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Pilgrim Office Status Report

Discussion in '"LIVE" from the camino' started by t2andreo, Aug 13, 2017 at 12:32 PM.

  1. t2andreo

    t2andreo Veteran Member Donating Member

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    Portuguese: 2015, 2017
    Voluntario: 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017
    I have been working here as a volunteer since 13 July. My last work day is this Tuesday, 15 August. I will return home (FL) on Thursday.

    Here is the current status of things at the P/O:

    Daily volumes - yesterday 12 AUG, we set the daily record for 2017 (to date) with 2,722 pilgrims processed for Compostelas. There are always additional pilgrims who are "solo sello" and only want a stamp, but not the Compostela, so they are not counted.

    On Friday, we had 2,695 pilgrims. Oddly, the Feast of Santiago, on 25 July, was down over prior years, likely because the Feast fell on a Tuesday this year. But the daily volume has beeen averaging about 1,700 since I arrived. This is well above last year's volume, as of this date.

    Weather- it is GLORIOUS! Sunny, blue skies, relatively low humidity, temperatures in the mid-70s (f), and it stays light enough to read until 22:00. I cannot remember the last rain or cloudy day.

    Credentials- the 'slick paper' credentials are long gone. Only this year's version, with more porous paper, are in circulation. That was an issue about this time last year.

    Tubos - Don't ask me how, but management 'found' 15,000 "old style" tubos in storage. These were the tubos with crimped edges. Some of you may recall my effort last August to rotate stock to get rid of them first. So, I just applied the same logic here as last summer. I have rotated stock and "pushed" the old style tubos to the front of the supply queue. Sooner or later, they will be gone...sometimes activity here at the 'battle front' is most like herding cats...

    Compostela confusion - a recent story by a reporter for a Tampa, FL newspaper followed the reporter's pilgrimage on the Camino Frances, all the way from St. Jean Pied de Port. The series was excellent and I read each installment with interest.

    Unfortunately, the final post / article carried a photo of the reporter's 'Compostela.' Instead of a photo of her Compostela, they printed and posted the Distance Certificate. The distance certificate costs €3,00 and is strictly optional. The Compostela is and has always been free.

    As a result, an INCORRECT presumption that we were now charging for Compostelas sort of went viral, for a time. I even received a shotgun e-mail from my local APOC chapter assuring me of the correct facts. However, I am unaware of a retraction or correction to the original published error.

    Volunteer lodging - From September the ACC has a new flat. This replaces the odious, noisy, poorly located flats on Avenida Rua de Republica de Argentina. It will take some months to do some needed improvements, renovations and redecorating. But, the flat should be available for next season.

    As an FYI, the new place occupies two floors of the old vicarage at the Convento de Santa Clara de Asis on Rua San Roque. It is further uphill from the Basilica de Santo Francesco. From the Pilgrim office it is a more or less straight line, but uphill.

    Mobile phone signal strength is very good as the building is atop a hill. I also saw antenna outlets for TV... who knows?

    The 'bones' of the place date to 1260 AD, seriously. You can check it out on Wikipedia. But the interior was renovated. I estimate it is now sporting 1970s stuff in the two cocinas and 3 1/2 baños... 3 with tubs and bidets. So additional updating is in order. They were installing a new washing machine when I visited.

    I think there were at least five bedrooms, with beds for ten people. The only issue I saw, beyond neeeded updates and redecorating, was that one really needs a map, at the risk of getting lost.

    The building literally resembles a castle or fort. There are lots of stone corridors that dead-end at the separation between the vicarage and convent proper. I DID ask for a diagram...

    If you see a photo of Convento Santa Clara de Asis, the Vicarage is at the southwest corner, at the main entry to the cloister and chapel. FYI, they have daily mass at 19:00 (todas días). The intersection would be Rua San Roque and Travesa de Santa Clara.

    The number 1, 5, and 6 buses stop out front. There is a Froiz supermercado 300 meters away on Rua Espititu Santo. A Caixa Bank and a Farmacia are located maybe 100 meters in the other direction, towards the Cathedral.

    Hope to see you there.
     
