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How to get a Compostela without the crazy 100 k

howardd5

Active Member
I have walked many times on the Camino since 1998 and the last bit from Saria is a boring mess . Some sights but always a hurry to get a bed and on the next morning very early. The first & second time exciting, but after not so much- The rule of walking at least 100 K to “qualify “for a Compostella is said to go back to the 1850’s . However is it the last 100 k or any 100 K . If you turned in your Credential showing you started in SJPP and got cellos every day to Portamarin , then took a bus to Santiago, would that qualify??? Anybody know for sure?
 
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You must walk the final 100km of a recognised Camino route into Santiago to qualify for a Compostela. It is not enough to have walked any other 100km section of a Camino. If you take a bus from Portomarin to Santiago then you will not qualify for a Compostela.

Where did you hear/read that the "100km rule" dates to the 1850s? That is not the case. I walked my first Camino in 1990 and there was no minimum distance at that time. I believe it only came into effect in the run-up to the 1993 Holy Year.

This is from the pilgrim office website:
Screenshot_2023-02-15-00-17-54-981.jpg
 
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Anybody know for sure?
Yes, as @Bradypus said it must be the final 100 km to Santiago. But you can do that on routes other than the Francés, like the Inglés, Portuguese, Sanabrés, or you could even walk from Finisterre or Muxía provided that you walk between the two before heading east to Santiago on order to have enough distance.
 
I have walked many times on the Camino since 1998 and the last bit from Saria is a boring mess . Some sights but always a hurry to get a bed and on the next morning very early. The first & second time exciting, but after not so much- The rule of walking at least 100 K to “qualify “for a Compostella is said to go back to the 1850’s . However is it the last 100 k or any 100 K . If you turned in your Credential showing you started in SJPP and got cellos every day to Portamarin , then took a bus to Santiago, would that qualify??? Anybody know for sure?
That’s a pity as the last bit is so crowded and that would have been an option . It is nice to meet your “ comrades” at the square
 
The whole point of the Compostela is that you are making a pilgrimage to Santiago. It's not just a participation certificate. 😉
If you already have a Compostela then do you need another one?

It is nice to meet your “ comrades” at the square
To me, this is more important than any certificate.
 
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I have done twice the last 100 km (Norte and Francés), both in late September. Yes, the commercialism you notice near Compostela is annoying, but I actually have felt the large number of excited and happy pilgrims quite fun. It is just a different kind of experience.
As for the initial post of this thread...I frankly think that the rule of "two stamps every stage in the last 100k" is currently a clever ploy to promote local businesses. Even minuscule stands along the Camino, selling trinkets or refreshments offer "sellos". I don't mind, it is ok to me.
 
You must walk the final 100km of a recognised Camino route into Santiago to qualify for a Compostela. It is not enough to have walked any other 100km section of a Camino. If you take a bus from Portomarin to Santiago then you will not qualify for a Compostela.

Where did you hear/read that the "100km rule" dates to the 1850s? That is not the case. I walked my first Camino in 1990 and there was no minimum distance at that time. I believe it only came into effect in the run-up to the 1993 Holy Year.

This is from the pilgrim office website:
View attachment 141568
I’ll have to check, but I recently read that the distance was first set in 1962 at 300km with no provision for cyclists.
 
I have walked many times on the Camino since 1998 and the last bit from Saria is a boring mess . Some sights but always a hurry to get a bed and on the next morning very early. The first & second time exciting, but after not so much- The rule of walking at least 100 K to “qualify “for a Compostella is said to go back to the 1850’s . However is it the last 100 k or any 100 K . If you turned in your Credential showing you started in SJPP and got cellos every day to Portamarin , then took a bus to Santiago, would that qualify??? Anybody know for sure?

I'm assuming if you've walked caminos for nearly 25 years, on each camino you've have to hunt down the twice-a-day stamp in order to get all those compostelas, correct?
 
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I walked my first Camino in 1990 and there was no minimum distance at that time.
There was much better.
The problem now, is, for any reason, people do want a Compostela, and they are ready to walk the 100 last km (but generally not even a meter more) to get it.
It is overrated and it makes the last 100 km overcrowded: some pilgrims there are called "turigrinos" (tourists-pilgrims) because it seems that in Spain it is a must to have a Compostela joined to the curriculum vitae. I heard that many Galician people along the Camino from Sarria are tired by so many pilgrims...
 
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I have walked many times on the Camino since 1998 and the last bit from Saria is a boring mess . Some sights but always a hurry to get a bed and on the next morning very early. The first & second time exciting, but after not so much- The rule of walking at least 100 K to “qualify “for a Compostela is said to go back to the 1850’s . However is it the last 100 k or any 100 K . If you turned in your Credential showing you started in SJPP and got cellos every day to Portamarin , then took a bus to Santiago, would that qualify??? Anybody know for sure?

I’ve not been walking Caminos as long as you; but I’ve also given up on the last 100k from Sarria; however:

Do you really want another compostela? I’m not certain that any purported benefit is cumulative? I think I’ve got five which, surely, is sufficient. If I collect one in March it will be on behalf of someone else. Other than the first, they’ve never left the tube they arrived home in. One day I’ll die and they’ll go in a skip.

Pre-April and after mid September, it’s a different, and IMHO better, experience.

There are so many other routes to explore.
 
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I have walked many times on the Camino since 1998 and the last bit from Saria is a boring mess . Some sights but always a hurry to get a bed and on the next morning very early. The first & second time exciting, but after not so much- The rule of walking at least 100 K to “qualify “for a Compostella is said to go back to the 1850’s . However is it the last 100 k or any 100 K . If you turned in your Credential showing you started in SJPP and got cellos every day to Portamarin , then took a bus to Santiago, would that qualify??? Anybody know for sure?
In the replies above, you have already been given the answer you sought.
That leaves you great freedom now. Enjoy it. Buen camino.
 
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I’ll have to check, but I recently read that the distance was first set in 1962 at 300km with no provision for cyclists.
I think you may be mistaken here. A few years ago FICS proposed increasing the minimum distance to 300km. @Rebekah Scott posted a statement written by Anton Pombo which outlined the history of the minimum distance rule and he stated that there was no set distance prior to the 1993 Holy Year.
Thread 'FICS Forum: Why Change the 100 km. rule to 300 km.?' https://www.caminodesantiago.me/com...m-why-change-the-100-km-rule-to-300-km.39220/
 
In: Revival of the Pilgrimage to Santiago de Compostela: The Politics of Religious, National, and European Patrimony, 1879–1988* Sasha D. Pack State University of New York at Buffalo

"To recognize pilgrims of the authentic type, the church began in 1965 to issue a special certificate to those who trekked more than 300 kilometers on foot. This certificate entitled pilgrims to three days’ free lodging and meals in Santiago de Compostela, though some recipients complained that church authorities in fact treated them with little regard"

Citing:
Ellen O. Feinberg, Following the Milky Way: A Pilgrimage across Spain (Ames, IA, 1989), 281–82.

A trifle ambiguous, as it happens. Was this a revival of the Compostela as we know it, or a forerunner of the 'Completion of Distance' certificate? More to the point, what happened to my three days free meals and lodging? More research needed, obviously.
 
