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My ethical dilemma regarding a compostela

2020 Camino Guides

Paul Michetti

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Portuguese September "2019"
I recently completed the Camino from Porto to Santiago. The official distance was 240km. By my calculations unofficially I walked 300km taking into account the non-Camino walking after arriving in a town for sightseeing or looking for a place to have dinner, etc. So, when people ask me what distance I walked on the Camino I say officially 240km and unofficially 300km. In walking the Camino you gain and lose here and there. You made it to the end of your journey. Why question yourself? Don't worry about it.
 

Jackie Robinson

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
First Time this year
Can anyone help me?

I have been walking on the Camino de Invierno starting from Ponferrada last Tuesday. Ponferrada is 263km from SdC via the Invierno. I have collected two sellos each day. I have used nothing except my feet for locomotion.

I passed "a" (I don't think it was "the") 100km mojone yesterday, between Monforte de Lemos and Chantada (though my guide says Chantada is still 103km from SdC).

Today's path passed through Penasillás (94.8km from SdC according to my guide) and then proceeds towards the Ermita Nuestra Señora de O Faro - incidentally the highest point in Galicia. And so I did, in the looming cloud, mist, and threatening rain, climbing continually.

I looked at the measured path in my guide and app. I don't know what is "official" nor exactly what that means.

And I looked at Google. I am not glued to GPS but it has its uses. From close to the cloudy summit I could see a path down to Rodeiro at 10km despite my guides assuring me I had 15km "officially" to go.

I took the unwaymarked path which involved a very steep climb on a cleared path at one point and then a very steep descent. I estimate that out of 10km, more than 8.5km were on tracks, not on tarmac. Some were ancient tracks, some were newer clearance.

I reached Rodeiro with 20.07 recorded on my GPS - a Garmin running watch. Not 25.4km as the "official" (again I say, whatever that means) route states.

So does this mean I have not done what is necessary to be awarded a compostela for the Invierno, (assuming I continue walking and continue collecting two sellos each day)?

If I were to apply for a compostela I would resist any attempt by the pilgrim office to scrutinize my phone records as I think that would infringe my human rights.

But should I in conscience report to the pilgrim office that I have veered from the (semi-mythical) official path? And in so doing, in the final 100km, I have NOT walked 100km. I cannot suggest that I got lost. It was a deliberate choice on my part.

Any advice would be appreciated.
Whilst I understand the importance of having a form of paper 'proof' surely the most important thing is that you have undertaken to walk to SdC for reasons specific to yourself and have achieved this.. my memories of my journey are still with me, whereas my compestelo is goodness knows where now
 

Lydia Gillen

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances 2007/8/9 2011 (C.F 2015)
Tim , the Jesuits have a saying., "All rules should be interpreted mildly."
For us Irish who have been reared in a particular rigid form of morality it is a help to be gentle with ourselves, and have compassion on others who are still learning.
 

timr

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Several and counting...
For an anti-rules kind of guy you seem quite interested in determining whether or not you have followed them to the nth degree of minutiae. ;-)
The way things happen David, one day we may bump into each other in a bar along the Camino. :) 👣☕🍷 I think after we have chatted and shared a libation you may realise that I am most definitely an anti-rules kind of guy!
 

timr

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Several and counting...
Whilst I understand the importance of having a form of paper 'proof' surely the most important thing is that you have undertaken to walk to SdC for reasons specific to yourself and have achieved this.. my memories of my journey are still with me, whereas my compestelo is goodness knows where now
I am in total agreement. I have a drawer full of compostelas which, as pieces of paper, quite honestly mean nothing to me. I don't think i have ever taken one out of the tube after coming home.
I didn't collect one this time. I have become one of @t2andreo 's band of 'solo sello' people. But I have a genuine concern that for those people who do have a sincere wish to obtain a compostela, which I wholly respect, there are rules, with which I have grave problems. And those rules, and their interpretation, mean that some people don't qualify. This is what find most difficulty with. I dislike the judgement part of it.
 

stevelm1

Recovering Perigrino
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances Sep-Oct 2015, I plan to walk the Camino Portuguese in Sep 2019.
Here's a tid bit about mile posts along the Camino, especially in Galicia. They measure the direct distance to Santiago, not the trail distance. They have the exact distance in a straight line (as the crow flies), not the distance you will have to walk.
 

stevelm1

Recovering Perigrino
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances Sep-Oct 2015, I plan to walk the Camino Portuguese in Sep 2019.
BTW, many might not agree with my opinion but I think if you walked any of the Camino trails for more than 100k, and you walk into Santiago, you have earned the Compestella.
 

