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Easiest 100km (for someone with health problems limiting high-intensity exercise)

Takezo

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
No past, possible future, considering the 2021, looking for info
Hi,
my wife, a devout Catholic, has expressed an interested in Camino a couple of times in the past. Considering that the next year is of special religious importance I'm looking into organizing it.


However she has some health problems. Nothing serious, but can't do a lot of strenuous activity.
So I was thinking about getting only the minimal requirement of 100 km, taking 2-3x more time than usual (either smaller sections or longer rests between them), using luggage transportation and staying at hotels or other venues with private rooms might make it possible.

What route would be ideal in that regard, considering physical demands and available accommodation?ATM I'm leaning towards the last 100 of the Portuguese route, not sure if coastal or central. However it does seem that all routes are fairly docile in that last part, so the environment might be more important. Less crowded and greener would be a personal preference.

Thnx :D
 

Anamiri

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
2016, 2017, 2019 Camino Frances
Is getting a Compostela important to you?
The easiest part to walk (basically flat for most of it) is the Meseta on the Camino Frances. It would be green if you walk spring or early summer, actually covered in wild flowers, really pretty. The rivers are also really pretty.

But to qualify for a Compostela you will need to walk the last 100 kms into Santiago. The last 100kms on the Frances or the Ingles is definitely not flat. Others will know more about other Caminos.
How crowded you find it, (the last 100kms into Santiago are always the most crowded) will depend on the time of year you go. Fringe seasons may have less people.
Not all places will have a hotel option, they are really only in the larger towns. But in most villages there are the options of private rooms.
 

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Takezo

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
No past, possible future, considering the 2021, looking for info
I don't care, much prefer a more solitary hike with wild camping and would probably not do it on my own, or at least not in the year and on the trail where we can expect a lot of movement.

She would be doing it purely for religious reasons though, so I would assume it to be important, even if not sure it has any connection to the indulgence of the Holy Year.

That said it might be crowded because of it, specially the last 100, so maybe one of the"alternative" routes? Are those still counting for the Compostela?

We could free some weeks in September instead of summer and go mid-week, that might help t a bit with crowds.
 

trecile

Camino Addict
Camino(s) past & future
Francés (2016 & 2017), Norte (2018), Francés-Salvador-Norte (2019), Portuguese (2019)
I think that your idea of the last 100km of the Portuguese route is a good one. I did Porto to Santiago last year, and there was only one big hill, but it was before you reach Spain and the last 100km, so you would miss it anyway.
 

Walkerooni

Member
Camino(s) past & future
C. Frances SJPdP to Santiago (June-ish 2018)
I think you may find that selecting a mid-week start in an attempt to avoid crowds over the last 100k of any Camino route will be disappointing. Perhaps this would matter more at the beginning of a longer Camino, but you should expect to run into a lot of pilgrims on the 100k who have already walked 700-900k, and their priority may not be to give over space to those starting out. Bravo to your friend wanting to do 100k in what for them will be a physical and health challenge. But I think it best to be realistic and not to set yourselves up for disappointment if the numbers surprise!
 

Anamya

Keeping it simple
Camino(s) past & future
Frances (2015)
Portugues (2017)
Lebaniego (2019)
I also think the last 100km of the Portuguese route is a good choice. In terms of infrastructure to be able to rest after shorter stages, to find private accommodation and food, your choices are basically the Frances and the Portugues.

The impression I have on my caminos (which were a few years ago):

Frances: greener in the last 100km. Accommodation and food everywhere. Very crowded.
Portuguese (central): less green, more villages. Good amount of accommodation, delicious food. Not so crowded.

Not sure if numbers next year will be impacted by covid. Anyway, both routes are lovely and you will have a great time.
 

Walking Lover

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
CdS from Leon to Santiago, June 16, 2016 to June 30, 2016.
Hi,
my wife, a devout Catholic, has expressed an interested in Camino a couple of times in the past. Considering that the next year is of special religious importance I'm looking into organizing it.


However she has some health problems. Nothing serious, but can't do a lot of strenuous activity.
So I was thinking about getting only the minimal requirement of 100 km, taking 2-3x more time than usual (either smaller sections or longer rests between them), using luggage transportation and staying at hotels or other venues with private rooms might make it possible.

What route would be ideal in that regard, considering physical demands and available accommodation?ATM I'm leaning towards the last 100 of the Portuguese route, not sure if coastal or central. However it does seem that all routes are fairly docile in that last part, so the environment might be more important. Less crowded and greener would be a personal preference.

Thnx :D
Purchase John Brierley's book. It has all of the distances and the elevations. You can easily skip from one stage to the next and walk the easiest stages. You will need to walk all of Sarria to Santiago. However, you can get a certificate for walking a distance if you don't walk the required 100K for the Compestela.
 