After my first Camino in 1990 I was one of ten pilgrims per day who were offered free meals for 3 days. Although it was mid-summer I was the only pilgrim to turn up for lunch on the first day. An adequate but uninspiring meal served in a very offhand way in a dark gloomy cavern of a room in the parador's staff area. It was such a dismal experience that I didn't return for any other meals. Nothing I had read or heard at the time suggested that there was free accommodation on offer in Santiago.
 
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I think you may be mistaken here. A few years ago FICS proposed increasing the minimum distance to 300km. @Rebekah Scott posted a statement written by Anton Pombo which outlined the history of the minimum distance rule and he stated that there was no set distance prior to the 1993 Holy Year.
Thread 'FICS Forum: Why Change the 100 km. rule to 300 km.?' https://www.caminodesantiago.me/com...m-why-change-the-100-km-rule-to-300-km.39220/
According to the article, the distance had been set at 100km in 1993, but I had always assumed compostelas were being issued before that. Does anyone with a memory that stretches back that far know the criteria? For example, Bradypus, were compostelas being issued back then?
 
Do you really want another compostella? I’m not certain that any purported benefit is cumulative? I think I’ve got five which, surely, is sufficient. If I collect one in March it will be on behalf of someone else. Other than the first, they’ve never left the tube they arrived home in. One day I’ll die and they’ll go in a skip.
Hi!
We all have so many reasons for walking a Camino so each to their own needs.
If you want a rake of Compostela's go get them!

Getting my first Compostela was a big deal !!! (but as i can't read it; also makes getting a second or third pretty much a waste of paper)

But for me I agree with henrythedog i have one Compostela (in my children's names), a distance certificate and credential on the wall above my computer! (they will always be the most significant I don't need more)
I have already decided that in May from SJPP when i get to that last hundred KM; if it's not my cup of tea after a couple of days, i might skip forward and do Finisterre Muxia.
Won't know that till i get there.
But why i want to walk is inside me and it will be the walk that will make the difference; not the piece of paper.
Woody
 
According to the article, the distance had been set at 100km in 1993, but I had always assumed compostelas were being issued before that. Does anyone with a memory that stretches back that far know the criteria? For example, Bradypus, were compostelas being issued back then?
Compostelas have been issued continuously for centuries but by the 1970s the numbers were very few. For most years of that decade less than 100 per year were handed out. The modern resurgence of interest largely dates from the 1980s.There was no minimum distance requirement. A pilgrim visited the shrine of the Apostle then asked the cathedral staff for a Compostela. There was no dedicated pilgrim office. Most often you were directed to one of the priests who had a special responsibility for pilgrims. You were then asked about your journey - including your religious or spiritual motivation. If the priest felt that your journey was genuinely a pilgrimage then you received a Compostela. My own conversation in 1990 was a long and searching one: the priest was interested in learning why a Scottish Protestant ordinand would walk to a Catholic shrine in Spain and what I understood pilgrimage to be. He barely glanced at my credencial. The 1990 Confraternity of St James guide I had been following made no mention of any minimum distance to be covered by pilgrims and I'm sure such important information would not have been overlooked.
 
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Nothing I had read or heard at the time suggested that there was free accommodation on offer in Santiago.
It happened very occasionally. Before your time. ;)

David Gitlitz/Linda Davidson refer in their Cultural Handbook to Fernando and Isabel's charter for the Parador in Santiago and report in their book on p. 769-770 that they knew about the right to free food and accommodation and claimed it: When we arrived in 1974 with our group at the end of our first pilgrimage, the doorman's eyes popped with surprise, but we were duly housed and fed for free [for 3 days and nights]. And: Alas, with the rebirth of the mass pilgrimage, these traditions are no longer possible to uphold.

Fernando Lalando reports in his booklet Sois peregrinos? 1976 - Un Camino en la Transición that in 1976 he and his brother were told by the priest who interviewed them about their pilgrimage and who gave them the papeleta (slip of paper confirming their arrival at the Cathedral) that they have the derecho a comer y cenar durante tres días en el Parador Nacional de los Reyes Católicos y a dormir otras tres noces en el convento Franciscano de la ciudad.

Note that these are first-hand reports. They are not taken from a Camino book where the author may well have "heard" something or copied something from another Camino book or jumped to a generalisation of a single or of isolated occurrences.
 
It happened very occasionally. Before your time. ;)

Alas, with the rebirth of the mass pilgrimage, these traditions are no longer possible to uphold.

In 1974 when Gitlitz and Davidson arrived at the parador with their group there was a total of 108 Compostelas issued during the year. I don't know how large their group was but they would have been a very significant percentage of that year's crop. Lalando and his brother walked during the 1976 Holy Year when Compostela numbers rose to a grand total of 243. By the time I made it to Santiago in 1990 there were just under 5,000 Compostelas that year. As Gitlitz and Davidson pointed out the very generous hospitality on offer in the early 1970s was only sustainable because very few people asked for it! :)
 
I have walked many times on the Camino since 1998 and the last bit from Saria is a boring mess . Some sights but always a hurry to get a bed and on the next morning very early. The first & second time exciting, but after not so much- The rule of walking at least 100 K to “qualify “for a Compostella is said to go back to the 1850’s . However is it the last 100 k or any 100 K . If you turned in your Credential showing you started in SJPP and got cellos every day to Portamarin , then took a bus to Santiago, would that qualify??? Anybody know for sure?
I myself don’t need more Compostella but when I go with people( children , brothers and just interested friends) I like to share their enthusiasm of the final leg and the “paper”
 
The 2024 Camino guides will be coming out little by little. Here is a collection of the ones that are out so far.
I have walked many times on the Camino since 1998 and the last bit from Saria is a boring mess . Some sights but always a hurry to get a bed and on the next morning very early. The first & second time exciting, but after not so much- The rule of walking at least 100 K to “qualify “for a Compostella is said to go back to the 1850’s . However is it the last 100 k or any 100 K . If you turned in your Credential showing you started in SJPP and got cellos every day to Portamarin , then took a bus to Santiago, would that qualify??? Anybody know for sure?
If you've already walked the Camino and have already got the Compostela why do you need another one? There are plenty of good long walks that avoid the crowds and are just as fulfilling.
 
I don't understand the big deal about the Sarria leg, I did it during May on a Camino from SJPP and during September from Sarria, September was busier but I enjoyed it both times and loved seeing the enthusiasm of first time walkers leaving Sarria first thing in the morning. I think it has gotten bad press from people who would really prefer if no one else was walking, it's a bit like those who say the Meseta is boring. 🙄
 
If you’re intent on starting in St. Jean again, but want to avoid the crowds of Sarria and beyond - simply, take a left turn when you get to Ponferrada and take the Camino Invierno into Santiago. Did this last year and didn’t see another Pilgrim for the first three days. The Invierno is well marked, absolutely beautiful and rich in history.
 
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Just a quick note. The “walk the last 100 km into Santiago to be eligible for a Compostela” was established in 1999. July 6, 1999.
I wonder if you are referring to the letter with that date from the pilgrim office. @Kathar1na posted a copy of it here some years ago. I have just looked at it again. I am reading it using Google Translate as my Spanish is not up to the task. I'm not clear whether it is announcing a change in the Compostela rules from that date or whether it is a clarification and repetition of an existing rule. Given the depth of personal knowledge of Camino history amongst the FICS membership I would be very surprised to learn they made such a large error in dating such a major change in practice.