Antonius Vaessen

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
2015-2016 VdlPlata - Sanabres
2016.Primitivo
2017 Salvador
2018 Norte (to Sobrado)
2019 Norte again
Many people would be happy to have your problem
 

mmmmartin

Member
Camino(s) past & future
Santander-SdC bici '14
Plata bici '17
1/2 Plata bici '18
Frances a pie '18
(Porto a pie '19)
BTW, many might not agree with my opinion but I think if you walked any of the Camino trails for more than 100k, and you walk into Santiago, you have earned the Compestella.
Those are the rules, more or less. Walk the final 100k and a compostela is yours. (Walk 95k into Pamplona and get the bus then walk 5k into Santiago and you don't have a compostela.)
 

C clearly

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances (2012, 2014, 2015, 2016), VDLP (2017), Mozarabe (2018), Vasco/Bayona (2019)
Here's a tid bit about mile posts along the Camino, especially in Galicia. They measure the direct distance to Santiago, not the trail distance. They have the exact distance in a straight line (as the crow flies), not the distance you will have to walk.
Is this true? Do you have a source for this information? Using Google Earth, I just measured the straight line distance from SJPP to Santiago at about 590 km. Why does the famous signpost outside Roncesvalles say 790?
 

C clearly

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances (2012, 2014, 2015, 2016), VDLP (2017), Mozarabe (2018), Vasco/Bayona (2019)
Why does the famous signpost outside Roncesvalles say 790?
To answer my own question in the previous post, I did a little searching on the forum and found this thread from 2013. One post from @fraluchi (RIP) gives an explanation.

The signs on the Camino path in the last 100 km might be a different situation.

A few years ago, Acacio of Viloria de Rioja (Acacio & Orietta), decided to measure the Camino Francés in Spain on account of the Red de albergues Camino de Santiago http://www.redalberguessantiago.com. He came up with the figure of 793 kms from Roncesvalles to Santiago. The measures were taken from town church to town church, following the classic Camino Francés. The road sign of 790 km on the outskirt of Roncesvalles was not to be changed for a mere 0,4% difference in the various measurements. :roll: People might argue about small variations to the Camino which have taken over time, but once one arrives after the full walk into Santiago, a debate over one km more or less is the last thing that might come to one's mind. :D
 

Kathar1na

Member
Camino(s) past & future
Santiago and beyond (own way - voie de Tours - camino francés - Biskaya - Manche)
Is this true?
It's not true for the signposts in Galicia, they don't measure the straight line distance from the signpost to the Cathedral in Santiago.

It is however true for the signposts that the Galician government has arranged to be placed in a number of cities abroad, namely Brussels, Glasgow, Pistoia, Rio de Janeiro, Cracow and Lorient. The distance on these signposts is the staight line distance between signpost and Cathedral. Well, I guess not quite straight, probably slightly curved. 🤔☺
 

Kathar1na

Member
Camino(s) past & future
Santiago and beyond (own way - voie de Tours - camino francés - Biskaya - Manche)
It is however true for the signposts that the Galician government has arranged to be placed in a number of cities abroad, namely Brussels, Glasgow, Pistoia, Rio de Janeiro, Cracow and Lorient. The distance on these signposts is the staight line distance between signpost and Cathedral.
Zut, one should never make a claim on the forum without having verified it carefully and beforehand! So, the signpost in Brussels says 1.318 km and this is how the crow flies, but the signpost in Lorient in Brittany says 1.979 km and that must be overland. I therefore withhold my judgment on the signposts in Glasgow, Pistoia, Rio and Cracow. ☺
 

David Tallan

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances (1989 and 2016), Portugues - from Porto (2018)
BTW, many might not agree with my opinion but I think if you walked any of the Camino trails for more than 100k, and you walk into Santiago, you have earned the Compestella.
Those are the rules, more or less. Walk the final 100k and a compostela is yours. (Walk 95k into Pamplona and get the bus then walk 5k into Santiago and you don't have a compostela.)
That "more or less" is a critical addition to "Those are the rules", as is the word "final" before 100k.

