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The Cathedral in SdC, Just Some Thoughts


Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Holy Year from Pamplona 2010, SJPP 2011, Lisbon 2012, Le Puy 2013, Vezelay (partial watch this space!) 2014; 2015 Toulouse-Puenta la Reina (Arles)
There has been a post entitled "The Cathedral is Closed-Is It Worth It"? Closed? Partially Closed? Sometimes Closed? Often Closed? I can't answer that one. Closed or not the powers that be are preparing for the Holy Year in 2021 and that's not a bad thing. H-o-w-e-v-e-r, having said that I recall my pilgrimage in Holy Year in 2011. Left from SJPP as all "proper" pilgrims should (sarcasm intended we all make the pilgrimage we desire) just before Easter so it was crowded all through Semana Santa and into the week after Easter. Cleared out for most of the way until Sarria and then the fountains of pilgrims from the great deep burst open, and the windows of heaven of pilgrims were also opened ! Pilgrims walking, pilgrims on bicycles, pilgrims on horses, pilgrims on motorcycles, pilgrims in minivans as tourist guides popped into cafe/bars to stamp 30-40 credencials at one go for the motorized pilgrims, bus loads of pilgrims, packed albergues as people slept on the floor with taxis lined up next morning to take others away. A Flood of pilgrims pretty awful but bearable. Then I walked triumphantly into SdC to find ... "no room in the inn" anywhere!!! Thousands and thousands of pilgrims and not so pilgrims. Found a freezing private room from an abuela standing out on a on the square and got ready for the pilgrims mass. Now. I had attended probably 30 pilgrim's masses along that Camino, not bad for a Jewish Pilgrim, always a warm welcome after the initial surprise, always a good spiritual experience. In the years that have followed I have attended probably hundreds more. That time, that day, around 1130 I presented myself at the Cathedral to be greeted by hundreds and hundreds if not thousands of people. Entire bus-loads of tourists, entire Old Folk's Homes out with their walkers and caretakers, entire graduating classes from schools, the tour guides and their mini-van myriads, all pushing and shoving for a better view, cameras flashing right and left up and down- no cellular phone cameras back then!, battle cries of "José we've saved you a seat", elbows brandished, and several dozen bedeviled bewildered priests attempting to restore order to no avail - sorry no other description, they were helpless and hopeless in the onslaught, then the mass began! Mira Mira!! Miro Miro!! Mirarán Mirarán! Priests answering Silenciar Silenciar Volver Volver! Couldn't hear a word but miraculously as the priest read out the list of countries from whence the pilgrims arrive I heard Israel - some small compensation - my companion from Hungary broke down and cried. Quite possibly the most anticipated and the very most worst very awful Pilgrims Mass I ever attended. All was almost resolved by hopping a bus for Muxía and my good friend Begonia's guest house! Should you be considering to wait for a pilgrimage in 2021 when all is open perhas and do consider the possible side effects of your decision, me? I would not wait but set out tomorrow!


Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
C/F: 2013, 2014
C/M: 2016
C/P: 2015, 2017
C/I: 2018
Voluntario: 2014 - 2019
Scruffy is absolutely CORRECT on ALL points.

Personally, and knowing what I know, I do not plan to walk a camino in 2021. I DO plan to offer my services for a second month of volunteering, likely around Semana Santa and Easter, when the 2021 pilgrimage season hits high-gear.

However, IF YOU DO PLAN TO do a 2021 pilgrimage, these are my recommendations:
  • Pack a lot of patience and good cheer. You WILL need it.
  • Avoid the major connection nodes or favorite stops on Friday, Saturday and Sunday. These nodes include, but are not limited to: (Frances) Roncesvalles, Pamplona, Logrono, Burgos, Leon, Astorgas, Ponferrada, O'Cebrerio (tourist trap), Sarria; (Portuguese) Porto, Valenca, Tui, Pontevedra.
  • Book accommodations ahead to the maximum extent possible, but absolutely at the major transport nodes (above) and Santiago. If you reserve SHOW UP or send an email or call to cancel so another pilgrim can have your unneeded room or bed.
  • If you do use public and donativo albergues when you walk, always have one or two alternatives for each night's planned stay. Consider the last place before you enter a town, and the first one coming out of that place.
  • Plan ahead, use common sense, be flexible, assess, adapt and overcome.
  • Share with and help others. This pays HUGE dividends.
Also, and primarily for those of you who care, the Jubilee or Plenary Indulgence, awarded to Catholics by the Catholic Church who perform specified spiritual activities, DOES NOT REQUIRE a pilgrimage to arrive at Santiago. Tourists can obtain the indulgence as easily as someone who walked all the way from SJPdP or beyond... The rules are the same as they were for the 2016 Year of Mercy. Arrive, perform the required spiritual activities as specified, and voila! Your soul is refreshed / renewed / cleansed.

Hope this helps.

Hope this helps.


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