 
I have walked many times on the Camino since 1998 and the last bit from Saria is a boring mess . Some sights but always a hurry to get a bed and on the next morning very early. The first & second time exciting, but after not so much- The rule of walking at least 100 K to “qualify “for a Compostella is said to go back to the 1850’s . However is it the last 100 k or any 100 K . If you turned in your Credential showing you started in SJPP and got cellos every day to Portamarin , then took a bus to Santiago, would that qualify??? Anybody know for sure?
Last year I started in Pamplona, for my 4th Camino. Got stamps everyday to Sarria, then took a bus to Santiago. No problem getting the Compostela. Then walked onto Muxia. I don’t care for the Sarria-Santiago experience.
 
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Last year I started in Pamplona, for my 4th Camino. Got stamps everyday to Sarria, then took a bus to Santiago. No problem getting the Compostela. Then walked onto Muxia. I don’t care for the Sarria-Santiago experience.

How did you manage to receive your Compostela seeing you did not walk the last 100k?
 
I think you may be mistaken here. A few years ago FICS proposed increasing the minimum distance to 300km. @Rebekah Scott posted a statement written by Anton Pombo which outlined the history of the minimum distance rule and he stated that there was no set distance prior to the 1993 Holy Year.
Thread 'FICS Forum: Why Change the 100 km. rule to 300 km.?' https://www.caminodesantiago.me/com...m-why-change-the-100-km-rule-to-300-km.39220/
I remember that discussion . I was all for changing the distance to 300k. Only because I thought it may relieve some of that Sarria-Santiago congestion. I also remember that it seemed like the powers that be had no inclination to make that change.

Yes, as @Bradypus said it must be the final 100 km to Santiago. But you can do that on routes other than the Francés, like the Inglés, Portuguese, Sanabrés, or you could even walk from Finisterre or Muxía provided that you walk between the two before heading east to Santiago on order to have enough distance.
Not to question but to ask. I was under the impression (easily could be wrong) that the camino to Finestere/Muxia was not a recognized route and could not be counted towards a compostela or a distance certificate. Is this wrong?
I like to get my compostelas for the 5 minute satisfaction of having it haha. But I do like to give them to my loved ones, whether they want it or not!
The only one that really means ALOT is that first one.
 
How did you manage to receive your Compostela seeing you did not walk the last 100k?
Probably because the person issuing the Compostela barely looked at the Credential. That has happened to me twice. I walk long caminos and twice at the pilgrim office the person behind the counter just opened and closed my credential like an accordian. Stamped it and handed the credential and compostela back to me.
 
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Not to question but to ask. I was under the impression (easily could be wrong) that the camino to Finestere/Muxia was not a recognized route and could not be counted towards a compostela or a distance certificate. Is this wrong?
The camino to Finisterre/Muxia would not be accepted. But if you start at the coast and walk Finisterre - Muxia - Santiago or Muxia - Finisterre - Santiago then the pilgrim office recognise that journey. Your journey must include both Finisterre and Muxia because the direct distance from either is not enough to meet the 100km minimum rule.
 
It happened very occasionally. Before your time. ;)

David Gitlitz/Linda Davidson refer in their Cultural Handbook to Fernando and Isabel's charter for the Parador in Santiago and report in their book on p. 769-770 that they knew about the right to free food and accommodation and claimed it: When we arrived in 1974 with our group at the end of our first pilgrimage, the doorman's eyes popped with surprise, but we were duly housed and fed for free [for 3 days and nights]. And: Alas, with the rebirth of the mass pilgrimage, these traditions are no longer possible to uphold.

Fernando Lalando reports in his booklet Sois peregrinos? 1976 - Un Camino en la Transición that in 1976 he and his brother were told by the priest who interviewed them about their pilgrimage and who gave them the papeleta (slip of paper confirming their arrival at the Cathedral) that they have the derecho a comer y cenar durante tres días en el Parador Nacional de los Reyes Católicos y a dormir otras tres noces en el convento Franciscano de la ciudad.

Note that these are first-hand reports. They are not taken from a Camino book where the author may well have "heard" something or copied something from another Camino book or jumped to a generalisation of a single or of isolated occurrences.
I am no camino historian and have not read alot of books about the camino. Personally I am bored and not interested in other people's books that are self published. Not a knock, just no interest. But the Gitlitz/Davidson book is really excellent. There were things I really were interested in and other things I had no interest in like the fauna etc. But it is laid out so well as to be able to zero in on what you like, or read it all! I do remember hearing after my first camino in 2013 that the first 10 pilgrims received a free pilgrim room. I never was able to confirm that rumor and now I believe a pilgrim can receive a small discount (II think 10%) when booking a room in the Parador.
 
In: Revival of the Pilgrimage to Santiago de Compostela: The Politics of Religious, National, and European Patrimony, 1879–1988* Sasha D. Pack State University of New York at Buffalo

"To recognize pilgrims of the authentic type, the church began in 1965 to issue a special certificate to those who trekked more than 300 kilometers on foot. [...]
Citing:
Ellen O. Feinberg, Following the Milky Way: A Pilgrimage across Spain (Ames, IA, 1989), 281–82.
Well ... my guess is that Ellen O. Feinberg did not quite nail it in her Camino book of 1989 and Sasha D. Pack was not quite wise to rely on her book in 2010 or misunderstood what she had written. There was indeed something with 300 km in those early days of the Camino revival but it was most likely quite different from what is presented here.

I put my trust in Fernando Lalando who is from Spain, walked as a young man with his brother in 1976, stayed (I believe) involved in the Friends of Camino associations' work and published a number of small booklets about his 1976 Camino, about the history of the credencial, the history of the Compostela and the early years of the Camino 1961-1969.

According to his writing, there was a Tarjeta de Peregrino (and he supplies photos). It was not issued by the church but created by the Tourism Ministry under Manual Fraga Iribarne within the framework of a cooperation with the archbishopric and the Holy Year 1965 Commission. It was destined for the "motorised pilgrim". It had to be stamped by the tourism offices along the Camino Francés, starting in Jaca or Valcarlos and ending in Santiago. When the pilgrim-motorist had obtained all the required 11 stamps, he or she got a diploma from the Oficina de Peregrinaciones in the Rajoy Palace which was "concecido (authorised?) por S.E.H. el Cardinal Arzobispo de Santiago de Compostela".

This was available in the Holy Years 1965, 1971 and 1976. Only 428 pilgrims got their diploma in 1965 and, by courtesy, this offer was extended to foot pilgrims who could obtain it, too. In 1971, a total of 451 pilgrims obtained the diploma aunque también se relajó la distancia a tan solo los 300 últimos kilómetros del itinerario. Which means that the pilgrims no longer had to drive their cars along the whole Francés in Spain but could pick a starting point closer to Santiago, at a distance of only 300 km now, which you could leisurely do over a weekend.
 
