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On getting a compostela

Kiwi-family

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Past: (2012, 2014, 2015, 2016)
Future (God-willing): Madrid, Salvador, Primitivo (2018)
#1
This topic has been discussed ad Infinitum, but I thought I’d add our experience to the mix.
The previous four times we have queued, handed over our handmade credentials with a stamp for every day walked and received a compostela.

Yesterday our group of five approached the five volunteers in the pilgrims office - one each, no queue! Four of them set to work while the fifth had to pop out for a moment. “My” guy gushed over my interesting and unique handmade credential, issued my compostela and I thought I was done. But then Number Five came back and demanded of my husband. “Where did you get this? It’s not official. And why do you not have two stamps every day in the last 100km?”
This prompted the other four to also inform the rest of us that in future we need an official credential and no matter how far you walk, you have to get two stamps a day in the last 100. We apologised and explained on our four previous Caminos we had only ever got one stamp and no one had ever asked for more - we had thought the two stamp rule was only if you only walk 100 - the kids copied my “Thanks for telling us, we’ll know for next time” and we four were handed compostelas.
It seemed four of the volunteers were looking at whether we had actually walked, and the other was a Rule Enforcer. Outcome was the same, but one approach felt so much more grace-filled than the other!
Number Five Volunteer stated the cathedral rule again to my husband, and then gave him a compostela too. 032BB73F-C345-48FE-9DE9-9F5E0C11F1C8.jpeg 43979009-3A10-436A-A794-4A53CB189D0F.jpeg
 
Last edited:

donalomahony

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
"Camino Frances" 2013, "Burgos to Leon," February 2014 - "Frances" June '14
#2
Congratulations! Really enjoying your blog!!

We increasing live in an era of compliance with advantages and disadvantages.

The 2 stamp rule for last 100 k was around when I did my first Camino in 2013.

Having an official Credential, as such, is news to me, though I know the Cathedral does not want "tour group" ones. Hardly your circumstances!!!

Have a lovely day in Santiago. How is the weather?
 
Camino(s) past & future
C/F: 2013, 2014
C/M: 2016
C/P: 2015, 2017
C/I: 2018
Voluntario: 2014 to 2018
#3
Human nature is...well...human nature. There is one officious person in every group. Someone likely took their training very literally.

It IS true that there are 'officially approved' credencials and non-approved credencials. This was done a couple of years ago to stop tour agencies and commercial establishments from issuing non-standard credencials that had to be interpreted by the staff. Now, any credential issued by one of the national pilgrim associations is approved.

This includes sources like Ivar, who obtains his credencials in bulk from the Pilgrim Office. It does not include commercial or souvenir credencials sold away from the pilgrim associations.

The two-stamp daily rule during the final 100 km exists. However, in my experience is invoked mostly for short-walkers, usually from Tui or Sarria, etc. If you walked farther and have at least one stamp daily to prove that, staff usually does not invoke the rule.

That is why I suggested that someone took their training too literally. Long-walkers usually have a more seasoned and worn out look than those walking only five days or so.

If anyone has this happen to them, simply ask to speak to "el jefe" or "la jefa," the person in charge. They all speak good English. These paid-staff have seen it all. They will handle the situation professionally and fast.

With a volunteer, myself included, they get what they pay for... Experience and judgment will vary...

Hope this helps.
 
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Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances (2015); Camino Norte/Primitivo (2016); Camino Frances (2017); Le Puy (June 2018)
#5
I absolutely love your homemade credentials, kiwi, but I do recall reading on this forum that the rules had changed a couple of years ago and that only "official" credentials (whatever that meant) are valid. @t2andreo has given us the best information on what that means. Useful info for obtaining future compostelas.
 

Kiwi-family

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Past: (2012, 2014, 2015, 2016)
Future (God-willing): Madrid, Salvador, Primitivo (2018)
#6
I absolutely love your homemade credentials, kiwi, but I do recall reading on this forum that the rules had changed a couple of years ago and that only "official" credentials (whatever that meant) are valid. @t2andreo has given us the best information on what that means. Useful info for obtaining future compostelas.
Exactly! I was aware that in the past I had told people I had no trouble getting a compostela with my homemade credentials, and because it has changed I thought it fair to update the situation. I bought one from Ivar today to be ready for next time;-)
 
#7
Thanks for letting us know about your experience.

I was questioned specifically about 2 stamps per day as well - I had the 2 stamps and the person at the Pilgrims Office counted to make sure. I took a rest day in between Sarria and Santiago, so I guess initially it didn't look right because of the missing date. My husband, who had the same stamps as I did, and the same rest day, got his compostela at the same time, but from another person at the office who didn't ask him anything about his stamps. So it definitely depends who you end up with when you get to the counter.

And yes, you are absolutely right - the outcome is the same, but one approach does feel so much more grace filled.
 