Tim Floyd

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances 2017
TDMB 2016
Cotswold Way 2018
Portugues 2021
First of all, bravo for taking on the challenge. Given what you said, I would urge you to consider the 100km from Sarria. Why? Because it is a well travelled route, there are lots of places to stay and eat at all intermediary towns and villages. You could do really short days as little as 8-10 km and have stops. Bag transport is easy. Taxi support or busses are available if needed. The only challenge is that the terrain is rolling hills, so it is not flat. It is not extreme, but it is not flat. But you could take 8-10 days to do it in very small segments, and take it slow. And you would get the Compostella at the end. And if your wife cannot do it, God bless her, then get a cab to Santiago and enjoy the cathedral and the town and consider yourself blessed for giving it a go. Sept is a lovely time. The last 100 is always busy with walkers, but I like the company and you will likely find that the people you meet are your greatest blessing and encouragement. I wish you and your wife well.
 

peterbells

Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances Sept 2018 (Sarria to Santiago), repeating Sept 2019
I agree Tim Floyd. There are climbs out of Sarria and Portomarin but otherwise not too bad. I feel important though that your wife gets used to walking regularly even if limited. One of the joys of the Camino is you can go at own pace and walk what you want each day.
 

gerip

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
CF, Lourdes to Burgos, Oct 2018
CF, Burgos to Santiago, May 2019
Ingles, Sep - Oct 2019
If the downhills are harder than the uphills, then forget about the Frances. I saw one elderly lady crying as her relatives coaxed, cajoled and bullied her down the hill into Palace del Rei. It’s a long incline, especially on a hot day. And I can’t remember which town it was where it was an 8 km walk before a toilet and breakfast. An 11 year old whined the whole way, which wasn’t happy for those walking in her vicinity. No, the last 100km of the Frances is NOT easy for anyone with any kind of health issue, as many have found while walking it.
The Ingles was easier, and lots of accommodation in close proximity, but still not flat, so a bit of a challenge (as I discovered) for anyone with a health condition.
If you have time watch the YouTube videos of folks who have walked the various routes, Efren Gonzalez is a good source, as he’s walked the Frances and the Portuguese. Others have walked the Ingles, the Norte, etc. You can get a good idea of the terrain by watching these videos.
 

gerip

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
CF, Lourdes to Burgos, Oct 2018
CF, Burgos to Santiago, May 2019
Ingles, Sep - Oct 2019
You could do really short days as little as 8-10 km and have stops.
10 km is not a short day when you have health issues. May 2019 I walked up to 30km on some days over the last 100km, in order to spend as little time among the crowds as possible. Oct 2019 I struggled to do 10km/day, and couldn’t figure out why. Two weeks after returning I became terribly ill, and was subsequently diagnosed with cancer.
But someone who went with a group from the UK told me that some in her group did about 8km/day with bus support, and everyone still got a Compostela. Maybe there might be some package tours that are able to work that out for you.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Us:Camino Frances, 2015 Me:Catalan/Aragonese, 2019
To be able to give some objective advice I took some GPS files I had and combined them to produce a profile of the Sarria to Santiago portion of the Camino Frances. For some reason this came out longer than 100 km but I think we can work with it anyway.

sarria-santiago-profile.jpg

A usual stage for the CF is about 25 km but considering your wife's condition I've marked up the chart to show areas about 15 km apart that may be suitable to end a day's journey. This would be 7 or 8 days. You may want the last day to be very short so you are rested for the events and excitement at the end. Actuall, you may want each day to be shorter than my suggestion.

You will notice that the first half of the trip has much longer and steeper slopes than the last half does. The later part looks to me to be walkable if you can do five uphills of 100 meters each within 15 km. For training, if you can't find an equivalent loop trail near home then maybe a boring five time repetition of walking up and then down a 100 m hill over 1,500 m will work for you. The number of repetitions can start small at first. I think that once you know what you are capable of with the smaller hills you can move on to trying ones that look like the ones closer to Sarria. Of course you can take plenty of rest stops doing those or even stop for a night if that is best. Towards the end of your training you would have a better idea of how long each of your stages should be and how many days you will need to finish the walk.

Buen Camino.
 

gerip

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
CF, Lourdes to Burgos, Oct 2018
CF, Burgos to Santiago, May 2019
Ingles, Sep - Oct 2019
To be able to give some objective advice I took some GPS files I had and combined them to produce a profile of the Sarria to Santiago portion of the Camino Frances. For some reason this came out longer than 100 km but I think we can work with it anyway.

View attachment 81394

A usual stage for the CF is about 25 km but considering your wife's condition I've marked up the chart to show areas about 15 km apart that may be suitable to end a day's journey. This would be 7 or 8 days. You may want the last day to be very short so you are rested for the events and excitement at the end. Actuall, you may want each day to be shorter than my suggestion.

