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How is CP Compostela calculated

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Carolyn G

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
May 2018
May 2019
(Future - CP September 2020)
With so many variations to the CP, what is the requirement for the Compostela? Is it any 100k after Tui?
I’m considering starting in Barcelos - walking to Tui then taking the bus to Vigo to walk Ruta del Agua & Espiritual. Time restriction means taking bus/cab from Armentteira to Villanova de Arousa. The central route seems less interesting closer to SdC.
I’d love to know what villages you loved.
 

Bradypus

Antediluvian
Camino(s) past & future
Too many and too often!
In order to receive a Compostela you must walk all of the final 100km of a recognised Camino route into Santiago - irrespective of how many km you have already walked. Taking a bus or taxi for sections of a route within that final 100km would disqualify you from receiving the Compostela. A special exception applies to the boat journey which is integral to the Variante Espiritual but not to skipping sections by road transport.
 

TatiLie

Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Portugues Variante Espiritual July 2019
Finisterre next!
It's a lovely walk from Armenteira to Vilanova de Arousa, I wouldn't miss it. Cambarro, in the way to Armenteira is lovely as well. I wish I had stopped for half day there. I did the Coastal way with Variante Espiritual. You could do it in 7 days
Baiona to Vigo
Vigo to Redondela
Redondela to Pontevedra
Pontevedra to Armenteira (or Pontevedra to Cambarro half day and Cambarro to Armenteira, another half day if you have the time)
Armenteira to Vilanova de Arousa
Vilanova de Arousa to Teo (boat ride plus 14km)
Teo to Santiago
 

kenwilltravel

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Portuguese Coastal (2018)
Portuguese Coastal, with Spiritual Variant (2019)
Bradypus is absolutely correct that you must walk the last 100 km and get two stamps a day. My wife and I volunteered in the Pilgrims Office early this summer and we had to deny Compostelas to people who violated that rule. A very sad experience all around. But the Variante Espirtual was absolutely the highlight of our 2019 Camino Portuguese, as you can see from my wife's blog: Two Clines Traveling. To achieve our 100 km this year we went Vigo-Redondela-Arcade-Pontevedra-Combarro-Armenteira Monastery (wonderful experience!)-Os Castaños-Vilanova de Arousa-Tarrio-Santiago. This earned the Compostela despite the boat ride. I might add that we actually started in Viana do Castelo and walked to Valença, but then took the train to Vigo to start our 100 km from there (more scenic than Tui to Redondela).
 

Carolyn G

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
May 2018
May 2019
(Future - CP September 2020)
Bradypus is absolutely correct that you must walk the last 100 km and get two stamps a day. My wife and I volunteered in the Pilgrims Office early this summer and we had to deny Compostelas to people who violated that rule. A very sad experience all around. But the Variante Espirtual was absolutely the highlight of our 2019 Camino Portuguese, as you can see from my wife's blog: Two Clines Traveling. To achieve our 100 km this year we went Vigo-Redondela-Arcade-Pontevedra-Combarro-Armenteira Monastery (wonderful experience!)-Os Castaños-Vilanova de Arousa-Tarrio-Santiago. This earned the Compostela despite the boat ride. I might add that we actually started in Viana do Castelo and walked to Valença, but then took the train to Vigo to start our 100 km from there (more scenic than Tui to Redondela).
 

Carolyn G

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
May 2018
May 2019
(Future - CP September 2020)
Does Vigo, Redondela, Pontevedra, Combarro, Armentiera, Cores, Villanova de Arousa, Padron, OMilladoiro to Santiago qualify?
 

Carolyn G

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
May 2018
May 2019
(Future - CP September 2020)
I forgot to mention that the Ferry will be taken to Padron:
Does Vigo, Redondela, Pontevedra, Combarro, Armentiera, Cores, Villanova de Arousa - Ferry - Padron, OMilladoiro to Santiago qualify?
 

kenwilltravel

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Portuguese Coastal (2018)
Portuguese Coastal, with Spiritual Variant (2019)
I forgot to mention that the Ferry will be taken to Padron:
Does Vigo, Redondela, Pontevedra, Combarro, Armentiera, Cores, Villanova de Arousa - Ferry - Padron, OMilladoiro to Santiago qualify?
Yes. As long as you get two stamps each day. If you get a stamp on the ferry (it is a pretty one), I would get two more stamps that day, perhaps in Pontecesures and Padron. And don't forget to get a stamp in Vigo, where you start.
 

Carolyn G

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
May 2018
May 2019
(Future - CP September 2020)
Yes. As long as you get two stamps each day. If you get a stamp on the ferry (it is a pretty one), I would get two more stamps that day, perhaps in Pontecesures and Padron. And don't forget to get a stamp in Vigo, where you start.
 

