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Queue for Compostela

Lucy Keenan

Active Member
Year of past OR future Camino
2016 Northern Route, 2017 Santiago to Muxia and Fisterra. 2018 Frances, 2018 Ingles, 2019 Portugues
When is the best time to queue for the compostela? I will be on santiago tomorrow 13th September and the day after 14th September
 
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Peter Fransiscus

Be a Rainbow in someone else's cloud.
Year of past OR future Camino
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When is the best time to queue for the compostela? I will be on santiago tomorrow 13th September and the day after 14th September
Hi Lucy, last year I arrived at noon at the square before the Kathedral. The Pilgrim mass was just started so I went to Pilgrim office. I got my Compostela in about 15 minutes.
Wish you well, Peter.
 

Felipe

Veteran Member
There are some members forums that have been volunteering in the PB. I am sure they will have the best opinion, but...I think a lot of pilgrims want their Compostela right away after arriving; I saw many still with their backpacks. Assuming they have done a last stage, they will be arriving after noon. So, if posible, go in the morning. I went around 10 AM in early October; I was there half an hour. I came back in the afternoon, just to see if there was somebody known (actually I met some), and the queue started (in the old Casa del Deán) in the street.
I guess lunch hour (between 12 and 2) would be a good time, also.
I add that is is not a standard, boring queue. There are some unexpected meetings with people you knew in some moments of the Camino but after some days disappeared; some emotional farewells; pilgrims who look lost in memories, others who seem restraining strong emotions. But yes, I suppose that after an hour or so, you want to move to other things.
 
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november_moon

Veteran Member
We arrived at the cathedral in Santiago at exactly noon, which was very cool. I guess it was around 12:30 or 1 when we went to the pilgrim's office. There were probably 15-20 people in line, and the line went fast.
 

Kiwi-family

Veteran Member
Year of past OR future Camino
Past: (2012, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2018)-Frances, Baztan, San Salvador, Primitivo, Fisterra,VdlP, Madrid
Our quickest time was to go the day after arriving - first thing in the morning. Then off for churros and chocolate. Then midday mass - and it's always satisfying for the kids to hear "themselves" being called out in the list of peregrinos. They have missed that when we've been in the queue at 11am.
 

KinkyOne

Veteran Member
Year of past OR future Camino
I'am not perfect, but I'm always myself!!!
I don't collect my compostelas anymore (one is enough) but as I remember from previous posts on the topic the best time is either early in the morning before pilgrims from Monte do Gozo come or when the masses at the cathedral are held.
 

t2andreo

Veteran Member
Year of past OR future Camino
2022
There are two peak arrival surges each day at the Pilgrim Office. The first daily surge is from 10:00 until about 11:30. The second surge is from about 1:15 (directly after the noon Pilgrim Mass lets out) until the resulting longer queue is processed. However the size of these surges is relative to the time of year.

Generally, there is a surge of arriving pilgrims each morning about 10:00 - 11:00 as newly arriving pilgrims in Santiago proceed directly to the Pilgrim Office, assuming they can easily obtain their Compostelas, find a place to consign their rucksacks (as rucksacks are NOT permitted in the Cathedral for obvious security reasons), and make it to that days' noon Pilgrim Mass.

This MAY be possible in the off-season, before or after the period between the end of September and Easter. Once Easter arrives, the peak pilgrim arrival season begins. Each day, until the end of the following September, the "easy-peasy" process no longer applies. Each day gets busier and busier, with a spike coming once schools are out for the summer holidays across Europe.

The annual surge does not begin to abate until after the Festa de Santiago on 25 July, and the customary August holiday season for many European residents. Only once the schools are all back in session in September, do the daily volumes fall into the off-season pattern.

Walking into Santiago, proceeding to the Pilgrim Office, consigning one's bag and attending that day's Pilgrim Mass is generally NOT readily doable if you arrive at the Pilgrim Office after about 09:30 during the peak season. That was the fact during July and August when I worked there this summer, and last summer, and the summer before that...

This year, I actually had pilgrims get angry because they could not walk in from Lavacolla arrive at 11:00, obtain their Compostelas, consign their bags, attend the 12:00 Mass, see the Botafumeiro, AND then make their 14:00 bus departing Santiago. These folks thought it was somehow, MY fault, or the fault of the 13 workers and volunteers working assiduously to process as many Compostelas as humanly possible.

Once the noon Mass is over there is a second, literal wave of pilgrims descending on the Pilgrim Office. One can actually watch them "roll" down Rua das Carretas towards the Pilgrim Office. One of my lesser functions each day was to walk into the processing office and alert the staff that the post-Mass wave was clearly coming down the street.

"All-hands" were summoned from breaks, lunch, or collateral duty to return to Compostela processing. Additional volunteers were requested from logical seminaries. These folks take this job VERY seriously. Without the added volunteers, the daily lines would have been many hours long.