What stevelm1 is suggesting is that if you walk 700k, then get the bus for 10k, then walk 80k to Santiago, you have earned the Compostela. Or if you walk 700k, then ride a bicycle for 20k, then walk 80k to Santiago, you have earned the Compostela. Or if you walk 700k on a Camino trail but depart from the recognized trail during the last 100k but still walk into Santiago you have earned the Compostela. None of these situations fit within the rules, so the Cathedral authorities have a different idea of what is needed to earn the Compostela than stevelm1. And since they are the ones giving out the Compostelas, it is their idea of what is needed to earn it that determines who gets one.
 
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Galloglaigh

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Lycra tribe.
CF (2017/8), VF (2018/9), VFnS + Thessaloniki (2020)
That "more or less" is a critical addition to "Those are the rules", as is the word "final" before 100k.
Final, "final". Don't forget those stamps. You can walk the whole distance but if you do not have those stamps ...No compostela.

And since they are the ones giving out the Compostelas, it is there idea of what is needed to earn it that determines who gets one.
And since they make the rules, no distance certificate either. Stamps, stamps and more stamps are the key.
 

j3Othon

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
(2017)(2018)
Seriously a non-issue. I walked Sarria to Santiago and received credit for 118 km on my certificate, but my Fitbit, which measures steps along the hypotenuse of the hills tallied 145km! So I wouldn't worry about it in the least, it is an arbitrary distance. The intent is to ensure a certain amount of time is dedicated to genuine pilgrimage. Rest easy.
 

Sharonih

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
CF (SJPdP to Santiago) March 15, 2018
[/QUOTE]
The Way is constantly evolving so I would not be concerned about it, don't forget the wrong turns, going for strolls e t. I am sure St. JAMES did not walk the exact Way we do now.
 

Albertagirl

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances (2015); Ch. d'Arles: Oloron Ste Marie to Aragones; Frances (2016); V.d.l.P.; Sanabres (2017)
I do not know if my ethical dilemma can properly be compared to @timr's. I was walking the Invierno at the same time as he did this fall, having already walked the Madrid to Sahagun and the Frances to Ponferrada. From Vilavieja near the beginning of the Invierno I begged a ride for the four kilometers to Borrenes, finding myself at dusk, wet from the rain and locked out of an albergue where I had booked a bed. Otherwise, I walked every inch from Madrid to Santiago. But my problem as to whether I deserve the compostela which I decided to claim arose on my second-last day on the Invierno. I walked all day in the rain from Ponte Ulla to Albergue Reina Lupa at A Susana, where I decided to spend my last night on the camino. However, in my walk from Ponte Ulla to A Susana I did not see, nor have access to, a single bar or albergue or other open door where I could go in out of the rain and get my credencial stamped. The albergue at A Susana is next door (detached) to the local bar, and both are managed by the same proprietor, but possess separate sellos. I specifically asked for my credencial to be stamped with both sellos, as I saw no other way to adequately present my completed walk to Santiago. The next day, the volunteer on duty in the Pilgrim Office carefully checked the sellos for the last 100 kms before approving my compostela. I have felt uncomfortable about the whole procedure ever since. Yes, I walked the required distance. Yes, I did what I could to demonstrate this to the satisfaction of the Pilgrim Office. But I was still dishonest, if I am correct in assuming that two of my daily sellos ought not to be acquired from neighbouring facilities. Any comments?
 