You will notice that the first half of the trip has much longer and steeper slopes than the last half does. The later part looks to me to be walkable if you can do five uphills of 100 meters each within 15 km. For training, if you can't find an equivalent loop trail near home then maybe a boring five time repetition of walking up and then down a 100 m hill over 1,500 m will work for you. The number of repetitions can start small at first. I think that once you know what you are capable of with the smaller hills you can move on to trying ones that look like the ones closer to Sarria. Of course you can take plenty of rest stops doing those or even stop for a night if that is best. Towards the end of your training you would have a better idea of how long each of your stages should be and how many days you will need to finish the walk.

Buen Camino.
Nice breakdown. Very useful for a lot of us, thanks. What it does show is that the Frances into Santiago is not flat.
Also, up until this point none of us has really mentioned training. Finding a fairly hilly area to walk near where you live ( in southern England we have “The Downs”) will let you know your capabilities really quickly.
 

lt56ny

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
CF(2012) Le Puy/CF (2015) Portugues (2017) Norte (2018) CF (2019) VDLP?
I also walked the Portuguese camino and the last hundred miles is not too challenging. I looked at Gronze and it seems if you start in Vigo and do the coastal route to A Ramallosa it seems to be a slightly easier trek than doing the interior route from Tui. They eventually will both meet up after a few days if you do the coastal route. Take your time and plan and have backup contingencies if you need to stop before your desired destination. If you need to stop please take a taxi. All you need to do is go into any bar and ask them to call a cab for you. They will be happy to do it. The people of Portugal are fantastic.
 
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Tim Floyd

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances 2017
TDMB 2016
Cotswold Way 2018
Portugues 2021
10 km is not a short day when you have health issues.
@gerip is right, health issues can vary wildly so what works for some won't work with others. I walked it with Lymphoma so I get it. Another idea you could consider is one I proposed to a friend who is mobility impaired but really wanted to get the Camino experience. Camino by car. He and his partner drove the route as closely as possible, stopped and saw the best cities and sites, visited with pilgrims at cafes along the way, attended services at churches. They stayed in hotels because of special needs. I recall them telling me they even gave rides to a few pilgrims who were struggling, and felt like they had been a blessing to others through it. I recall the trip took them a few weeks. They had a blast and felt like they had done something deeply meaningful to them. The point is, consider all options and don't be afraid to do what you CAN do. I don't believe there is a single right way to do things.
 

trecile

Camino Addict
Camino(s) past & future
Francés (2016 & 2017), Norte (2018), Francés-Salvador-Norte (2019), Portuguese (2019)
But someone who went with a group from the UK told me that some in her group did about 8km/day with bus support, and everyone still got a Compostela. Maybe there might be some package tours that are able to work that out for you.
Those that did not walk the last 100km should not have received a Compostela, though I would imagine that such things happen. I would never accept something that certifies that I did something that I didn't do.
 

Anamiri

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
2016, 2017, 2019 Camino Frances
Nice breakdown. Very useful for a lot of us, thanks. What it does show is that the Frances into Santiago is not flat.
Also, up until this point none of us has really mentioned training. Finding a fairly hilly area to walk near where you live ( in southern England we have “The Downs”) will let you know your capabilities really quickly.
Many of us have already been walking for weeks by the time we reach the last 100kms, so the terrain doesnt feel very challenging as we have built up fitness in the weeks before. However a lot of people start at the final 100km mark, and many wont have the level of fitness.
I noticed that many set off from Sarria in loud excited groups, but by the time they reached Portomarin they were in not very good shape, straggling and quieter. There was a long line out of the pharmacy into the street, of people needing treatment of some type or another. (I think that pharmacy does very well out of pilgrims).
I noticed that a lot of the younger lycra clad women, wore 'fashion brand' shoes as opposed to 'real' walking shoes. Looks dont really matter - its all about the comfort.
So this does reinforce the need for training. And make sure the training is walking, other methods of fitness dont prepare feet for hitting the road. It also allows time to work out the right shoe as that also will make a big difference to comfort levels.
 

Steve Taylor

Member
Camino(s) past & future
June 2019 Sarria to Santiago Sept 2019 Logrono to Burgos Aug 2020 St Jean Pied De Port to Logrono
Hi,
my wife, a devout Catholic, has expressed an interested in Camino a couple of times in the past. Considering that the next year is of special religious importance I'm looking into organizing it.


However she has some health problems. Nothing serious, but can't do a lot of strenuous activity.
So I was thinking about getting only the minimal requirement of 100 km, taking 2-3x more time than usual (either smaller sections or longer rests between them), using luggage transportation and staying at hotels or other venues with private rooms might make it possible.

What route would be ideal in that regard, considering physical demands and available accommodation?ATM I'm leaning towards the last 100 of the Portuguese route, not sure if coastal or central. However it does seem that all routes are fairly docile in that last part, so the environment might be more important. Less crowded and greener would be a personal preference.

