificate at the end, nothing. Does it make it less real? Does it mean people won’t believe me? Do I have to prove to anyone I walked it? Does anyone care?
No.

So I am just asking: please ask yourselves why you need it so much and why it is worth causing so much hassle/disappointment 😉
This is so true. What do we need to prove ? Would that change anything? I did Kili in 5 days. So what! The experience is to talk with pilgrim with a big smile and sometime hug them as they need it. Sometime when you know them a bit more, just tell them you love them or call her my dorling and make joke to make them feel good as a human being. This is much more important than a certificate. Just lesson to what they have to say. Sometime they need to let it out and need a stranger that will tell them that is good to do this and forget the past and live the present moment. This is the real Camino. What is really important is the moment. Not the past or the future. The moment and they will remember it more than the certificate
 

jdickson

Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Francis 2014, Camino Portugues 2016
Just read a couple of threads about problems experienced getting a Compostela .... I feel for both the pilgrims who cannot obtain it and for the staff/volunteers at the pilgrims’ office.

My question is, bluntly: do we really need one???

Personally, I don’t think so.
I queued like everyone else in Santiago because... it is what people did 😀 And it was quite pleasant, arriving early and maybe... a half hour wait? Chatting to/hugging fellow pilgrims you had lost sight of.... All in all quite pleasurable.

When it becomes so difficult as having huge queues, numbers, coming back the following day etc etc Is it really worth it? What does it give you?

To explain where I come from.... I walked to Jerusalem, which to me was ... I can’t even say what it meant....
Anyway 🙂 There was no Certificate at the end, nothing. Does it make it less real? Does it mean people won’t believe me? Do I have to prove to anyone I walked it? Does anyone care?
No.

So I am just asking: please ask yourselves why you need it so much and why it is worth causing so much hassle/disappointment 😉
 

jdickson

Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Francis 2014, Camino Portugues 2016
....the walk matters. It is for me. The Compostela is the document.
 

Houlet

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances 2014
Via de la Plata 2015
Camino Sanabres 2015
Camino Norde 2017
For me the first Compostela was VERY important to me, since then it is a nice to have rather than a need to have. If next time I get there and face a huge queue I won´t bother.
 

hecate105

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
'09 Portuguese Estellas '14 Aurelia '16 St Davids '17 Via Augusta/V dl P. '18/'19 Michael Mary Way
I think the general consensus is - we do not need one but it is a fond memento to have...
Going on our first Camino - when we eventually received our (replaced because stolen!) 'Compostelas' we proudly framed them and hung them in the hallway. That journey sparked a longing to return to other Caminos, to travel other long distance routes - in short - to change our lives so that we could travel more and work far less.. So - a decade later - our home is rented out and we live in a small garden shed - no room for the Compostelas - they and a few other items we could not bear to part with are stacked in boxes in the garage.....! But we are now free to roam - Via de Plata, Asia, Isles of Scilly, Guernsey - in every place we find reminders of Camino/St James/Pilgrims - in fact life is now totally a pilgrimage - and that has made all the difference....!
 

Anamiri

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
2016, 2017, 2019 Camino Frances
Just read a couple of threads about problems experienced getting a Compostela .... I feel for both the pilgrims who cannot obtain it and for the staff/volunteers at the pilgrims’ office.

My question is, bluntly: do we really need one???

Personally, I don’t think so.
I queued like everyone else in Santiago because... it is what people did 😀 And it was quite pleasant, arriving early and maybe... a half hour wait? Chatting to/hugging fellow pilgrims you had lost sight of.... All in all quite pleasurable.

When it becomes so difficult as having huge queues, numbers, coming back the following day etc etc Is it really worth it? What does it give you?

To explain where I come from.... I walked to Jerusalem, which to me was ... I can’t even say what it meant....
Anyway 🙂 There was no Certificate at the end, nothing. Does it make it less real? Does it mean people won’t believe me? Do I have to prove to anyone I walked it? Does anyone care?
No.

So I am just asking: please ask yourselves why you need it so much and why it is worth causing so much hassle/disappointment 😉
After 2 caminos on my own, in September I took my husband and 13 year old grandson to Spain, and we walked from Leon to Santiago.
It was horrible walking into Santiago, absolutely torrential, freezing, and once there we didn't venture out again that day until later when the rain had abated somewhat. So the social nature of our camino ended a bit abruptly.
The next morning we joined the queue, got a number and eventually a Compostela. In the period of waiting we went to the service, and met and talked with other pilgrims.
They were so super excited to receive their Compostelas. They didnt care about the waiting. Our grandson willingly got up early that morning because he knew we would have a wait. (He had been looking forward to a sleep in after all our early mornings.)
It made me realise that the whole process gave them a sense of closure, completion and achievement - that we didnt get the day before in the terrible weather.
In the case of the 13 year old he was really thrilled to get the distance certificate, in fact even more than the Compostela. He keeps it in the tube, guards it from his younger brothers, has since taken it to school, shown all his other relatives and wants to get it framed,

