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No Compostela for You!

barryg

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
June: Camino Frances from Pamplona
I mentioned this in another post, but it bears repeating. My wife I walked 480 miles from SJPDP to SDC only to be told “we’re closed!” We had a bus reservation for 8:00 am today, so we couldn’t come back.

My wife injured her knees, but still continued on, dutifully collecting her 2 stamps a day & was denied her Compostela, while thousands who started in Sarria waltzed in and received a Compostela. It’s not in the spirit if the Camino to say this, but it just seems wrong.

At any rate, The Camino will always be inside of us.
 

dougfitz

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Spain: Mar 2010, Apr 2014, May/Jun 2016. Norway/Sweden: 2012, 2018. Other: 2011, 2019. CP (tbc)
@barryg, I can sense the disappointment, and feel for you. I just wonder if there is some way of re-framing this that gets you to a more comfortable place. After all, every one of those who started in Sarria are pilgrims just as deserving of the compostela as those of us who have walked much greater distances, and I don't think it is fair to be angry at them when the pilgrim office cannot handle all the arrivals in the course of every day.
 
Camino(s) past & future
CF SJPdP to SdC
(May 2015)
CF Sarria to SdC
(May 2016)
CF SJPDP-SdC
(Apr/May 2018)
VdlP (2022)
Very disappointing. But maybe you left things a bit too tight?
Did you go to the Pilgrims office on arrival?
Many people spend a day in SDC.
That gives them a chance to unwind, go to mass, have time to get their Compostela etc.

But I'm sure like many here you'll value your Pilgrim Passport much more than a Compostela.... ;)
 
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances Sarria to Santiago March 18 , Camino Frances June 18 Camino Frances May 19 ,May 2020
I mentioned this in another post, but it bears repeating. My wife I walked 480 miles from SJPDP to SDC only to be told “we’re closed!” We had a bus reservation for 8:00 am today, so we couldn’t come back.

My wife injured her knees, but still continued on, dutifully collecting her 2 stamps a day & was denied her Compostela, while thousands who started in Sarria waltzed in and received a Compostela. It’s not in the spirit if the Camino to say this, but it just seems wrong.

At any rate, The Camino will always be inside of us.
I sympathize with you but surely realise they cannot stay open all night and are volunteers. You must accept it was you who booked the bus and not anyone else. You are disappointed I know but it has nothing to do with distances walked I think
 

Bradypus

Moderator
Staff member
Camino(s) past & future
Too many and too often!
We are seeing a number of these reports, not just on this forum. I do think people need to be aware of the problem and give themselves a few extra days in Santiago, if getting the Compostela is important.
Personally I cannot imagine a situation where getting a Compostela is so important to me that I would be prepared to add an extra few days to my plans just to make certain of it. I think it is a measure of how dysfunctional the system is at the moment that such a drastic proposal might be considered.
 

Ferdinand the Bull

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances
Aragones
Baztan
Invierno
Norte
Congratulations on finishing the Camino and especially to your wife for completing it despite her injuries. Well done. That must have been an effort to her and to you for the extra care and support she must have needed and you provided. In hindsight it must in its own peculiar way be wonderful to have such a personal and close experience with your wife. You got through it together! 👍
So personally I hope that mutual and hopefully bonding experience, the Camino with everything it brings, the many people you met for better and worse, the beautiful nature and the everywhere present Camino spirit will be your lasting impression and inspiration.
Not the piece of paper you didn't get. I have two of them. My intention was to frame them and hang them somewhere on my wall. They are still in their containers......they mean very little to me compared to the happy memories I have from my Caminos
Though I fully understand and sympathise with your disappointment then in my opinion it's not about a piece of paper. Its what you got out of the Camino spiritually and mentally.
(Hope I'm not too much of a "clever having found the truth irritatingly wise something" here....).
 
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Jimmy Smith

Jimbob
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances 2017
Planning for 2021
I suggest you look up the parable of the workers in the Vineyard when complaining about Sarria pilgrims.

Also you must have realised, surely, from the many posts in here the sheer amount of people and time constraints those volunteers deal with.

It has been stated time and again that you may have difficulties getting your Compostela on the same day as you arrive in SDC.

I sort of understand your disappointment, I don't understand your apparent lack of understanding on the situation.

I am sure your Parish priest will be a good first stop for help to acquire the Compostela by post. Not sure where you would get help for the non religious one, though people on the forum may be able to advise.
 
Camino(s) past & future
CF 2015, CPo 2016, VDLP[Sev-Các] 2017, VDLP[Các-Sal] 2018
Barry if it is of any consolation to you and your wife, once your credentials have not been stamped with the cathedral stamp at the PO they are still valid for a compostela. So if you return to Santiago at any stage in the future you can get your compostela with the credential for the camino you have just completed. The date of course would be the date you present at the PO.
 
Camino(s) past & future
First 2016
Latest Camino Frances Jul-Aug 2020
Congratulations on finishing the Camino and especially to your wife for completing it despite her injuries. Well done. That must have been an effort to her and to you for the extra care and support she must have needed and you provided. In hindsight it must in its own peculiar way be wonderful to have such a personal and close experience with your wife. You got through it together! 👍
So personally I hope that mutual and hopefully bonding experience, the Camino with everything it brings, the many people you met for better and worse, the beautiful nature and the everywhere present Camino spirit will be your lasting impression and inspiration.
Not the piece of paper you didn't get. I have two of them. My intention was to frame them and hang them somewhere on my wall. They are still in their containers......they mean very little to me compared to the happy memories I have from my Caminos
Though I fully understand and sympathise with your disappointment then in my opinion it's not about a piece of paper. Its what you got out of the Camino spiritually and mentally.
(Hope I'm not too much of a "clever having found the truth irritatingly wise something" here....).
I agree entirely. I have dutifully queued each time I have arrived in Santiago. I can see the containers now on top of a bookcase. I have never opened one but I do look through the stamps when I am feeling low to bring the memories back.
 