    Last edited: Aug 13, 2017 at 4:50 PM
    Sheesh, FamPed, donalomahony and 30 others like this.
  2. Kanga

    Kanga Moderator Staff Member Donating Member

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    Camino(s) past & future:
    Francés (2001, 2003, 2004, 2015 and 2016), Le Puy (2009, 2010), Arles (2011), Tours (2012), Norte (2015) VdlP (2017)
    @t2andreo my personal, very, very grateful thanks for your efforts - in the Pilgrims Office and also here on the forum, keeping us informed. I hope you have a thoroughly deep and good rest at home.
     
    FamPed, gerardcarey, JennyH94 and 2 others like this.
  3. SabineP

    SabineP Veteran Member Donating Member

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    Camino(s) past & future:
    some and then more.
    Yes when I read that blog entry I predicted that there would be some confusion when reaching the Oficina.
     
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  4. linkster

    linkster Active Member

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    Location:
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    Camino(s) past & future:
    CF: 05/17 (broken arm). 09/17 (planned SJDP to Santiago)
    It is very hot and humid at home. I hope you enjoy your time in Santiago.
     
    SEB likes this.
  5. t2andreo

    t2andreo Veteran Member Donating Member

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    THAT is one of the reasons I come here, and for a month each summer. Galicia in general, and Santiago de Compostela, specifically, are ideal 'reverse snowbird' destinations for folks who live in tropical areas, like South Florida, and who would like to live in one climate year round. In a nutshell, summer in Galicia is like winter in South Florida.
     
    Last edited: Aug 13, 2017 at 6:40 PM
  6. t2andreo

    t2andreo Veteran Member Donating Member

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    Voluntario: 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017
    Thank you very much. One of the reasons I have volunteered at the Pilgrim Office for four straight years, and why I will return as long as my health holds and they invite me, is simply to give back. It is my way of saying thank you to the Camino, writ large, for all it has given me.

    Part of this paying back is also to provide relevant, detailed, accurate information to this forum whenever I can.

    I freely admit when I am wrong, and always apologize if I cause offense.
    Overall, my experience both as a veteran member of this forum, pilgrim, and repeat volunteer continues to be very positive.

    The time I spend trying to help others on this forum, actually doing Camino, and volunteering, are literally the high points of my life in retirement. I plan to continue as many of these activities as long as I am able.

    Thank you again for your very kind words.
     
    FamPed, kirkie, caminka and 16 others like this.
  7. Felipe

    Felipe Veteran Member

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    My congrats. I'd very like to see some pictures of the interior of this old building.
    Btw, there is a nice little bar/restaurants on the way to/from the Bureau, the Bodeguita de San Roque, favored by families and local pèople, at San Roque and Praza das Penas.:D
     
    t2andreo likes this.
  8. Sailor

    Sailor Miembro Novato

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    CF Sep-Oct 2017
    Interesting information, note, I have two sets:

    (1) One made out of solid paper with no individual spots for sellos/dates [good material], received from Ivar about two weeks ago.
    (2) One with eight spots for sellos/dates per page, this one is too soft [were they made out of recycled paper?], when I wrote my personal information the pen actually punctured the paper [this set was received from Ivar about two years ago].
    -- And hopefully both versions are still accepted at the Pilgrim Office.

    For Mister Tom, thanks for all you do, y que la luz de Dios alumbre su camino.
     
    SEB likes this.
  9. nycwalking

    nycwalking Veteran Member

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    Los Angeles for now. Next?
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    @t2andreo,
    Thank you for volunteering and posting.
    Buen camino to you always.
     
    FamPed and SEB like this.
  10. ELHS220

    ELHS220 Member

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    How exactly does one get to volunteer at the Pilgrim Office in Santiago? I've done the Camino twice (2015 and 2017) and on each occasion I ran out of time and was unable to do the Santiago-Finisterre-Muxia-Santiago Route. I am thinking it would be great to go back for the sole purpose of doing this route and spend a month, either before or after, as a volunteer in the PO.
     
  11. Saint Mike II

    Saint Mike II Vetran Member Donating Member

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    cycled from Pamplona Sep 2015;Frances, walked from St Jean 2017.
    Great question - I had exactly the same "problem" when I arrived in Santiago back in June. Aiming to walk the Porto next (2019) and will definitely include Finisterra/Muxia - then Santiago.