Jeff Crawley

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Contemplating yet another "final" camino
Porto to SdC May 2019
#8
I love your creativity but . . . if you're going to play the game you should abide by the rules. I noticed some clerks were very strict while others were a lot more easy going - one day we had two elderly ladies with sticks and dark glasses guided to the desk. They could barely walk across the room but had stamps (2 per day, every day) proving they'd walked from Sarria - now am I going to refuse to issue a Compostela to a half blind, 72 year old woman who has a problem walking or what?

I was told if I had concerns to pass the problem on to a responsible adult ;) but sometimes it just takes a look and you know that somebody has dragged their butt over 800kms!

If you look at the "official" Credential it says on every page "In the boxes you must include the locality stamp (AT LEAST TWO PER DAY) with the date, to prove it."

1540928054445.jpeg

So it's not just over the last 100kms that you ought be collecting 2 sellos on, it's the whole way. You must have them over the last 100kms for your Compostela.

And on this page

1540928291989.jpeg

Point 3 says, more or less:

The Credential of the Pilgrim, therefore, can only be issued by the church through its own institutions (Bishopric, Parish, Brotherhood, etc.) or authorized (Federation of Associations, Association of Friends of the Way of St. James, etc.) Only then can he (the pilgrim) be granted the << Compostela >> in the SAMI Catederal de Santiago (Conferences in the Holy Year: November 1993)

And Point 6 "The holder of this Credential accepts these conditions"
 
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances (2012, 2014, 2015, 2016). Seville-Astorga (Mar 2017). Mozarabe (Apr-May 2018)
#10
This is a good update to be flagged for the next time (and there will be a next time 😒) we have the debate here on the forum about whether one really needs to get 2 stamps per day on the last 100 km. One hundred people chime in to say "I didn't" or "only if you are walking just 100 km." Others persistently quote the rules on the cathedral website..

Your handmade credentials are beautiful, and I hope you continue to carry and enjoy them as well.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Francés ('14/'15)
St Olav/Francés ('16)
Baztanés/Francés ('17)
Ingles ('18)
#11
Your handmade credentials are beautiful, and I hope you continue to carry and enjoy them as well.
What Claire said, Rachel.
Maybe you can use the 'official' credencial as part of your next creation so you have the best of both worlds?
(PS when you get home it will be well and truely be spring...I am enjoying it for you now, as you are enjoying Santiago for all of us... :):):))
 
Camino(s) past & future
2016
1st Primitivo 2018
#13
Congratulations kiwi I’ve also enjoyed reading your updates. Your handmade cred is v clever and so beautifully personal. Lovely. Do you remember getting your first one... I just picked my first one up this morning. So excited, I’ve checked the stamp out about ten times already, as if it’s going to slip off the page if I don’t keep looking at it. 😃 hope the rest of your trip is relaxing. Enjoy 991992EA-18E9-4875-BC8F-BF3C8032F1D3.jpeg
 

Kiwi-family

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Past: (2012, 2014, 2015, 2016)
Future (God-willing): Madrid, Salvador, Primitivo (2018)
#14
Congratulations kiwi I’ve also enjoyed reading your updates. Your handmade cred is v clever and so beautifully personal. Lovely. Do you remember getting your first one... I just picked my first one up this morning. So excited, I’ve checked the stamp out about ten times already, as if it’s going to slip off the page if I don’t keep looking at it. 😃 hope the rest of your trip is relaxing. Enjoy View attachment 48349
Do I remember my first one? Sure do - I’ve made them all and when you create something I think you have more connection with it - but having said that, you sound pretty smitten with yours!! The expectation is intoxicating!
 
Camino(s) past & future
SJPDP-Finisterre X 2, El Norte incompleto
#15
Congratulations kiwi I’ve also enjoyed reading your updates. Your handmade cred is v clever and so beautifully personal. Lovely. Do you remember getting your first one... I just picked my first one up this morning. So excited, I’ve checked the stamp out about ten times already, as if it’s going to slip off the page if I don’t keep looking at it. 😃 hope the rest of your trip is relaxing. Enjoy View attachment 48349
Ooh, the Irish credential is pretty! And I like the plastic sleeve too. Did it come with it?
 
Camino(s) past & future
Camino France's (2016) Portuguese 2017
#17
This topic has been discussed ad Infinitum, but I thought I’d add our experience to the mix.
The previous four times we have queued, handed over our handmade credentials with a stamp for every day walked and received a compostela.

Yesterday our group of five approached the five volunteers in the pilgrims office - one each, no queue! Four of them set to work while the fifth had to pop out for a moment. “My” guy gushed over my interesting and unique handmade credential, issued my compostela and I thought I was done. But then Number Five came back and demanded of my husband. “Where did you get this? It’s not official. And why do you not have two stamps every day in the last 100km?”
This prompted the other four to also inform the rest of us that in future we need an official credential and no matter how far you walk, you have to get two stamps a day in the last 100. We apologised and explained on our four previous Caminos we had only ever got one stamp and no one had ever asked for more - we had thought the two stamp rule was only if you only walk 100 - the kids copied my “Thanks for telling us, we’ll know for next time” and we four were handed compostelas.
It seemed four of the volunteers were looking at whether we had actually walked, and the other was a Rule Enforcer. Outcome was the same, but one approach felt so much more grace-filled than the other!
Number Five Volunteer stated the cathedral rule again to my husband, and then gave him a compostela too. View attachment 48230 View attachment 48231
I guess it depends on how much you want another Compostela. I finished my third Camino last week and although my first Compostela was important I saw no reason to get more. The walk was the important thing not the paper.
 