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I have walked many times on the Camino since 1998 and the last bit from Saria is a boring mess . Some sights but always a hurry to get a bed and on the next morning very early. The first & second time exciting, but after not so much- The rule of walking at least 100 K to “qualify “for a Compostella is said to go back to the 1850’s . However is it the last 100 k or any 100 K . If you turned in your Credential showing you started in SJPP and got cellos every day to Portamarin , then took a bus to Santiago, would that qualify??? Anybody know for sure?
It is a pilgrimage, and a pilgrimage is about going to a specific shrine. In this case, it's the cathedral in Santiago.

There are many alternative paths to Santiago, including the Portugues, Invierno, Ingles, Lighthouse (along the coast from O Coruna), Muxia and more I've probably missed. Most of our recent caminos did not involve ending in Santiago. No compostela, but some, like the Salvador and Ignaziano, have their own versions of "compostellas" since they end at shrines. Zaragoza was in fact more popular than Santiago for hundreds of years since it's cathedral is the shrine to the Virgen del Pilar, beloved by Spanish and Hispanic pilgrims from around the world. And James is there at the base of the pillar statue, so it's a two-fer. Took me three hours to track down a priest there who would give me a stamp. Other than my first compostella, I treasure that stamp the most.
 
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As others have said, there are several alternatives to the Sarria - SdC path.
To avoid the Sarria to SdC crowds, an article on the Gronze site suggests taking the bus or train from Sarria to Monforte and continuing on the Camino de Invierno.
Another possibility is to go from Sarria by bus or train to Ourense and continue to Santiago along the Vía de la Plata.
 
As an alternative to a Compostela, for those who already have a few or just want something different, when in Santiago go to the shop of artist Zamo Tamay. He’ll do you a custom made print with all your stops on it. Very nice and a different memory.
 

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I read this thread with interest. This year will be the ninth year I have volunteered to work at the Pilgrim Office. Since 2014, I have missed only one year - due to the COVID situation.

As a consequence of this experience, I have learned well the policy / rules regarding who is eligible for the Compostela. Here they are - in bullet form - to make it crystal clear.
  • A pilgrim must walk the FINAL 100 km into Santiago
  • This distance must be on an APPROVED Camino route - the pilgrim office has a list of these routes.
  • The route must END at the Cathedral in Santiago.
  • The progress or this pilgrimage journey must be recorded on a suitable credencial (approved by the Cathedral authorities - Pilgrim Office). Daily diaries are not sufficient.
  • The pilgrim must have affixed in their credencial TWO SELLOS (rubber stamps) each day while on their journey. These stamps must be in chronological order and demonstrate that the pilgrim walked in a logical order on their pilgrimage route into Santiago. Beyond 100 km, a single sello is acceptable.
I have seen exceptions made due to circumstances beyond a pilgrim's control. For example, eight pilgrims are walking in a group. They follow the exact same route and stay at the exact places. One of the eight pilgrims in the group loses their credencial a night or two before Santiago. All reasonable attempts to find the credencial are futile. I have seen authorities accept a replacement credencial affirmed to by all the other members of the group.

I have also seen long distance pilgrims, coming from St. Jean Pied de Port, or farther away, granted a Compostela, even if they did not have more than a single sello for every single one of their final days into Santiago. The office staff and volunteers can examine the pilgrim, their credencial, story and gear to readily determine wether this person did in fact go the entire distance.

This even happened to me on my second Camino from France in 2014. I forgot to get the second stamp on two of the final five-days. But, the entirety of my presentation more than supported the fact that I had walked the entire route. Long distance pilgrims, look, act, and sometimes smell different that short distance pilgrims. Their gear and clothing also show signs of having been on Camino for a longer period of time,.

Exceptions are VERY rare - but they do happen. There is no rule book for granting exceptions. The staff use experience and common sense to determine when, where and how to grant any exception to the rules above. They are not cruel and heartless. They are trying to enforce reasonable standards equally.

Bottom line - follow the rules I listed above. you will have no problem getting a Compostela for walking a minimum 100 km pilgrimage into Santiago. For bicyclists, the distance is 200 km. On a horse - 100 km. Riding a horse brings with it challenges that make the journey more difficult than riding a bicycle.

I my experience, people seem to have problems when they say they started at Muxia or Finisterre, then walked over 100 km on a "higgly piggly" route of their own contrivance to finally arrive at Santiago. The problem is not that they did not walk 100 km or more. The problem is that the route they followed is not an approved Camino route. The process for acceptance as a Camino route is a long one and carefully managed by the Cathedral authorities.

I hope this helps clarify matters.

Tom
 
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I just have a phone call with St Peter and for sure, the Compostela is not a free ticket for heaven.
This paper does not mean anything except for those who give it a meaning.
Therefore, the "ethical/moral" question about the Compostela seems irrelevant to me.
 
I just have a phone call with St Peter and for sure, the Compostela is not a free ticket for heaven.
This paper does not mean anything except for those who give it a meaning.
Therefore, the "ethical/moral" question about the Compostela seems irrelevant to me.
True, but it’s held to assist in reducing time spent in Purgatory. Bit of a blow to find yourself stuck 100km short of the Pearly Gates 😉
 
I just have a phone call with St Peter and for sure, the Compostela is not a free ticket for heaven.
This paper does not mean anything except for those who give it a meaning.
Therefore, the "ethical/moral" question about the Compostela seems irrelevant to me.

great...that's your opinion.
 
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the last bit from Saria is a boring mess
If you find the last 100 km boring, try it out of the main walking seasons. It is a wonderful walk, full of interesting villages, of ancient churches and other buildings of historical and architectural interest, varied countryside with many superb views, and plentiful accommodation, much of which can be reserved in advance. Walking conditions are frequently ideal out of season. The weather in Santiago for the next four days, for example, is forecast as bright sunshine and about 68F (20C), 44F (7C) at night. Who could complain at that?

And, as pointed out above, the Camino Invierno is a fabulous alternative route.
 
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A selection of Camino Jewellery
If you find the last 100 km boring, try it out of the main walking seasons. It is a wonderful walk, full of interesting villages, of ancient churches and other buildings of historical and architectural interest, varied countryside with many superb views, and plentiful accommodation, much of which can be reserved in advance. Walking conditions are frequently ideal out of season. The weather in Santiago for the next four days, for example, is forecast as bright sunshine and about 68F (44C). Who could complain at that?

And, as pointed out above, the Camino Invierno is a fabulous alternative route.


Not 44 C but around 20 C.

 
If you find the last 100 km boring, try it out of the main walking seasons. It is a wonderful walk, full of interesting villages, of ancient churches and other buildings of historical and architectural interest, varied countryside with many superb views, and plentiful accommodation, much of which can be reserved in advance. Walking conditions are frequently ideal out of season. The weather in Santiago for the next four days, for example, is forecast as bright sunshine and about 68F (44C). Who could complain at that?