Carolyn G

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
May 2018
May 2019
(Future - CP September 2020)
Thank you for your responses! Ken and TatiLie, did you skip Padron? Does the ferry go to more than one “port”?
 

kenwilltravel

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Portuguese Coastal (2018)
Portuguese Coastal, with Spiritual Variant (2019)
Thank you for your responses! Ken and TatiLie, did you skip Padron? Does the ferry go to more than one “port”?
The boat from Vilanova de Arousa terminates at Pontecesures and from there it's only a couple of kilometers walk to Padrón, which has a number of interesting sites related to the St. James story. In 2018, we spent two days visiting these sites; this year, we just stopped in the cathedral to view the pedron stone and get a sello. Padrón is a pleasant place to visit. There's a nice park along the river near the cathedral. Some good restaurants too.
 

Carolyn G

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
May 2018
May 2019
(Future - CP September 2020)
Is it true that there is no schedule for the ferry and that you could wind up leaving late in the day or not at all if the Captain has a conflict? Is there only one boat? Is October considered their “slow time”?
Thanks again
 

kenwilltravel

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Portuguese Coastal (2018)
Portuguese Coastal, with Spiritual Variant (2019)
Is it true that there is no schedule for the ferry and that you could wind up leaving late in the day or not at all if the Captain has a conflict? Is there only one boat? Is October considered their “slow time”?
Thanks again
There is a schedule but it seems to be "aspirational." The boat we took was originally supposed to leave at 8 but was delayed for an hour or so to accommodate a large group of Italian peregrinos. Then, about 20 minutes after we set out, the captain actually returned to port to collect a couple who had arrived late on the dock. There are actually two boat companies. My best advice is to stop in the small tourist office in Os Castaños, which is right off the trail, and reserve with one of them, just so you're covered. But most people seem to just show up at the dock in the morning and see what's available.
 

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 have a bad feeling about this cobbled together route. It is a bit 'higgly piggly." Usually, they are looking for a more or less direct line of march from a starting point, like Tui, into Santiago. Walking a meandering route might be at issue. I do not have a definitive answer.

If you do it, and it is accepted, please report back here so we can all benefit from your experience.
 

kenwilltravel

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Portuguese Coastal (2018)
Portuguese Coastal, with Spiritual Variant (2019)
i have a bad feeling about this cobbled together route. It is a bit 'higgly piggly." Usually, they are looking for a more or less direct line of march from a starting point, like Tui, into Santiago. Walking a meandering route might be at issue. I do not have a definitive answer.

If you do it, and it is accepted, please report back here so we can all benefit from your experience.
The Pilgrims Office accepted the Spiritual Variant as a recognized route in 2013. My wife and I had no trouble receiving our Compostelas this year. But it's also possible that some volunteers in the office may not be familiar with it. If that happens, you should just ask to talk to a supervisor.
 

TatiLie

Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Portugues Variante Espiritual July 2019
Finisterre next!
We stayed in the way out of Padrón, but if we could do it again, I would skip it. Stop there for lunch (and try the famous pimientos) and continue the walk towards Santiago de Compostela. We stayed in Teo the following night, which is 12km from Padrón and 13km from SdC, so the last walk was short and we were there by lunchtime, with plenty of time for sightseeing.
 

David Tallan

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances (1989 and 2016), Portugues - from Porto (2018)
We stayed in the way out of Padrón, but if we could do it again, I would skip it. Stop there for lunch (and try the famous pimientos) and continue the walk towards Santiago de Compostela. We stayed in Teo the following night, which is 12km from Padrón and 13km from SdC, so the last walk was short and we were there by lunchtime, with plenty of time for sightseeing.
Everyone is different. I would never skip Padrón or rush through it. Not only for the famous pimientos, but for it's close connection with the history (or legends, depending on your point of view) of St. James (Santiago). It is a pilgrimage to Santiago, after all. Take your time there. Walk up the many steps to the top of the hill overlooking the town where Santiago preached while he was alive. Picture yourself there two thousand years ago listening to him. Check out the padrón in the church to which the boat carrying his remains (the ones you are walking to) was moored. With the possible exception of Santiago de Compostela, you won't find a place that is more closely associated with this saint.
 

timr

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Several and counting...
i have a bad feeling about this cobbled together route. It is a bit 'higgly piggly." Usually, they are looking for a more or less direct line of march from a starting point, like Tui, into Santiago. Walking a meandering route might be at issue. I do not have a definitive answer.

If you do it, and it is accepted, please report back here so we can all benefit from your experience.
@t2andreo Hello Tom, I appreciate that you apply the rules and you do not make them. But are you able to give us any of the reasoning why 'higgly piggly' ('higgledy piggledy' where I come from ;)) routes are not favoured? And indeed why you have a bad feeling? You have in the past told us in fact that they are not permitted. I think I am correct in saying that you have told us before that someone who walks from Oviedo to SdC, but takes the so-called Camino Verde from Lugo onward, cannot qualify for a Compostela.
 

Tincatinker

Moderator
Staff member
Camino(s) past & future
Lots ;0)
Is it true that there is no schedule for the ferry and that you could wind up leaving late in the day or not at all if the Captain has a conflict? Is there only one boat? Is October considered their “slow time”?
Thanks again
The schedule of the ferry is dependent on the state of the tide, the number of patrons and, at that time of year, the will of the skipper. You've not been clear on why your time-constraints prevent you from simply walking 100 contiguous km to Santiago. You can lose a lot of time waiting for public transport and taxi connections that might be better spent walking. As @Bradypus has stated, you must walk 100km to Santiago and evidence your walk with, at least, two sellos collected per day. The boat trip on the Variante Espiritual is the one exception to boots-on-the-ground.