Camino(s) past & future
Frances(2006) Portugues(2013)
San Salvador (2017) Ingles (2019)
I do not know if my ethical dilemma can properly be compared to @timr's. I was walking the Invierno at the same time as he did this fall, having already walked the Madrid to Sahagun and the Frances to Ponferrada. From Vilavieja near the beginning of the Invierno I begged a ride for the four kilometers to Borrenes, finding myself at dusk, wet from the rain and locked out of an albergue where I had booked a bed. Otherwise, I walked every inch from Madrid to Santiago. But my problem as to whether I deserve the compostela which I decided to claim arose on my second-last day on the Invierno. I walked all day in the rain from Ponte Ulla to Albergue Reina Lupa at A Susana, where I decided to spend my last night on the camino. However, in my walk from Ponte Ulla to A Susana I did not see, nor have access to, a single bar or albergue or other open door where I could go in out of the rain and get my credencial stamped. The albergue at A Susana is next door (detached) to the local bar, and both are managed by the same proprietor, but possess separate sellos. I specifically asked for my credencial to be stamped with both sellos, as I saw no other way to adequately present my completed walk to Santiago. The next day, the volunteer on duty in the Pilgrim Office carefully checked the sellos for the last 100 kms before approving my compostela. I have felt uncomfortable about the whole procedure ever since. Yes, I walked the required distance. Yes, I did what I could to demonstrate this to the satisfaction of the Pilgrim Office. But I was still dishonest, if I am correct in assuming that two of my daily sellos ought not to be acquired from neighbouring facilities. Any comments?
I would not associate dishonesty with you. Frame the beast and enjoy the memories every time you look at it!
 

martin1ws

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Somport to Finisterre Jul-Aug 2018
... The next day, the volunteer on duty in the Pilgrim Office carefully checked the sellos for the last 100 kms before approving my compostela. I have felt uncomfortable about the whole procedure ever since. Yes, I walked the required distance. Yes, I did what I could to demonstrate this to the satisfaction of the Pilgrim Office. But I was still dishonest, if I am correct in assuming that two of my daily sellos ought not to be acquired from neighbouring facilities. Any comments?
I think a pilgrim gets the Compostela for these requirements:
* Make the pilgrimage for religious or spiritual reasons, or at least an attitude of search.
* Do the last 100 km on foot...

I think the requirement:
* You have to stamp the Credencial twice a day at least on the last 100 km (for pilgrims on foot )
is to proof that you walked at least 100km... you do not get the Compostela for collecting the stamps. It is for proving that the "Sarria-pilgrims" walked the last 100km... and have not used the taxi for a whole day.

I started in Somport... and after being on the Camino Frances I was on the Camino de Invierno as well. I did not count my stamps while I was walking... I counted the stamps now for posting this. I have 5 days on the Camino de Invierno where I have only one stamp for the whole day.
(for new pilgrims: but of course it is better to get the required two stamps per day if you want to get the Compostela)

I was so confident that I "walked enough" for the Compostela that I saw no problem and I think the pilgrim office did not ask me about the "missing" stamps.

So I would say... if you stick to the idea of the rule... and you did much more than this by walking much more than the required 100km...
Mark 2:27 “The Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath..."
 
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Kathar1na

Member
Camino(s) past & future
Santiago and beyond (own way - voie de Tours - camino francés - Biskaya - Manche)
I do not know if my ethical dilemma can properly be compared to @timr's.
Sorry, that's close but no cigar from me 😉. That's just not in the same league. 😉

For starters, they have omitted in their Works of Rules on How to Walk to Get a Compostela to state anything about the minimum distance between the two locations where you have to get your two daily stamps. Plus, getting your two daily stamps is not a sacred obligation that must be fulfilled under all circumstances, it is just a minor tool to help the staff of the Pilgrims Office to verify for their own ease of work that you walked where you where supposed to walk, in the direction you were supposed to walk and for the number of kilometres you where supposed to walk, and all this in the sequence you were supposed to walk those kilometres. You did all this. You can relax. 😉
 
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Kathar1na

Member
Camino(s) past & future
Santiago and beyond (own way - voie de Tours - camino francés - Biskaya - Manche)
St James didn't walk the way at all. But was carried to Santiago from Padron.
I was a little surprised by the earlier comment. I guess the poster assumes that Saint James was a missionary in Spain during his lifetime and walked during this time from SJPP to Santiago ...
 

Dromengro

Member
Camino(s) past & future
Partial Frances 1984
Frances (2020)
I was a little surprised by the earlier comment. I guess the poster assumes that Saint James was a missionary in Spain during his lifetime and walked during this time from SJPP to Santiago ...
Me too. Although he was supposed to have preached the Gospel in Spain possibly around Zaragoza but almost certainly didn't walk to Saintiago if he indeed ever was in Spain.
 