And, as pointed out above, the Camino Invierno is a fabulous alternative route.
I don’t mean to downgrade the last 100 , but having done it 8 time , plus noisy crowds it certainly no Aragonnes solitude
 
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There was much better.
The problem now, is, for any reason, people do want a Compostela, and they are ready to walk the 100 last km (but generally not even a meter more) to get it.
It is overrated and it makes the last 100 km overcrowded: some pilgrims there are called "turigrinos" (tourists-pilgrims) because it seems that in Spain it is a must to have a Compostela joined to the curriculum vitae. I heard that many Galician people along the Camino from Sarria are tired by so many pilgrims...
It helps to stay off stage of the guidebooks. I've walked in recent years, in busy times, and have been in albergues by myself, or with only a handful of people. In spite of crowds I have enjoyed being in Galicia more in recent years, I think I was so tired before, I hadn't noticed how beautiful it is. I love Sarria for how festive it feels, though attempting to get a meal above the stairs can be trying due to how crowded the restaurants get, especially in the morning.
 
I have walked many times on the Camino since 1998 and the last bit from Saria is a boring mess . Some sights but always a hurry to get a bed and on the next morning very early. The first & second time exciting, but after not so much- The rule of walking at least 100 K to “qualify “for a Compostella is said to go back to the 1850’s . However is it the last 100 k or any 100 K . If you turned in your Credential showing you started in SJPP and got cellos every day to Portamarin , then took a bus to Santiago, would that qualify??? Anybody know for sure?
People won’t like this but there is a way utilised by many. Several ways. First take a taxi, stop outside a village or two and stroll in and get a sello. The other way is to take a bus tour. Around Spain After my Camino I saw bus tours advertised which guaranteed a compostela at the end, no walking. I saw this several times too on my walk and a number of other pilgrims I met up with remarked on it too. Coming through Boadilla de Camino, the albergue on the western edge of the town was disgorging 20 or 30 people straight into a waiting bus. Similarly entering Olveiron on the way to Fisterre later. Two buses pulled up and disgorged their passengers who comandeered all available accomodation. They later lined up in Fisterre for their compostelas, but the bus did drop them off a few k’s before. And all this was in winter too when the walk was largely deserted. Remember that the Camino is an important business. In winter in particular there are places that need to keep some sort of cash flow going. So I don’t think we should be too precious or judgemental about all this. But if anyone decides to do it, I hope they don’t use this site

De colores

Bogong
 
The 2024 Camino guides will be coming out little by little. Here is a collection of the ones that are out so far.
They shouldn't have given it to you as you did not meet the requirements.
:)
Some years ago, I walked with an old German on the VdlP. Many days we walked with/stumbled into an old Austrian farmer, Guntram.

The VdlP is 1.005 kms... His only reason for walking was his strong belief in his God and Jesus, and the want/need to get his Compostela. This was his only opportunity to receive it, old as he was, in his late 70s.

His feet were terrible: All ugly blisters and blood/puss, but he humped on each day. We tried as best we could to heal him, but to no avail.

Anyway, he eventually had to seek medical help, only 60kms from Santiago. The hospital doctor told him that if he continued walking, he would very likely have to amputate several of his toes. So he was forced to take the bus to SdC.

On arrival, he went to the PO and explained the whole thing. The PO was confused on whether to issue a Compostela for him or not, but when he said "I'll show you my feet", they said they did not want to see them.

He got his Compostela...
 
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This paper does not mean anything except for those who give it a meaning.
Therefore, the "ethical/moral" question about the Compostela seems irrelevant to me.
It would have no meaning to me if I was given it without meeting the requirements, but apparently it means something to @Tvsteve. Whether someone else receives an undeserved Compostela has no impact on me.
 
It would have no meaning to me if I was given it without meeting the requirements, but apparently it means something to @Tvsteve. Whether someone else receives an undeserved Compostela has no impact on me.
Reqquirements are set by humans. God was apparently on the Austrian farmer's side?
 
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The farmer's walk was apparently appreciated by God, not necessarily by human rule definers. The farmer was doing his best, and that was good enough for Him.
A good example of why I would be happier if the pilgrim office scrapped their petty rules about minimum distance, number of sellos, route walked, and so on. And put more emphasis back on to the religious or spiritual motivation behind the person's pilgrimage which the Compostela text declares. In practice the pilgrim office pays no attention to the pilgrim's intentions these days. If that is too difficult to manage in the present day then perhaps it is time to drop the Compostela altogether.
 
A good example of why I would be happier if the pilgrim office scrapped their petty rules about minimum distance, number of sellos, route walked, and so on. And put more emphasis back on to the religious or spiritual motivation behind the person's pilgrimage which the Compostela text declares. In practice the pilgrim office pays no attention to the pilgrim's intentions these days. If that is too difficult to manage in the present day then perhaps it is time to drop the Compostela altogether.
Completely agree, distant friend. But it's all about the money, not about pure, good, clean souls, IMHO...
 
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The one from Galicia (the round) and the one from Castilla & Leon. Individually numbered and made by the same people that make the ones you see on your walk.
I will say that a similar thing as happened to the farmer happened to us on our first camino. We walked 45 days from SJPDP to Melide. My husband became very ill in Melide with food poisoning and could not walk or carry his pack. He was in bed in a hotel for two days and it took him about a week to recover even after he could be up and around. We had to take a taxi to Santiago and were very sad that we did not qualify for a compostella. We did go to the pilgrim office to request and purchase a distance certificate. When we were called forward the person processing our certificate looked at our credentials and then asked us several questions about why we stopped walking in Melide. We explained the illness and he said, "Well I will prepare your distance certificate and of course you will also get compostellas". We were shocked and said we did not qualify for the compostella as we had taken a taxi in the last 100 km. He held up our credentials full of sellos and said, "Yes, but you have walked." He gave us our new documents including the compostellas and we both left the processing area crying and went to the chapel and prayed. It was a very emotional and we felt so unworthy and sometimes I still do.
 
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I will say that a similar thing as happened to the farmer happened to us on our first camino. We walked 45 days from SJPDP to Melide. My husband became very ill in Melide with food poisoning and could not walk or carry his pack. He was in bed in a hotel for two days and it took him about a week to recover even after he could be up and around. We had to take a taxi to Santiago and were very sad that we did not qualify for a compostella. We did go to the pilgrim office to request and purchase a distance certificate. When we were called forward the person processing our certificate looked at our credentials and then asked us several questions about why we stopped walking in Melide. We explained the illness and he said, "Well I will prepare your distance certificate and of course you will also get compostellas". We were shocked and said we did not quality for the compostella as we had taken a taxi in the last 100 km. He held up our credentials full of sellos and said, "Yes, but you have walked." He gave us our new documents including the compostellas and we both left the processing area crying and went to the chapel and prayed. It was a very emotional and we felt so unworthy and sometimes I still do.
Rules are rules, made by (business)men. But sometimes, people get the best of it, and behave like human beings. Good for you. I applaud.
 
There are those doing their utmost to walk to Santiago but are thwarted by medical problems, and there are those deliberately misleading or manipulating the system in order to obtain a compostela. The former have earned the compostela. The latter can no doubt rationalise to themselves that they have earned it as well.
 
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Well ... my guess is that Ellen O. Feinberg did not quite nail it in her Camino book of 1989 and Sasha D. Pack was not quite wise to rely on her book in 2010 or misunderstood what she had written. There was indeed something with 300 km in those early days of the Camino revival but it was most likely quite different from what is presented here.