Thnx :D
I’ve walked the first 300km and the last 115km of the Camino Frances and the stretch from Sarria to Santiago was easily the least strenuous. I didn’t use albergues at all and found small hotels and pensions through Booking.com.
 

Albertagirl

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances (2015); Aragones-Frances (2016); VdlP-Sanabres (2017); Madrid-Frances-Invierno (2019)Levante
There is lots of good information here about which route to walk, which is your main question. But you might also like to know, for your wife's sake, that spending some days in Santiago is necessary for Catholics to participate in all the special blessings available to them, particularly in a Holy Year. You will probably not be able to get a compostella on the day that you arrive, since the requirement is to go to the Pilgrim Office to register, then return when your number reaches the head of the line. And if she decides that she wishes the plenary indulgence, she will need to make her confession as well, which could take some time, if lines are long. I am not a Roman Catholic, so I cannot give you the details, but it would be a shame if flight bookings made it necessary for your wife to leave Santiago before she had received all the blessings available to persons of that faith. And of course you will need to make a booking in Santiago very much in advance, as accommodation is likely to be packed. I wish you and your wife a wonderful walk together, and all the blessings of the pilgrimage.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Ingles 2016 Camino Portuguese 2017 Considering Invierno late (2020) In lieu of VdlP (2020)
What route would be ideal in that regard, considering physical demands and available accommodation?ATM I'm leaning towards the last 100 of the Portuguese route, not sure if coastal or central. However it does seem that all routes are fairly docile in that last part, so the environment might be more important. Less crowded and greener would be a personal preference.

Thnx :D
Louis Do Freixo produced a marvelous guide to the Camino Portuguese. The guide is not in English but the maps speak for themselves.

The link below will take you to a page that contains the maps and elevation profiles in PDF format. The page also contains the links for GPS routing on Wikiloc.


I have attached an example of one of the stages. The map includes alternative sections for wheelchair bound pilgrims. However I do not remember any particularly rough stages on the ordinary walking route.

I enjoyed the Portuguese Camino and there are plenty of places to stay along the route.
 

Attachments

lt56ny

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
CF(2012) Le Puy/CF (2015) Portugues (2017) Norte (2018) CF (2019) VDLP?
10 km is not a short day when you have health issues. May 2019 I walked up to 30km on some days over the last 100km, in order to spend as little time among the crowds as possible. Oct 2019 I struggled to do 10km/day, and couldn’t figure out why. Two weeks after returning I became terribly ill, and was subsequently diagnosed with cancer.
But someone who went with a group from the UK told me that some in her group did about 8km/day with bus support, and everyone still got a Compostela. Maybe there might be some package tours that are able to work that out for you.
I agree with what Trecile said. You are supposed to walk the last 100K completely in order to get a Compostela. My feeling is that the the tour group made sure everyone collected two sellos a day and probably collected everyone's passports and handed them in to the pilgrim office. Or they just told everyone to say they walked the last 100k and to say nothing else. If I had to guess that is what probably happened. But I could be wrong.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Leon - Santiago (2015); Ingles (2016); Baiona - Santiago (2018); Pamplona - Burgos (2021? 2022?)
Definitely the Portuguese! Don't forget that you can stop anywhere for the day, taxi to your lodgings, then taxi back to where you stopped before so you'll still be doing the entire 100k on foot in order to obtain the Compostela, which is what I assume your wife wants, since you mentioned her religious devotion. There's a FB group called Slow Strollers on the Camino (https://www.facebook.com/groups/1747534628823550) which has a lot of information for those who need to do shorter stages.
 

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
@Takezo if your wife is a committed Catholic, then it may be more important for her to obtain a Jubilee Indulgence, than a Compostela. They are two very different things. The Compostela does not really have any religious significance other than to record that a person has walked the last 100km into Santiago, on an accredited route, "for religious or spiritual reasons, or at least an attitude of search", and that this is documented in accordance with the Cathedral's rules. Many people who are not Catholic, or even religious, obtain the Compostela. The Jubilee is quite different. This is from the Cathedral website:

The Plenary Indulgence (also known as “The Jubilee”)

The doctrine and practice of indulgences in the Church are closely linked to the Sacrament of Reconciliation (confession). An indulgence is the full remission of all temporal punishment (time spent in purgatory) up to that point in a person’s life. Individuals can gain Plenary Indulgences for themselves and also for the deceased.

In order to gain the Jubilee Indulgence individuals must:

  • Visit the Cathedral of Santiago where lies the Tomb of St. James the Great.
  • Say a prayer: at least the Apostle’s Creed, the Our Father and a prayer for the intentions of the Pope. It is also recommended that the individual attend Mass.
  • Receive the Sacrament of Reconciliation (go to confession) and Eucharist (go to communion) within the 15 days before or after the visit to the Cathedral.
  • Indulgences can be gained at other times in the year through the performance of other acts of devotion. These are outlined in the Catechism of the Catholic Church.
As can be seen, to obtain the Jubilee, it is not necessary to walk at all!