If you are making pilgrimage to Santiago and wish the award of a Compostella then the rules of the Archdiocese apply. If you are just out for a nice hike in Portugal and Galicia then those rules don't and you can always request a Certificate of Welcome.

I'll wish you a Good Road
 

Tincatinker

Moderator
Staff member
Camino(s) past & future
Lots ;0)
@t2andreo Hello Tom, I appreciate that you apply the rules and you do not make them. But are you able to give us any of the reasoning why 'higgly piggly' ('higgledy piggledy' where I come from ;)) routes are not favoured? And indeed why you have a bad feeling? You have in the past told us in fact that they are not permitted. I think I am correct in saying that you have told us before that someone who walks from Oviedo to SdC, but takes the so-called Camino Verde from Lugo onward, cannot qualify for a Compostela.
Hi @timr, from my own relatively recent experience the PO does seem to have issued some interesting directives. After our Camino Vasco/ Frances/ Salvador/ Primitivo/ Verde/ Norte/ Frances meander The Beloved and I were told that we "should" have walked "to" Santiago by a "recognized" route. But it only required a brief chat with one of the permanent staff to resolve the lovely volunteers confusion. I don't know whether they were trying to compare to a tick-list of Sellos but we obviously present a "problema". I've no doubt though that further confusions will arise if any one tries the Norte / Costal / Camino dos Faros / Muxia route into SdC.
 

t2andreo

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
C/F: 2013, 2014
C/M: 2016
C/P: 2015, 2017
C/I: 2018
Voluntario: 2014 - 2019
TIMR, you misremembered what I said. A pilgrim CAN start at Oviedo, take the greenway detour just after Lugo, and cut over to the end of the Norte (Sobrado del Monxes), then tap into the Frances at Lavacolla, and qualify for a Compostela. I planned to do exactly this past Spring, before my doctors nixed the idea.

The distance is enough to qualify, and the route, while slightly off-piste is generally recognized as being a valid alternative to the Frances. Many pilgrims arriving this past July and August reported they used this route. To my knowledge, none were refused a Compostela.

The issue is that the paid staff have done this for years, and are aware of all the odd detours that pilgrims take for any number of valid reasons, but which do not diminish the accomplishment of a more or less direct route from a starting point to the Cathedral at Santiago. Conversely, volunteers may not be up to speed on all the "higgly piggly" variations that creep into some Camino routing.

That is the reason for my misgivings about the proposed route. The related misgiving is that volunteers are not as aware of current route changes. The fairly recent proliferation of routes coming from Portugal are an example...

Prior to recognition of the Spiritual Variant, there was ONE accepted route up from Portugal: Valenca, Tui, O'Porrino...Santiago. With the recent recognition of the Spiritual Variant, there were now two recognized routes.

Then folks started branching out from the Spiritual Variant and doing what amounted to free-routing. Pilgrims walked from one town to another, more or less in the general direction of Santiago. This was more or less along the coast up into Galicia, before swinging to the East, towards Santiago. Others proceeded more or less directly to Santiago, after crossing the river from Portugal into Spain.

This, in turn, has caused a lot of weeping and gnashing of teeth at the Pilgrim Office. As these combinations are not in the computer database tables (yet), staff and volunteers must use Google Maps to reconstruct your journey and verify the distances from town to town. It takes added time, slows the queue process, and allows errors to enter the process... Things used to be so much easier when we had ONE FLAVOR...

One of these more recent Spiritual Route "variations" has pilgrims riding a boat (not a ferry) to "leap frog" a distance of some 28 km into Padron. Padron is one full day out of Santiago, and is very much WITHIN the 100 km threshold. I was told of this supposedly "legal cheat" this past summer.

Sorry, but that is like taking a taxi or bus from Portomarin to Palais de Rei on the Frances and claiming to nonetheless have 'walked: the final 100 km. It is not legal. Bus taxi or boat, if discovered, you should be denied a Compostela as you did not walk the final 100 km into Santiago.

A ferry that merely conveys a person directly across a river or other significant body of water is considered to replace a physical bridge. This is legitimate, and what the originally approved Spiritual Variant includes. However, any watercraft that conveys a pilgrim up or downstream so as to shave or reduce the overall distance within the 100 km threshold is illegal for purposes of qualifying for a Compostela.

Remember, the rules state that you MUST WALK THE FINAL 100 km of any recognized route INTO Santiago. Not 98 km, not 87 km. You MUST walk a minimum of 100 km into Santiago...PERIOD.

Taking a boat or any kind to skip a walk of 28 km WITHIN this final 100 km (as in arriving at Padron on a boat from the West) is a strict violation of the 100 km walking rule.

