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Pilgrims office in Santiago.

Lynn McCoy

New Member
Year of past OR future Camino
St. Jean Pied de Port to Logroño in 2015.
Logroño to Castrojeriz in 2016.
Complete to Santiago in 2017 & 2018
We return to the Camino in 2 weeks to complete it. Cant wait. Over the last 3 years, my wife and I have walked from SJPP to Rabanal del Camino. We hope to arrive in Santiago on 12 de junio. Any tips from peregrinos about the Pilgrims Office there? Best time to go? Are there long lines? Etc.?Gracias.
 
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Year of past OR future Camino
CF 2006,08,09,11,12(2),13(2),14,16(2),18(2) Aragones 11,12,VDLP 11,13,Lourdes 12,Malaga 16,Port 06
We return to the Camino in 2 weeks to complete it. Cant wait. Over the last 3 years, my wife and I have walked from SJPP to Rabanal del Camino. We hope to arrive in Santiago on 12 de junio. Any tips from peregrinos about the Pilgrims Office there? Best time to go? Are there long lines? Etc.?Gracias.

I PM'd you
 

Peter Fransiscus

Be a Rainbow in someone else's cloud.
Year of past OR future Camino
All that we are is the result of what we have thought.
The last week of my stay as a volunteer in the Huiskamer there where already about 80 till 100 Pilgrims waiting before opening at 08,00am.

The waiting time was about 1,5 till 2,0 hours true the day and when its busy during the day its busy in the early morning .
 

SabineP

Camino = Gratitude + Compassion.
Year of past OR future Camino
some and then more. see my signature.
The last week of my stay as a volunteer in the Huiskamer there where already about 80 till 100 Pilgrims waiting before opening at 08,00am.

The waiting time was about 1,5 till 2,0 hours true the day and when its busy during the day its busy in the early morning .

The busy season certainly started! Seems I had luck walking after the Semana Santa week then.
 
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t2andreo

Veteran Member
Year of past OR future Camino
2022
Yes, the season is underway in earnest. The average daily volume is presently hovering around 1,000. But by mid-June it will likely exceed 2,000 daily. By the time I arrive in mid-July, I assess it will be averaging about 3,000 pilgrims daily. The Feast of Santiago is 25 July and is the busiest time of the year. The monthly volumes are running ahead of this time last year, and are on track to smash last year's 303k total.

And these volumes include only the pilgrims who opt to queue to obtain a Compostela. It does NOT include pilgrims who only want a sello to close out their credencial and prove they got that far. It does NOT include pilgrims like me, who sometimes do a Camino, but, having multiple compostelas, shun the queue. The credencial is evidence enough of the places we have been.

This said, in my direct observation, the pilgrim office has three daily "surge" periods, when arriving pilgrims overwhelm available processing resources.

The first are "the lurkers" who ambush the staff at the 08:00 opening, as Peter mentioned above. One hundred folks showing up at the same time creates an immediate 30 minute wait for anyone following.

The second surge is at about 10:15 as hundreds of newly arriving pilgrims to Santiago presume they can queue, obtain their compostelas, make the noon Pilgrim Mass, and then get out of town on an afternoon bus or plane. WRONG!

The third daily surge is after the noon Pilgrim Mass. Those pilgrims who thought they would outsmart everyone else are, in turn, outsmarted by their fellows. Immediately following the Mass, there is a surge of several hundred pilgrims, coming from the Cathedral in one rush.

The residual from the second wave, and this third wave, typically mean waiting lines from about 13:00 through 16:00 in excess of two-hours daily. Depending on staff availability, the wait could hit three hours. This is unavoidable given that processing is largely finite and static. It is a basic queue management theory problem.

In my, now five-years running experience working at the pilgrim office, I advise people to come:
(1) after breakfast...at about 09:00;
(2) at about 12:00 when many pilgrims are at the Mass;
(3) at about 17:00, to follow the afternoon crush and melee; OR
(4) at about 19:00. People seem to be thinking more about eating and drinking by this time and typically there is less than a 30-minute wait, and sometimes you can walk in directly...go figure...

Note: during the season, the office is open until 21:00. The security guards will try to close the outer doors about 20:15 - 20:30 so that all people inside the facility will be processed before the staff goes home for the evening.

The staff leaves at 21:00. There is no provision for paying overtime. So, they must get the work done before 21:00 (9:00 pm). The only way to manage this is to shut the doors early to capture enough people inside to finish on time.

Consider that the pilgrim office staff have families too, and need to get home to their dinner, albeit later than most of us are used to. Fair is fair.

Practically speaking, this is NEVER a problem. The only time an issue arises is when one or more drunken pilgrims, who waited until the last minute, assault the outer door at 8:45 pm, demanding to be let in, as they have a first thing in the morning bus, train or plane. If the staff have completed processing all other waiting pilgrims they will generally permit these laggards in. However, one's failure to plan ahead and allow enough time, does NOT connote an emergency to the Pilgrim Office. Rarely, but on occasion, pilgrims are turned away and told to return tomorrow.

Hope this helps.
 
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