And here is the information about the Compostela.
 

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)
NOT the Invierno. Which is a pity, because it is a wonderful and varied 100kms, full of history and culture.
No-one has mentioned the Ingles, which is lovely (and with the exception of one longer hill) and quite gentle on the exertion scale.
 

Jeff Crawley

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Currently on a "Virtual" Camino and striding out across Castile y Leon!
Could you do the same for Tui to Santiago on the Portuguese Camino?
Does this help at all? Tui is on the left hand side:

1598172288735.png

To play with it yourself load attached .kmz file into Google Earth

1598172612655.png 1598172453277.png

double click on Tui SdC.kmz to drop down the path icon, right click (if using Windows) on that and then click "Show Elevation Profile" and up pops the long section. Sliding the cursor across it tells you the distance from the start, the elevation and the grade as a %age.

A red arrow traces the route on the map.

You can also "fly" along the route if you click the other path icon at the bottom:

1598172696361.png
 

Attachments

gerip

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
CF, Lourdes to Burgos, Oct 2018
CF, Burgos to Santiago, May 2019
Ingles, Sep - Oct 2019
I agree with what Trecile said. You are supposed to walk the last 100K completely in order to get a Compostela. My feeling is that the the tour group made sure everyone collected two sellos a day and probably collected everyone's passports and handed them in to the pilgrim office. Or they just told everyone to say they walked the last 100k and to say nothing else. If I had to guess that is what probably happened. But I could be wrong.
I dunno. I asked repeatedly and she said yes, they all go their Compostellas, even though she did tell me that not everyone walked the whole 100k, including an octogenarian lady who pretty much stayed on the bus, and they did it in five days!!!!! But I’ll ask her again about who they went with and be a little more circumspect, since I’m ill I’ll sell a story about needing extract support.;)
 

gerip

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
CF, Lourdes to Burgos, Oct 2018
CF, Burgos to Santiago, May 2019
Ingles, Sep - Oct 2019
However she has some health problems. Nothing serious, but can't do a lot of strenuous activity.
Thinking about this a little more, have you asked your doctor about how strenuous the activity can be? Does she have to keep her heart rate fairly low? We don’t need to know any of that information, just something to be discussed with your personal physician. Everyone’s heart rate climbing up a hill will be different, and depend on how used you are to pushing your personal threshold.
@Kanga is right, the indulgence may be more meaningful than the Compostela, maybe you might be able to share in the pilgrim experience by volunteering in some way.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Ingles 2018
I was happy to receive the Compostela but I found the Pilgrims Mass at the Cathedral a much more moving and relevant experience. I believe that if the spiritual aspect is the most important, you could just walk a lot less than 100km and still enjoy the religious meaning the same as if you walked 100+. Others may disagree?
 

lt56ny

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
CF(2012) Le Puy/CF (2015) Portugues (2017) Norte (2018) CF (2019) VDLP?
I dunno. I asked repeatedly and she said yes, they all go their Compostellas, even though she did tell me that not everyone walked the whole 100k, including an octogenarian lady who pretty much stayed on the bus, and they did it in five days!!!!! But I’ll ask her again about who they went with and be a little more circumspect, since I’m ill I’ll sell a story about needing extract support.;)
I went to the official website of the Pilgrim office which tracks all things related to Pilgrims and Pilgrimage and this is what is written about the requirements for receiving a Compostela. I also included the translation into English of what is written on our Compostela. Based on this and as I stated you have to walk the whole final 100K to receive your Compostela. There may be some dispensation for someone in a wheelchair or some other disability but I do not believe age is considered a disability. I have met at least 5 people over the age of 80 who have walked the full Camino Francis, Norte and Portuguese. In each case they all carried their packs too!!! They were quite an inspiration to me. Here is the requirements:

To get the “Compostela” you must:

  • Make the pilgrimage for religious or spiritual reasons, or at least an attitude of search.
  • Do the last 100 km on foot or horseback, or the last 200 km by bicycle. It is understood that the pilgrimage starts at one point and from there you come to visit the Tomb of St. James.
  • You must collect the stamps on the “Credencial del Peregrino” from the places you pass through to certify that you have been there. Stamps from churches, hostels, monasteries, cathedrals and all places related to the Way are preferred, but if not they can also be stamped in other institutions: town halls, cafés, etc. You have to stamp the Credencial twice a day at least on the last 100 km (for pilgrims on foot or on horseback) or on the last 200 km (for cyclists pilgrims).
You can do the Way in stages, provided they are in chronological and geographical order. However, if you only do the minimum required distance (last 100 or 200 km), you must always get your Credencial stamped at the start and end of each stage, including the corresponding date, to show that the pilgrim has resumed the Way in the same place where they last stopped (i.e. you should always get the stamp at the starting point even though you have already stamped the card in the same place at the end of the previous stage).