I do not make the rules. I do help interpret them. Sometimes, this is like herding cats. Yes, I know I have used the metaphor again in another context. But it remains apt to use here as well. The numbers of pilgrims who are coming up with creative ways to do the final 100 km, without actually walking the final 100 km, is expanding. It is becoming very much the cat and mouse game. it is SO frustrating... What ever happened just just following the rules that everyone else does?

The purist in me does wish people would simply follow the accepted and recognized routes and stop making things so difficult. But, the pilgrim in me understands the exploring nature of the Camino.

In my view, as long as you actually walk the FINAL 100 km into Santiago on any route, including reasonable detours, like the greenway to parallel the crowded Frances, I consider this valid. ANYTHING that contrives to reduce the actual distance walked to less than 100.0 km into Santiago, disqualifies any pilgrim from receiving a Compostela.

Rules are rules...
 
Last edited:

lt56ny

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
CF2012,Le Puy/CF 2015 Portugues 2017 Norte 2018, CF 2019
TIMR, you misremembered what I said. A pilgrim CAN start at Oviedo, take the greenway detour just after Lugo, and cut over to the end of the Norte (Sobrado del Monxes), then tap into the Frances at Lavacolla, and qualify for a Compostela. I planned to do exactly this this past Spring, before my doctors nixed the idea.

The distance is enough to qualify, and the route, while slightly off-piste is generally recognized as being a valid alternative to the Frances. Many pilgrims arriving this past July and August reported they used this route. To my knowledge, none were refused a Compostela.

The issue is that the paid staff have done this for years, and are aware of all the odd detours that pilgrims take for any number of valid reasons, but which do not diminish the accomplishment of a more or less direct route from a starting point to the Cathedral at Santiago. Conversely, volunteers may not be up to speed on all the "higgly piggly" variations that creep into some Camino routing.

That is the reason for my misgivings about the proposed route. The related misgiving is that volunteers are not as aware of current route changes. The fairly recent proliferation of routes coming from Portugal are an example...

Prior to recognition of the Spiritual Variant, there was ONE accepted route up from Portugal: Valenca, Tui, O'Porrino...Santiago. With the recent recognition of the Spiritual Variant, there were now two recognized routes.

Then folks started branching out from the Spiritual Variant and doing what amounted to free-routing. Pilgrims walked from one town to another, more or less in the general direction of Santiago. This was more or less along the coast up into Galicia, before swinging to the East, towards Santiago. Others proceeded more or less directly to Santiago, after crossing the river from Portugal into Spain.

This, in turn, has caused a lot of weeping and gnashing of teeth at the Pilgrim Office. As these combinations are not in the computer database tables (yet), staff and volunteers must use Google Maps to reconstruct your journey and verify the distances from town to town. It takes added time, slows the queue process, and allows errors to enter the process... Things used to be so much easier when we had ONE FLAVOR...

One of these more recent Spiritual Route "variations" has pilgrims riding a boat (not a ferry) to "leap frog" a distance of some 28 km into Padron. Padron is one full day out of Santiago, and is very much WITHIN the 100 km threshold. I was told of this supposedly "legal cheat" this past summer.

Sorry, but that is like taking a taxi or bus from Portomarin to Palais de Rei on the Frances and claiming to nonetheless have 'walked: the final 100 km. It is not legal. Bus taxi or boat, if discovered, you should be denied a Compostela as you did not walk the final 100 km into Santiago.

A ferry that merely conveys a person directly across a river or other significant body of water is considered to replace a physical bridge. This is legitimate, and what the originally approved Spiritual Variant includes. However, any watercraft that conveys a pilgrim up or downstream so as to shave or reduce the overall distance within the 100 km threshold is illegal for purposes of qualifying for a Compostela.

Remember, the rules state that you MUST WALK THE FINAL 100 km of any recognized route INTO Santiago. Not 98 km, not 87 km. You MUST walk a minimum of 100 km into Santiago...PERIOD.

Taking a boat or any kind to skip a walk of 28 km WITHIN this final 100 km (as in arriving at Padron on a boat from the West) is a strict violation of the 100 km walking rule.

I do not make the rules. I do help interpret them. Sometimes, this is like herding cats. Yes, I know I have used the metaphor again in another context. But it remains apt to use here as well. The numbers of pilgrims who are coming up with creative ways to do the final 100 km, without actually walking the final 100 km, is expanding. It is becoming very much the cat and mouse game. it is SO frustrating... What ever happened just just following the rules that everyone else does?

The purist in me does wish people would simply follow the accepted and recognized routes and stop making things so difficult. But, the pilgrim in me understands the exploring nature of the Camino.

In my view, as long as you actually walk the FINAL 100 km into Santiago on any route, including reasonable detours, like the greenway to parallel the crowded Frances, I consider this valid. ANYTHING that contrives to reduce the actual distance walked to less than 100.0 km into Santiago, disqualifies any pilgrim from receiving a Compostela.