PlutseligPilegrim

Rota Vicentina, fisherman’s trail, is sweet...
Camino(s) past & future
St Olav’s way Novgorod - Åbo
- Stiklestad - Nidaros (2019)
Via del a plata from Cadiz (2019)
Yo
Can anyone help me?

I have been walking on the Camino de Invierno starting from Ponferrada last Tuesday. Ponferrada is 263km from SdC via the Invierno. I have collected two sellos each day. I have used nothing except my feet for locomotion.

I passed "a" (I don't think it was "the") 100km mojone yesterday, between Monforte de Lemos and Chantada (though my guide says Chantada is still 103km from SdC).

Today's path passed through Penasillás (94.8km from SdC according to my guide) and then proceeds towards the Ermita Nuestra Señora de O Faro - incidentally the highest point in Galicia. And so I did, in the looming cloud, mist, and threatening rain, climbing continually.

I looked at the measured path in my guide and app. I don't know what is "official" nor exactly what that means.

And I looked at Google. I am not glued to GPS but it has its uses. From close to the cloudy summit I could see a path down to Rodeiro at 10km despite my guides assuring me I had 15km "officially" to go.

I took the unwaymarked path which involved a very steep climb on a cleared path at one point and then a very steep descent. I estimate that out of 10km, more than 8.5km were on tracks, not on tarmac. Some were ancient tracks, some were newer clearance.

I reached Rodeiro with 20.07 recorded on my GPS - a Garmin running watch. Not 25.4km as the "official" (again I say, whatever that means) route states.

So does this mean I have not done what is necessary to be awarded a compostela for the Invierno, (assuming I continue walking and continue collecting two sellos each day)?

If I were to apply for a compostela I would resist any attempt by the pilgrim office to scrutinize my phone records as I think that would infringe my human rights.

But should I in conscience report to the pilgrim office that I have veered from the (semi-mythical) official path? And in so doing, in the final 100km, I have NOT walked 100km. I cannot suggest that I got lost. It was a deliberate choice on my part.

Any advice would be appreciated.
You need to relax man......there is no 968A5B78-4C86-4853-A0ED-931F6C151109.jpegscript given......you make your own along the way....each step into a new landscape....blissfully unaware of what the day will bring .....

Ultreia
 

Attachments

Bradypus

Antediluvian
Camino(s) past & future
Too many and too often!
You need to relax man......there is no script given......you make your own along the way....each step into a new landscape....blissfully unaware of what the day will bring .....
The problem is that there is a script given. At least for those who wish to receive a Compostela at the end of their journey. A script which gets longer, more specific and more restrictive as the years go by. By implication changing the 'official' definition of 'pilgrim' and 'pilgrimage'. Perhaps it is not surprising that many of us no longer wish to follow that script and prefer to improvise even if that means that we are no longer counted as pilgrims in the cathedral's statistics or recognised as such with a pretty certificate.
 

Albertagirl

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances (2015); Ch. d'Arles: Oloron Ste Marie to Aragones; Frances (2016); V.d.l.P.; Sanabres (2017)
Thank you to all of you who commented on my post. I think that I needed to get a little distance to get perspective on this issue of the compostela. To summarize: I wanted it, I earned it, according to the regulations of the Pilgrim Office, and there was no way that I could have got stamps from two fully separate geographical locations, as there were none open. So I return to the important events of that day: the very kind local woman who directed me to the bar and albergue, and the kind proprietress of those facilities, who fed me and kept me warm and comfortable. Perhaps some day I shall decide that the credencial, which is my passport to the use of pilgrim facilities, is a more appropriate, and complete, aide memoire to my pilgrim journeys than a compostela.
 