Children and pilgrimage. Children who make the pilgrimage with their parents or in groups, and have received the sacrament of Communion, or have the ability to understand the meaning of the spiritual or religious nature of the Way, can receive the “Compostela”. If they are not mature enough due to their young age, they are given a special certificate with their names. In the case of infants or very young children, their names are included on the parent or accompanying adult’s “Compostela”. If you are in any doubt, please contact us at the Pilgrim’s Reception Office so we can look at each individual case.

The English translation of the text is as follows:

The Chapter of this Holy Apostolic and Metropolitan Cathedral of Compostela, custodian of the seal of the Altar of St. James, to all the Faithful and pilgrims who arrive from anywhere on the Orb of the Earth with an attitude of devotion or because of a vow or promise make a pilgrimage to the Tomb of the Apostle, Our Patron Saint and Protector of Spain, recognises before all who observe this document that: …………… has devotedly visited this most sacred temple having done the last hundred kilometers on foot or on horseback or the last two hundred by bicycle with Christian sentiment (pietatis causa).

In witness whereof I present this document endorsed with the seal of this same Holy Church.

Issued in Santiago de Compostela on ……… of …………… year of our Lord ……….

The Dean of the Cathedral of Santiago.
 

Mark McCarthy

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
CF 2014 2015
Lourdes 2 SdC 2016
Sarria 2 SdC April&Oct 2016 & (April 2018)
Camino Baztan June 2017

Jeff Crawley

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Currently on a "Virtual" Camino and striding out across Castile y Leon!
I went to the official website of the Pilgrim office which tracks all things related to Pilgrims and Pilgrimage and this is what is written about the requirements for receiving a Compostela. I also included the translation into English of what is written on our Compostela. Based on this and as I stated you have to walk the whole final 100K to receive your Compostela. There may be some dispensation for someone in a wheelchair or some other disability but I do not believe age is considered a disability. I have met at least 5 people over the age of 80 who have walked the full Camino Francis, Norte and Portuguese. In each case they all carried their packs too!!! They were quite an inspiration to me. Here is the requirements:

To get the “Compostela” you must:

  • Make the pilgrimage for religious or spiritual reasons, or at least an attitude of search.
  • Do the last 100 km on foot or horseback, or the last 200 km by bicycle. It is understood that the pilgrimage starts at one point and from there you come to visit the Tomb of St. James.
  • You must collect the stamps on the “Credencial del Peregrino” from the places you pass through to certify that you have been there. Stamps from churches, hostels, monasteries, cathedrals and all places related to the Way are preferred, but if not they can also be stamped in other institutions: town halls, cafés, etc. You have to stamp the Credencial twice a day at least on the last 100 km (for pilgrims on foot or on horseback) or on the last 200 km (for cyclists pilgrims).
You can do the Way in stages, provided they are in chronological and geographical order. However, if you only do the minimum required distance (last 100 or 200 km), you must always get your Credencial stamped at the start and end of each stage, including the corresponding date, to show that the pilgrim has resumed the Way in the same place where they last stopped (i.e. you should always get the stamp at the starting point even though you have already stamped the card in the same place at the end of the previous stage).

Children and pilgrimage. Children who make the pilgrimage with their parents or in groups, and have received the sacrament of Communion, or have the ability to understand the meaning of the spiritual or religious nature of the Way, can receive the “Compostela”. If they are not mature enough due to their young age, they are given a special certificate with their names. In the case of infants or very young children, their names are included on the parent or accompanying adult’s “Compostela”. If you are in any doubt, please contact us at the Pilgrim’s Reception Office so we can look at each individual case.

The English translation of the text is as follows:

The Chapter of this Holy Apostolic and Metropolitan Cathedral of Compostela, custodian of the seal of the Altar of St. James, to all the Faithful and pilgrims who arrive from anywhere on the Orb of the Earth with an attitude of devotion or because of a vow or promise make a pilgrimage to the Tomb of the Apostle, Our Patron Saint and Protector of Spain, recognises before all who observe this document that: …………… has devotedly visited this most sacred temple having done the last hundred kilometers on foot or on horseback or the last two hundred by bicycle with Christian sentiment (pietatis causa).

In witness whereof I present this document endorsed with the seal of this same Holy Church.

Issued in Santiago de Compostela on ……… of …………… year of our Lord ……….