Neither of them would walk or hike, if I didnt take them along. They enjoy it when I do, but neither of them is a 'natural' hiker (if there is such a thing) nor very intrepid. They are both more into team games than endurance type sports. If I had not already walked the camino, and 'survived' there is no way they would ever have gone. (They also dont like the travelling, for us it takes two entire days just to get to Madrid - the first flight alone is nearly 18 hours - so it is quite a mission.)

For me it is different, the walk itself is my reward, and the sellos my souvenirs. My trip would still feel complete without receiving a Compostela.

But for some people it is quite important - if it wasn't an option, they would look for some other evidence to prove their achievement. Im glad they were able to receive their documents.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Frances(2006) Portugues(2013)
San Salvador (2017) Ingles (2019)
I think the general consensus is - we do not need one but it is a fond memento to have...
Going on our first Camino - when we eventually received our (replaced because stolen!) 'Compostelas' we proudly framed them and hung them in the hallway. That journey sparked a longing to return to other Caminos, to travel other long distance routes - in short - to change our lives so that we could travel more and work far less.. So - a decade later - our home is rented out and we live in a small garden shed - no room for the Compostelas - they and a few other items we could not bear to part with are stacked in boxes in the garage.....! But we are now free to roam - Via de Plata, Asia, Isles of Scilly, Guernsey - in every place we find reminders of Camino/St James/Pilgrims - in fact life is now totally a pilgrimage - and that has made all the difference....!
From my perspective, I admire and envy you for the change in your lifestyle. Sounds like it is one that will give you a dream of a reality! or should that be the other way round???
 

Cornelius

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances (2015)
Methinks the OP's question poses a metaphysical conundrum as much as a practical one. It's similar to: "If a tree falls in a forest and no-one is around to hear it, does it make a sound?". It's prompted me to extract my own Compostela from its little cardboard tube for the first time since it was put into my hand 4 years ago. The sight of it instantly places me back at the counter in the pilgrim office: relieved, footsore, weary and, I confess, welling-up. I won't be looking at it very often but it's very good to know that it is there.
 
Camino(s) past & future
CF 2006,08,09,11,12(2),13(2),14,16(2),18(2) Aragones 11,12,VDLP 11,13,Lourdes 12,Malaga 16,Port 06
Like others here, I quit collecting them after about my 4th.
But to the folks that walk with me, MOST do want that Compostela.
For some, it's proof they did something special.
For many Catholics, it's a matter of receiving indulgences, though I'm sure God knows whether or not they walked without looking at their Certificate?
Per the internet:
A plenary indulgence is a powerful form of indulgence that remisses all time due in Purgatory. Those visiting the Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela in Holy Years, the next being 2021, can receive a plenary indulgence regardless of if they walk the Camino or not
 
Camino(s) past & future
Frances (2017), Primitivo (2019)
I have no plans to ask for one in future. But I already have several. I wonder what my feelings would be as a first-time pilgrim? Probably a little different.
Exactly! After my first Camino and Compostela, I decided that one (Compostela) was enough and that I felt no need to explain myself.
 

Dani7

Stop wishing, start doing.
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances
When the time is right
When I am next at the Pilgrim Office, likely in May 2020, I plan to push for a dedicated "solo sello" stand, booth, or window at the Pilgrim Office. It is another way to siphon off some of the increasing volume.

Many folks, including many of us here, understand that once you have earned a couple of Compostelas, the credencial is truly the best souvenir you have from any Camino. After my fourth Compostela, I stopped asking for them. Going forward, I only plan to request one, if I need it for an "In Vicare Pro" purpose.

Right now, the process is "catch as catch can." If a pilgrim asks for only a stamp, we normally pull the person out of the queue, into the back door and get it done, quietly and rapidly. I want to elevate this mini-process to a formal service, as an visible and viable alternative to queuing for a Compostela.

My recommendation would be to do it somewhere other than the main processing area. One idea is to do it in the large waiting area room, on the ground floor of the adjacent rectangular building down the stairs to the garden and to the left. In that space, there is a tall counter opposite the end where the QR kiosks are located. Adding a few signs, and a spot on the large HDTV in the entry that provides information to arriving pilgrims, and we would be in business.

My thought is that either a volunteer or security person (as available in either case) can affix the two stamps after explaining the significance of closing out the credencial. It costs nothing, and takes maybe a minute for the whole transaction. Clearly the availability of an 'extra' person to do this would be a seasonal affair. But that is precisely when the alternative is needed the most.