I put my trust in Fernando Lalando who is from Spain, walked as a young man with his brother in 1976, stayed (I believe) involved in the Friends of Camino associations' work and published a number of small booklets about his 1976 Camino, about the history of the credencial, the history of the Compostela and the early years of the Camino 1961-1969.

According to his writing, there was a Tarjeta de Peregrino (and he supplies photos). It was not issued by the church but created by the Tourism Ministry under Manual Fraga Iribarne within the framework of a cooperation with the archbishopric and the Holy Year 1965 Commission. It was destined for the "motorised pilgrim". It had to be stamped by the tourism offices along the Camino Francés, starting in Jaca or Valcarlos and ending in Santiago. When the pilgrim-motorist had obtained all the required 11 stamps, he or she got a diploma from the Oficina de Peregrinaciones in the Rajoy Palace which was "concecido (authorised?) por S.E.H. el Cardinal Arzobispo de Santiago de Compostela".

This was available in the Holy Years 1965, 1971 and 1976. Only 428 pilgrims got their diploma in 1965 and, by courtesy, this offer was extended to foot pilgrims who could obtain it, too. In 1971, a total of 451 pilgrims obtained the diploma aunque también se relajó la distancia a tan solo los 300 últimos kilómetros del itinerario. Which means that the pilgrims no longer had to drive their cars along the whole Francés in Spain but could pick a starting point closer to Santiago, at a distance of only 300 km now, which you could leisurely do over a weekend.
I am still intrigued to know for sure exactly when the 100k rule was introduced. I strongly suspect it was 1999. 1993 was a holy year and also the target of a massive tourist promotion campaign. Not everyone felt it was a success:

"Paolo Caucci, an Italian expert on the Jacobean pilgrimage, maintains that there is a definitive change in the sense of the Way after the 1993 Holy Year, so much so that one can talk about the pre-1993 Camino, and the post-1993 Camino. That was the year that the number of annual pilgrims receiving a Compostelana ballooned from 20,000 to 100,000, which clearly meant a boost for the economy as well as for research and dissemination of information relating to the pilgrimage.... today he is troubled by the growing phenomenon of the masses which, he says, can change the religious meaning of the Camino. The historian warns, ―We are in danger of the Camino turning into a theme park‖ (Lobato). " (Rachel Jean Gulish, PhD dissertation Ohio University).

1999 was the next holy year so it is very likely the date mentioned by nilesite of July 6th 1999 is correct. Can anyone confirm this?
 
(reply to a deleted post)

I value my Compostelas.

They are in a tube in a drawer.
They are not on display.
I have never showed them to anyone.

I know what I had to do to receive them.
And I appreciate them very much.
One has my late Mother's name on it.
Another my late Father's.

If I had 'cheated' in some way, and still received them, they would be worthless to me.

It's not about what others might think, it about what I would feel.

Yes, I also value my credentials.
They are a nice momento of the journey.

I suppose I treasure these things, in the same way that I treasure another 'certificate' of a sort.
That one is framed, and hangs in our hallway, up high and hard to read, along with my sword above it.
It's signed by the late Queen Elizabeth the Second.
That one I really do treasure, as it represents a commitment of half a life time of service to our Sovereign that I was proud to give. It's only on the wall, as that is the safest place to keep it undamaged.

It's value to me and no one else, is in what it 'represents'


For these things to matter, like Compostelas and Credencials, Degrees or whatever, they have tremendous meaning when we look upon them. They may bring back memories good and bad. But they also remind us of what we had to 'give up' to achieve them. If they are earned via 'shortcuts' surely their value is little if any at all?

As for the Austrian Farmer?
He was 100% committed.
His intentions were pure.
He had already walked much further than most.
He had suffered considerably.
And for him to have continued could have led to severe health consequences.

Even though he did not meet all the criteria, I'm sure whoever was looking down upon him that day in the Pilgrims Office, would have approved of the actions that ensured he received a Compostela. ;)

N.B. Replies to a post that was deleted. Moderator.
 
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I'm not American, but Australian.
I value my Compostelas.

They are in a tube in a drawer.
They are not on display.
I have never showed them to anyone.

I know what I had to do to receive them.
And I appreciate them very much.
One has my late Mother's name on it.
Another my late Father's.

If I had 'cheated' in some way, and still received them, they would be worthless to me.

It's not about what others might think, it about what I would feel.

Idem for me @Robo. It is only my moral compass that guides me in this. What others do, is completely up to them.

And @Pafayac : European lapsed Catholic myself. Not always , when reaching Santiago, did I go for my Compostela. But when I went to collect it , it was still as moving as collecting my first one.
It is a most fitting end of a Camino together with going to the Pilgrims Mass.
 
As to the 1993 versus 1999 discussion (both of them Holy Years), my humble guess is that the confusion arises, again, from quotes of quotes of quotes of a misquote. I won't claim that Fernando Lalanda is infallible but unlike so many Camino authors he at least includes photos or scans of the documents he writes about. In particular:

For 1999, @Bradypus provided a link to a screenshot and to the content of the letter that was published and/or sent, in the summer of 1999, by the Santiago Cathedral to the diocese delegates, the parishes on the Camino de Santiago, the albergue managers and the Friends of the Camino associations to point out and/or inform them that in order to get a Compostela the pilgrim walks in principle from home to Santiago but this can be reduced to a minimum of 100 km, namely the last 100 km before Santiago. The addressees were urged to inform their parishers as well as any other actual and potential pilgrim about this requirement (a requirement that was not yet printed in the credentials at the time).

As to 1993, Lalanda writes that the format of the credential (he calls this version credencial federativa) remained basically the same since the creation of this format from 1993 until 2016. The chapter about the 1993 credential includes photos and a description of its pages including the page where it says [translated from Spanish]: For the granting of the Compostela by the S.I. Catedral de Santiago, the requirements established by the S.I. Catedral de Santiago must be fulfilled, bearing in mind that the Compostela is a document that is granted when the pilgrimage is made with a religious character for at least the last 100 km on foot or on horseback or 200 km by bicycle.

Now here is the rub. As this photo is pasted into the chapter about the 1993 credential, a careless reader might assume that the part of the text quoted above was already there in 1993. However, Lalanda does mention that this text passage was only included in the slightly modified 2008 edition of the 1993 credential format.
 
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As to the 1993 versus 1999 discussion (both of them Holy Years), my humble guess is that the confusion arises, again, from quotes of quotes of quotes of a misquote. I won't claim that Fernando Lalanda is infallible but unlike so many Camino authors he at least includes photos or scans of the documents he writes about. In particular:

For 1999, @Bradypus provided a link to a screenshot and to the content of the letter that was published and/or sent, in the summer of 1999, by the Santiago Cathedral to the diocese delegates, the parishes on the Camino de Santiago, the albergue managers and the Friends of the Camino associations to point out and/or inform them that in order to get a Compostela the pilgrim walks in principle from home to Santiago but this can be reduced to a minimum of 100 km, namely the last 100 km before Santiago. The addressees were urged to inform their parishers as well as any other actual and potential pilgrim about this requirement (a requirement that was not yet printed in the credentials at the time).