    Really interested in volunteering at P. O. say for 2 weeks, but maybe longer if that is the preferred time. Cheers
     
  12. Bradypus

    Bradypus Antediluvian

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    Too many and too often!
    SEB likes this.
  13. Trude

    Trude Member

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    Camino(s) past & future:
    Camino Francais 2013 Finnestere, Muxia 2013, 2017
    Norte 2014, Francais, 2015, 2016, VDLP 2017

    Thank you!
     
    t2andreo likes this.
  14. t2andreo

    t2andreo Veteran Member Donating Member

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    To answer those who are interested in becoming Pilgrim Office volunteers / voluntarios, here is the procedure:

    1. Write an e-mail to Sra. Montse Díaz at:

    info@acogidacristianaenelcamino.es

    The message must be in Spanish. Introduce yourself. Indicate how many and which Caminos you have done, and when.

    2. Explain your level of Spanish spoken. Mine is basic, but I can communicate.

    3. Offer your services as a voluntario for a period of not less than two weeks. The cycle is from 1 - 15 of the month, and 16 - 31/30 of each month. Schedules start on Mondays.

    The 'season' starts at Easter and runs through the end of September. The peak season is about 15 June - 15 September. That is when voluntarios are most needed.

    The weather in Santiago during June - September is equivalent to the winter months in South Florida where I live. That is to say DELIGHTFUL! That is one big reason I come to help when I do. But I would come anyway, and will as often as they invite me back.

    You pay to get here and back, and to feed yourself. The volunteer coordinating group ACC (Acogida Cristiana en el Camino) provides lodging.

    Hope to see you here next summer.
     
    Last edited: Aug 14, 2017 at 4:15 PM
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  15. t2andreo

    t2andreo Veteran Member Donating Member

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    I wrote a general reply with the procedure above. I hope this helps.
     
    Last edited: Aug 16, 2017 at 2:56 PM
  16. t2andreo

    t2andreo Veteran Member Donating Member

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    As if on cue, here are some comparative numbers I obtained today at the office. They are snapshots of year-to-date pilgrims processed for Compostelas from 01 January through today, 14 August over the past five years.

    Annual Comparison (UPDATED)
    2017 186,471 (as of COB on 14/08)
    2016 171,697
    2015 162,705
    2014 145,752
    2013 133,461

    I have not analyzed these numbers. They are just raw totals. I do not have the demographic values.

    What these snapshots DO provide is a sense of the growth in the Camino over the past five years.

    Remember, these ARE NOT annual totals. They are year-to-date direct comparisons using the same date.

    The number for 2017 is UPDATED through close-of-business (COB) Monday, 14/08. So, it is accurate.

    Of course, tomorrow is 15 August, the Catholic Feast of the Assumption of the Virgin Mary. It is also a national holiday in Spain. That could easily explain this spike.

    Tomorrow should be an interesting day. I hope this helps.
     
    Last edited: Aug 15, 2017 at 11:39 AM
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  17. Burnergirl

    Burnergirl New Member

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    Twice did the first parts of the route from St. Jean Pied de Port.

    Do you know approximately how many arrived in early May?
     
  18. Bradypus

    Bradypus Antediluvian

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    Too many and too often!
    The total for May this year was 35,345. You can find a breakdown of all sorts of statistics by month or year on the Pilgrim Office website but I don't think it offers individual daily figures.
    https://oficinadelperegrino.com/en/statistics/
     
  19. Burnergirl

    Burnergirl New Member

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    Twice did the first parts of the route from St. Jean Pied de Port.
    Thank you so much! So it's a quieter time to arrive then...
     
  20. t2andreo

    t2andreo Veteran Member Donating Member

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    Sorry to disappoint, but my duties here do not include regular computer work, so my access is limited.

    In this case, a staffer left their screen unlocked and, well, being an intelligence analyst by training, I found what I needed quickly.

    I recommend you access the Pilgrim Office web site and drill down to the statistics page. As others correctly point out, there is all sorts of interesting information there.

    I hope this helps.
     
  21. ELHS220

    ELHS220 Member

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    Thank you for this. E-mail written and sent.
     
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