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Taking a number in Santiago.

t2andreo

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
C/F: 2013, 2014
C/M: 2016
C/P: 2015, 2017
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Hi, I worked there just for one day last week as I had a spare day when I finished my camino. When sitting behind the desks and writing the Compostelas, the process really hasn’t changed that much. You “call” the next number and wait for the pilgrim to appear. Do check that they have come to the right desk i.e. their ticket number should match what you can see on the screen. Then you just proceed as before really.

What struck me last week was the number of “no shows” - I had at least 10 on a 6 hour shift. (How long to wait for a pilgrim to appear after calling their number????I generally gave it 60 seconds which apparently was very generous - I was told 30 seconds)

The input screens have changed ever so slightly but you will quickly get used to that. What was interesting to me was that now I have a counter for how long I’ve spent on each pilgrim. That day it varied between 3 and 6 minutes.

“No shows” have been a problem since the first day they turned the QR ticket kiosks on. That is why management adopted a “no excuses, no exceptions” policy.

To wit: If you do not appear when called to the counter, your number is canceled and you must go back to the kiosk and begin the process again.

You MUST pay attention! If you choose to leave the waiting area and the pilgrim office campus, you MUST use the automated capability to check the status of the queue remotely over the internet.

It is simply not fair to all the other waiting pilgrims to miss your turn, then just swan in when it is convenient for you.

For what it is worth, I am opposed to this system precisely for the “no show” reason. It is disruptive and creates unrealistic expectations.

We’re I king (LOL) I would develop and deploy the automated express system as I discuss above. I would eliminate the current QR code ticket for any pilgrim choosing to do things the old-fashioned way.

In my paradigm, you would either provide data in advance and circumvent the entire queue process, OR stand in a queue, the way things have been done for decades.
 
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NorthernLight

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Le Puy to Santiago via the Frances 2012-2013. EPW2015
Aragonese & Frances 2016
Burgos to Muxia 2017
What's to stop the friend who stands in line for a ticket, and takes 10 for his pilgrim friends who are still in bed or due to arrive later that day?

If someone were enterprising, they could offer a ticket getting service. Those due to arrive later in the day could call ahead and Someone goes to the kiosk for them; if they just show up around 10 or 11 (as an example) the number will be high and unlikely to be called before late afternoon. Pilgrim arrives and collects his ticket.

All kinds of ways to abuse and scam the system.
 

t2andreo

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
C/F: 2013, 2014
C/M: 2016
C/P: 2015, 2017
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Voluntario: 2014 - 2019
When I was with a group last time, they asked if we started at the same place on the same date, to confirm we were a group, so no gaming the system that way. Can just one from the group come with all of the credentials?

Frequently, only the group leader will even come into the office, with the credencials for the entire group. This is not abnormal. Many groups will remain up in Plaza Obradoiro, or disburse, while the group leader handles the paperwork.

Staff does not initially match each credencial to a live pilgrim. This process happens offline and behind the scenes, once the group leader turns in the credencials and matching data on the Estadillo form. Each credencial is matched to a data entry on the form.

This said, staff is VERY good at identifying evident fraud attempts. You would be surprised (or perhaps not) at some of the silly attempts to spoof the system.

Staff have seen it all. If fraud is suspected, NO ONE in the group gets a Compostela.

Those who feel wronged can opt to get in the queue and try their chances in a one-on-one interview, and defense of their credencial. But if the group staff have already double-stamped their credencial (signifying they got to the Cathedral and then closing the credencial for further use, they are DONE... no Compostela.

Hope this clarifies.
 

t2andreo

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
C/F: 2013, 2014
C/M: 2016
C/P: 2015, 2017
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Voluntario: 2014 - 2019
What's to stop the friend who stands in line for a ticket, and takes 10 for his pilgrim friends who are still in bed or due to arrive later that day?

If someone were enterprising, they could offer a ticket getting service. Those due to arrive later in the day could call ahead and Someone goes to the kiosk for them; if they just show up around 10 or 11 (as an example) the number will be high and unlikely to be called before late afternoon. Pilgrim arrives and collects his ticket.

All kinds of ways to abuse and scam the system.

See, there is always someone waiting to abuse any legitimate system. Scalping tickets is age old.

I have advocated typing your surname into the kiosk, before the QR ticket is printed, so the QR ticket has a surname in it, and cannot be transferred. But that idea was not adopted...yet.

The first day they turned the kiosks on, I pondered how long it would take for QR chit scalping to start. My personal assessment was one-week.

Anyone got input in this point? Were YOU approached by someone on the street offering to sell you a low QR ticket number?
 

t2andreo

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
C/F: 2013, 2014
C/M: 2016
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I'm wondering if the following would be consided gaming the system or making efficient use of resources? Someone in the queue for a QR ticket finds 9 strangers who also walked from at least Sarria and becomes the group leader to use that method to get compostelas.

This does happen. It is what we call a “legal cheat.”

In a desperate effort to move an overly long queue (2 - 3 hours) under the old system I have personally solicited waiting pilgrims to ask if anyone started from “x city” on “y date?” Once they speak up or raise their hands, I ask if they left from the same place on the same date. I can now do this in Spanish and English.

Forming ad hoc groups is legitimate because these pilgrims meet the definition of a group... they started on the same date from the same town or city. I do not care if they never met each other before. Once I explain that this means they can leave the line, be treated offline, and can start partying, they typically become instant BFFs.

There is nothing wrong with this. It works. It is legitimate. It speeds the process for everyone.

Hope this answers the question.
 

t2andreo

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
C/F: 2013, 2014
C/M: 2016
C/P: 2015, 2017
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@t2andreo, how many ticket kiosks are there, just one?

When I left in mid-August, there were two kiosks, located in the ground floor waiting room. This is past the courtyard fountain, down the stairs, and to the left, on the big white building. There are signs directing you..

However, I understood there were plans to add additional kiosks. This part of the process actually works well.

Instructions to use the kiosks are available in eight or nine different languages.
 

t2andreo

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
C/F: 2013, 2014
C/M: 2016
C/P: 2015, 2017
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Well I'm worried now as I'm starting there on October 7 for a fortnight as a volunteer and am not sure I'll be able to understand this system.
I suppose you could pray for me.

Trust me, you will learn FAST. It is not difficult. Just remember to keep your perspective and always remember that you, too, have been on the other side of the counter. Act accordingly.
 

Kathar1na

Member
Camino(s) past & future
To Santiago and back (no name; Tours; Francés; sea; no name)
Some of the reactions to the photo from last Sunday with a queue of a few hundred people waiting for the Pilgrims Office in Santiago to open at 8:00 in the morning were in the vain of Wow, Horror, Awful etc. But it seems to me that it’s actually a bit ridiculous and in fact unnecessary. Or not? Where‘s the fault in my reasoning:

Currently about 1200-1400 Compostelas per day are given out, about 80 to 100 Compostelas are processed per hour from 8:00 until 20:00, and judging by one of the tickets posted earlier, about 400 people can get their tickets within 30 minutes. The last ticket of the day was issued around 12:30. Conclusion: at least 300 of the 400 people waiting in line could have come any time during the morning, and everyone would still have gotten their Compostelas. The long line is just a symptom of the fear of not getting a Compostela on that day. Or of following the advice to go there really early.

There are angry reports of people not getting a ticket and a Compostela on the day they wanted it. But that must have happened before the ticketing system, too. They either gave up when they saw the long waiting lines or were not allowed in towards the end of the day. The ticketing system just makes it feel much more unfair ...

Or are there currently really many more daily arrivals than last year and the office is understaffed?
 

Bradypus

Moderator
Staff member
Camino(s) past & future
Too many and too often!
There are angry reports of people not getting a ticket and a Compostela on the day they wanted it. But that must have happened before the ticketing system, too. They either gave up when they saw the long waiting lines or were not allowed in towards the end of the day. The ticketing system just makes it feel much more unfair ...
I am not aware of there being so many reports of people not being allowed in to the pilgrim office in the past. Or quite so many reports of people simply giving up and going home without a Compostela. And certainly I cannot recall ever hearing of a time before the ticket system when those arriving as early as noon have been told that they cannot even enter the queue for a Compostela that day. As the number of arrivals begins to tail off this autumn the pressure on the new system and the waiting times will probably decrease. And as news of the new system spreads more widely people may begin to plan their arrivals to fit better with it. For the moment I think that it is still coming as a nasty surprise to many new arrivals and I do not think we can really blame those who find themselves in a difficult situation for not applying advanced game theory to the problem.
 

Kathar1na

Member
Camino(s) past & future
To Santiago and back (no name; Tours; Francés; sea; no name)
And I’ve also just noticed how some people exaggerate or get it wrong. Because the guy who posted the photo with the waiting line commented that by 11 o‘clock all the number tickets for the day had been given out. And yet, someone else in the same FB group then posts his ticket from the same day and it was issued at 12:45. And that wasn’t the last ticket of the day either.
 
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Bradypus

Moderator
Staff member
Camino(s) past & future
Too many and too often!
And I’ve also just noticed how some people exaggerate.
I would be reluctant to assume this is deliberate exaggeration. It is quite possible that the situation has simply been misinterpreted. Perhaps a security guard temporarily stops people entering the building to take a ticket to ease overcrowding? If you are waiting in a long line and are aware that there is a fixed limit to the number of tickets being issued it would be very easy to assume that the last ticket has been issued. Especially if you and the security staff do not have a shared language in which to communicate directly or if the news of the temporary halt has reached you down the line mouth-to-mouth and has suffered in transmission.
 