Sharonn

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances 2015
Camino Portugues 2017
#18
I guess it depends on how much you want another Compostela. I finished my third Camino last week and although my first Compostela was important I saw no reason to get more. The walk was the important thing not the paper.
Do most pilgrims get their last stamp in Santiago or in the previous village?
 

Sharonn

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances 2015
Camino Portugues 2017
#20
The last stamp is usually the one from the pilgrim office. Which is in Santiago. Slightly confusing that there is also an albergue called "The Last Stamp" :)
So no need for 2 stamps in Santiago?
 

Bradypus

Antediluvian
Camino(s) past & future
Too many and too often!
#21
So no need for 2 stamps in Santiago?
If you arrive too late in the day to visit the pilgrim office then your albergue or hotel or a local bar will give you a sello. The pilgrim office are not usually fussy about having two stamps if you spent the night within a couple of hours walking of their office.
 
Camino(s) past & future
C/F: 2013, 2014
C/M: 2016
C/P: 2015, 2017
C/I: 2018
Voluntario: 2014 to 2018
#23
On your last day, the rules state (technically) that you are supposed to obtain your two daily sellos, the two required during the last 100 km, BEFORE you enter Santiago.

In my experience, they mean before you actually enter the old town. So, there are opportunities to get the two sellos on the way.

I usually get one of mine in a cafe, and get another at my reserved accommodation in the old town on arrival. Never had a problem.

Hope this helps.
 

Kiwi-family

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Past: (2012, 2014, 2015, 2016)
Future (God-willing): Madrid, Salvador, Primitivo (2018)
#24
As I was planting vegetable seedlings in the garden today - about as far as you can get from perambulatory Camino activity - I decided I won’t be getting any more compostelas....but I’ll keep making my own credentials - they are what I like to look at occasionally and hold more meaning for me than the certificate.
I’m glad to have the notebook one for the Frances from Ivar because it holds the promise of maybe one day getting to do that quintessential route on the spur of the moment, but any other routes and I’ll craft my own.
 

Sharonn

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances 2015
Camino Portugues 2017
#25
Does Monte del Gozo count as one sello for Santiago? We prefer to go to the pilgrim office first before going to our accommodation. Getting a sello in Santiago on the way to the cathedral wasn't easy although the official at pilgrim office probably wouldn't have minded if I didn't have one.
 

Peter Fransiscus

Do good and good will come to you.
Camino(s) past & future
All that we are is the result of what we have thought.
#26
Does Monte del Gozo count as one sello for Santiago? We prefer to go to the pilgrim office first before going to our accommodation. Getting a sello in Santiago on the way to the cathedral wasn't easy although the official at pilgrim office probably wouldn't have minded if I didn't have one.
Hi , you need two sello's a day at the last 100km. and where you get them is your choice.
Buen Camino , Peter .
 

Sharonn

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances 2015
Camino Portugues 2017
#28
Thanks! So Monte de Gozo then Pilgrims office should suffice for the last day's 2 sellos.
 

JabbaPapa

"True Pilgrim"
Camino(s) past & future
100 characters or fewer : see signature details
#29
IF you want to use an "unofficial" Credencial, made perhaps by yourself, then my core advice would be to get it certified by means of a handwritten blessing from the parish priest of your home Catholic Parish, as part and parcel in the pages of that document.

Also, given the current crackdown on some practices that emerged of some companies creating some fancy documents for mere purposes of irreligious profit, incompatible in essence with what a credencial is in the first place, people really should realise that if you don't use an official model or otherwise don't provide your own Catholic Parish approved self-made one, then you should not be surprised if the Cathedral should decline your request to be given the Compostelana Church document.

It remains possible to make your own credencial, BUT what has changed is that home-made ones simply need to be validated by the proper Ecclesial Authority where you reside. Such are the conditions provided in a recent decree by the Archbishop of Santiago.

Worked for me anyway back in 1994, and for my Rome Way in 2000.
 

JabbaPapa

"True Pilgrim"
Camino(s) past & future
100 characters or fewer : see signature details
#30
I guess it depends on how much you want another Compostela. I finished my third Camino last week and although my first Compostela was important I saw no reason to get more. The walk was the important thing not the paper.
Since the 2005, my habit has been to glue my Compostela certificate into my Credencial, and undoubtedly I'll do the exact same thing in 2019.

But then, since the 2005, I've always spent some time walking back towards France on the Francès -- walked with a new friend to Ponferrada on the 2005, and had a couple of lovely days alone on the meseta on the 2014.

Your Compostela is a vital document for any manner of walking homeward back from Santiago, even though most hospitaleros will systematically claim the opposite. On the journey home, a credencial + compostela can open some doors that a credencial alone cannot.
 

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