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The "distance certificate" - something to consider

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Ok, so earlier this year I walked as part of a group to Santiago along the Norte. Every time is different, which is wonderful.

One of my dearest friends didn't really care about the compostela... she wanted the distance certificate to show how far she walked... she had a detailed journal that kept track of all her kms.

Bummer is she caught Covid about 40% of the way through, and it wiped her out for about 10 days. She walked when she could but had to resort to public / private transportation to keep up with her friends.

After recovery she walked on like a soldier. She diligently recorded her distance traveled by foot again.

When we arrived in Santiago, we all went to the pilgrim's office... she was next to me in line and shared the booth next to me so I heard the conversation...

Her: I would like a distance certificate...
Volunteer: I see where you started... (I think it was Bilbao.)
Her: But I got sick and couldn't walk, so it is less than that...
Volunteer: where did you last take transportation?
Her: I have a record here...
Volunteer: ok, we can only issue a distance certificate based on your last transportation...
Her: but I got sick and I walked a long way before...
Volunteer: we can only issue a distance certificate based on your last transportation...

My friend started to cry. I mean, she had a TOUGH Camino and just wanted her certificate to reflect her actual efforts... she didn't want it to say she walked from Bilbao, she also didn't want it to say she walked from Ribadeo. She qualified for a compostela of course.

I regretted not having experienced this situation before and warning her in advance... I mean... I don't care about the distance certificate... but I still hoard my compostelae.

Now I know. Apparently if you are caught in this situation and you want an accurate distance certificate, calculate your actual kms traveled and figure out the starting point where that would be from. Tell them, yah, I started walking again in Llanes or wherever.

I do not condone lying. I also do not condone rules that don't adapt to reality.
 
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Marbe2

Active member
Time of past OR future Camino
2015-2019 walked all or more than half of CF 7 times... CP recently cancelled by Covid 19!
Ok, so earlier this year I walked as part of a group to Santiago along the Norte. Every time is different, which is wonderful.

One of my dearest friends didn't really care about the compostella... she wanted the distance certificate to show how far she walked... she had a detailed journal that kept track of all her kms.

Bummer is she caught Covid about 40% of the way through, and it wiped her out for about 10 days. She walked when she could but had to resort to public / private transportation to keep up with her friends.

After recovery she walked on like a soldier. She diligently recorded her distance traveled by foot again.

When we arrived in Santiago, we all went to the pilgrim's office... she was next to me in line and shared the booth next to me so I heard the conversation...

Her: I would like a distance certificate...
Volunteer: I see where you started... (I think it was Bilbao.)
Her: But I got sick and couldn't walk, so it is less than that...
Volunteer: where did you last take transportation?
Her: I have a record here...
Volunteer: ok, we can only issue a distance certificate based on your last transportation...
Her: but I got sick and I walked a long way before...
Volunteer: we can only issue a distance certificate based on your last transportation...

My friend started to cry. I mean, she had a TOUGH Camino and just wanted her certificate to reflect her actual efforts... she didn't want it to say she walked from Bilbao, she also didn't want it to say she walked from Ribadeo. She qualified for a compostella of course.

I regretted not having experienced this situation before and warning her in advance... I mean... I don't care about the distance certificate... but I still hoard my compostellae.

Now I know. Apparently if you are caught in this situation and you want an accurate distance certificate, calculate your actual kms traveled and figure out the starting point where that would be from. Tell them, yah, I started walking again in Llanes or wherever.

I do not condone lying. I also do not condone rules that don't adapt to reality.

I have gotten a compostela twice though I have arrived in SdC in the double digits. If I would lie to get any document at the pilgrims office, then, every time I would look at it, I would know it was obtained under false pretenses.

Rather, I like the idea that someone proposed about going to the
Franciscan Church and obtaining a Cotolaya.

you default the 100k rule... Cotolaya is here for you!​


 
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Bradypus

Migratory hermit
Time of past OR future Camino
Too many and too often!
I have gotten a compostela twice though I have arrived in SdC in the double digits. If I would not lie to get any document at the pilgrims office, then, every time I would look at it, I would know it was obtained under false pretenses.
I completely agree. I have not asked for a Compostela or a distance certificate after my recent Caminos either. I do not expect to ask for one after any future Caminos. Partly because I am growing increasingly unhappy with the ever-narrower and more pedantic rules that the pilgrim office operates. But even if I did want a piece of paper from them I would not lie to get it. What value would it have then? I would consider it tainted.
 

dougfitz

Veteran Member
Time of past OR future Camino
Spain: Mar 2010, Apr 2014, May/Jun 2016. Norway/Sweden: 2012, 2018. Other: 2011, 2019. CP (tbc)
Volunteer: ok, we can only issue a distance certificate based on your last transportation...
It's not clear when this approach started, because both this year and when my wife and I walked in 2016, we received distance certificates that accounted for gaps where we took a bus or train. In 2016, there wasn't any great difficulty from our perspective, but the volunteer at the counter sought assistance with the calculation of the distances involved from one of the supervisors. This year the volunteer passed me over to someone who seemed to have more experience, and who had no difficulty doing the calculations involved.