Kathar1na

Member
Camino(s) past & future
To Santiago and back (no name; Tours; Francés; sea; no name)
I would be reluctant to assume this is deliberate exaggeration.
Or get it wrong ... I had already added it to my comment ☺.

Well, I’d be curious to know whether there are any long waiting lines for tickets after 8:30 in the morning. And what everyone‘s overall waiting time is, now vs earlier. And I strongly assume that there is some algorithm involved: we have so many staff today so we can give out so many Compostelas today. I guess this infrastructure improvement works like road infrastructure improvement: it doesn’t abolish the traffic jams, it increases the numbers of users instead.
 

Kathar1na

Member
Camino(s) past & future
To Santiago and back (no name; Tours; Francés; sea; no name)
Edited to add: It's 5 minutes past 9 pm and the counter has stopped: 1150 Compostelas today. You should see it tomorrow on their website ...
Ah, a bit of wrong thinking there 🤭. Because the website says today: Ayer llegaron 1129 peregrinos. So yesterday there were at least 21 ticket holders who turned out to be no-shows and an unspecified number of groups who didn't need a ticket. What 🥳 🙃.
 

t2andreo

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
C/F: 2013, 2014
C/M: 2016
C/P: 2015, 2017
C/I: 2018
Voluntario: 2014 - 2019
There's some contradiction here - a one-pointed fixation on automated efficiency while admitting that an assembly line is impossible.

Maybe because not everyone shares your enthusiasm for this? I have great respect for your sincerity and devotion to giving back, @t2andreo, but fervently hope that the powers that be continue to resist these ideas about automation. Because it's only a MUST in your mind. Please don't presume to have the only correct viewpoint here.

I accept that I do not have ALL the answers. But in this instance I also have the benefit of some experiences that the Cathedral and Pilgrim Office officials do not. I have done this dance before... too much demand with inadequate resources and a poorly designed process. I actually know how to fix this. But, it is the cultural resistance to change of any kind in any matter than is stymying this effort.

This said, I will continue to offer my service, continue to offer minor suggestions as I have every year to try to help. In the end do what I am told.

The human race did not develop and advance by just sitting by and letting things happen. While there is an element of karma (if you will) in everything we do, it is also true that the Gospels teach us the Heaven helps those who help themselves... I am just trying to help advance the cause of the pilgrim using the mental tools I have.
 

Kathar1na

Member
Camino(s) past & future
To Santiago and back (no name; Tours; Francés; sea; no name)
I am not aware of there being so many reports of people not being allowed in to the pilgrim office in the past. Or quite so many reports of people simply giving up and going home without a Compostela. And certainly I cannot recall ever hearing of a time before the ticket system when those arriving as early as noon have been told that they cannot even enter the queue for a Compostela that day.
Last year, there was a daily average of 1600 Compostelas in September and 1200 in October. Of course, the actual daily numbers taper off gradually from the start of September to the end of October. They are currently processing about 100 Compostelas per hour - someone mentioned this in a thread who did a stint recently and one can actually see it if one activates the online link (parameters for today). They work 12-13 hours. So they can currently process about 1200-1300 per day.

So what has changed since same time last year? Is it many more pilgrims arriving every day than last year or is it a change in behaviour of those wanting to get a Compostela, in a reaction to the new system? Just wondering. I'm not expecting an answer to this puzzle ... ☺
 
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NorthernLight

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Le Puy to Santiago via the Frances 2012-2013. EPW2015
Aragonese & Frances 2016
Burgos to Muxia 2017
I suspect the ticketing system created a panic about getting one, and shifted the line up to early morning instead of right after Mass.
It would be interesting to know if you can show up half an hour before closing and get squeezed in because of the no-shows.
 
Camino(s) past & future
CF 2015, CPo 2016, VDLP[Sev-Các] 2017, VDLP[Các-Sal] 2018
I suspect the ticketing system created a panic about getting one, and shifted the line up to early morning instead of right after Mass.
It would be interesting to know if you can show up half an hour before closing and get squeezed in because of the no-shows.
When I was (very briefly) there last week when people missed their turn I think they were told to come back in the evening BUT that there was no guarantee that they would be allowed in. That particular evening we managed to get through the tickets by 8:30pm so I think some people were then processed. But in other evenings the volunteers were there til nearly 10pm (office officially shuts at what 9pm??) so I doubt anyone was allowed in late then....
 

t2andreo

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
C/F: 2013, 2014
C/M: 2016
C/P: 2015, 2017
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Or get it wrong ... I had already added it to my comment ☺.

Well, I’d be curious to know whether there are any long waiting lines for tickets after 8:30 in the morning. And what everyone‘s overall waiting time is, now vs earlier. And I strongly assume that there is some algorithm involved: we have so many staff today so we can give out so many Compostelas today. I guess this infrastructure improvement works like road infrastructure improvement: it doesn’t abolish the traffic jams, it increases the numbers of users instead.

As regards the photo, my assessment is that this fellow came down the ramp from Plaza Obradoiro and saw the queue, formed BEFORE opening time. Admittedly, it IS dramatic. Hence the reactions from all, including me.

Had the entry been open, you would not have seen those people. They would have been hidden by the pilgrim office campus, or disbursed after receiving their QR chits.

I am surmising that this queue may have included one or more large groups. A single group of 50 or so pilgrims would make all the difference, at least visually. I think we do not have all the facts in this regard.

In any event. Staff DO have an understanding of how much work they can do in a day. Thus, it is reasonable to assume that someone in charge will determine that “today we will issue “x” QR chits...When we get to that threshold, we will reevaluate if we can handle more pilgrims with our available staff.”

I do not have a problem with this. In my view, it is preferable to giving out more tickets than you can handle.

It is easier to prevent pilgrims from entering the process than to try to eject them because you do not have the resources to process them. Been there, done that. Trust me, given the alternatives, IMHO, they are doing the best they can.

Remember that these are hourly employees who do NOT get paid overtime for staying longer. So, the challenge is to slide into closing time with no one left to process. It is as much an art as a mathematical science.

I suspect that there is presently a supply - demand disconnect between the end of the season perhaps lasting longer (increasing demand) and loss of volunteers from seminaries, colleges, etc. once September rolls around. This will sort itself out. But it will take a few weeks.

As I have said before, if you are available and can afford to travel to Santiago, they will accept volunteers year-round. The convent flat does not have central heat, but they DO have space heaters, and wickedly hot water.

I always ask my colleagues to consider being part of the solution. Giving back to the Camino in this way is ALWAYS refreshing.

Hope this helps.
 

Kathar1na

Member
Camino(s) past & future
To Santiago and back (no name; Tours; Francés; sea; no name)
Thanks, @SioCamino, really good to hear from someone who's been there recently and can provide the view from the other side of the desk. ☺
 

Kathar1na

Member
Camino(s) past & future
To Santiago and back (no name; Tours; Francés; sea; no name)
As regards the photo, my assessment is that this fellow came down the ramp from Plaza Obradoiro and saw the queue, formed BEFORE opening time. Admittedly, it IS dramatic. Hence the reactions from all, including me.
As can be seen, the comment that went with the photo posted in the FB group is in Italian. It says: This morning, at 8:00, pilgrims in line to get the number to withdraw the Compostela. I managed to get number 412. He then posts the ticket itself (also posted to this forum thread). The time on his ticket says: 2019-09-22 08:30:43. I think one can read a few facts out of this. 😎
 

trecile

Camino Addict
Camino(s) past & future
Francés (2016 & 2017), Norte (2018), Francés-Salvador-Norte (2019), Portuguese (2019)
Last year, there was a daily average of 1600 Compostelas in September
This is what I don't understand. If they were able to process 1600 Compostelas per day last year under the old system, why does it seem that this year they aren't giving out more than about 1450 per day under the new system? I got that 1450 figure based on the few times that I have checked the Pilgrim's office page.
Some days it has been a lot lower.
 
Camino(s) past & future
CF : stages 2008, 2017, 2018 ; completed.
As regards the photo, my assessment is that this fellow came down the ramp from Plaza Obradoiro and saw the queue, formed BEFORE opening time. Admittedly, it IS dramatic. Hence the reactions from all, including me.

Had the entry been open, you would not have seen those people. They would have been hidden by the pilgrim office campus, or disbursed after receiving their QR chits.

I am surmising that this queue may have included one or more large groups. A single group of 50 or so pilgrims would make all the difference, at least visually. I think we do not have all the facts in this regard.

In any event. Staff DO have an understanding of how much work they can do in a day. Thus, it is reasonable to assume that someone in charge will determine that “today we will issue “x” QR chits...When we get to that threshold, we will reevaluate if we can handle more pilgrims with our available staff.”

I do not have a problem with this. In my view, it is preferable to giving out more tickets than you can handle.

It is easier to prevent pilgrims from entering the process than to try to eject them because you do not have the resources to process them. Been there, done that. Trust me, given the alternatives, IMHO, they are doing the best they can.

Remember that these are hourly employees who do NOT get paid overtime for staying longer. So, the challenge is to slide into closing time with no one left to process. It is as much an art as a mathematical science.

I suspect that there is presently a supply - demand disconnect between the end of the season perhaps lasting longer (increasing demand) and loss of volunteers from seminaries, colleges, etc. once September rolls around. This will sort itself out. But it will take a few weeks.

As I have said before, if you are available and can afford to travel to Santiago, they will accept volunteers year-round. The convent flat does not have central heat, but they DO have space heaters, and wickedly hot water.