As to 1993, Lalanda writes that the format of the credential (he calls this version credencial federativa) remained basically the same since the creation of this format from 1993 until 2016. The chapter about the 1993 credential includes photos and a description of its pages including the page where it says [translated from Spanish]: For the granting of the Compostela by the S.I. Catedral de Santiago, the requirements established by the S.I. Catedral de Santiago must be fulfilled, bearing in mind that the Compostela is a document that is granted when the pilgrimage is made with a religious character for at least the last 100 km on foot or on horseback or 200 km by bicycle.

Now here is the rub. As this photo is pasted into the chapter about the 1993 credential, a careless reader might assume that the part of the text quoted above was already there in 1993. However, Lalanda does mention that this text passage was only included in the slightly modified 2008 edition of the 1993 credential format.
Curiouser and curiouser. So was the 1999 letter informing the recipients of a new ruling, or was it reminding them of a pre-existing rule? I do know that the Xunta publicity for 1993 campaign was massively successful and it took even its progenitors by surprise. I'd be interested to know why (as well as when) the 100km rule was introduced. Was it to make sure only 'serious, genuine' pilgrims could get a compostela or was it a rather vain attempt to prevent the pilgrim office being overwhelmed by pilgrims demanding their compostela? Surely somebody on the forum must know.
 
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It helps to stay off stage of the guidebooks. I've walked in recent years, in busy times, and have been in albergues by myself, or with only a handful of people. In spite of crowds I have enjoyed being in Galicia more in recent years, I think I was so tired before, I hadn't noticed how beautiful it is. I love Sarria for how festive it feels, though attempting to get a meal above the stairs can be trying due to how crowded the restaurants get, especially in the morning.
Yes, I did this when I did the Frances from SJPP last year. Lots of people warning about how packed it would be after Sarria, but I had some very pleasant days walking and a couple of my favourite albergue evenings stopping in places between the "main" towns. It's also quite odd and interesting walking into Portomarin and Palais de Rei in the middle of the morning when they're taking a breather before the next big wave turns up later in the day!
 
There is also confusion about the Compostela with generalising claims about its meaning that have little to do with what the contemporary Compostela means in the eyes of the recipient but also in the eyes of the Cathedral of Santiago. This lack of any deeper factual knowledge and "joking" comments were perhaps at the base of the reason for the deletion of posts? Just my idle guess, of course, and a merely rhetorical question.

There was once the Compostelana and there is now the Compostela. The Compostela has its roots in the century-old Compostelanas but they are not the same as to purpose, meaning, function.

For further information, I recommend Fernando Lalanda's books about the history of Camino, Compostelana/Compostela, Credencial and others. They are available on Amazon and other sites. I have several of his books as Kindle edition.
 
For further information, I recommend Fernando Lalanda's books about the history of Camino, Compostelana/Compostela, Credencial and others. They are available on Amazon and other sites. I have several of his books as Kindle edition.
Gosh, I see only now that he wrote THREE books about the history of the Compostela: Historia de la Compostela I, II and III. I have only the first one ... I think it covers all I need to know, though. 😂
 
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Personally I’m a big fan of the last 100k. When you see the huge numbers of genuine pilgrims experiencing the changing grace of the Camino on their lives in 5 days, just as much as anyone can do in 35 days on longer routes. The Camino is personal to each of us and we should never judge someone else’s journey. Ironic I always think as many Northern Europeans only walked or rode on horseback the 79km from A Coruna in Middle Ages after arriving by boat. At least nobody counted steps, time or cellos, they just wanted to get to Santiago, that’s what it’s all about! The crowds / masses are welcomed, it means something good and transforming is happening in our society. Sorry don’t mean to come across as preachy, or confrontational just making a quick point around some of the comments made only…
 
I would note in passing that the actual physical suffering of pilgrims, striving above all odds to complete their Camino, but who are precluded to by things beyond their control, will frequently find a willing ear, and a charitable spirit at the Pilgrim Office.

Suffering has a value. It is NOT lost on those toiling at the Pilgrim Office.

I hesitated to delve into this aspect of obtaining Compostelas because I did not want to spawn a side-discussion of creative contrivances to attempt to qualify for the Compostela. Those who truly are deserving will usually be rewarded. Honesty is always the best policy.

The Pilgrim Office staff and volunteers will usually find a way to say 'yes' if the back story rings true, and the pilgrim is genuinely sincere. Remember, these folks have processed millions of requests for the Compostela over the past years. They have literally heard and seen it all. Nothing anyone will say is being heard for the first time.

Hope this helps.

Tom
 
(reply to a deleted post)

I value my Compostelas.
I would like to apologize: the post you answered @Robo has been deleted ("No need to be so negative and criticise others")
In have a communication problem with english language: in my country and in my education, trying to understand, and asking questions is not considered as "negative" and "critics".
If anyone was offended by my questions, sorry, that was not my intention.
 
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have a communication problem with english language: in my country and in my education, trying to understand, and asking questions is not considered as "negative" and "critics".
Perfectly understandable, Pafayac. Language, and particularly English, is so full of idioms and of words and phrases with more than one meaning. The current concentration on 'inclusive language' is a good example of this. After all, there are no words in the England language which are more inclusive than 'Man', 'mankind' and 'humanity', yet attempts are being made to outlaw these very words, despite the fact that they include all human beings, living and dead. Fully acceptable oral and written communication is hard enough for those for whom English is their first language; but it is even more difficult for those for whom it is a second or third language, and for those with a deep love and knowledge of the English language and it roots. So you should not be offended by the removal of your post: we can all be misinterpreted at times, even though we have the best of intentions.
 
I have walked many times on the Camino since 1998 and the last bit from Saria is a boring mess . Some sights but always a hurry to get a bed and on the next morning very early. The first & second time exciting, but after not so much- The rule of walking at least 100 K to “qualify “for a Compostella is said to go back to the 1850’s . However is it the last 100 k or any 100 K . If you turned in your Credential showing you started in SJPP and got cellos every day to Portamarin , then took a bus to Santiago, would that qualify??? Anybody know for sure?
Your question about the requirements for obtaining a Compostela seems strange coming from an experienced pilgrim. If you have already received many Compostelas, why do you feel the need to collect more? I, along with many other veterans, no longer feel the need to do so. So you can take the bus, if the last 100km are so annoying for you, no?

Personally, I never start walking before 8 am and I am never in a hurry because I book my beds in advance for the last 100km. I have walked the Camino six times in September, which is the busiest time, including the most recent walk in 2022. I have never found it to be a crowded experience, nor have the companions I met on the way. While there are more people in the last stages, we have always had joyful and memorable evenings, anticipating our arrival in Santiago de Compostela after weeks of walking.
With some planning and avoiding the more popular stops suggested in the Briarley guidebook, one can avoid larger crowds. For example, I usually walk the last two stages from Arzuà to Lavacolla and from there to SdC almost alone, arriving there hours before most others.
 
I would like to apologize: the post you answered @Robo has been deleted ("No need to be so negative and criticise others")
In have a communication problem with english language: in my country and in my education, trying to understand, and asking questions is not considered as "negative" and "critics".
If anyone was offended by my questions, sorry, that was not my intention.