The Dean of the Cathedral of Santiago.
In an ideal world yes but . . . When I was behind the counter one day two elderly Spanish ladies were escorted in - the immaculate hair, the boxed out shoulder pads and oversized sunglasses. Both were blind and each presented credentials claiming that they had walked in from Sarria. It was obvious that there was no way they would have been able to do so, they could barely make it across the room. I looked questioningly at my Spanish colleague next to me, she arched an eyebrow and we each made a Compostela and handed them over to be gratefully received.
Before we buzzed in our next customers my colleague turned to me and said "There's no way I'm going to refuse a Compostela to a blind, 85 year old Grandmother . . . "
 

Albertagirl

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances (2015); Aragones-Frances (2016); VdlP-Sanabres (2017); Madrid-Frances-Invierno (2019)Levante
you come to visit the Tomb of St. James
I have just discovered, much to my amazement, that I have never qualified for any of the four compostelas that are facing me across my desk. I always walk the required distance and am careful to get the sellos to prove it. And I always end my pilgrimages in the Cathedral in Santiago. But I have never walked down the stairs "to visit the Tomb of St. James." I felt called to make the pilgrimage, but I never read these words before. I must admit that I find this situation funny. I have never hugged that statue, either. Maybe "visit" could be interpreted as just following the pilgrimage regulations and ending up in the appropriate building? I am not much for visiting tombs. "Nuff said." I don't want to offend anyone. I guess that pilgrims may be called in different ways. I suspect that I shall be a little more casual about sticking to the regulations since I find that I have been so bad at it so far.
 

Isca-camigo

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Various ones.
I would go with the Frances, it's not the easiest, other people have made suggestions on the Portuguese route fitting that bill, but the Frances has the most infrastructure per km, so you can really make an itinerary to fit your capabilities with the places on offer to stay. + You don't not have to start from Sarria you can knock off 6 or 7 km by starting at a place just past it where you can still get your Compostela, if that's what you want.
Buen Camino
 
Camino(s) past & future
Lots ;0)
I have just discovered, much to my amazement, that I have never qualified for any of the four compostelas that are facing me across my desk. I always walk the required distance and am careful to get the sellos to prove it. And I always end my pilgrimages in the Cathedral in Santiago. But I have never walked down the stairs "to visit the Tomb of St. James." I felt called to make the pilgrimage, but I never read these words before. I must admit that I find this situation funny. I have never hugged that statue, either. Maybe "visit" could be interpreted as just following the pilgrimage regulations and ending up in the appropriate building? I am not much for visiting tombs. "Nuff said." I don't want to offend anyone. I guess that pilgrims may be called in different ways. I suspect that I shall be a little more casual about sticking to the regulations since I find that I have been so bad at it so far.
Odd innit. This old pagan always drops in on himself. I like to offer my hike “in vicare pro” and I’ll ask him to have regard to whoever. I don’t bother with the hug that often. Graven images are always a bit of a challenge. But those old bones, perhaps even those of one who touched the divine, they’re worth a moment and a prayer.
Sometimes, perhaps, that “visit to the tomb” needs be no more than that journey to Santiago. Like the good man said “look to your heart pilgrim”. The rest is just stuff
 

trecile

Camino Addict
Camino(s) past & future
Francés (2016 & 2017), Norte (2018), Francés-Salvador-Norte (2019), Portuguese (2019)
I have just discovered, much to my amazement, that I have never qualified for any of the four compostelas that are facing me across my desk. I always walk the required distance and am careful to get the sellos to prove it. And I always end my pilgrimages in the Cathedral in Santiago. But I have never walked down the stairs "to visit the Tomb of St. James." I felt called to make the pilgrimage, but I never read these words before. I must admit that I find this situation funny. I have never hugged that statue, either. Maybe "visit" could be interpreted as just following the pilgrimage regulations and ending up in the appropriate building? I am not much for visiting tombs. "Nuff said." I don't want to offend anyone. I guess that pilgrims may be called in different ways. I suspect that I shall be a little more casual about sticking to the regulations since I find that I have been so bad at it so far.
I have never requested a Compostela, just the Pilgrim's Welcome Certificate that the Cathedral issues to us heathens. So I was surprised to realize that the first year that I walked the volunteer in the Pilgrims Office gave me a Compostela. Not being able to read Latin I had no idea until the following year, when I once again asked for the Welcome Certificate, and discovered when I returned home that it was different than the certificate I received the first year. I did a little research, and discovered that my certificate was indeed a Compostela.
 

Albertagirl

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances (2015); Aragones-Frances (2016); VdlP-Sanabres (2017); Madrid-Frances-Invierno (2019)Levante
I believe that I have been called on religious pilgrimage to Santiago. The specific wording about visiting the tomb startled me, because I have been so particular about obeying the regulations that I knew about walking a certain distance, getting required sellos, etc. As someone who is not a member of the Roman Catholic Church, I always go as a priviledged visitor. I shall continue to do so. But I may ask, if I line up to receive the compostela again, whether a visit to the tomb is necessary. As an Anglican, I sometimes find myself juggling the traditions of my Catholic and Protestant identities. I suppose that I shall continue to do so as best I can. This is making me a bit dizzy at present.
 