I always ask my colleagues to consider being part of the solution. Giving back to the Camino in this way is ALWAYS refreshing.

Hope this helps.

Tom,

Without wishing to re-post my entire previous effort, could you/someone please comment on my idea as to how to improve the supply of volunteers :

I offer (again) to "process" English-speaking pilgrims , at any time of the year, on a completely self-financed basis BUT I do not speak Spanish.

My previous post in this thread has been ignored (as far as I can see).

Will anyone join me in this possibly too-radical (partial) solution to the problem instead of endlessly rehearsing the various difficulties with the present system, ticketed, express or otherwise?

Perhaps I am posting in the wrong thread but the Mods have not removed my previous post.

I await incoming flak, exclusion from the Forum, excommunication etc etc.

Mike.
Scotland.
 
Camino(s) past & future
CF 2015, CPo 2016, VDLP[Sev-Các] 2017, VDLP[Các-Sal] 2018
Tom,

Without wishing to re-post my entire previous effort, could you/someone please comment on my idea as to how to improve the supply of volunteers :

I offer (again) to "process" English-speaking pilgrims , at any time of the year, on a completely self-financed basis BUT I do not speak Spanish.

My previous post in this thread has been ignored (as far as I can see).

Will anyone join me in this possibly too-radical (partial) solution to the problem instead of endlessly rehearsing the various difficulties with the present system, ticketed, express or otherwise?

Perhaps I am posting in the wrong thread but the Mods have not removed my previous post.

I await incoming flak, exclusion from the Forum, excommunication etc etc.

Mike.
Scotland.
Mike, Tom may be in a more informed position to answer you but here’s my tuppence worth. Additional language skills are definitely an advantage. There is no facility to filter incoming pilgrims by language. So for example i often dealt with pilgrims who didn’t speak either Spanish or English and I didn’t speak their language. I thought that the PO preferred volunteers with more than 1 language but when I was volunteering in june, 2 of the volunteers only spoke English. They seemed to get on ok. Search the forum for Toms thread on volunteering it has all the details you need.
Note that not everyone in the office speaks English - and Montse in particular (who you would write to to apply) only has Spanish. Hope this is of help.
 
Camino(s) past & future
CF 2015, CPo 2016, VDLP[Sev-Các] 2017, VDLP[Các-Sal] 2018
.

As I have said before, if you are available and can afford to travel to Santiago, they will accept volunteers year-round. The convent flat does not have central heat, but they DO have space heaters, and wickedly hot water.

Tom - this is possible not the right thread to post this but I hear that from next month the Santa Clara flat will no longer be used for volunteers- instead they will be housed out in Monte do Gozo. Whether this is a short or long term accommodation solution I don’t know. I must say that the prospect of having to trek in from there and out again coupled with the extension to the volunteer shift from 5 to 6 hours makes the set up much less attractive.
That might sound petty but I was always pretty tired after my shifts and it was great to be only 10 minutes walk from “home”. Anyway will wait & see as I won’t be back again until next year (timing not known yet).
 

Annet2020

Member
Camino(s) past & future
Portugues 2020
Then that is THEIR FAILURE TO PLAN ahead.
In my opinion not having much time in Santiago de Compostela is not the same as 'failure to plan ahead'. Some people can't take many days off work and still want to do a camino. I myself plan to walk from Porto for 15 days, arrive in Santiago in the end of the morning on the 15th day. I'll have the 16th day in Santiago and will leave day 17 early morning. This way if I get delayed somewhere and will arrive at Santiago a day later than planned I can still catch my flight home. But then day 16 will be my only chance to get the compostela. Failure to plan ahead? If time for me was unlimited I could plan more days in Santiago, just in case whatever happens, but unfortunately my employer won't agree and I really don't want to change my starting point 'just in case'.
 

t2andreo

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
C/F: 2013, 2014
C/M: 2016
C/P: 2015, 2017
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I do not disagree with you, but where there is a will, there is a way. Personally, I always work BACKWARDS...

Let me 'splain... I start with when I want to arrive at Santiago, and when I want to depart by plane from the SCQ airport. THEN, I calculate how long I need to do my Camino. I count backwards from leaving Santiago...

That gives me the date I need to arrive in Spain. From here I walk my dates backwards to the calculated starting date from the probable point of origin.

Lastly, I add two days and nights on the front end to provide a comfortable trip over from the US to my starting point, wherever it is. I like to spend maybe two nights at my starting place before starting out on my Camino.

In the case of not enough time, like if my wife puts the brakes on my plans, it also tells me how much time I can spend on Camino and what route I can walk. In other words, I plan ahead.

Put another way, the Camino route or distance I can walk is the result of a multivariate equation. I don't just put a pin in my BIG Map and say, okay, this year I am walking the Via de la Plata.

I know, for me, that is impractical, primarily because my wife will not allow me to be gone for two months. So, I will have to break it down into two or three annual tranches, and use my methodology above to plan my time.

Also, I know from experience that a 10-day to 2-week Camino, plus travel time to get there, and "Santiago time" on the back end is all I can manage. So, I know I have three weeks to manage everything. From that point, managing my Camino is not much different from the person who has limited vacation time.

For example, I NEVER plan to go to the office for my Compostela the day I arrive. Even though I know I can just stroll in and bypass the entire process, I DO NOT DO THIS. I commonly show up very early the following morning. I would never seek to jump the queue. I never have. That said, I know the best time to show up, when the queue is likely shortest, and I arrive then.

Anyone who can access this forum can devolve the same information. The current issue with first thing in the morning queues is a simple, seasonal disconnect, in my view. In two to three weeks, it will be over, as the season ends. Normally, about 30 minutes after the front door opens is a good time to show up. But, I will reevaluate this in 2020 if I am able to walk a Camino.

Hope this helps.
 
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Camino(s) past & future
CF : stages 2008, 2017, 2018 ; completed.
Mike, Tom may be in a more informed position to answer you but here’s my tuppence worth. Additional language skills are definitely an advantage. There is no facility to filter incoming pilgrims by language. So for example i often dealt with pilgrims who didn’t speak either Spanish or English and I didn’t speak their language. I thought that the PO preferred volunteers with more than 1 language but when I was volunteering in june, 2 of the volunteers only spoke English. They seemed to get on ok. Search the forum for Toms thread on volunteering it has all the details you need.
Note that not everyone in the office speaks English - and Montse in particular (who you would write to to apply) only has Spanish. Hope this is of help.
Sio,

Most valuable : I had not previously known that one could be a volunteer without speaking Spanish. Were these English-only speakers working on the desks?

"Successful applicants will have walked a Camino and will have good language skills including being able to speak Spanish at intermediate level."

The above is a quote (admittedly in 2013) from a website offering semi-official advice re volunteering. It also seems strange that Tom has written that he is not (yet) allowed to be on the desks because of his level of spoken Spanish.

There is not (presently) a facility to filter pilgrims by language ; if we are to have a ticketing system it should be the work of an instant to add "press this button for interview in English". I am sure the IT wizards could then establish a method to create a fair queuing system dependent upon the relative numbers requesting Spanish or English.

To be honest, I am not sure that great language skills are required, at least judging by my interview (and my wife's) in 2017. The time was spent on examining the credencial and asking if we wished a distance certificate.

My reason for raising the monoglot question in this Forum was that I feared that a "cold" approach to the PO would result in a refusal to consider the idea. If it can be shown that there is indeed enthusiasm for the concept and a pool of untapped labour then we might manage to assuage Tom's fear of a "perfect storm" of pilgrims overwhelming the Office in 2021 (or perhaps even next year).

If you might be willing to follow my lead, may I ask that you indicate this on the Forum?

Mike.
Scotland.
 
Camino(s) past & future
CF 2015, CPo 2016, VDLP[Sev-Các] 2017, VDLP[Các-Sal] 2018
Hi Mike
I think that all you can do is offer your services as per the instructions in Tom's thread from last year. http://www.caminodesantiago.me/comm...ering-in-the-pilgrim-office-at-santiago.52794
It will be up to Montse or whoever to accept or reject your application.

I think you are getting ahead of yourself a little bit regarding having an English language only option. As I think Tom has outlined in general, things are very slow to change in the PO. Personally I don't think streaming by language is a viable option (or a good idea) and I don't see how this idea could be "sold" to those in charge at the PO. I'm not sure of the stats breakdown by language but there is a very significant number of pilgrims for whom English is not mother tongue nor even 2nd language. I don't see how it could be managed in a way that would not be at least perceived as discriminatory - can you imagine the optics or reaction by Spanish pilgrims if English speaking pilgrims were processed faster??? or vice versa?

If you are very keen on volunteering and helping in this way then apply and be honest about your language skills. If accepted then you are a known entity. Generally pilgrims when greeted by a smile are very understanding about whether the person across the desk can speak their language and most pilgrims want to meet you halfway so to speak. If someone has a problem then you always have some permanent staff on how who can help.
I hope this is of help
 
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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,

Wonderful post(s), as ever. May I make an informal enquiry/suggestion re volunteering?

"They cannot afford to hire more staff. More volunteers might help... like from amongst the Forum membership... Just sayin... Consider being part of the solution... See this thread for everything you need to know... "

I would be very happy to volunteer (at almost any time of the year) on a cost-free basis i.e. I would pay for my lodging, food etc BUT I do not speak Spanish and doubt if I have the motivation/energy/talent to acquire sufficient for the purpose.
Is there a place for monoglots ( well, just a little French available also in my case) to process pilgrims at the desks? From the 2016 statistics, USA, UK and Ireland account for about 10% of those acquiring a compostela and I suspect that many of the Germans would prefer to conduct business in English rather than Spanish. "Smaller" nationalities might also be more comfortable using English.