PlutseligPilegrim

Rota Vicentina, fisherman’s trail, is sweet...
Camino(s) past & future
St Olav’s way Novgorod - Åbo
- Stiklestad - Nidaros (2019)
Via del a plata from Cadiz (2019)
The problem is that there is a script given. At least for those who wish to receive a Compostela at the end of their journey. A script which gets longer, more specific and more restrictive as the years go by. By implication changing the 'official' definition of 'pilgrim' and 'pilgrimage'. Perhaps it is not surprising that many of us no longer wish to follow that script and prefer to improvise even if that means that we are no longer counted as pilgrims in the cathedral's statistics or recognised as such with a pretty certificate.
My point is that a peregrino will get his/hers camino when using common sence and not rise their stress level


We make so many objective traces en route so to n o t get a Compostella when answering the odd question is unlikely....and quite difficult....you have to agree on that....i have o n l y positive experiences arriving Santiago....sweet and welcoming hospitalieros....

That the church is getting somewhat stricter nowadays is a totally natural process....



Example of solutions; every mobile photo is linked by a GPS point No one questions that. No one hinders us to list key GEO points of the route in the passport either....that together with accumulated km’s between them have been helpful for me when connecting parts of the camino....å

Are you on a knife edge surpassing 100/200 km....?...it’s only natural to bee more aware3B26CF33-5936-4991-A115-E37A808B7335.jpeg
 

mmmmartin

Member
Camino(s) past & future
Santander-SdC bici '14
Plata bici '17
1/2 Plata bici '18
Frances a pie '18
(Porto a pie '19)
When you say...
Perhaps some day I shall decide that the credencial, which is my passport to the use of pilgrim facilities, is a more appropriate, and complete, aide memoire to my pilgrim journeys than a compostela.
Quite. There is a compostela rolled up in a tube somewhere at home. Never looked at. All compostelas are the same. They have to be: the church would say we're all equal in the eyes of God, so all compostelas are equal. There is, however, a credentia hanging on the wall, full of memories, looked at every day, the ink slowly fading. When the ink finally disappears I'll replace it with another credentia from those in a drawer. Now after a Camino I merely obtain the finishing stamp in the pilgrim office to close the credentia.
You did the correct thing: both morally and legally. Had you arrived when I'd been working in the pilgrim office there'd have been no hesitation or question that you deserved a compostela, should you choose to have asked for one.
End of.
 

David Tallan

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances (1989 and 2016), Portugues - from Porto (2018)
I do not know if my ethical dilemma can properly be compared to @timr's. I was walking the Invierno at the same time as he did this fall, having already walked the Madrid to Sahagun and the Frances to Ponferrada. From Vilavieja near the beginning of the Invierno I begged a ride for the four kilometers to Borrenes, finding myself at dusk, wet from the rain and locked out of an albergue where I had booked a bed. Otherwise, I walked every inch from Madrid to Santiago. But my problem as to whether I deserve the compostela which I decided to claim arose on my second-last day on the Invierno. I walked all day in the rain from Ponte Ulla to Albergue Reina Lupa at A Susana, where I decided to spend my last night on the camino. However, in my walk from Ponte Ulla to A Susana I did not see, nor have access to, a single bar or albergue or other open door where I could go in out of the rain and get my credencial stamped. The albergue at A Susana is next door (detached) to the local bar, and both are managed by the same proprietor, but possess separate sellos. I specifically asked for my credencial to be stamped with both sellos, as I saw no other way to adequately present my completed walk to Santiago. The next day, the volunteer on duty in the Pilgrim Office carefully checked the sellos for the last 100 kms before approving my compostela. I have felt uncomfortable about the whole procedure ever since. Yes, I walked the required distance. Yes, I did what I could to demonstrate this to the satisfaction of the Pilgrim Office. But I was still dishonest, if I am correct in assuming that two of my daily sellos ought not to be acquired from neighbouring facilities. Any comments?
I believe that the rule is "two sellos a day in the last 100 km".

Following the letter of the rule, I don't believe that there is a minimum distance distance specified between the location where the two sellos were received.

Following the spirit of the rule, I believe that the intention is to show that you walked the entire distance on the day in question.

Since you have the two sellos and did indeed walk the entire distance on the day in question it seems to me that you have fulfilled both the letter and the spirit of the rule and are on ethically firm footing.

Ultimately, of course, the Compostela is a gift from the Cathedral given out at the discretion of the good folk at the desk. Since you were freely given one and had not misrepresented your journey it seems to me that there was no harm and no foul.
 

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