I quite understand. The written word is easy to misunderstand in any language.
And my language skills in anything other than English are really bad ;)
 
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I would like to apologize: the post you answered @Robo has been deleted ("No need to be so negative and criticise others")
In have a communication problem with english language: in my country and in my education, trying to understand, and asking questions is not considered as "negative" and "critics".
If anyone was offended by my questions, sorry, that was not my intention.
Je présume que votre langue maternelle est la langue de Molière et celle de la diplomatie.

You are on an English language forum and there are very good translation apps (free of charge), like www.deepl.com, where you can get your posts corrected.
Or register (free) on ChatGPT, an AI app, which corrects your text to perfection.
 
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@howardd5
If tired of the last "crazy 100 Ks" and the crowds from Sarria, pick another entry into SdC, as recommended.
I was taken by the quiet last leg of the Sanabres, starting from Ourense...a beautiful walk.
Coming from way back you could even do it from Pontferada on the Invierno, but otherwise from Ourense it is 100 K !
 
The Pilgrim Office staff and volunteers will usually find a way to say 'yes' if the back story rings true, and the pilgrim is genuinely sincere. Remember, these folks have processed millions of requests for the Compostela over the past years. They have literally heard and seen it all. Nothing anyone will say is being heard for the first time.

Hope this helps.
Tom
In 2019 (I think), I replaced @t2andreo as a "do-it-all" volunteer in the PO. (thanks for your introductions to my responsibilities, Tom). One of my tasks, due to being multilingual, was to welcome and instruct pilgrims on the PO procedures.

This was before electronic checkin, so pilgrims had to wait in line, up to 3-4 hours for their Compostelas (sometimes I had to handle 300-400 pilgrims per hour). One of those days, I was approached by an American couple in their 80s, in deep distress: They had barely made it to SdC, but no way could they stay in the lineup for that 4-5 hours time: Their feet were much too weak.

Also, they had to take a taxi for the last 15 kms, due to the husband's medical condition(s). They were deeply religious, and the sole purpose of their walk was to receive their Compostelas.

In the PO, there is/was a special room for granting Compostelas to groups (4 or more having walked together). This was in order to keep groups out of the "normal" lineup crowd and speeding the process up.

I understood their sincerety and despair, and brought them into that special room, explained the situation, and they got their Compostelas promptly. My cheeks were battered with the most sincere kisses and tears from them.

It truly made my day...
 
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I should add that, in medieval times, if you were on the road and could prove to be very sick/dying (dying was of course a valid proof), you could get your Compostela in Villafranca del Bierzo, in the church at the entrance to the town: A final service from the church... It still stands there, as a church, but today you'll have to keep on walking: New rules... :)
 
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I have walked many times on the Camino since 1998 and the last bit from Saria is a boring mess . Some sights but always a hurry to get a bed and on the next morning very early. The first & second time exciting, but after not so much- The rule of walking at least 100 K to “qualify “for a Compostella is said to go back to the 1850’s . However is it the last 100 k or any 100 K . If you turned in your Credential showing you started in SJPP and got cellos every day to Portamarin , then took a bus to Santiago, would that qualify??? Anybody know for sure?
You would not qualify. You need to walk the last 100 km, not any 100 km, and it has to be on a recognized route to Santiago. That said, you could bus from Sarria to Ourense on the Sanabrese and walk from there, or to Tui on the Portugues and walk from there, or start a Camino Ingles. All of these are likely to have less people than the Frances from Sarria.

On the other hand, if you've walked many times since 1998, do you really need another Compostela?
 
In: Revival of the Pilgrimage to Santiago de Compostela: The Politics of Religious, National, and European Patrimony, 1879–1988* Sasha D. Pack State University of New York at Buffalo

"To recognize pilgrims of the authentic type, the church began in 1965 to issue a special certificate to those who trekked more than 300 kilometers on foot. This certificate entitled pilgrims to three days’ free lodging and meals in Santiago de Compostela, though some recipients complained that church authorities in fact treated them with little regard"

Citing:
Ellen O. Feinberg, Following the Milky Way: A Pilgrimage across Spain (Ames, IA, 1989), 281–82.

A trifle ambiguous, as it happens. Was this a revival of the Compostela as we know it, or a forerunner of the 'Completion of Distance' certificate? More to the point, what happened to my three days free meals and lodging? More research needed, obviously.
I remember hearing about the "three days' free lodging and meals" after my 1989 Camino (or, at least, the meals part) and hearing that it was offered at the parador. But by then it was too late. I hadn't been pursuing a Compostela. Had I known about that before hand, I might have been more assiduous with my documentation and planned my trip to earn it.
 
Not to question but to ask. I was under the impression (easily could be wrong) that the camino to Finestere/Muxia was not a recognized route and could not be counted towards a compostela or a distance certificate. Is this wrong?
I think the difference is between the camino to Finisterre/Muxia and the Camino from Finisterre/Muxia. If you are walking from FInisterre through Muxia (or from Muxia through Finisterre) to Santiago you are walking over 100km to Santiago and it counts. If you are walking away from Santiago, that isn't counted towards a Compostela.
 
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True, but it’s held to assist in reducing time spent in Purgatory. Bit of a blow to find yourself stuck 100km short of the Pearly Gates 😉
I believe that the reduction of time in purgatory is separate from the issuance of the Compostela. If a devout Catholic flies to the Santiago de Compostela airport, takes a cab into town and makes their way to the Cathedral, where they pray at the relics of St. James, confess, attend mass and take communion, they will receive the indulgence and reduction of time in Purgatory - no Compostela necessary. As a non-Christian, I can paper my walls with Compostelas - no post-life benefits for me. (All according to Catholic doctrine, my own beliefs notwithstanding.)
 
I should add that, in medieval times, if you were on the road and could prove to be very sick/dying (dying was of course a valid proof), you could get your Compostela in Villafranca del Bierzo, in the church at the entrance to the town: A final service from the church... It still stands there, as a church, but today you'll have to keep on walking: New rules... :)
I think I read that you could get the indulgence in Villafrance del Bierzo. I'm not sure that there was any paper associated with it.
 
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I think the difference is between the camino to Finisterre/Muxia and the Camino from Finisterre/Muxia. If you are walking from FInisterre through Muxia (or from Muxia through Finisterre) to Santiago you are walking over 100km to Santiago and it counts. If you are walking away from Santiago, that isn't counted towards a Compostela.
Thanks for the clarification. I knew it didn't count starting in Santiago it did not count. Great walk Muxia/Finisterre. Personally I like Muxia better. But both wonderful.
 
I have walked many times on the Camino since 1998 and the last bit from Saria is a boring mess . Some sights but always a hurry to get a bed and on the next morning very early. The first & second time exciting, but after not so much- The rule of walking at least 100 K to “qualify “for a Compostella is said to go back to the 1850’s . However is it the last 100 k or any 100 K . If you turned in your Credential showing you started in SJPP and got cellos every day to Portamarin , then took a bus to Santiago, would that qualify??? Anybody know for sure?
I believe you need to end your Camino in Santiago to receive your Compostela. However, there are different routes that are not so crazy. Last year we did the Portuguese “Spiritual Variente” in July and it was lovely. This even included a boat ride up the river that is “ok’d” from the Church. It was a beautiful walk and far less traveled. Buen Camino!
 
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