Rules are rules...
I guess you are going to have to repeat the 100K mantra for all eternity,
 

Tincatinker

Moderator
Staff member
Camino(s) past & future
Lots ;0)
@t2andreo as you know rules don't mean much to Tinkers, other than their potential as a source for an interesting intellectual exercise on avoidance ;). Thats why I try to encourage those who make enquiries along the lines of: "how many shortcuts are officially recognized; would 97.4km be acceptable; how about if someone else carried my backpack and I followed then in my camper van?" to consider the purpose of their perambulation.

I had a good and Godly friend way back in my youth. He wore his Franciscan raiment without a trace of pride and when I audibly blasphemed he would admonish with "Sudden prayers make God jump". I wonder these days at the surprise Santiago must suffer as Pilgrim after Pilgrim he has never heard from before suddenly rest their tanned and sweaty arms around his neck.

Which is a Tinker's ramble around completely and utterly agreeing with you my camino amigo. While slightly disagreeing too: by my lights anyone who wants to make their way to Santiago by any route and means they can from Latvia or the foot of our stairs is entitled to call themselves a Pilgrim. But, if they want to claim a Compostella they have to walk (or all the other stuff...) 100k to Santiago as a Pilgrim.

Ach. Its time I had my supper. Hunger reminds me that not all roads are easy.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances (Sep/Oct 2018)
Camino Portugues (Sep 2020)
Thats why I try to encourage those who make enquiries along the lines of: "how many shortcuts are officially recognized; would 97.4km be acceptable; how about if someone else carried my backpack and I followed then in my camper van?" to consider the purpose of their perambulation.
It amazes me that, while I try to extend route and time for my next Camino, there are people trying to shave off even 1 or 2 km from their pilgrimage (If I take a taxi from Sarria, where do I stop to still qualify?). There is an endless debate about what makes a "true" pilgrim, but if you're not willing to walk the last 100km, you don't qualify for a compostella.
 

Tincatinker

Moderator
Staff member
Camino(s) past & future
Lots ;0)
@TSchulen that is, sort of, the root of all this debate. To me a Pilgrim is a Pilgrim is a Pilgrim, but a Compostella is awarded to a Pilgrim who walks, at least, 100kms to Santiago and meets the other requirements of the Diocese.

For this Pilgrim, who usually walks elsewhere and for other reasons, the Compostella is not the reward that is sought.

My heart pushes back at my minds conclusion that there are those who do not make Pilgrimage to Santiago in Santiago de Compostella but make Pilgrimage to a Compostella in Santiago de Compostella. I sometimes get the feeling that Harry Nilsson could have explained it all if he hadn't be busy with The Point!
 

t2andreo

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
C/F: 2013, 2014
C/M: 2016
C/P: 2015, 2017
C/I: 2018
Voluntario: 2014 - 2019
Both 'Tink' and TSchulen nailed the crux of the matter. Here it is, summarized in two constructs:

1. If you want a Compostela, issued by the folks who established and administer the rules, FOLLOW THE RULES and earn it according to the rules. Please stop trying to undermine the system. You cheapen the accomplishment for all those who do follow the rules...

2. If you do not intend to seek the Compostela according to the rules, or just want to ask for a stamp / sello from the Pilgrim Office to signify you made it there / that far, then do whatever you want. Walk from the outskirts of the city. Walk from the train station, bus station, or airport. It simply does not matter. As Tink correctly points out, a pilgrim is a pilgrim is a pilgrim. BUT if you want the Compostela, refer to construct #1 above.

So endeth my epistle on this issue.
 

TatiLie

Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Portugues Variante Espiritual July 2019
Finisterre next!
As the 28km by boat does is not considered in the 100km, you need to start the walk earlier than the 100km of the oficial rules.
Baiona to Vigo 26km
Vigo to Redondela 15km
Redondela to Pontevedra 20km
Pontevedra to Armenteira 21km
Armentaira to Vilanova de Arousa 24km
Vilanova de Arousa to Padrón 2km by feet (+28km by boat, not counting)
Padron to Santiago 25km
Total 133km by feet (161km distance including the boat).
 
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances (Sep/Oct 2018)
Camino Portugues (Sep 2020)
... a Pilgrim is a Pilgrim is a Pilgrim, but a Compostella is awarded to a Pilgrim who walks, at least, 100kms to Santiago and meets the other requirements of the Diocese.
This should be a mandatory posting on all threads discussing "True Pilgrims" and Camino Shortcuts
 

David Tallan

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances (1989 and 2016), Portugues - from Porto (2018)
TIMR, you misremembered what I said. A pilgrim CAN start at Oviedo, take the greenway detour just after Lugo, and cut over to the end of the Norte (Sobrado del Monxes), then tap into the Frances at Lavacolla, and qualify for a Compostela. I planned to do exactly this past Spring, before my doctors nixed the idea.

The distance is enough to qualify, and the route, while slightly off-piste is generally recognized as being a valid alternative to the Frances. Many pilgrims arriving this past July and August reported they used this route. To my knowledge, none were refused a Compostela.

The issue is that the paid staff have done this for years, and are aware of all the odd detours that pilgrims take for any number of valid reasons, but which do not diminish the accomplishment of a more or less direct route from a starting point to the Cathedral at Santiago. Conversely, volunteers may not be up to speed on all the "higgly piggly" variations that creep into some Camino routing.