D

Deleted member 3000

Guest
I don't think it is fair to be angry at them when the pilgrim office cannot handle all the arrivals in the course of every day.
Amen.

The Office has made changes, some popular, some not. Perhaps they can make another adjustment. A credencial is stamped "Presented to the Office" or some such, then the pilgrim can mail it in for validation and a compostela. The ceremony of chatting with the volunteer is lost, but the Office tacitly admits that it is responsible for not being able to process all the pilgrims.

Just an idea, not a whinge. :)
 
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nilesite

Tumbleweed Pilgrim
Camino(s) past & future
Stage 1 to Roncesvalles (2009), Sarria to SdC (2010), Leon to SdC (Dec 2012), Roncesvalles to Burgos (2014), Burgos to Leon (2016). Planning Primitivo July 2017, starting in Oviedo.
I mentioned this in another post, but it bears repeating. My wife I walked 480 miles from SJPDP to SDC only to be told “we’re closed!” We had a bus reservation for 8:00 am today, so we couldn’t come back.

My wife injured her knees, but still continued on, dutifully collecting her 2 stamps a day & was denied her Compostela, while thousands who started in Sarria waltzed in and received a Compostela. It’s not in the spirit if the Camino to say this, but it just seems wrong.

At any rate, The Camino will always be inside of us.
I'm so sorry your wife injured her knees, and that you didn't get the paper to take home with you. I'm troubled that you would criticize your colleagues who started their way after you. While it can be disappointing not to get the Compostela because you weren't willing to change a bus ticket, it's really concerning that you could walk all that way and still not understand the journey.
 

t2andreo

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
C/F: 2013, 2014
C/M: 2016
C/P: 2015, 2017
C/I: 2018
Voluntario: 2014 - 2019
I recall a possibility of obtaining a Compostella by postal application. This may be a wish-memory but might merit investigation.
Tink: I would suggest that we not go there. There is no backroom staff to do this, even if it were possible. This is the first I heard of it.

I suggest not encouraging it. If the office wanted to offer this service, they would advertise it.

The only requests like this that I have ever heard of is the replacement of a lost or stolen Compostela. Those can be done, but involves a huge among of research, as the manual records must by hand-searched to find the original estadillo form that the pilgrim filled out.

NOTE: EU data protection laws prohibit retaining names in any database. So, a manual paper search is required. The original estadillo forms are retained in hard copy and filed chronologically. First, you determine the date you are interested in. Then you find the appropriate box. Then you flip through EVERY piece of paper until you find the right one. This is NOT the Pilgrim Office's fault. These are the EU rules.

This can take hours or days, for no monetary return. If a staffer is doing this research, they cannot be issuing Compostelas.... do you see my point.

This is NOT a good way to handle this issue.

Pilgrims need to plan ahead better. Assume they need to stay one more day and night at Santiago. Failure to plan ahead does not create an emergency condition for the office.

HINT: Someone who finds themselves in this unfortunate jam should ask for 'solo sello' "stamp only." This will immediately get them the two stamps in the credencial to signify that they made it and finished their Camino. One stamps goes on the last sello page in the credencial. The second stamp is on the inside front cover. Both are dated. The first stamp indicates that you arrived at the Cathedral. The second stamp closes the credencial so it cannot be used again in future. It is free, takes a minute, and can be done even by the security guys through the closed front gate. Half a loaf is better than none.

This problem is only partially the result of the change in queueing systems and process. It is more the fault of increased volumes. Although the demand pattern and volume is changing, the availability of staff, both paid or volunteer is somewhat inelastic.

Remember, the Compostela remains FREE. So, they cannot say, gee, our best product line is expanding so we need to hire more staff with the revenues...there are no revenues from Compostelas. While there is income derived from Distance Certificates and various items sold in the office, these funds barely cover the costs of the current staff.

This is why, and knowing what I know, I continue to hammer away at providing an optional express, automated Compostela process, at least for those who CHOOSE to do this.

I recall and harken back to the old saw: "...you can have it good, fast, or cheap...pick two..."

Right now, we offer one solution... "good and cheap." I am trying to bring about an alternative choice" "fast and cheap." It may also be good (a trifecta, if you will) if you consider perfect calligraphy laser printing on every Compostela issued in the express process a good thing.

Hope this helps.
 
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Hurry Krishna

Indian on the Way
Camino(s) past & future
2009 (from Sarria), 2014 from St Jean Pied de Port, 2016 from Porto, 2018 from Le Puy to Santiago.
I mentioned this in another post, but it bears repeating. My wife I walked 480 miles from SJPDP to SDC only to be told “we’re closed!” We had a bus reservation for 8:00 am today, so we couldn’t come back.

My wife injured her knees, but still continued on, dutifully collecting her 2 stamps a day & was denied her Compostela, while thousands who started in Sarria waltzed in and received a Compostela. It’s not in the spirit if the Camino to say this, but it just seems wrong.

At any rate, The Camino will always be inside of us.
You don’t need a piece of paper - you know you did it and all the fun and all the trials that you lived. Hope that knee recovers soon.
 