Any mileage in this? What do you think? Other opinions?

Mike,
Scotland.

MIke:

Sorry if I overlooked your post the first go-round. If you are interested in volunteering, click on the link in my signature...below...

I recently added this feature to provide everyone who sees any post I make with a direct link to the appropriate thread. Kudos to RickofRickandPeg for the assist...

Hope this helps.
 

t2andreo

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
C/F: 2013, 2014
C/M: 2016
C/P: 2015, 2017
C/I: 2018
Voluntario: 2014 - 2019
This is what I don't understand. If they were able to process 1600 Compostelas per day last year under the old system, why does it seem that this year they aren't giving out more than about 1450 per day under the new system? I got that 1450 figure based on the few times that I have checked the Pilgrim's office page.
Some days it has been a lot lower.

IMHO, there are two issues in play:

1. There have been relatively fewer and smaller, on average, groups this year,
2. Daily numbers, for most of the season, have been “flatter” and less prone to spiking than in previous years. Friday is the busiest day of the week, followed by Saturday.

My assessment is that a lot of groups and some solo pilgrims are either planning when to walk, more intelligently, and this is flattening the demand curve.

The other issue is that, with the Botafumeiro offline many groups likely deferred their Caminos until a future date, likely in 2021.

When the final year-end numbers are in, I suspect there will be a small increase over 2018. It will be less than the 12 - 14 percent increases we have seen from year to year.

I believe the proximate cause of the demand curve flattening is the Botafumeiro not being used during the Cathedral renovations. Most of us veterans are not influenced by this. But many intending pilgrims, and groups who would pay for the Botafumeiro to be used when their group was present, likely stayed away in 2019.

Hope this helps.
 

Kathar1na

Member
Camino(s) past & future
To Santiago and back (no name; Tours; Francés; sea; no name)
I'm following this with some strange fascination ... so yesterday, Tuesday 24 Sept, 1262 Compostelas were given out. On Monday it was 1129 and on Sunday 1421.

Today, Wednesday, at the time of writing, it's 3 pm in Santiago and they have just reached number 730 - they've been at it since 8 am, so it's a rate of about 100 per hour, as expected.

While on social media, photos of early morning queues are making the rounds and people are urged to go there really early ""if you want to get a ticket"". Apparently the queue starts forming at an unbelievably early time of 6 am, by 7am it's a few dozen pilgrims who are waiting and hundreds by 8 am when the office opens.

I find it hard to believe that the Camino is such a great instrument of change where people slow down and relax and are changed in the end. 🙃

Or is it because they learnt that you have to get up early in order to arrive at the albergue early in order to secure a cheap bunk bed ... ? 🤔
 
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t2andreo

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
C/F: 2013, 2014
C/M: 2016
C/P: 2015, 2017
C/I: 2018
Voluntario: 2014 - 2019
Hi Mike
I think that all you can do is offer your services as per the instructions in Tom's thread from last year. http://www.caminodesantiago.me/comm...ering-in-the-pilgrim-office-at-santiago.52794
It will be up to Montse or whoever to accept or reject your application.

I think you are getting ahead of yourself a little bit regarding having an English language only option. As I think Tom has outlined in general, things are very slow to change in the PO. Personally I don't think streaming by language is a viable option (or a good idea) and I don't see how this idea could be "sold" to those in charge at the PO. I'm not sure of the stats breakdown by language but there is a very significant number of pilgrims for whom English is not mother tongue nor even 2nd language. I don't see how it could be managed in a way that would not be at least perceived as discriminatory - can you imagine the optics or reaction by Spanish pilgrims if English speaking pilgrims were processed faster??? or vice versa?

If you are very keen on volunteering and helping in this way then apply and be honest about your language skills. If accepted then you are a known entity. Generally pilgrims when greeted by a smile are very understanding about whether the person across the desk can speak their language and most pilgrims want to meet you halfway so to speak. If someone has a problem then you always have some permanent staff on how who can help.
I hope this is of help

We have learned along the way that the de facto second language of the Camino is English, much to the chagrin of our French friends... It just seems that most (not all) Europeans have at least a little English as a second, third or more language. At some times of the year, mainly over the most busy summer months, Spanish and Italian prevail and fewer people have some English. But, we manage...

As regards working the counter when you cannot speak conversational Spanish, it depends... If you were to work from April to June, or in the off season, then you can get away with English, and some basic second or third language skills. What some volunteers do is sit themselves between two native Spanish speakers who also speak English. This way you can ask for help when needed.

I volunteer during the busiest time of the year. Hence, I would only slow things down if I had to constantly ask for language help from an adjacent worker.

However, if were to work the same counter position in July or August, not being able to speak good Spanish is definitely a detriment, as the ratio of Spaniards exceed 70 percent on most days.

This said, if you brought a desperately needed language other than Spanish or English to the counter, your abilities might well over shadow whatever weakness you might have in Spanish. For example, we have never, to my knowledge had Korean speakers. Also, French speakers are in demand all year. Sra. Monste Diaz makes those calls.

Most of the permanent staff speak two or three languages PLUS Spanish, Gallego and Portuguese. It is rare to find a staff person who can only speak Spanish and English.

Hence, and I digress here, there is "the joke... "

"What do you call someone on the Camino who only speaks one language?"

PAUSE...

"An American..."

I am an American and I believe this to be true for the overwhelming majority of my countrymen and women. So, I find it humorous...

That is why I taught myself basic Dutch when I lived in the Flanders region of Belgium for two years, and why in my mid-60s I spend an hour each day working on my Castellano on Duolingo.com. Like Da Vinci's Vitruvian Man, I am very much a work in progress...

Hope this helps.
 

Karl Oz

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances
Portuguese
Aragones
Sanabres
Piamonte
Elizabethpfad
"What do you call someone on the Camino who only speaks one language?"
PAUSE...
"An American..."
You could validly substitute 'Australian' or 'New Zealander' for that...
 
Camino(s) past & future
Frances(2006) Portugues(2013)
San Salvador (2017) Ingles (2019)
They cannot afford to hire more staff. More volunteers might help... like from amongst the Forum membership... Just sayin... Consider being part of the solution... See this thread for everything you need to know...


Each time I return to work as a volunteer, I continue to make the same business case that they MUST introduce at least SOME automation to the process, particularly for those arriving pilgrims who are okay with it.

I accept maintaining as much of the traditional approach as can be done. Continuing to throw more bodies or longer hours at the problem is not going to successfully address the issue. I explain my approach below...

Presently, the pilgrim office has 16 networked counter positions for processing arriving pilgrims, plus another four networked workstations in the adjacent group processing office. Even if these 20 workstations are staffed 24 x 7, it will not be adequate to process the estimated 3000 - 5000 pilgrims expected per day, seven days per week, during peak season of the the 2021 Holy Year.

Simply put, more bodies and more hours is NEVER going to be a valid solution, at least IMHO.

By the numbers, one person can process about 40 - 60 arriving pilgrims seeking a Compostela and / or Distance Certificate per five or six-hour workday. Presently, the individual contact time at the counter, for one pilgrim is (in general) from 8 - 10 minutes.

This is NOT a linear model. Each pilgrim is different. I have seen some people be finished in 2-3 minutes, and some take 15 minutes, or more. Staff must take regular breaks: bathroom, water, snack, etc.

There are no formal break period, per se. Staff are encouraged to look after their own needs. So, the work rate is highly elastic.

Staff and volunteers typically work six-days per week. Interviewing pilgrims is actually very stressful and these people are wiped out after their shifts... Again, this is not an assembly line occupation you cannot do "back of the envelope" straight line calculations on this.

The process solution is very complex and highly multivariate. It can be modeled using automation. Been there done that, so I understand what I am talking about.

But, let's not even get started down that path. I have first-hand experience with this, enough to know that it is not a difficult thing to setup and model. However, the powers that be, are likely not prepared to deal with the results. So, why bother...

This really busy time starts each year at Semana Santa, Holy Week, and continues through mid - October. The peak hits at the same time every year. But in 2021, it is expected to be some 40 - 50 percent HIGHER than what will be seen in 2020. At least that is what historic analysis suggests. The Holy Year volume is typically about 50% higher than the last, previous "normal" year.

Presently, I am trying to suggest, because a head-on approach never works, that they TRIAGE arriving pilgrims into FOUR parallel, but physically processes, The building can accommodate two separate entries, one of Rua das Carretas (as is) and another around the corner, through the large vehicle gate (as the architect designed the campus for 2016).