That is the reason for my misgivings about the proposed route. The related misgiving is that volunteers are not as aware of current route changes. The fairly recent proliferation of routes coming from Portugal are an example...

Prior to recognition of the Spiritual Variant, there was ONE accepted route up from Portugal: Valenca, Tui, O'Porrino...Santiago. With the recent recognition of the Spiritual Variant, there were now two recognized routes.

Then folks started branching out from the Spiritual Variant and doing what amounted to free-routing. Pilgrims walked from one town to another, more or less in the general direction of Santiago. This was more or less along the coast up into Galicia, before swinging to the East, towards Santiago. Others proceeded more or less directly to Santiago, after crossing the river from Portugal into Spain.

This, in turn, has caused a lot of weeping and gnashing of teeth at the Pilgrim Office. As these combinations are not in the computer database tables (yet), staff and volunteers must use Google Maps to reconstruct your journey and verify the distances from town to town. It takes added time, slows the queue process, and allows errors to enter the process... Things used to be so much easier when we had ONE FLAVOR...

One of these more recent Spiritual Route "variations" has pilgrims riding a boat (not a ferry) to "leap frog" a distance of some 28 km into Padron. Padron is one full day out of Santiago, and is very much WITHIN the 100 km threshold. I was told of this supposedly "legal cheat" this past summer.

Sorry, but that is like taking a taxi or bus from Portomarin to Palais de Rei on the Frances and claiming to nonetheless have 'walked: the final 100 km. It is not legal. Bus taxi or boat, if discovered, you should be denied a Compostela as you did not walk the final 100 km into Santiago.

A ferry that merely conveys a person directly across a river or other significant body of water is considered to replace a physical bridge. This is legitimate, and what the originally approved Spiritual Variant includes. However, any watercraft that conveys a pilgrim up or downstream so as to shave or reduce the overall distance within the 100 km threshold is illegal for purposes of qualifying for a Compostela.

Remember, the rules state that you MUST WALK THE FINAL 100 km of any recognized route INTO Santiago. Not 98 km, not 87 km. You MUST walk a minimum of 100 km into Santiago...PERIOD.

Taking a boat or any kind to skip a walk of 28 km WITHIN this final 100 km (as in arriving at Padron on a boat from the West) is a strict violation of the 100 km walking rule.

I do not make the rules. I do help interpret them. Sometimes, this is like herding cats. Yes, I know I have used the metaphor again in another context. But it remains apt to use here as well. The numbers of pilgrims who are coming up with creative ways to do the final 100 km, without actually walking the final 100 km, is expanding. It is becoming very much the cat and mouse game. it is SO frustrating... What ever happened just just following the rules that everyone else does?

The purist in me does wish people would simply follow the accepted and recognized routes and stop making things so difficult. But, the pilgrim in me understands the exploring nature of the Camino.

In my view, as long as you actually walk the FINAL 100 km into Santiago on any route, including reasonable detours, like the greenway to parallel the crowded Frances, I consider this valid. ANYTHING that contrives to reduce the actual distance walked to less than 100.0 km into Santiago, disqualifies any pilgrim from receiving a Compostela.

Rules are rules...
That's what I thought about the use of the boat, too. And I used to warn people that if they used the boat and met someone at the desk who was a stickler for the rules, they might not get a Compostela. But then Johnny Walker posted that I was wrong and that he had it officially from the authorities that an exception had been made for this particular variant. I asked him if there was any documentation for this, since it isn't reflected on the website. He posted a photo of the printed credencial from the authorities in SdC which shows the Variante Espiritual with a line that runs up through the water on the route that the boat takes and not along the side on the shore. He said that reflected the approval for the use of the boat in this instance. I stopped pushing back.
 

Carolyn G

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
May 2018
May 2019
(Future - CP September 2020)
It has beenmy experience that Compostelas are
 

Carolyn G

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
May 2018
May 2019
(Future - CP September 2020)
It has been my experience that Compostelas are given on request. I questioned this recently and was told that everyone has their own reason for walking The Camino and seeking their Compostela. (I asked after watching a tour bus show up). It’s what’s in your heart is what she said & she was right.) Who is anybody to judge somebody else’s pilgrimage??

And - really - are you walking it for that piece of paper - really ??
 

Davey Boyd

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Again, soon as possible!
In 2015 I met two Dutch brothers walking to Santiago from home. Their aim was to get there without using any marked or official camino path. I later heard they did accomplish this and received a compostela.

However, while walking and thinking about this later I don't think they did. It may have been a 'good story' they were telling. Two things made me think this way, the first is that the last 100km should be on a recognized route. Maybe they got around that one somehow. But the second is that I met them in the refuge municipal in SJPdP!

I often wondered if it was possible though. Not that I fancy it, I like being around pilgrims.

Just a thought,
Davey
 

Carolyn G

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
May 2018
May 2019
(Future - CP September 2020)
In 2015 I met two Dutch brothers walking to Santiago from home. Their aim was to get there without using any marked or official camino path. I later heard they did accomplish this and received a compostela.