Camino(s) past & future
CF 2015, CPo 2016, VDLP[Sev-Các] 2017, VDLP[Các-Sal] 2018
HINT: Someone who finds themselves in this unfortunate jam should ask for 'solo sello' "stamp only." This will immediately get them the two stamps in the credencial to signify that they made it and finished their Camino. One stamps goes on the last sello page in the credencial. The second stamp is on the inside front cover. Both are dated. The first stamp indicates that you arrived at the Cathedral. The second stamp closes the credencial so it cannot be used again in future. It is free, takes a minute, and can be done even by the security guys through the closed front gate. Half a loaf is better than none.
Just a caveat to this - if you get your credential stamped at the PO like this then it can never be used in the future to get a Compostela. It effectively “completes” the credential/camino. So if you want a Compostela in the future do not get a stamp at the PO.
 

Stefystar

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances from sarria 2015
Via Francigena Aquapendente to Rome 2016
Camino Portuguese from TuI 2016
Hi barryg,
Bear with me and read on.....
I recall my expectation( more that the holding of the Compostela certificate in my hand), in being able to respond to why I was claiming my so cherished certificate..
My effort and my sweat, sore feet and acheing body, it was just a worthy memory I could be proud of.
So therefore
I can be with you in your disappointment on not receiving the tangible proof on the effort.
But you did it!!! Paper or not you did it,
Which is with more that the human acknowledgment .
Whatever reason you had in taking this journey,religious or not, you fulfilled it.
There surely is a postal service for the Compostela.
After I completed my camino I always tend to spend a few days on Santiago...
Maybe you where not able to do that, so please do not hold on to your "anger/ disappointment", and in my religious take on this I would say there is a learning from this,
As there always is in disappointment..
Acceptance , patience and forgiveness
Are the hardest to conquer..
I so wish your memory on your camino, would
Be more on how it impacted on your life than the the lack Compostela at the end.
I wish you all the best and buen Camino.
 

daesdaemar

Camino-holic
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Ingles - twice
The topic of the "value" of the journey versus the "value" of the Compostela has been discussed many, many times on this forum. I believe the general consensus is that the journey is the reward. The Compostela for many, including myself, is a souvenir. I had two of them sitting in their tubes for years before they were lost in a fire.
 
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Camino(s) past & future
2013 Camino Frances SJPP / 2014 Camino Portugues / 2015 Camino Ingles / 2015 Hospitalero Training
2016 (fall) Camino Sanabre / Hospitalero?
I mentioned this in another post, but it bears repeating. My wife I walked 480 miles from SJPDP to SDC only to be told “we’re closed!” We had a bus reservation for 8:00 am today, so we couldn’t come back.

My wife injured her knees, but still continued on, dutifully collecting her 2 stamps a day & was denied her Compostela, while thousands who started in Sarria waltzed in and received a Compostela. It’s not in the spirit if the Camino to say this, but it just seems wrong.

At any rate, The Camino will always be inside of us.
Unfortunately you have left by now. Almost immediate to the Pilgrim Office the Church of Saint Francis has beautiful printed, dated, signed blessings for donation.
 

carryoncouple

We love trekking
Camino(s) past & future
Spring (2013)
Very disappointing. But maybe you left things a bit too tight?
Did you go to the Pilgrims office on arrival?
Many people spend a day in SDC.
That gives them a chance to unwind, go to mass, have time to get their Compostela etc.

But I'm sure like many here you'll value your Pilgrim Passport much more than a Compostela.... ;)
I can understand the disappointment, but I agree that the passport may hold more value and memories as time passes.
 

NorthernLight

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Le Puy to Santiago via the Frances 2012-2013. EPW2015
Aragonese & Frances 2016
Burgos to Muxia 2017
@t2andreo - can one get only the one stamp at the 'end of the line' of stamps to show you arrived, but NOT get the stamp at the front which closes the credential? That way the journey is documented, but the pilgrim could return in future to get the Compostela?
 

Davidmm

Member
Camino(s) past & future
(2017)
Just a caveat to this - if you get your credential stamped at the PO like this then it can never be used in the future to get a Compostela. It effectively “completes” the credential/camino. So if you want a Compostela in the future do not get a stamp at the PO.
I am not sure that this is true. I got the PO stamp to indicate that I had arrived in Santiago, and then carried on to Finesterre. I collected my Compostela on my return to Santiago. That said, sll my Compostela's are still in their tubed
 

jmcarp

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances, 2013
Camino del Norte a Chimayó (USA), 2015
Camino Portugues, 2017
I mentioned this in another post, but it bears repeating. My wife I walked 480 miles from SJPDP to SDC only to be told “we’re closed!” We had a bus reservation for 8:00 am today, so we couldn’t come back.

My wife injured her knees, but still continued on, dutifully collecting her 2 stamps a day & was denied her Compostela, while thousands who started in Sarria waltzed in and received a Compostela. It’s not in the spirit if the Camino to say this, but it just seems wrong.

At any rate, The Camino will always be inside of us.
I'm sorry for the circumstances which prevented you from obtaining the Compostelas, but as you said, "The Camino will always be inside us." Plus you have your credentials, and in fact, your Camino memories live in the credentials and the multitude of sellos they contain more than they live in a single certificate. I'm sure that as you look back over your credentials in the months and years ahead, each of those stamps will bring back fond memories of that day. And in time, when you come to the stamps that were placed on the days that your wife's knees hurt the most, you'll be reminded of her perseverance and determination to continue onward and complete the journey in spite of the pain and suffering that it entailed. I salute you for your accomplishment.
Ultreia!
 