If the approach described had been taken when my wife and I walked together, we would have only had the distance from Sarria acknowledged, and I think, like the OP's friend, we would have been very disappointed.
 
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Time of past OR future Camino
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I completely agree. I have not asked for a Compostela or a distance certificate after my recent Caminos either. I do not expect to ask for one after any future Caminos. Partly because I am growing increasingly unhappy with the ever-narrower and more pedantic rules that the pilgrim office operates. But even if I did want a piece of paper from them I would not lie to get it. What value would it have then? I would consider it tainted.
Ok, the only reason I said maybe she should have lied is because the truth was not recognized. Your point of "why get a certificate if it's untrue" is exactly my point. She walked a bunch, dealt with a sickness and arrived in Santiago qualified.
 
Time of past OR future Camino
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Whilst the church authorities have an understandable monopoly on issuing compostellas, a distance certificate is an indisputably secular document.

Perhaps you know someone with an artistic bent who might make a suitable certificate for your friend?
At this point it doesn't really matter to her. She's living her leadership life in Germany and France... I've been trying to convince her to walk again.
 

domigee

Veteran Member
Time of past OR future Camino
2022 CF
(…)I am growing increasingly unhappy with the ever-narrower and more pedantic rules that the pilgrim office operates.(…j
i’ve always been lucky with my experiences at the pilgrim office in Santiago - although now I don’t bother going for a Compostela .
But this Summer, a friend of mine was quite shocked at the welcome he received (or rather didn’t) upon arriving. it was his 11th (or 12th… I lose track) Camino and they practically barked at him, apparently and didn’t even write his name in Latin… I forget the minute details but had it been a first-timer on the Camino, it would have been really upsetting 🙁 Sad.
 
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Time of past OR future Camino
Oct/Nov 2021 SJPdP to Finisterre
I am neither artistic nor literary, but many forum participants are one or the other, and some are both. Perhaps people could put together ideas for a document that one could order and purchase through Ivar's business. It could possibly include a list of places where one stayed and maybe even a map of the actual route since some people mix and match their routes or take detours. It could have actual distances and dates. I imagine it being printed on heavy stock paper, with a fancy font, and with some color. It could be available in many different languages, even Latin for some purists. Maybe different versions could be offered – religious, spiritual, secular, etc.

Bob
 
Time of past OR future Camino
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This year the volunteer passed me over to someone who seemed to have more experience, and who had no difficulty doing the calculations involved.
Doug - are you a charmer? Did we just have bad luck? Maybe they were in a hurry for us because it was "ascension day", btw which is a total party if you ever happen to arrive there at that time. My friend explained everything but it was like talking to a brick wall.
 

dougfitz

Veteran Member
Time of past OR future Camino
Spain: Mar 2010, Apr 2014, May/Jun 2016. Norway/Sweden: 2012, 2018. Other: 2011, 2019. CP (tbc)
Doug - are you a charmer? Did we just have bad luck? Maybe they were in a hurry for us because it was "ascension day", btw which is a total party if you ever happen to arrive there at that time. My friend explained everything but it was like talking to a brick wall.
When I read your post starting this thread, I was surprised because I hadn't had any difficulty either time I did this. On the first occasion, in 2016, I had also taken the credential for my first camino so that I could get the distance certificate for that as well, but that wasn't complicated as on that camino I had walked all the way from SJPP on the CF.
 

dougfitz

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Time of past OR future Camino
Spain: Mar 2010, Apr 2014, May/Jun 2016. Norway/Sweden: 2012, 2018. Other: 2011, 2019. CP (tbc)
What was your approach? Why did you succeed while she didn't meet satisfaction?
Other than explaining that we or I had taken a bus for sections? There wasn't anything else. I cannot help but wonder why there seem to be two quite different results for ostensibly similar sets of circumstances, and what triggered the different ways the pilgrim office staff responded.
 
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Time of past OR future Camino
See signature. Too many to list here.
Other than explaining that we or I had taken a bus for sections? There wasn't anything else. I cannot help but wonder why there seem to be two quite different results for ostensibly similar sets of circumstances, and what triggered the different ways the pilgrim office staff responded.
Mysteries. Oh well. Such as life. I really like your considerate and contemplative responses. Thank you for that.
 

CharlieWart

Member
Time of past OR future Camino
Via de la Plata (2018)
(I haven't been here for a long time but was still getting the emails and saw this subject line...)