Here is my basic TRIAGE process approach:

AUTOMATED ASSIST PROCESSING:

Groups of 10 or more
- these groups MUST:
  • Pre-register, over the internet, at least 48-hours before the group arrival at Santiago,
  • Submit ALL their estadillo credential information electronically, using a web-based application that has already been developed but never deployed,
  • The person submitting the information receives a SINGLE QR code, following successful receipt of the transmitted group data.
  • This code relates to the large group application, and has a large letter G (for Group) printed on it. The code can be printed out or saved to a smartphone.
  • At the office, the group leader proceeds to the designated Express / Group Processing entry (side gate) and has the group QR code read,
  • The system verifies that information has been received, processed and completed certificates are ready for pick up.
  • ONLY the group leader enters the pilgrim office Express / Group processing office to validate credentials and pick up pre-printed / completed Compostelas and / or Distance Certificate.
  • Other group members either wait in the rear garden, or outside the complex, wherever...
  • Payments due are made, and the group leader exists the process...
Individual Pilgrims CHOOSING to use the Express Automated Process - These individual (non-group) pilgrims MUST:
  • access the available web application, at least 24-hours in advance of arrival at Santiago,
  • Submit ALL the information now on the manual estadillo form that all pilgrims complete at the counter, all data is mandatory. But all EU data protections are adhered to. Specifically whereas demographic data is maintained, names are discarded immediately after the Compostela / Distance Certificate is picked up.
  • Select the Latin given name they prefer on their Compostela from a pull-down choice box
  • Select the OPTIONAL dedication "In Vicare Pro" and provide the full and correct spelling of that name for the dedication on the Compostela,
  • Opt-in to buy an optional Distance Certificate,
  • Submit this request, and receive a QR code in reply, similar to the current system. Except these QR codes have the letter E (for Express) printed on them for all to see.
  • On arrival at the Pilgrim Office, pilgrims with an electronic QR code (identical to an airline border pass) on their smartphones, are directed to the side / Express entrance (also used by group leaders).
  • The QR code is read and validated at the entry, the pilgrim enters,
  • Credentials are reviewed, validated and double-stamped.
  • The pilgrim is presented their precision-printed (calligraphic font) Compostela (with or without the In Vicare Pro dedication) and a similarly printed (optional) Distance Certificate.
  • Payment is made and the pilgrim exits the process...
MANUAL ONLY PROCESSING:

Groups of less than 10 (9 and below), must -
  • Designate a group leader to approach the old-school group office, as is down now
  • Security validates whether the group is valid
  • The group leader completes the estadillo form, as is done now,
  • The group leader collects all credencials from the group, as is done now,
  • The group leader presents the completed estadillo form and credencials, as is done now,
  • Staff or security personnel accept these material and issue a timed return receipt to the leader. as is done now,
  • At the appropriate time, the leader returns to collect Compstelas and Distance Certificate (if requested), same as at present,
  • Only the leader enters the facility. All other group members are asked to wait outside.
  • No QR code is issued.
Individual pilgrims not in a group who cannot, or choose not to use the Express / Automated process, must -
  • Enter the Pilgrim Office campus
  • Proceed to the waiting area / hall, down the stairs and to the left
  • Take a QR number from a kiosk, this ticket has a large I (eye) printed on it (Individual)
  • Wait for their number to be called, as is the case presently
  • Present themselves, and their completed credential at the counter, when directed, as is now done.
  • The remainder process is the same as now done...
This is what I would like to see happen. The arriving flow is triaged into four separate sub-processes. The volume of people who need to enter the campus is reduced. The amount of automation is inversely applied to the volume of arriving pilgrims.

Everyone is taken care of. Groups have two processes. Individuals have choices as well. Holy Year, surge processing is accommodated without bringing everything to a screeching halt, causing riots, or attracting unfavorable attention by the media...

Automation is used ONLY for those who choose it, except for large groups (> 10) who are the primary cause of overwhelming delays, and which literally choke the process to a standstill. Large groups must mandatorily use the automated process.

I view this as a win-win-win. Tradition is maintained. The staff wins, the pilgrim wins, and the Church traditionalists win. After we get past the 2021 Holy Year, they can rethink returning to the current process. But, I rather suspect they will come to appreciate doing a lot more work with only a nominal staff increase. One can only hope.

My considered assessment is that the semi-automated process will take care of at least two-thirds of all pilgrims. In my view, that reduces the number of folks who must use the current, wholly manual process (excepting the QR number system) to less than is now the case.

I keep making suggestions leading to the above process solution. However, it is a challenge. I plan to make my pitch once again in 2020. I know that most of the pieces are already done. The disparate process pieces just need to be properly integrated into a process solution that flows smoothly.

At this point, I do not care much WHO can get the above in front of someone in authority who can direct staff to "make it happen." I just want things to work.

Obtaining credit is my last thought. One of the lessons I have learned in my six straight years as a volunteer, is that no idea is a good idea, until it comes from someone on staff, preferably in the Cathedral hierarchy. Human nature being what it is, a good idea is a good idea primarily when it comes from the top down. Maybe it is cultural... I do not know. I have seen similar paradigms in large corporations and government agencies.

Relating all of this, I am reminded about the old saw about being able to lead a horse to water, but not being able to make it drink...(sigh)...

If all pilgrims go away feeling satisfied about their experience, then I have done my job...at least the job I gave myself... Whatever makes things manageable and smooth for the 2021 Holy Year is what I am in favor of. That light coming towards us down the proverbial tunnel may be a train, it may be sunshine... I just want to be sure it is not a very angry pilgrim mob with torches.... anticipating an Auto da Fe!

Hope this helps the dialog.
You have certainly given a great deal of thought to this, t2andreo. Your next trick will be to make friends with one of the people who could make it happen. As I read your post, I was reminded of my first teaching post. We were all women on the staff, except for the janitor and the headmaster. The headmaster was so easy to get around: one of the staff was detailed to give him our ideas, in such a way that he thought they were his very own....
 

Kathar1na

Member
Camino(s) past & future
To Santiago and back (no name; Tours; Francés; sea; no name)
Yet another photo was posted on one of the FB groups I follow, showing a line of people waiting in the dark at 7:15 this morning for the Pilgrims Office in Santiago to open at 8:00.

Comments are ranging from Wow! and Waste of time to reports from previous days, such as We got there before they started giving out numbers and got #87 and our Compostela at 9:00, or Got there at 9:30, got #515 and Compostela at 15:00 and left by train at 17:00. [I guess that person didn't have to wait for their number as they don't mention it.]

Yesterday's total was 1467 Compostelas, btw.

We will never know but I wonder just how many people don't get a Compostela, despite wanting one, because they stay only for a short time in Santiago, and whether a few more people are trying to get one during the day than with the old system where they saw long waiting lines during the day and decided not to queue and just gave up ... 🤔
 
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Bradypus

Moderator
Staff member
Camino(s) past & future
Too many and too often!
We will never know but I wonder just how many people don't get a Compostela, despite wanting one, because they stay only for a short time in Santiago,
Another post in that Facebook group has mentioned an 8 hour gap between taking a ticket and actually receiving a Compostela. Some pilgrims have very limited time to spend in Santiago - perhaps because they are walking in short stages because of very restricted annual leave entitlements. I think that is especially true for those from the USA who may find walking the Caminos very costly both financially and in using up their already tight free time allowance. Having to allot what is effectively a whole day in Santiago in order to receive a Compostela may not be a practical option for some. As you point out there is probably no way of counting how many people are in that situation and I think that the number may be relatively small. But for those people the frustration must be very powerful. I know a number of people like myself who now choose not to request a Compostela on completing their pilgrimages. But that is a very different situation.
 

Kathar1na

Member
Camino(s) past & future
To Santiago and back (no name; Tours; Francés; sea; no name)
for those people the frustration must be very powerful
I totally agree.

I am often fascinated by the question of what makes as behave in a certain way - as members of any kind of group, whether only a few members or millions. Assuming that nothing has changed, ie roughly the same number of office staff, roughly the same number of pilgrims arriving in Santiago, roughly the same number of pilgrims wishing to get a Compostela. Then the new system I guess increases the sense of "This is not fair" among those who don't get a Compostela.

With a good thousand people now apparently obtaining their ticket before early afternoon (since there are no queues to speak of except before 8 am) instead of spreading themselves out over queues during the whole day, the picture that presents itself when you arrive at say 3 pm is quite different than before.

There's no way around it though, the new system is a huge improvement for the overwhelming majority of pilgrims wanting to pick up a Compostela. They just don't post that much about it. And don't put pictures of "look no queue" on social media accounts. ☺
 
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Kathar1na

Member
Camino(s) past & future
To Santiago and back (no name; Tours; Francés; sea; no name)
Lol, I forgot yesterday evening to close the browser window with the link to the ticket counter, it's ticking away like clockwork. It's 11:40 in Santiago and they are on Compostela #357 ... the usual current rate of around 100/h. There are only so many working hours in a day, and 12-13 hours is quite a lot. They are doing 7/7 in the Pilgrims Office but not yet 24/24 it seems.
 

Kathar1na

Member
Camino(s) past & future
To Santiago and back (no name; Tours; Francés; sea; no name)
Most of the permanent staff speak two or three languages PLUS Spanish, Gallego and Portuguese. It is rare to find a staff person who can only speak Spanish and English.
It's good to see that it's possible for English only speakers to volunteer. I myself would be very comfortable in welcoming and talking with pilgrims in four European languages but not in Spanish where my active knowledge is not as good as I would like it to be, and I would feel extremely uncomfortable and out of place if dealing as a volunteer with Spanish pilgrims in Spain. Maybe one day when I've made more progress. 2021?

It's a personal view, so ... just saying. ☺
 
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Pelegrin

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Primitivo June 2013
SJPP - Logroño June 2014
Ingles July2016
Most of the permanent staff speak two or three languages PLUS Spanish, Gallego and Portuguese. It is rare to find a staff person who can only speak Spanish and English.

Yes, I don't know if they were permanent staff or volunteers, but in my two Compostelas the conversation was in Galego.
Because of that, in one of them a young girl tried to convince me to put Origin: 'Galicia' instead of 'Madrid' (where I live ).
 