C clearly

Moderator
Staff member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances (2012, 2014, 2015, 2016), VDLP (2017), Mozarabe (2018), Vasco/Bayona (2019)
@barryg - the bold text, like all caps, seems like shouting.

Sorry about your disappointment. If you read other forum threads, you will learn that this has been a subject of much discussion. And there is no easy solution. It raises the even more difficult question of deciding who "deserves" a compostella most. Again, there are many forum discussions on that.
 

alhartman

346 joyful days in Spain and France since 2005
Camino(s) past & future
Hope so!
It has been more than 5 decades since Econ 1A--but seems the demand for a highly desirable 'free' good approaches infinite.
I know it is much more complicated than that, but that economic rule still pushes towards high traffic at the PO for the Compostela; then the math of thru-put is not working at high demand levels (low supply of free labor hours, eventually not enough processing stations). Given the existing constraints, there really isn't a solution except to automate as much as possible for efficiencies in the PO. And everything done there will disappoint the finishing pilgrims.
 

alhartman

346 joyful days in Spain and France since 2005
Camino(s) past & future
Hope so!
As a former river rafter, we got used to limited permits--same with Elk hunting in desirable tracts. My chances on the Elk draw were about once every 3-4 years.
 
D

Deleted member 67185

Guest
For me, obtaining the Compostela was not about getting a souvenir, nor was it just a piece of paper. It represented a purposeful end to a spiritual/religious effort. While the journey of the walk would not have been spoiled, it would have felt so very incomplete within the context of its intent and purpose.

So I more than understand the disappointment of some who are not able to obtain this document due to needed timelines for returning home.

I suspect that as these issues surrounding the new method for queuing for the Compostela become widely known and understood, pilgrims will add-in 'Compostela Que Time' to their travel plans. If the new process is causing pilgrims to leave Santiago empty handed, then hopefully those responsible for the new process will be working to smooth out the rough edges, and it will be re-vamped as needed.

For those who attach no specific meaning to a Compostela other than as a memento or souvenir, I can understand your views regarding the importance of a Compostela; I have felt much the same with regard to receiving various military awards in the distant past.

Below is something I had posted earlier this year.

---------------------------

During the last couple of days of the Walk to Santiago, so many feelings had occurred ranging the gamut of emotions: Joy, anger, despair, happiness, sadness, hopefulness, regret, contentment… it’s as if my mind, heart, and soul were having a go at playing tug-of-war. One example was when it came my turn for the Compostela in the Pilgrim’s Office in Santiago de Compostela. When I walked up to the counter window, I was greeted by the smiling face of a young woman in her early 20s. I requested that my pilgrimage be done in the name of my oldest son, Joshua David, who went to be with God shortly after his birth. I had discussed doing this with his mother, Denise, the previous day to make sure it was ok.

The young volunteer seemed a bit puzzled, but a more experienced volunteer knew what my request was about and briefly talked with the young woman, pointing to a space on the yet-to-be filled out Compostela.

As I watched the Pilgrim Office volunteer add Joshua’s name to that certificate of completion, I suddenly couldn’t hold back the tears. The long miles, the aches and pains, the mental trauma, the hundreds of times I prayed and talked with Jesus, the fatigue, and the meaning that I gave behind the purpose of my walk/pilgrimage seemed to suddenly become narrowly focused into a pinpoint with my dear son’s name.

The poor, sweet volunteer who spoke in halting, but understandable English asked, with a look of concern on her face, if I was alright. All I could do was smile through the tears and tell her, “Yes”, I was better than when I took my first step 30 days before”.

I never thought I would have been affected in so profound a manner. I will be thinking on all these things for a while. I mailed the Compostela to Joshua’s mother. I did purchase a certificate of distance for myself to keep.
 

t2andreo

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
C/F: 2013, 2014
C/M: 2016
C/P: 2015, 2017
C/I: 2018
Voluntario: 2014 - 2019
@t2andreo - can one get only the one stamp at the 'end of the line' of stamps to show you arrived, but NOT get the stamp at the front which closes the credential? That way the journey is documented, but the pilgrim could return in future to get the Compostela?
Yes, that is possible.

All you have to do is say "solo uno sello, por favor" (only one stamp please). If they go for the inside front cover say: "No gracias, solo en la ultima pagina, por favor" (No thank you, only on the last page please).

This means that you got to the Pilgrim Office. But does NOT affect the future useability to apply for a Compostela. I have done this myself.

When someone asks only for a stamp we start with the two-stamp version, UNLESS they are savvy and ask only for the one stamp. I have had pilgrims tell me they had a bus to catch, could not wait, and were going to ask for their Compostela when they were next in Santiago.

Sorry I was not clearer above...

My Spanish is getting oh so much better...
 

barryg

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
June: Camino Frances from Pamplona
@barryg - the bold text, like all caps, seems like shouting.

Sorry about your disappointment. If you read other forum threads, you will learn that this has been a subject of much discussion. And there is no easy solution. It raises the even more difficult question of deciding who "deserves" a compostella most. Again, there are many forum discussions on that.
Sorry about bold, I couldn’t see how to turn it
 

barryg

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
June: Camino Frances from Pamplona
Sorry! Didn’t mean to let my baser side show through. I suppose I was becoming irate on my wife’s behalf. She doesn’t care! I have a Compostela from last year and I walked from Pamplona & skipped 3 stages. My Compostela is gathering dust somewhere, but my memories & my wife’s memories live inside of us.

Poor form for me to denigrate others.

I apologize to all pilgrims. They are all precious in his sight.
 