lt56ny

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
CF(2012) Le Puy/CF (2015) Portugues (2017) Norte (2018) CF (2019) VDLP?
I have just discovered, much to my amazement, that I have never qualified for any of the four compostelas that are facing me across my desk. I always walk the required distance and am careful to get the sellos to prove it. And I always end my pilgrimages in the Cathedral in Santiago. But I have never walked down the stairs "to visit the Tomb of St. James." I felt called to make the pilgrimage, but I never read these words before. I must admit that I find this situation funny. I have never hugged that statue, either. Maybe "visit" could be interpreted as just following the pilgrimage regulations and ending up in the appropriate building? I am not much for visiting tombs. "Nuff said." I don't want to offend anyone. I guess that pilgrims may be called in different ways. I suspect that I shall be a little more casual about sticking to the regulations since I find that I have been so bad at it so far.
I think you qualified very well indeed to get your Compestellas. I thought it would be interesting to include what was written on our Compostella's as I never knew what they meant before. The first time I walked I went down to visit the tomb and hugged the statue and it was actually nice. I am probably closer to an atheist and don't hold religion in my personal beliefs but as someone who loves history I thought it was interesting and a good way to end things. Maybe one day it will strike your fancy to check it out. Or maybe not!!!! Take care and stay safe.
 

lt56ny

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
CF(2012) Le Puy/CF (2015) Portugues (2017) Norte (2018) CF (2019) VDLP?
In an ideal world yes but . . . When I was behind the counter one day two elderly Spanish ladies were escorted in - the immaculate hair, the boxed out shoulder pads and oversized sunglasses. Both were blind and each presented credentials claiming that they had walked in from Sarria. It was obvious that there was no way they would have been able to do so, they could barely make it across the room. I looked questioningly at my Spanish colleague next to me, she arched an eyebrow and we each made a Compostela and handed them over to be gratefully received.
Before we buzzed in our next customers my colleague turned to me and said "There's no way I'm going to refuse a Compostela to a blind, 85 year old Grandmother . . . "
In a situation like that it pretty much goes without saying. I met a young woman walking with her blind mom on my last Camino. That was pretty cool and as you say no way are you going to not give them a Compostela plus. The exceptions make the rules as they say!
 

David Tallan

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances (1989 and 2016), Portugues - from Porto (2018)
I have just discovered, much to my amazement, that I have never qualified for any of the four compostelas that are facing me across my desk. I always walk the required distance and am careful to get the sellos to prove it. And I always end my pilgrimages in the Cathedral in Santiago. But I have never walked down the stairs "to visit the Tomb of St. James." I felt called to make the pilgrimage, but I never read these words before. I must admit that I find this situation funny. I have never hugged that statue, either. Maybe "visit" could be interpreted as just following the pilgrimage regulations and ending up in the appropriate building? I am not much for visiting tombs. "Nuff said." I don't want to offend anyone. I guess that pilgrims may be called in different ways. I suspect that I shall be a little more casual about sticking to the regulations since I find that I have been so bad at it so far.
I think "visit" could very well encompass a visit to the Cathedral where the tomb is located as much as a visit to the particular room in that cathedral with the silver casket. I don't think a specific minimum distance is specified. I also suspect that they continued to give out compostelas (and/or the religious indulgences that can accompany the completion of the pilgrimage for those centuries when people were only able to visit the Cathedral, the tomb being empty because they had mislaid the saint. If you came there because that is where the saint is, I think it is enough to fulfill the requirements of that particular clause. But I am not a lawyer nor am I a Church official, so my opinion is only that.
 

RRat

Member
Camino(s) past & future
Planning 2017
I don't care, much prefer a more solitary hike with wild camping and would probably not do it on my own, or at least not in the year and on the trail where we can expect a lot of movement.

She would be doing it purely for religious reasons though, so I would assume it to be important, even if not sure it has any connection to the indulgence of the Holy Year.

That said it might be crowded because of it, specially the last 100, so maybe one of the"alternative" routes? Are those still counting for the Compostela?

We could free some weeks in September instead of summer and go mid-week, that might help t a bit with crowds.
September can be crowded with all the senior citizens avoiding the summer rush.
 

henrythedog

Loved and fed by David
Camino(s) past & future
Frances 2017, 2018, 2019, Ingles 2018, (Madrid 2019 partial - retired hurt!) (more planned)
In an ideal world yes but . . . When I was behind the counter one day two elderly Spanish ladies were escorted in - the immaculate hair, the boxed out shoulder pads and oversized sunglasses. Both were blind and each presented credentials claiming that they had walked in from Sarria. It was obvious that there was no way they would have been able to do so, they could barely make it across the room. I looked questioningly at my Spanish colleague next to me, she arched an eyebrow and we each made a Compostela and handed them over to be gratefully received.
Before we buzzed in our next customers my colleague turned to me and said "There's no way I'm going to refuse a Compostela to a blind, 85 year old Grandmother . . . "

I’m not especially religious, but if I ever meet St Peter, I’m not expecting him to have to ask for the paperwork.
 

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