Pelegrin

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Primitivo June 2013
SJPP - Logroño June 2014
Ingles July2016
Native Galicians, like the Basques, and Catalonians are fiercely proud of their communities and region. I admire this.
Well...at my age this is not the case.
When I visit Galicia I speak Galego when possible because I can't do it where I live.
It is very nice can also do it at the Pilgrim Office.
 

Kathar1na

Member
Camino(s) past & future
To Santiago and back (no name; Tours; Francés; sea; no name)
Just a bit more input from recent FB posts on the new ticketing system:
  • Went right in with no wait to pull a number at 11 am. Got numbers 699 and 697. Got Compostela in the afternoon (19th of September)
  • Got our numbers at 12:30 pm. Got our Compostelas at 8:30 pm (14th of September)
  • Got there 10 am couple of days ago and didn't make any line, probably four people there (24th or so).
They are on Compostela #1146 at 6 pm today, so about 115 Compostelas per hour today, ie a bit faster today. That's an average, it can obviously go faster or slower during different parts of the day. They have a long business day of 12-13 hours so obviously not the same number or the same set of staff and volunteers throughout the day.

So unless they manage to be so flexible with staff and volunteers that they can guarantee serving everyone every day and can give out numbers all day long, the best advice would be to go there in the morning, not before 8 am and also not too late, ideally with a smartphone with QR reader and internet connection so that you can keep an eye on the counter. Or else go there during the morning, get your ticket, go back from time to time to check the counter, then eventually wait there for 1 hour or so until it's your turn. You can obviously also choose to wait from the moment you get your ticket until the moment you get your Compostela.

Or queue for 2 hours from 6 am onwards to be 100% sure to get your Compostela at 8 am ... :rolleyes:.
 
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Kathar1na

Member
Camino(s) past & future
To Santiago and back (no name; Tours; Francés; sea; no name)
ideally with a smartphone with QR reader and internet connection so that you can keep an eye on the counter
And for people who don't have a QR reader on their smartphones and don't want to fuss around with downloading one although it's easy to do, just use this link: https://catedral.df-server.info . It shows the current number being processed at the Pilgrims Office.
 
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Kathar1na

Member
Camino(s) past & future
To Santiago and back (no name; Tours; Francés; sea; no name)
And staying for one and a half days in Santiago should do the trick: If you arrive before lunchtime you are likely to get served on the day. If not, you will get served on the next day and the earlier in the morning you get your ticket the earlier you'll get your Compostela.

Is that expecting too much of a Saint James pilgrim? After all, when you want a Compostela, you've been making pilgrimage in a Christian sense, if only searching, and you will want to attend the pilgrims mass at 12:00 or at 19:00 and stay a bit with the Apostle, which is the aim of your pilgrimage, isn't it, and not rush off as soon you can ...
 
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Kathar1na

Member
Camino(s) past & future
To Santiago and back (no name; Tours; Francés; sea; no name)
Ooh ... on Thursday 26 September 2019 llegaron 1705 peregrinos, and on Saturday, 28 September, llegaron 1736 peregrinos. Is that low, high or normal for the end of September? And does anyone happen to know what the daily record is. Is it something like 3000 on a day in August this year?

I'm wondering again, are there currently many more pilgrims arriving and wanting a Compostela so that there are not enough staff to handle unexpectedly high demand, or does the new system, being more efficient, lead to more people out of those arriving get a Compostela (despite the fact that social media wants to postulate the opposite). 🤔
 
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Kathar1na

Member
Camino(s) past & future
To Santiago and back (no name; Tours; Francés; sea; no name)
Ooh ... on Thursday 26 September 2019 llegaron 1705 peregrinos, and on Saturday, 28 September, llegaron 1736 peregrinos. Is that low, high or normal for the end of September? And does anyone happen to know what the daily record is. Was it something like 3000 on a day in August this year?
And on Sunday, 29 September, llegaron 1600 peregrinos.

I wonder whether it would make sense to allow people to get tickets for the next morning when the daily contingent has been reached ...
 

Bradypus

Moderator
Staff member
Camino(s) past & future
Too many and too often!
I wonder whether it would make sense to allow people to get tickets for the next morning when the daily contingent has been reached ...
That might be some help to those who receive them. But it only really shifts the problem 12 hours into the future. Those people will then become part of the problem for the next day's office staff and those arriving that day....
 

Kathar1na

Member
Camino(s) past & future
To Santiago and back (no name; Tours; Francés; sea; no name)
That might be some help to those who receive them. But it only really shifts the problem 12 hours into the future. Those people will then become part of the problem for the next day's office staff and those arriving that day....
It's the same conundrum as in Roncesvalles when there are more pilgrims than beds ☺ and I'm only idly speculating. It might do away or at least reduce the 6 am early morning queue, though, which I find both amazing and ... may I say it ... silly. Although I get it ...
 
Camino(s) past & future
Frances(2006) Portugues(2013)
San Salvador (2017) Ingles (2019)
It is just such a shame to hear of disappointed pilgrims who cannot wait over till the next day. I arrived on August 10th around midday and got a ticket near enough to 2000. There were hundreds of pilgrims milling around. If the system had been as before, there would have been a queue, and some folks would have accommodated those in front or behind by shuffling along with the bags, to let folk go for trips to loo or coffee etc... but eventually, the line would have crept nearer to the door into the room where the holy grail of the Compostelas is granted... was that so bad? My vague memories of the old place, and the queue, didn't have us waiting for too long. So it is not the place or the system, it is the exponential (I have been waiting for a long time to use that word!) increase in pilgrims arriving at the spot, looking for either a Compostela or a Distance Certificate... now, I just need to wait for one of the thinkers and analysts to correct my poor logic!
 

Kathar1na

Member
Camino(s) past & future
To Santiago and back (no name; Tours; Francés; sea; no name)
now, I just need to wait for one of the thinkers and analysts to correct my poor logic!
I hereby withdraw my proposal 😎. I see that the 6 am early morning queue fulfils a vital function: it offers the comfort and experiences that hour long queues of pilgrims can provide, despite ticket kiosks and smartphones with QR readers; they can still be outsmarted 🙂.

And now I'm going to look for an old envelope to work out whether that increase in numbers over the years is really exponential. 😇
 
Camino(s) past & future
Frances(2006) Portugues(2013)
San Salvador (2017) Ingles (2019)
More linear than exponential in the mathematical sense...;)


Glad to shorten your wait...
Thank you because I was too lazy to check the word. I really did want to use that word though. It wasn't in my lexicon when lexicon was beyond my ken...
You are of course 2000% correct, linear is the word. Please be aware: you misquote me!
Main thing is still that it is so hard for pilgrims who can't wait around for their Compostela.
 

Kathar1na

Member
Camino(s) past & future
To Santiago and back (no name; Tours; Francés; sea; no name)
There are more things between linear and exponential, Horatio, than are written in your lexicon. 🤓😇😅

@kirkie, the word has two meanings. It was ok how you used it. Thinkers and analysts. Jerks. How about clever clogs? 😇
 
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alhartman

346 joyful days in Spain and France since 2005
Camino(s) past & future
Hope so!
Daily records that I have pulled from various posting here in the past:
  • 3013 about 8/9/14
  • 2949 on 7/27/18
  • 3000est on 8/11/18
 

t2andreo

Veteran Member
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Ooh ... on Thursday 26 September 2019 llegaron 1705 peregrinos, and on Saturday, 28 September, llegaron 1736 peregrinos. Is that low, high or normal for the end of September? And does anyone happen to know what the daily record is. Is it something like 3000 on a day in August this year?

I'm wondering again, are there currently many more pilgrims arriving and wanting a Compostela so that there are not enough staff to handle unexpectedly high demand, or does the new system, being more efficient, lead to more people out of those arriving get a Compostela (despite the fact that social media wants to postulate the opposite). 🤔

Those daily numbers are higher than normal. In September you COULD see this volume on a Friday or Saturday, especially if there are several Sarria/ Tui groups..

I have stated several that the 2019 Pilgrim Season is longer than normal. Usually, the volume drops from 4-figure days to 3-figure days at the end of September. By the end of October, they are down to <500 daily.

More volunteers are needed beyond when I usually leave in mid-August. I would stay longer, but the Boss (wife) will not permit it. IMHO, they need as many volunteers as they can get through the end of October, as more pilgrims chose to walk in the “hip seasons.”

Hope this helps.
 

t2andreo

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Yes it did seem to be working well, once the new system was understood, and we estimated it took 20-30 seconds per pilgrim with 7 desks operating, pretty good we thought. 👍

it could only take less than a minute per Pilgrim if

- you were both communicating in a language you both spoke fluently,
- the credencial was textbook perfect, and
- the Pilgrim could complete the data form (estadillo) as fast as the worker could handle it,
- the Latin name was commonly understood, and,
- the pilgrim had NO questions.

In my experience this rarely ever happens.

My observation is that the median time is from 5 - 7 minutes, and frequently hits 10 minutes, if both parties are chatty.

hope this helps.
 

Shazenalan

Member
Camino(s) past & future
CF 2018
it could only take less than a minute per Pilgrim if

- you were both communicating in a language you both spoke fluently,
- the credencial was textbook perfect, and
- the Pilgrim could complete the data form (estadillo) as fast as the worker could handle it,
- the Latin name was commonly understood, and,
- the pilgrim had NO questions.

In my experience this rarely ever happens.