D

Deleted member 3000

Guest
Sorry about bold, I couldn’t see how to turn it
When you are entering or editing text, there is a bar above the box. The capitla "B" turns bold on and off. To edit a post, highlight the text with click and drag, then click the "B." Bold will change.
 

Juspassinthrough

in our minds, we're vagabonds, you and I
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances (2017)
Camino Inglés 2019
Leon-Sarria, June (2019)
Camino Aragonés (2023?)
barryg,

I’m very sorry for your disappointment and I hope there is a remedy. If not, rest assured that your Camino will live on in you heart and mind whether you have a piece of paper on the wall or not. I hope you find peace with this matter.
 

hecate105

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
'09 Portuguese Estellas '14 Aurelia '16 St Davids '17 Via Augusta/V dl P. '18/'19 Michael Mary Way
I had my Compostela replaced after it was stolen on my way home... i was overjoyed. BUT i would swap it right now for my pilgrim passport back (that was nicked too!) The stamps are a far better aide memoir and so beautiful - I cherish my subsequent passport much more than its Compostela - even after queuing for over an hour... I would happily take a final stamp next time and leave the overworked folk at the pilgrim office to service first time pilgrims.
I suggest you frame your passports and plan your next Camino!
 

JabbaPapa

"True Pilgrim"
Camino(s) past & future
100 characters or fewer : see signature details
When bureaucratic imperatives start to trump people's religious purposes, it's obvious that whatever decisions have been made are neither the Camino nor Catholic.
 

JabbaPapa

"True Pilgrim"
Camino(s) past & future
100 characters or fewer : see signature details
Pilgrims need to plan ahead better. Assume they need to stay one more day and night at Santiago. Failure to plan ahead does not create an emergency condition for the office.
The Camino is not a mere exercise in bureaucracy.
 

cher99840

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
2013, 2017 Camino Frances SJPP-Santiago
2015 St. Olav's Way Oslo-Trondheim
2017 VdlP Seville-Merida
Sorry! Didn’t mean to let my baser side show through. I suppose I was becoming irate on my wife’s behalf. She doesn’t care! I have a Compostela from last year and I walked from Pamplona & skipped 3 stages. My Compostela is gathering dust somewhere, but my memories & my wife’s memories live inside of us.

Poor form for me to denigrate others.

I apologize to all pilgrims. They are all precious in his sight.
I admire your sincerity. Thank you for sharing your thoughts and feelings.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Lots ;0)
The Camino is not a mere exercise in bureaucracy.
@JabbaPapa many are conflating Camino and Compostela when they are two separate and distinct things. Camino, or even 'The" Camino can never be a bureaucratic exercise. A camino is and the caminos are spiritual and physical endeavours. The undertaking of pilgrimage to the shrine of Santiago. The Compostela is a certificate awarded by the Diocese of Santiago to those who comply with the Diocese' requirements of qualification.

As an experienced pilgrim you are no doubt fully aware that their is no camino bureaucracy, their is no one "in charge", there is no-one "responsible", there are no rules and no requirements. Rules, requirements and bureaucracy: they apply to the award of Compostelas. They do not apply to camino.
 

JabbaPapa

"True Pilgrim"
Camino(s) past & future
100 characters or fewer : see signature details
@JabbaPapa many are conflating Camino and Compostela when they are two separate and distinct things.
I'd hope that you do not assume that's what I'm doing ... (particularly as I wrote "The Camino is not a ... bureaucracy") ...

the[re] is no camino bureaucracy
Well, obviously there is, and the degree of it seems to be increasing on a pretty much yearly basis ...

But instead, I'd hope that people understand that my use of figures of speech is not intended for the conveying of words and concepts that are intended to be taken 100% literally and nothing else ...
 

t2andreo

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
C/F: 2013, 2014
C/M: 2016
C/P: 2015, 2017
C/I: 2018
Voluntario: 2014 - 2019
Demand is driving supply. If the pilgrims would simply 'go away' none of this would be a problem. But, do you see the inconsistency...?

IMHO, this issue is going to get far worse before it gets materially better.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances (Sep/Oct 2018)
Camino Portugues (May 2021)
IMHO, this issue is going to get far worse before it gets materially better.
At some point, won't it make sense to just give a stamp and have the credential serve as the compostella? If people want certificates they can buy them in a shop.
 

t2andreo

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
C/F: 2013, 2014
C/M: 2016
C/P: 2015, 2017
C/I: 2018
Voluntario: 2014 - 2019
IMHO - YES it would. I am trying to develop process alternatives that will, together skim off serious numbers of pilgrims having to queue. I would like to try to do something moving towards this during 2020, with full implementation for the 2021 Holy Year.

At present, the two top contender ideas are:
  • Develop an OPTIONAL automated express Compostela system relying on advanced internet submission of data, via smartphone, combined with laser-printed certificates. No queueing.
  • Deploy a SOLO SELLO counter position somewhere out of the main office, to directly address, non-queue requests for simply stamping credencials, with no Compostela being issued.
Stay tuned...
 

MarcoPolo616

Member
Camino(s) past & future
2018 Camino Portugues (Valença to Santiago)
2019 (planned) Santiago- Finisterre-Muxia
Tom- A couple of months ago when we arrived in Muxia, as we were
checking into our apartment, the owner surprised us with two “muxianas” after asking her where we could go to obtain them. Apparently she was authorized to issue them. I’m just wondering if SDC has considered alternative approved locations for issuing the Compostela. Has there been any discussion of this?
 