My advice to all pilgrims arriving at any time of year, is to allow adequate time for what your priorities are. The Pilgrim Office has long hours, seven days a week, 363 days per year. The are closed ONLY on Christmas Day and New Years Day. I advise taking care of your personal arrival ritual at the Cathedral FIRST. Consign your rucksack somewhere for the day, get to the Cathedral, attend the noon Pilgrim Mass. After the Mass, check into your lodgings, store your rucksack, have lunch. There is plenty of time to get to the Pilgrim Office when there are short to nil lines.

Even during the busiest days this past summer, each day about 5:30 - 7:30 each evening, there was usually virtually no line. Even if there was a short line, a pilgrim could be in and out in 15 - 20 minutes.

Knowing the office closes at a certain announced time. there is a final, end of day surge of pilgrims trying to obtain their Compostelas before the office closes. Security personnel will close the outer access doors and gate 30 minutes before closing time. All pilgrims inside when this happens WILL BE PROCESSED.

The biggest problem is unrealistic expectations among arriving pilgrims. I always advise taking care of everything EXCEPT the Compostela on your arrival day. The Pilgrim Office has been there for years, is not going away, and the supply of blank Compostelas will surely not run out. Come to the Pilgrim Office early the following morning, before the "10:00 crowd" walks into town. You will be in and out surprisingly fast.

I hope this helps.
 
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SYates

Camino Fossil AD 1999, now living in Santiago de C
Year of past OR future Camino
First: Camino Francés 1999
...
Last: Santiago - Muxia 2019

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... I advise taking care of your personal arrival ritual at the Cathedral FIRST. Consign your rucksack somewhere for the day, get to the Cathedral, attend the noon Pilgrim Mass. After the Mass, check into your lodgings, store your rucksack, have lunch. There is plenty of time to get to the Pilgrim Office when there are short to nil lines. ...

All excellent, as always, advice from @t2andreo , I just have an additional suggestion and a question:

If you book your lodgings in SdC beforehand, you can drop your luggage there and go directly to the cathedral. That saves you the time to queue for the consigna.

Is it correct that the 'names' of pilgrims that have arrived that day (f.e. Today have arrived: three pilgrims from Canada that started in SJPdP, etc.) and that are read at the pilgrims mass are organised like this: Those that were processed before ~11:00 are read at the noon mass and those after are read at the evening mass? I always wondered about that ...

Buen Camino, SY
 

t2andreo

Veteran Member
Year of past OR future Camino
2022
As always, Johnnie Walker is correct. Some years ago, when the daily volumes got simply too long, reading the actual names of arriving pilgrims was truncated by necessity. The current scheme is to read the number of pilgrims of what nationality started from what place.

The alternative would have been a reading of sometimes over 2,000 names daily. Seriously, do YOU want to sit through a Mass that is THAT long? I do not...;)

For example: "Today 587 pilgrims started from Sarria; including 298 from Spain, 37 from France...etc...; 78 pilgrims started from St. Jean Pied de Port; including... and so forth."

So, rushing to get there to hear your name read out loud is a wasted effort. Although I have not yet attended in the really off, off season, like over the winter, I suppose it is possible that on days when only a few dozen pilgrims arrive, in the dead of winter, they MIGHT read all the names. But that is just supposition on my part.

I hope this helps.
 

SYates

Camino Fossil AD 1999, now living in Santiago de C
Year of past OR future Camino
First: Camino Francés 1999
...
Last: Santiago - Muxia 2019

Now: http://egeria.house/
You may live in hope Tom but names are Never read out - and I'm not sure they ever were!

I am pretty sure ours were, but only the first names and nationality and starting point, but that was in the depth of winter 1999, practically Jurassic times ;-) Buen Camino, SY
 
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Early evening worked for me. I thought I would mention that even though the line was still relatively long (maybe 45 minutes wait), it kind of flew by. As it turns out, there were maybe 10-20 people that I had walked all or a portion of the Camino or had had a meal with. It was a last chance to finish a discussion, just talk about a memorable part of the walk, or just shake a hand or give a hug to someone who you may never see again but probably will never forget. The queue for the compostela has it's high points as well.
 

Lucy Keenan

Active Member
Year of past OR future Camino
2016 Northern Route, 2017 Santiago to Muxia and Fisterra. 2018 Frances, 2018 Ingles, 2019 Portugues
Last week we went at about 9 am and walked right to the person issuing the Compostela. Zero line. Later in the day it was hours long.
Hi
I eventually went when pilgrims mass was on and there was no queue at all. I was lucky as I has 2 days in Santiago.
 

Lell

New Member
Year of past OR future Camino
August 2016
We queued when we arrived in Santiago at the end of August about 3pm and waited about an hour. I returned a couple of days later to request a distance certificate at about 7pm and there was no queue whatsoever.
 
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