However, while walking and thinking about this later I don't think they did. It may have been a 'good story' they were telling. Two things made me think this way, the first is that the last 100km should be on a recognized route. Maybe they got around that one somehow. But the second is that I met them in the refuge municipal in SJPdP!

I often wondered if it was possible though. Not that I fancy it, I like being around pilgrims.

Just a thought,
Davey
 

Carolyn G

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
May 2018
May 2019
(Future - CP September 2020)
Rules vs walking from Holland?
WHO would deny them a Compostela?
 

Davey Boyd

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Again, soon as possible!
Rules vs walking from Holland?
WHO would deny them a Compostela?
Not for walking from Holland, it would not matter which way you went to get a compostela, except 'the last 100km should be on a recognized route'. Plus, I think they were telling porkies because I met them in an albergue in St. Jean Pied de Port - on a marked official camino route!

When I walked from Switzerland I did not always stick to the official route. Though I did walk every step and got a stamp at least once a day. But I did the last 100km on an official route, so got the compostela. To be honest nowadays I don't claim the compostela anymore even though I do qualify. It is the camino I love, I don't need a certificate any more.

Hope that helps
Davey
 

Carolyn G

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
May 2018
May 2019
(Future - CP September 2020)
Not for walking from Holland, it would not matter which way you went to get a compostela, except 'the last 100km should be on a recognized route'. Plus, I think they were telling porkies because I met them in an albergue in St. Jean Pied de Port - on a marked official camino route!

When I walked from Switzerland I did not always stick to the official route. Though I did walk every step and got a stamp at least once a day. But I did the last 100km on an official route, so got the compostela. To be honest nowadays I don't claim the compostela anymore even though I do qualify. It is the camino I love, I don't need a certificate any more.

Hope that helps
Davey
I’m with you -I don’t need the pretty paper to validate my walk. None of us should judge another’s reason for showing up to request a Compostela.
 

Davey Boyd

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Again, soon as possible!
I’m with you -I don’t need the pretty paper to validate my walk. None of us should judge another’s reason for showing up to request a Compostela.
Yes. There are actually very few rules to the camino. There are rules for the compostela, and there has to be unfortunately as many do try and cheat (driving in a taxi and getting out at cafes for a stamp, not walking one step for instance). But to most of us, whether walking 100km from say Sarria or all the way from Moscow (and neither is 'better' than the other), it is the journey and what we learn along the way that counts. Many cherish the compostela, and they are proud of it, and so they should be. But it truly is the journey that is the essence of the camino.

Many of us who are repeat offenders no longer bother to collect the compostela. The Way is the goal as they say.

Best wishes and Buen Camino
Davey
 

Carolyn G

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
May 2018
May 2019
(Future - CP September 2020)
Yes. There are actually very few rules to the camino. There are rules for the compostela, and there has to be unfortunately as many do try and cheat (driving in a taxi and getting out at cafes for a stamp, not walking one step for instance). But to most of us, whether walking 100km from say Sarria or all the way from Moscow (and neither is 'better' than the other), it is the journey and what we learn along the way that counts. Many cherish the compostela, and they are proud of it, and so they should be. But it truly is the journey that is the essence of the camino.

Many of us who are repeat offenders no longer bother to collect the compostela. The Way is the goal as they say.

Best wishes and Buen Camino
Davey
 

Carolyn G

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
May 2018
May 2019
(Future - CP September 2020)
To each his own -
I’m with you.
I LOVE the walk and THE WAY.
There’s so much to gain from any walk in faith - I’m not going to come down hard on rules for a piece of paper.
I didn’t feel like I truly earned my first one and I went back - and will be coming back again next year. I don’t know if I’ll want another Compostela .
I know I want to walk THE walk.
 

Bradypus

Antediluvian
Camino(s) past & future
Too many and too often!
However, while walking and thinking about this later I don't think they did. It may have been a 'good story' they were telling. Two things made me think this way, the first is that the last 100km should be on a recognized route. Maybe they got around that one somehow. But the second is that I met them in the refuge municipal in SJPdP!

I often wondered if it was possible though. Not that I fancy it, I like being around pilgrims.
@Davey Boyd The rule about walking the last 100km on a recognized route is very recent. Back in November I had a "frank exchange of views" with the pilgrim office about this when a volunteer quibbled about my starting point for a walk mostly on the Camino Ingles. I was then shown a credencial which stated the "recognized route" rule. One that did not appear anywhere on their website or indeed on the version of the credencial I had received by post from Ivar only a few weeks before. I decided that the freedom to choose one's own starting point and route was a more important element of a pilgrimage than fitting one's plans into someone else's narrow definitions of what it should be. So I left without a Compostela for that journey and have no plans to ask for one in future if I walk to Santiago again.
 

Carolyn G

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
May 2018
May 2019
(Future - CP September 2020)
Perhaps some one in Santiago, not the PO obviously, could start issuing an Alternative Camino Certificate. Same rules on continuous walking but with a annual additional award for most convoluted or obscure route ;)
 

Carolyn G

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
May 2018
May 2019
(Future - CP September 2020)
Know that Tour Operators come up with their own creative walks and email the list of their clients to the Pilgrims Office and pick up group Compostelas upon arrival. Their itineraries are online & the office knows they haven’t walked the exact 100k. The CF needs their business. We shouldn’t try to stop this.
 