Starseeker54

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino francis (2014). Camino portugese (2015).camino via francigena (2016) camino norte (2017) .
having just come back from completing the via de la plata from seville,and experiencing the ticket system i am firmly back to winter treks.
i have read lots of articles on the new system and find most people are so entrenched in their views that you just know it is not worth discussing it with them. people come from all over the world and from all walks of life to walk their chosen camino.
take out the over popular french camino and what numbers are left?
could there not be a seperate office/building for the greater numbers,leaving a smaller staff to administer those from smaller,less popular walks?
the camino is a victim of its own success,which the church and santiago has encouraged.pleading that the church makes little money from pilgrims is laughable.the money generated in santiago is enormous and the governing body of santiago should be giving the church a portion of the revenue that is accrued.
the reasons for doing the walks are myriad and yes their is personal satisfaction, but a compostela on the wall,invites interest and when one has passed on,the compostela can be handed down to future generations.
people do plan,but there are many many cases where it is the case of time and tide and one must go .i feel this discussion will flow and flow.last point,surely with the increase year on year someone must have seen the problems that the issuing office now face?
 

t2andreo

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
C/F: 2013, 2014
C/M: 2016
C/P: 2015, 2017
C/I: 2018
Voluntario: 2014 - 2019
Tom- A couple of months ago when we arrived in Muxia, as we were
checking into our apartment, the owner surprised us with two “muxianas” after asking her where we could go to obtain them. Apparently she was authorized to issue them. I’m just wondering if SDC has considered alternative approved locations for issuing the Compostela. Has there been any discussion of this?
No they have not. My guess is because the Pilgrims Offce is part of the Cathedral.

It may well be that the traditionalists will hang onto this activity until someone can pry their cold, dead hands off it. I am being hyperbolic but you get the idea.

Hope this helps.
 

gerip

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
CF, Lourdes to Burgos, Oct 2018
CF, Burgos to Santiago, May 2019
Ingles, Sep - Oct 2019
Yes, that is possible.

All you have to do is say "solo uno sello, por favor" (only one stamp please). If they go for the inside front cover say: "No gracias, solo en la ultima pagina, por favor" (No thank you, only on the last page please).

This means that you got to the Pilgrim Office. But does NOT affect the future useability to apply for a Compostela. I have done this myself.

When someone asks only for a stamp we start with the two-stamp version, UNLESS they are savvy and ask only for the one stamp. I have had pilgrims tell me they had a bus to catch, could not wait, and were going to ask for their Compostela when they were next in Santiago.

Sorry I was not clearer above...

My Spanish is getting oh so much better...
Wish I had know this yesterday. I finished, but was turned away at the door as it was already 5:30 PM. Came back today hoping it could be backdated, but was told no, they had to date it for today, the 5th. I was somewhat disappointed, as yesterday was my birthday. I’d begun my walk from Lourdes last October 4 and finished my walk from Ferrol the same day a year later. I’m looking at that 5 and trying to figure out how to turn it into a 4.......
 

gerip

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
CF, Lourdes to Burgos, Oct 2018
CF, Burgos to Santiago, May 2019
Ingles, Sep - Oct 2019
having just come back from completing the via de la plata from seville,and experiencing the ticket system i am firmly back to winter treks.
i have read lots of articles on the new system and find most people are so entrenched in their views that you just know it is not worth discussing it with them. people come from all over the world and from all walks of life to walk their chosen camino.
take out the over popular french camino and what numbers are left?
could there not be a seperate office/building for the greater numbers,leaving a smaller staff to administer those from smaller,less popular walks?
the camino is a victim of its own success,which the church and santiago has encouraged.pleading that the church makes little money from pilgrims is laughable.the money generated in santiago is enormous and the governing body of santiago should be giving the church a portion of the revenue that is accrued.
the reasons for doing the walks are myriad and yes their is personal satisfaction, but a compostela on the wall,invites interest and when one has passed on,the compostela can be handed down to future generations.
people do plan,but there are many many cases where it is the case of time and tide and one must go .i feel this discussion will flow and flow.last point,surely with the increase year on year someone must have seen the problems that the issuing office now face?
Dunno. Was at the mass at the PO this AM and only about 1/5 of the folks had done the Francés. Most seem to have walked the Portuguese.
 

norman hawes

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
I walked the Camino France last year 2015, in may/june
I mentioned this in another post, but it bears repeating. My wife I walked 480 miles from SJPDP to SDC only to be told “we’re closed!” We had a bus reservation for 8:00 am today, so we couldn’t come back.

My wife injured her knees, but still continued on, dutifully collecting her 2 stamps a day & was denied her Compostela, while thousands who started in Sarria waltzed in and received a Compostela. It’s not in the spirit if the Camino to say this, but it just seems wrong.