My observation is that the median time is from 5 - 7 minutes, and frequently hits 10 minutes, if both parties are chatty.

hope this helps.
Yes - You are absolutely right, my timing was about ‘how long it took for a pilgrim to move from the queue to a desk with 7 desks operating’. Note to self to define my terms in future. 🙄🤦🏼‍♀️
 

Kathar1na

Member
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To Santiago and back (no name; Tours; Francés; sea; no name)
it could only take less than a minute per Pilgrim if ...
This may puzzle you 🤓:

Yesterday, they gave out 1600 Compostelas. During approximately 13 hours. Makes 13 x 60 minutes or 13 x 60 x 60 seconds. That means 1600 Compostelas in 46,800 seconds. Or 1 Compostela in 46,800 seconds divided by 1600. Result: 1 Compostela every 29.25 seconds. Just what @Shazenalaan said: 20-30 seconds per Compostela or per pilgrim.

Or ... 1 Compostela every 30 seconds. 2 Compostelas every 1 minute. 120 Compostelas every hour. 1440 after 12 hours.

😊
 

Pelegrin

Veteran Member
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SJPP - Logroño June 2014
Ingles July2016
1 Compostela every 30 s I think it would be if only one position is working in the center. But there are 16.
120 / 16 = 7, 5 C per position per hour. This is 60/ 7.5 = 8 minutes (average time).per Compostela.
 

t2andreo

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This may puzzle you 🤓:

Yesterday, they gave out 1600 Compostelas. During approximately 13 hours. Makes 13 x 60 minutes or 13 x 60 x 60 seconds. That means 1600 Compostelas in 46,800 seconds. Or 1 Compostela in 46,800 seconds divided by 1600. Result: 1 Compostela every 29.25 seconds. Just what @Shazenalaan said: 20-30 seconds per Compostela or per pilgrim.

Or ... 1 Compostela every 30 seconds. 2 Compostelas every 1 minute. 120 Compostelas every hour. 1440 after 12 hours.

😊

The solution is that individual Compostelas take FAR longer to do than groups. With a group, once one credencial is validated, all group credencial are double stamped in a Very rapid fire fashion.

Someone spreads the group credencials out on a table, then mechanically stamps each one twice.

Writing one Compostela takes about 20 seconds...max... if you are doing it in a back room

In the 30 minutes that one person at the counter might see 4 - 5 solo pilgrims, the person cranking out Compostelas can easily do close to 100, especially if someone helps with organizing and stamping the credencials.

Thus is a crude form of automation... or more precisely an assembly line process.

That accounts for the skewed numbers at the end of the day. Roughly, the difference between the final QR ticket issued and the total pilgrims “arriving” would be those in groups.

Simply straight-line averaging production over time is inaccurate IMHO. All it describes is the overall average.

To more accurately calculate how long each of the two processes takes, you have to know three things for each of the two processes:

- How many credencials were submitted
- In what period of time
- How many staff/volunteers worked this demand

For example, if 4 staff each hour worked 12 hours interviewing solo pilgrims at the counter, and completed completed 960 Compostelas, the average completion rate would be: (960 / 12) / 4 = 20 Compostelas per hour, or an average of one every three minutes.

That is highly optimistic in my experience simply because humans do not work like robots. They must respond and adapt to whatever comes from the pilgrim seeking a Compostela. But, let’s stay with that model for the sake of discussion.

But, and conversely, if 2 staff working offline completed 600 group Compostelas, while working for a total of only four hours over the day (as group arrivals are non-linear), the average output rate is:

(600 / 4) / 2 = 75 Compostelas per hour

The daily total for this hypothetical day of 1,560 “pilgrims arriving yesterday” (960 + 600) is a typical day. The 2/3 vs 1/3 split between solo and group pilgrims is relatively accurate and not atypical.

The split can dither one way or another on any given day. The ratio of groups to solo pilgrims is usually higher on Friday and Saturday.

My example highlights the fact that the assembly line, group process delivers several times as many Compostelas per hour than doing onesies.

If we could push the data collection to an “in advance” online system, combined with WR codes on smartphones and laser printing of certificates, the increase in efficiency for so pilgrims opting into this express process, would likely be several times the current group rate.

hope this helps.
 
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Kathar1na

Member
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To Santiago and back (no name; Tours; Francés; sea; no name)
The solution is that individual Compostelas take FAR longer to do with groups. With a group, once one credencial is validated, all are double stamped in a machin-gun fashion.
Not really. There are just different ways of describing a process, in this case: how long it takes a person on average to issue a Compostela and how many Compostelas are issued by the office on average within a certain time.

They stopped at ticket #1492 today, btw, and that was even after 9 pm. (Edited to add: 1473 peregrinos llegaron, according to website).
 
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t2andreo

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Not really. There are just different ways of describing a process, in this case: how long it takes a person on average to issue a Compostela and how many Compostelas are issued by the office on average within a certain time.

They stopped at ticket #1492 today, btw, and that was even after 9 pm.

I edited my post. You may wish to visit my expanded explanation and examples.
 

Kathar1na

Member
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To Santiago and back (no name; Tours; Francés; sea; no name)
I edited my post. You may wish to visit my expanded explanation and examples.
I was merely trying to illustrate that what @Shazenalan said (average output by whole desk staff crew was 1 Compostela every 20-30 seconds) is not wrong. I don’t think any further calculations are necessary. 😇

The statement was correct but it is counterintuitive. This part of the conversation shows, perhaps, also how little we really understand many similar statements where we don't have direct experience of the processes that the statements describe and don't have a gut reaction ...
 
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Pelegrin

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I was merely trying to illustrate that what @Shazenalan said (average output by whole desk staff crew was 1 Compostela every 20-30 seconds) is not wrong. I don’t think any further calculations are necessary. 😇

The statement was correct but it is counterintuitive. This part of the conversation shows, perhaps, also how little we really understand many similar statements where we don't have direct experience of the processes that the statements describe and don't have a gut reaction ...
Ah..Ok, for 1440 compostelas in a day, 1 compostela issued every 30 seconds in the PO is correct, but the average time in each posItion is 8 minutes in this case.
 

hel&scott

Veteran Member
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2004 St Jean - Santiago, 2008 &18 Seville - Finesterre, 2010 Ferrol - Lisbon, 2012 from Cartehenga.
Yesterday, they gave out 1600 Compostelas. During approximately 13 hours. Makes 13 x 60 minutes or 13 x 60 x 60 seconds. That means 1600 Compostelas in 46,800 seconds. Or 1 Compostela in 46,800 seconds divided by 1600. Result: 1 Compostela every 29.25 seconds. Just what @Shazenalaan said: 20-30 seconds per Compostela or per pilgrim.

Or ... 1 Compostela every 30 seconds. 2 Compostelas every 1 minute. 120 Compostelas every hour. 1440 after 12 hours.
I think you need to take the QR reader off line, put down the calculator and go outside for a walk.
 

Kathar1na

Member
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To Santiago and back (no name; Tours; Francés; sea; no name)
I think you need to take the QR reader off line, put down the calculator and go outside for a walk.
Not today as Lorenzo is passing through. Or is it Mortimer?

I'm actually confident that the Oficina will sort things out without our help. It's the reactions to it all that keeps me coming back to it time after time ... ☺
 
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t2andreo

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EVERYBODY CHILL! Pretty Please! This is NOT the end of the world. It WILL all work out.

Consider coming to work as a volunteer. Be part of the solution. FYI, the BLUE link in my signature takes you to the LONG article on how to volunteer.

As regards, outputs from the system, Katha1na is technically correct. If you stood outside by the fountain and watched the office exit, you WOULD see a solo pilgrim emerge from the process perhaps every 30 seconds or so. This is the case all morning long, even in the summer.

This is simple queuing theory at work. Or, as well call it in the trade... "three barbers...no waiting." The phenomenon is that if you have enough people doing a process - any process - such that the waiting line moves forward every (let's say 30 seconds), it DOES appear that it only takes 30 seconds to complete the process.

But, this phenomenon is created by having enough people to handle the demand. As an example, some of you may remember the photos I sent in mid-July to early August, from the Pilgrim Office in the morning, up to noon. These photos regularly showed few if any pilgrims in the queue. In fact, on many mornings there were more people working behind the counter that waiting to be served. The hallway outside was EMPTY.

This was BEFORE the new #$%^&*( QR chit system was turned on. That change caused a general panic to get there and get a number. Anyway, I digress...

What I am trying to clarify here, and hopefully put this issue to rest, is that if you filled every position (16 in all) with a worker, then 16 pilgrims could be handled simultaneously. If it took 8 minutes to do one pilgrim, on average, but 16 people were doing work at the same pace (more or less). Using straight line math, you would reasonably expect a pilgrim to exit the process about every 30 seconds.

If you reduced the number of counter people by half, the exit rate would APPEAR to increase to a minute or more. But the actual time needed to do one pilgrim does not change. Cut the staff by another 50% percent (this happens each summer day at about 13:00 as most all the church related volunteers leave for their lunch in a designated dining facility. So, the exit frequency, and apparent process time do do one Compostela doubles again to more than two minutes, per exit from the process.

BTW - Lunch times are fixed so they must go if they want lunch. The Pilgrim Office does not control this. Yes, I know there should be some coordination, but there has not been, at least so far. The peak time of every day is from about 1100 to 1500. That is why I usually work from 1000 to 1500 each day. To me, it is intuitive. But trying to change the schedule models is nigh on to impossible.

I hope this helps clarify... Everyone just take a deep breath and relax.
 