Ideally, we might / could / would move this process out of the office campus completely. But I am at a loss to figure out where that could be accomplished, still keeping it under the aegis of the Cathedral administration. One idea, but "crazy out-of-the-box" idea, is to permit it at each of the official Cathedral gift shops, some three or four remote locations, located under, or adjacent to the Cathedral.

My brain keeps percolating and generating ideas. Some are better than others. Which follows, logically, that some are more hare-brained that others... But, I keep throwing the ideas out there...

Hope this helps the dialog.
Hopefully I will be lucky enough to get my Compostela from you t2andreo since I will be there at the end of first week of may 2020.
 

Dani7

Stop wishing, start doing.
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances
When the time is right
I am looking at potential Caminos now. Once I figure out a route, I will start planning. I usually start a full week AFTER Easter to get that clog in front of me.
Not planned that way but it turns out I start my walk Palm Sunday 😳. Booking first week’s worth of albergues so I can walk the first “physical” part of my Camino wi the out worrying about a bed. Safe journey 😀
 

Peter Fransiscus

Be a Rainbow in someone else's cloud.
Camino(s) past & future
All that we are is the result of what we have thought.
Hopefully I will be lucky enough to get my Compostela from you t2andreo since I will be there at the end of first week of may 2020.
Say hello, I'm voluntering upstairs in the Dutch Huiskamer.
Have a wonderfull Camino.🙏
 

Kiwi-family

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Past: (2012, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2018)-Frances, Baztan, San Salvador, Primitivo, Fisterra,VdlP, Madrid
I’m not expecting to get a compostela next time - because I want to make my own personalised special credencial again and it sounds like these are no longer accepted.
I do like the idea of a sello-only queue!
 

t2andreo

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
C/F: 2013, 2014
C/M: 2016
C/P: 2015, 2017
C/I: 2018
Voluntario: 2014 - 2019
Hopefully I will be lucky enough to get my Compostela from you t2andreo since I will be there at the end of first week of may 2020.
Thank you very much for the thought. But, my annual summer volunteer stint is from mid-July to mid-August.

If I am in Santiago in May, it will be because I just came in from MY annual Camino, This year, I plan to do the first half of the Via de la Plata.

I would do all six-weeks or so in one go, but "she who must be obeyed will not permit it. So half the loaf is near as good.

I am not sure of my exact arrival dates or how much time I will linger at Santiago. Usually, I try to stay for 5 - 7 days after walking into town from a Camino. This lets me reconnect with friends and do some lobbying for changes at the pilgrim office.

My plans were to try to see Peter and Marianne in the Huiskamer (they are there from 1 - 15 May). Also, there are several other forum members who are fiends and will be arriving in Santiago from their Caminos around that time as well.

It is too early to commit to May dates yet. But, I will try to post my location in the forum once it gets close, and I know when I will be there.

Each time I am at Santiago, there are several folks who want to have a coffee, beer, wine, or meal together. I am very happy to make myself available if I am there.

When we get that close, I will share direct contact text and email information via PM to interested forum members, so we can coordinate close-in.

Look forward to meeting you in May if at all possible.

Hope this helps.
 

Dani7

Stop wishing, start doing.
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances
When the time is right
Thank you very much for the thought. But, my annual summer volunteer stint is from mid-July to mid-August.

If I am in Santiago in May, it will be because I just came in from MY annual Camino, This year, I plan to do the first half of the Via de la Plata.

I would do all six-weeks or so in one go, but "she who must be obeyed will not permit it. So half the loaf is near as good.

I am not sure of my exact arrival dates or how much time I will linger at Santiago. Usually, I try to stay for 5 - 7 days after walking into town from a Camino. This lets me reconnect with friends and do some lobbying for changes at the pilgrim office.

My plans were to try to see Peter and Marianne in the Huiskamer (they are there from 1 - 15 May). Also, there are several other forum members who are fiends and will be arriving in Santiago from their Caminos around that time as well.

It is too early to commit to May dates yet. But, I will try to post my location in the forum once it gets close, and I know when I will be there.

Each time I am at Santiago, there are several folks who want to have a coffee, beer, wine, or meal together. I am very happy to make myself available if I am there.

When we get that close, I will share direct contact text and email information via PM to interested forum members, so we can coordinate close-in.

Look forward to meeting you in May if at all possible.

Hope this helps.
Thanks for filling me in 😀. I should be in Santiago on May 8th and 9th. Leaving on the 10th for Muxia then finishing my pilgrimage in Finisterre. Hope to meet you and any other forum member there at that time. Buen camino 😀
 

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