At any rate, The Camino will always be inside of us.
I have just done my fifth year on the Camino, and have noticed a nasty trend with those who run the office for the Compostela, I met a woman on the Portuguese this year who had to argue to get her Compostela last time after doing the entire journey from sjp to sdc, because she missed one stamp, and yet those doing the final 100km have there's no problem. Even though many walk without packs, get dropped off by bus and picked up at stages they wish to avoid etc,, saying they are pilgrims the same as others is wrong, and having surly guards at the office is wrong, surly volunteers who insist on that a missing stamp justifies them turning away a true pilgrim is wrong, making you get a number to return at another time is wrong, allowing those who have done little of the journey certificate then telling the tired pilgrim who comes a bit later that the days alloted amount has been given out to the fresh people walking the last 100 without packs is wrong,. I have 2 Compostela out of 5 pilgrimages, I will not bother with any more because of the disgraceful treatment by these nasty un Camino type people who probably never walked further than the bus stop Intheir miserable lives. Being volunteers does not make them lovely people, when they are just doing it to feel they have some power over others. Thankfully the Camino is about the journey and the great people you meet on it, I will just keep my credentials as reminder of it and photos, the Compostela is not worth the hassle any more
 

Bradypus

Moderator
Staff member
Camino(s) past & future
Too many and too often!
I have 2 Compostela out of 5 pilgrimages, I will not bother with any more because of the disgraceful treatment by these nasty un Camino type people who probably never walked further than the bus stop Intheir miserable lives. Being volunteers does not make them lovely people, when they are just doing it to feel they have some power over others.
I have also decided that I no longer want or need a Compostela and I will probably not be adding myself to the queues at the pilgrim office in future. But I cannot agree with your comments on the pilgrim office volunteers. As I understand it it is a prerequisite for serving as a volunteer that you have walked a Camino yourself. The volunteers do not make the rules regarding who does or does not receive a Compostela. That is the cathedral authorities' decision and volunteers simply work as best they can within guidelines set for them. I have my own grounds for dissatisfaction with the current rules and pilgrim office systems but to direct those complaints at the volunteers is misguided and unjust in my opinion.
 

norman hawes

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
I walked the Camino France last year 2015, in may/june
I have also decided that I no longer want or need a Compostela and I will probably not be adding myself to the queues at the pilgrim office in future. But I cannot agree with your comments on the pilgrim office volunteers. As I understand it it is a prerequisite for serving as a volunteer that you have walked a Camino yourself. The volunteers do not make the rules regarding who does or does not receive a Compostela. That is the cathedral authorities' decision and volunteers simply work as best they can within guidelines set for them. I have my own grounds for dissatisfaction with the current rules and pilgrim office systems but to direct those complaints at the volunteers is misguided and unjust in my opinion.
I did actually say the people who organise it were at fault, but some of those who work there are surly and seem like council jobsworth types who take pleasure in quoting the book on missing a stamp, and it has been getting worse over the years, like I say not everybody who volunteers is doing so for the right reason, just like not all alburges are run by people with good intent. I feel it is a shame that the getting of the Compostela has become such a negative experience now for many pilgrims, and feel fortunate to have received my 2 at a time before the office threw out the Camino spirit
 

Jimmy Smith

Jimbob
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances 2017
Planning for 2021
Maybes for some travellers the feelings are negative at the final stage. If they think about it deeply they may realise they ended their journey with false expectations. I cannot for the life of me understand why so many who would never darken the door of any church outwith the trek suddenly get this desire for the religious document.

I feel that there is a commercial place for the issuance of a fancy bit of paper to those who only seek a fancy validation for their 30 day jaunt. We all recognise the holiday trekkers, some even carry their packs the whole way.

Personally I never wanted a Compostela because I have my passport which meant so much to me and I received the eucharist which was more reward than any bit of paper.
 

gerip

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
CF, Lourdes to Burgos, Oct 2018
CF, Burgos to Santiago, May 2019
Ingles, Sep - Oct 2019
True pilgrimage was always about suffering, sacrifice, and letting go of one’s self-importance. The idea of a pilgrimage as an act of penance was for the individual to gain a sense of humility and a connection with one’s own brokenness. I can’t fault the volunteers or anyone working in the PO, they have to develop a balanced approach in order to deal with the many who come there with a sense of entitlement.
 

Peregrinopaul

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
VdlP(2012) Madrid(2014)Frances(2015) VdlP(2016)
VdlP(2017)Madrid/Sanabres/Frances reverse(2018)
I had discussed doing this with his mother, Denise, the previous day to make sure it was ok.
Dave,
I’ve been reflecting on your very moving account of your “Compostela experience”. The sentence that I have selected (to quote above) speaks volumes to me about the deep significance you attach to what has been referred to as “a piece of paper”.
To many of us, the compostela is not a souvenir, as others have pointed out, or a simple confirmation of the completion of a journey. It is a very specific declaration, indeed an affirmation of religious pilgrimage, in the - dare I say it - true sense of the word.
 

gerip

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
CF, Lourdes to Burgos, Oct 2018
CF, Burgos to Santiago, May 2019
Ingles, Sep - Oct 2019
the camino is a victim of its own success,which the church and santiago has encouraged.pleading that the church makes little money from pilgrims is laughable.the money generated in santiago is enormous and the governing body of santiago should be giving the church a portion of the revenue that is accrued.
Think it has been said by others before, the success of the Camino is more like a “perfect storm” situation than something generated by the Camino itself - an increase in the wealth of the general population world-wide, meaning more people are able to travel further abroad for greater periods of time; the improvement in the health and wellbeing of older people leaving the to look for new challenges beyond the age of retirement; the proliferation of movies, books, television programs and YouTube vloggers promoting the Camino; and finally the Spanish government itself, attempting to revitalise the economy in rural areas. Then all these people show up at the pilgrim office looking for their Compostela and expect a slick organisation that can process a thousand pilgrims a day with speed and ease, when the church was, most likely the last organisation, to be consulted in the whole process. I suspect that the process is probably costing the archdiocese money, rather than it being a source of revenue. I just hope that all the albergues, restaurants, etc., the ones who are really raking it in, are making some sort of contribution to the archdiocese.
 