Bradypus

Antediluvian
Camino(s) past & future
Too many and too often!
The CF needs their business. We shouldn’t try to stop this.
That is a debatable point! How much extra "business" does the CF really need these days? I've been reading reports elsewhere recently of severe overcrowding and bed shortages in the early stages. People having to take taxis some considerable distance ahead to find somewhere to sleep. Is it really a case of "the more the merrier"?
 

KariC

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Caminho portugûes (2016)
Is it true that there is no schedule for the ferry and that you could wind up leaving late in the day or not at all if the Captain has a conflict? Is there only one boat? Is October considered their “slow time”?
Thanks again
It's not a ferry. At least when I did it in 2016, it was a large inflated raft-like boat that accommodated 20 people or so. We signed up at the albergue the night before, and I happened to be the one to get the last available seat. Things may have changed in three years, but I definitely don't recommend just showing up the morning of. Finally, they do have a target departure time, but you are in an estuary (ria) for the first part of the trip and among other things it is dependent on weather and water levels.
Kari
 

kenwilltravel

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Portuguese Coastal (2018)
Portuguese Coastal, with Spiritual Variant (2019)
It's not a ferry. At least when I did it in 2016, it was a large inflated raft-like boat that accommodated 20 people or so. We signed up at the albergue the night before, and I happened to be the one to get the last available seat. Things may have changed in three years, but I definitely don't recommend just showing up the morning of. Finally, they do have a target departure time, but you are in an estuary (ria) for the first part of the trip and among other things it is dependent on weather and water levels.
Kari
When we did it in July this year, there was an actual boat. My wife has a photo in her blog (see above). It had two levels. You could sit up top, weather permitting, or below. Ours was operated by the Bahia-Sub company (https://www.labarcadelperegrino.com). The other company is called A Mare (https://www.amareturismonautico.com/en/tours/jubilee-tour-through-the-sea-traslatio/) which seems to operate a boat as well.
 

zenofmatthew

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Not sure 🤔 Still deciding
When we cut it close, any number of minor measuring errors can take place bringing down our expected distance. Ground shifts, taking inside corners, string lining areas with lots of turns. Ah, things from my running days. Some people wait for the watch to say a certain distance, others (like myself) get back to the car or the house and are done. 17.9 or 18.1, doesn't concern me. Then again, global positioning and spatial relations is a huge part of my life at the moment, and I try not to take work home.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Leon to Santiago (July 2018)
SJPdP to Leon followed by Primitivo (June 2019)
Planning next one...
It's a lovely walk from Armenteira to Vilanova de Arousa, I wouldn't miss it. Cambarro, in the way to Armenteira is lovely as well. I wish I had stopped for half day there. I did the Coastal way with Variante Espiritual. You could do it in 7 days
Baiona to Vigo
Vigo to Redondela
Redondela to Pontevedra
Pontevedra to Armenteira (or Pontevedra to Cambarro half day and Cambarro to Armenteira, another half day if you have the time)
Armenteira to Vilanova de Arousa
Vilanova de Arousa to Teo (boat ride plus 14km)
Teo to Santiago
About how many kms are each of these stages and do you recommend any of the places you stayed at please?
 

TatiLie

Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Portugues Variante Espiritual July 2019
Finisterre next!
I'm just mentioning the places we had stayed and we recommend. They were booked through an agency.

• Baiona to Vigo 26km (we broke this stage in two because I was afraid of not handling well the first day. 6km to Nigrán and stayed in Vinotel 7 Uvas. It was absolutely lovely)
• Vigo to Redondela 15km
• Redondela to Pontevedra 20km
• Pontevedra to Armenteira 21km
• Armentaira to Vilanova de Arousa 24km
• Vilanova de Arousa to Teo 12km (stayed at Parada dos Francos, played with the kittens, ate well and got nice restaurant tips from Jacob. Just perfect)
• Teo to Santiago 13km (stayed in Hosperadia San Martin Pinario, excellent location)
 
Camino(s) past & future
Leon to Santiago (July 2018)
SJPdP to Leon followed by Primitivo (June 2019)
Planning next one...
I'm just mentioning the places we had stayed and we recommend. They were booked through an agency.

• Baiona to Vigo 26km (we broke this stage in two because I was afraid of not handling well the first day. 6km to Nigrán and stayed in Vinotel 7 Uvas. It was absolutely lovely)
• Vigo to Redondela 15km
• Redondela to Pontevedra 20km
• Pontevedra to Armenteira 21km
• Armentaira to Vilanova de Arousa 24km
• Vilanova de Arousa to Teo 12km (stayed at Parada dos Francos, played with the kittens, ate well and got nice restaurant tips from Jacob. Just perfect)
• Teo to Santiago 13km (stayed in Hosperadia San Martin Pinario, excellent location)
Thanks!
 

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