It wasn't a big deal, but I was refused the distance certificate because I'd done my 100+K *too quickly* -- I ran it in one day as an ultramarathon, getting masses of sellos along the way -- but that wasn't considered a proper "peregrination" and they deleted me from the records they'd started filling out. I still got a welcome certificate. I'm not religious, so I didn't want the compostela.
 

C clearly

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Staff member
Time of past OR future Camino
Most years since 2012
I was refused the distance certificate because I'd done my 100+K *too quickly* -- I ran it in one day as an ultramarathon, getting masses of sellos along the way -- but that wasn't considered a proper "peregrination" and they deleted me from the records they'd started filling out. I still got a welcome certificate. I'm not religious, so I didn't want the compostela.
I am not clear on which certificates you are talking about, as you use 3 different terms (bolded above). If they thought your journey did not meet the requirement to "Make the pilgrimage for religious or spiritual reasons, or at least an attitude of search", then they might refuse to give you a compostela, yet still give you a distance certificate (which has no such requirement). What is the "welcome certificate" that you got?
 

Bradypus

Migratory hermit
Time of past OR future Camino
Too many and too often!
It wasn't a big deal, but I was refused the distance certificate because I'd done my 100+K *too quickly* -- I ran it in one day as an ultramarathon,
Did anyone tell you what the minimum acceptable time to cover the distance should be? I'd be interested to know if there is any definite policy on that.
 

Bradypus

Migratory hermit
Time of past OR future Camino
Too many and too often!
What is the "welcome certificate" that you got?
Johnnie Walker was part of the management team for the pilgrim office when an alternative certificate was introduced a few years ago. For those whose journey was not for religious or spiritual reasons. I asked him about it a couple of days ago. He tells me it is still available for those who request one. Deliberately created in a very similar graphic style to the Compostela. I assumed that was the certificate @CharlieWart was referring to.

received_514214286720415.jpeg
 
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Davybhoy

Member
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2019 Frances
08/22 CP from Lisbon via Fatima
My wife and I recently (mid-Sep) completed the Portuguese from Lisbon, via Fatima, and using (mainly) the Litoral route from Porto with the Espiritual variant.

We went up to to counters at the Pilgrims office separately (though at the same time) and were surprised to find out that our distance certificates had different distances, neither of which were anywhere near the actual distance we walked.

We surmised that perhaps one volunteer included the detour to Fatima whilst the other didnt.

Like the distances quoted in the guidebooks though, we figure its just a standard estimate that is used and isn't supposed to be accurate
 

Bala

Veteran Member
Time of past OR future Camino
Frances 2015, 2018, 2022
Johnnie Walker was part of the management team for the pilgrim office when an alternative certificate was introduced a few years ago. For those whose journey was not for religious or spiritual reasons. I asked him about it a couple of days ago. He tells me it is still available for those who request one. Deliberately created in a very similar graphic style to the Compostela. I assumed that was the certificate @CharlieWart was referring to.

View attachment 134406
This is nice to know about. Does it have the same walking requirements as the Compostela?
 

CharlieWart

Member
Time of past OR future Camino
Via de la Plata (2018)
Johnnie Walker was part of the management team for the pilgrim office when an alternative certificate was introduced a few years ago. For those whose journey was not for religious or spiritual reasons. I asked him about it a couple of days ago. He tells me it is still available for those who request one. Deliberately created in a very similar graphic style to the Compostela. I assumed that was the certificate @CharlieWart was referring to.

View attachment 134406
Yes it looks pretty similar to that -- I have just looked back and have a picture of it on a webpage I wrote about my adventure (scroll down to the bottom): http://www.wartnaby.org/running/camino/index.html

Maybe I got that because I explained I did not want the compostela, and in fact feel it would have been disrespectful of true pilgrims to accept one -- I was sensitive to the fact that I was indulging in a non-religious adventure using a system intended for pilgrimage. I might have got my terms muddled up but I was expecting to be able to claim something that said I'd done the required distance though, which people talked about in 2018 when I did it. And the person helping me had already written me into their register before going over my name with Tippex when she realised I'd run it!
 
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JabbaPapa

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Whilst the church authorities have an understandable monopoly on issuing compostelas, a distance certificate is an indisputably secular document.
I agree with this, but then from a secular perspective, how far you've walked can be interpreted quite literally. So since last time you needed public transport.

And from an opposite side, if I had requested such a certificate on my own arrival this week, the poor girl would likely have needed 45 to 90 minutes just to work it out. I don't know exactly myself !!
 
Time of past OR future Camino
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I agree with this, but then from a secular perspective, how far you've walked can be interpreted quite literally. So since last time you needed public transport.