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t2andreo

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if you got a number, they will take care of you... Go have a coffee down the street, then check the queue status on your smartphone. Be sure to be back in the front hallway when the difference between your ticket number and the number now being served is 30 or less.

The line can jump ahead sometimes. DO NOT BE A "NO SHOW."

I am curious, at what time did you get your number 879? Also, what number are they issuing now? Also, have they stopped issuing tickets for the day yet, at about what time.

Thanks, you are my eyes on the scene today. Appreciate the assist.
 

NorthernLight

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EVERYBODY CHILL! Pretty Please! This is NOT the end of the world. It WILL all work out.

... Everyone just take a deep breath and relax.

I hope you are also able to take your own advice. Most of the people regularly posting in here are as interested in what's happening as you are and the math nerds are happy clams with all this numbers buzz.

The previous poster said she's chilling at the Pilgrim House.
 

Suzanne S.

Active Member
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(2015) Camino Frances/Muxia/Fisterre (2017) Caminho Portuguese/Fisterre
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I
if you got a number, they will take care of you... Go have a coffee down the street, then check the queue status on your smartphone. Be sure to be back in the front hallway when the difference between your ticket number and the number now being served is 30 or less.

The line can jump ahead sometimes. DO NOT BE A "NO SHOW."

I am curious, at what time did you get your number 879? Also, what number are they issuing now? Also, have they stopped issuing tickets for the day yet, at about what time.

Thanks, you are my eyes on the scene today. Appreciate the assist.
I got my number around 2. Last I checked, about 30 minutes ago, they were on 510 and we're issuing number 1,060 ish.

BTW, the number showing up on my Android phone is about 10 numbers short of actual.
 

Paul Michetti

New Member
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Camino Portuguese Sept "2019" Porto to Santiago
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And you should buy a tube to protect your compostella in the luggage. The shops or post office sells for $1euro
We were there on Saturday September 28th getting our certificates and the Camino office was charging €5 for the tubes. Pretty steep price so if you can find one at the post office for €1 do so.
 

t2andreo

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I

I got my number around 2. Last I checked, about 30 minutes ago, they were on 510 and we're issuing number 1,060 ish.

BTW, the number showing up on my Android phone is about 10 numbers short of actual.

Thank you for the information. BTW, The difference of 10 numbers between the actual status at the counter, and what you get on a remote, online query is intentionally built in. The idea is that making it look like they are getting to you number sooner, will prompt you to stop whatever you are doing and get to the Pilgrim Office.

They are trying to engineer "No Shows" out of the process.

Congratulations on finishing your Camino!

Hope this helps.
 
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We were there on Saturday September 28th getting our certificates and the Camino office was charging €5 for the tubes. Pretty steep price so if you can find one at the post office for €1 do so.
Unless things have changed considerably in the last month or so the tubes at the office cost €2... the certificate of distance costs €3 so many people pay €5 at the cash desk. Perhaps that was the case for you?
 

VNwalking

Wandering in big circles
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I hope you are also able to take your own advice. Most of the people regularly posting in here are as interested in what's happening as you are and the math nerds are happy clams with all this numbers buzz.

The previous poster said she's chilling at the Pilgrim House.
@t2andreo, I hope you're taking deep breaths too. ;) 🙏
Most of us are actually fine. So next time you feel like posting in boldface and caps, perhaps take a walk around the block. Because online it sounds awfully worked up.

Your passion for volunteering at the Pilgrims Office is wonderful. But none of us own the place, no matter how personally inversted we are.
 

Suzanne S.

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Unless things have changed considerably in the last month or so the tubes at the office cost €2... the certificate of distance costs €3 so many people pay €5 at the cash desk. Perhaps that was the case for you?
This was the case for me today. Five euros for both. Three for the distance certificate and two for the tube.
 

t2andreo

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@t2andreo, I hope you're taking deep breaths too. ;) 🙏
Most of us are actually fine. So next time you feel like posting in boldface and caps, perhaps take a walk around the block. Because online it sounds awfully worked up.

Your passion for volunteering at the Pilgrims Office is wonderful. But none of us own the place, no matter how personally inversted we are.

You are of course correct. Thank you for the sanity check...
 

Lifesastitch

New Member
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Arrived in Santiago yesterday, Sunday, at 1:30pm. No tickets available, told to return in the morning. Arrived by 7:30am in the pouring rain. By 8:00 opening there were perhaps 175 waiting. We were #73/74 and it took two hours, 75% of the time in a downstairs holding area with chairs, wc’s and vending machines. Only four people processing Compostelas. Had some nice conversations with others while waiting (or as the word esperando also translates in Spanish, hoping). But it did strike me, what’s more painful than walking? Standing lol.
 

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mmmmartin

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All the volunteers were at a church service this morning. After that the numbers being processed increased a lot.
 

Lifesastitch

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All the volunteers were at a church service this morning. After that the numbers being processed increased a lot.
That’s encouraging. From my previous two Caminos I remember there were always more than four. Thanks for the info.
 

t2andreo

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Tom - this is possible not the right thread to post this but I hear that from next month the Santa Clara flat will no longer be used for volunteers- instead they will be housed out in Monte do Gozo. Whether this is a short or long term accommodation solution I don’t know. I must say that the prospect of having to trek in from there and out again coupled with the extension to the volunteer shift from 5 to 6 hours makes the set up much less attractive.
That might sound petty but I was always pretty tired after my shifts and it was great to be only 10 minutes walk from “home”. Anyway will wait & see as I won’t be back again until next year (timing not known yet).

Just saw your post. I do not have any information about this alleged change in volunteer housing. I agree that schlepping out to Monte de Gozo is a tad much, unless they provided rides back and forth. Even then, it makes no sense. I shall wait for more input.

The new volunteer rooms with bathrooms are still being developed on the upper floors of the building housing the new Pilgrim Waiting Area. This is where the QR ticket kiosks are located. These rooms are patterned after the pilgrim floor at San Martin Pinario. not fancy, but new, and free has a quality all its own.

Delays and cost overruns at the main Cathedral renovation forced delays and transfer of funds from the Pilgrim Office project up to the Cathedral. My information is that these rooms will be ready before the Holy Year. Admittedly, finishing the Cathedral is Job #1.

I already sent my 2020 volunteer dates to the ACC. I am staying flexible.
 

Karl Oz

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as an Australian for the last 25 years and prior to that a ‘pom’ (English) I think the English tend to have rather better language skills than the Aussies....

a question of proximity me thinks ;)
Yes, and also the fact that Australia has no borders, being an island continent...
 

zrexer

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Not much use for those of us that don't use a smartphone or cellphone. Got rid of mine at retirement four years ago and don't miss it at all.
It is kind of weird now seeing everyone else with their faces buried in their phones. Very freeing.
 

mmmmartin

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Volunteers are housed in a building next to the Galician junta at san lazaro, each has their own room. It's newish, clean albeit no heating and there's no kitchen to cook in. The area has bars and restaurants open until late. It's a two minutes walk to the bus stop. The number 6 bus goes to San roque in 10 minutes, then it's eight minutes' walk to the office. If you buy a green card for the bus each journey is €.06. It's not a schlepp at all. That's an app that tells you when the buses are due, and some stops have display boards that tell you when the bus is due. It's a fabulous system, and cheap.
 
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Volunteers are housed in a building next to the Galician junta at san lazaro, each has their own room. It's newish, clean albeit no heating and there's no kitchen to cook in. The area has bars and restaurants open until late. It's a two minutes walk to the bus stop. The number 6 bus goes to San roque in 10 minutes, then it's eight minutes' walk to the office. If you buy a green card for the bus each journey is €.06. It's not a schlepp at all. That's an app that tells you when the buses are due, and some stops have display boards that tell you when the bus is due. It's a fabulous system, and cheap.
Thanks for that update @mmmmartin I will still miss being able to walk everywhere (I wouldn’t walk home after a late shift to there) but it’s definitely better than Monte De Gozo! Must have been a misunderstanding between the volunteer who was told and the office.
 

t2andreo

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Volunteers are housed in a building next to the Galician junta at san lazaro, each has their own room. It's newish, clean albeit no heating and there's no kitchen to cook in. The area has bars and restaurants open until late. It's a two minutes walk to the bus stop. The number 6 bus goes to San roque in 10 minutes, then it's eight minutes' walk to the office. If you buy a green card for the bus each journey is €.06. It's not a schlepp at all. That's an app that tells you when the buses are due, and some stops have display boards that tell you when the bus is due. It's a fabulous system, and cheap.

I did not know the alternative volunteer housing was at San Lazaro. The previous post indicated it was at Monte de Gozo. THAT is a schlep. Coming in on the bus from San Lazaro is much less a problem. As was said, the #6 bus is convenient and runs every 20 minutes IIRC

I would still like to learn exactly what caused this change, and whether the Convento de Santa Clara de Asis at San Roque, is no longer being used. Does anyone know the facts?

Hope this helps.
 

mmmmartin

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Frances a pie '18
(Porto a pie '19)
Volunteers not been told: there again they haven't asked!
Someone commented that the flat was cold and damp so maybe this is all to the good.
 
Camino(s) past & future
CF 2015, CPo 2016, VDLP[Sev-Các] 2017, VDLP[Các-Sal] 2018
My volunteer pal told me that the flat in Santa Clara was being converted to an albergue/hostal... but then he also told me the alternative accommodation (at least for the start of October) was Monte de Gozo. So I’m guessing the latter was a misunderstanding, the former? 🤷🏻‍♀️
 

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