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Camino(s) past & future
2002, Toulouse/Aragon 2005, Cami S Jaume/Aragon 2007/9, Mont Saint Michel/Norte/Vadiniense 2011, Norte/Primitivo 2013, Norte/Primitivo 2014. Norte 2015, Cami S Jaume/Castellano-Aragonese 2016
Some of us are old enough to recall the former pilgrims' office near the cathedral, where the line snaked up three sets of stairs (no toilets in the building!!!) to a desk with three volunteers . I've got ten compostelas since then, but have yet to encounter a surly person at the counter.
 

ess1113

Member
Camino(s) past & future
April 2016
I mentioned this in another post, but it bears repeating. My wife I walked 480 miles from SJPDP to SDC only to be told “we’re closed!” We had a bus reservation for 8:00 am today, so we couldn’t come back.

My wife injured her knees, but still continued on, dutifully collecting her 2 stamps a day & was denied her Compostela, while thousands who started in Sarria waltzed in and received a Compostela. It’s not in the spirit if the Camino to say this, but it just seems wrong.

At any rate, The Camino will always be inside of us.
I understand your sentiment but I am also reminded of Matthew 20:1-16 and that brings it back home to me. Buen Camino
 
Camino(s) past & future
2012-2018 Frances, Via de la Plata, Portugues Central and Seaside, Norte
I mentioned this in another post, but it bears repeating. My wife I walked 480 miles from SJPDP to SDC only to be told “we’re closed!” We had a bus reservation for 8:00 am today, so we couldn’t come back.

My wife injured her knees, but still continued on, dutifully collecting her 2 stamps a day & was denied her Compostela, while thousands who started in Sarria waltzed in and received a Compostela. It’s not in the spirit if the Camino to say this, but it just seems wrong.

At any rate, The Camino will always be inside of us.
I have four or five Compostelas that sit in a drawer in my den and have walked several Caminos without collecting one, after realizing that the paper was not what changed my life or followed me through the days after the Caminos. It was the feelings and the memories, the change in my outlook on life and new values that I cherish. I hope as you go through the next few months, you are able to cherish the experience.
 

Karl Oz

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances
Portuguese
Aragones
Sanabres
Piamonte
Elizabethpfad
I have four or five Compostelas that sit in a drawer in my den and have walked several Caminos without collecting one, after realizing that the paper was not what changed my life or followed me through the days after the Caminos. It was the feelings and the memories, the change in my outlook on life and new values that I cherish. I hope as you go through the next few months, you are able to cherish the experience.
Everybody is different, but I think it is possible to treasure both your camino experiences and a compostela. Actually, I am glad to have both.
 
D

Deleted member 3000

Guest
Those who do not like the rules for compostelas should consider not getting one. Back in the day, everyone could get one even the tourists just visiting Santiago. As the number of pilgrims began to increase in the twentieth century, some restrictions were instituted.

"The appearance of motor vehicles and, in this century, the popularisation of tourism, represented somewhat of a crisis for pilgrimage: it was feared that the effort and sacrifice in the expiation of sins embraced in the pilgrimage on foot would be exchanged by a pleasant and enjoyable activity for the holidays. Such was the case that authorities in other sanctuaries began to issue visiting certificates imitating the “Compostela”. The Chapter of the Metropolitan Church of Santiago continued to issue the certificate and in modern times the award of the “Compostela” is limited to those who come to the tomb of the Apostle for religious and/or spiritual reasons, and following the routes of the Way of St. James on foot, by bicycle or on horseback."

The defiance and anger shown toward the Pilgrim Office for following the Cathedral's rules is a bit disappointing to me. A long wait in the summer is just another trial of pilgrimage. Go in the winter. There never is a line.:)
 

Bradypus

Moderator
Staff member
Camino(s) past & future
Too many and too often!
Those who do not like the rules for compostelas should consider not getting one.
I agree. I have no problem with their right to decide who should or should not receive a Compostela. Those rules do not define whether I am a pilgrim or not. My own understanding of "pilgrimage" is now so far removed from that of the cathedral authorities that for me personally the Compostela has become an irrelevance and I certainly do not intend to tailor my journeys simply to comply with their increasingly arbitrary rules.
 
Camino(s) past & future
2012-2018 Frances, Via de la Plata, Portugues Central and Seaside, Norte
Everybody is different, but I think it is possible to treasure both your camino experiences and a compostela. Actually, I am glad to have both.
Never meant to say it wasn't nice to have one, if it is possible, just saying the memories and the experience had a greater value to me. Everybody has their own value system.
 

gerip

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
CF, Lourdes to Burgos, Oct 2018
CF, Burgos to Santiago, May 2019
Ingles, Sep - Oct 2019
I understand your sentiment but I am also reminded of Matthew 20:1-16 and that brings it back home to me. Buen Camino
Also yesterday’s gospel; Luke 17, 5-10. There is no reason to expect a pat on the back for any of our accomplishments.
 
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DBride

Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances from Burgos April 2019
We are seeing a number of these reports, not just on this forum. I do think people need to be aware of the problem and give themselves a few extra days in Santiago, if getting the Compostela is important.
I just want to say the same things. I have two days extra in Santiago, because I was not sure when I would reach the final.
Wish you all the best and next time I'm sure you will be happier.
 

Ian @ Camino Ramblings

Camino Rambler - CaminoRamblings.com
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Francés - Sept 17 & July 18
Skikoku 88 Mar 19
Camino Portuge May 19
Camino Ingles Sept 19
Unfortunately you have left by now. Almost immediate to the Pilgrim Office the Church of Saint Francis has beautiful printed, dated, signed blessings for donation.
Thanks William – that’s a great idea!
 

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