And from an opposite side, if I had requested such a certificate on my own arrival this week, the poor girl would likely have needed 45 to 90 minutes just to work it out. I don't know exactly myself !!
I have been thinking the same thing. Maybe too much effort given the workflow. At the same time, my friend diligently recorded her progress. No effort involved if they were open to the truth. As far as "since the last transport", we'll, all I know is she walked a bunch but would not have been granted an accurate certificate.
 

JabbaPapa

"True Pilgrim"
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Ok, here is a thing I respect from the Pilgrims' office. Spiritual is left to the applicant's definition.
It's a religious thing, in that if a part of your motivation for your Camino is of that nature, a very old Indult defines it as an intention, not necessarily conscious, towards conversion.

One consequence of it is that unbaptised foot pilgrims can even be given church burials should they die along the Way.

But yes, it also means that non-Christians are eligible to get a Compostela, from such intent.
 
Time of past OR future Camino
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It's a religious thing, in that if a part of your motivation for your Camino is of that nature, a very old Indult defines it as an intention, not necessarily conscious, towards conversion.

One consequence of it is that unbaptised foot pilgrims can even be given church burials should they die along the Way.

But yes, it also means that non-Christians are eligible to get a Compostela, from such intent.
I am a non Christian. But I believe in loving my friends and all people met... and doing "the right thing".

This gets way beyond stuff talked about so far. She just wanted a hike. She just got caught up in bullshit.
 

JabbaPapa

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I am a non Christian. But I believe in loving my friends and all people met... and doing "the right thing".

This gets way beyond stuff talked about so far. She just wanted a hike. She just got caught up in bullshit.
BS is a universal danger.
 
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Tincatinker

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Time of past OR future Camino
2012
I guess I’m one of those non-Christian’s. I’ve a few Compostela even though I stopped claiming them a while back. I’ve a few distance certificates too. My kids will probably find them when I pass.
I’ve always figured that when I meet the Gate-keeper they’ll have a better knowledge of what I’ve done or left undone than I will ever recall. And, that the paperwork, no doubt forgotten in the rush, will be superfluous.
 
Time of past OR future Camino
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I guess I’m one of those non-Christian’s. I’ve a few Compostela even though I stopped claiming them a while back. I’ve a few distance certificates too. My kids will probably find them when I pass.
I’ve always figured that when I meet the Gate-keeper they’ll have a better knowledge of what I’ve done or left undone than I will ever recall. And, that the paperwork, no doubt forgotten in the rush, will be superfluous.
Ok. But she cried.
 

C clearly

Moderator
Staff member
Time of past OR future Camino
Most years since 2012
I am neither artistic nor literary, but many forum participants are one or the other, and some are both. Perhaps people could put together ideas for a document that one could order and purchase through Ivar's business. It could possibly include a list of places where one stayed and maybe even a map of the actual route since some people mix and match their routes or take detours. It could have actual distances and dates. I imagine it being printed on heavy stock paper, with a fancy font, and with some color. It could be available in many different languages, even Latin for some purists. Maybe different versions could be offered – religious, spiritual, secular, etc.

Bob
@LavanyaLea posted about a Santiago artist, Zamo Tamay, whose gallery is just a few mins walk from the Cathedral and who does just this.

I have moved @LavanyaLea's post to a new thread in the Santiago de Compostela forum, so it can be tagged and searched more easily, since it seems like an interesting endeavour.
 
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It wasn't a big deal, but I was refused the distance certificate because I'd done my 100+K *too quickly* -- I ran it in one day as an ultramarathon, getting masses of sellos along the way -- but that wasn't considered a proper "peregrination"
Possibly their concern was that you did it so quickly they thought you had done it by car.

I wanted the distance certificate because I had walked every step of the way from SJPdP to Santiago...all 799 kilometers they marked on my certificate. (No mention of my climb up to the castle on the steep hill in Castrojerez.😅).
 

Bradypus

Migratory hermit
Time of past OR future Camino
Too many and too often!
I wanted the distance certificate because I had walked every step of the way from SJPdP to Santiago...all 799 kilometers they marked on my certificate. (No mention of my climb up to the castle on the steep hill in Castrojerez.😅).
That's odd. My distance certificate from 2016 says it was 775km from SJPDP to Santiago. I know there have been some minor route changes over the years but have they really added 24km on to the total distance? That's nearly an extra day's walking for me these days! :)
 
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That's odd. My distance certificate from 2016 says it was 775km from SJPDP to Santiago. I know there have been some minor route changes over the years but have they really added 24km on to the total distance? That's nearly an extra day's walking for me these days! :)
I received my distance certificate in May 2017. Maybe they added in my hike to the castle after all, or that fact that women often wander around looking in shop windows.😅
 

Flog

Active Member
Time of past OR future Camino
2015, 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019, 2020, 2021, 2022
Maybe they added in my hike to the castle after all, or that fact that women often wander around looking in shop windows.😅

Yes, they know everything!😄

For what it's worth, the official distance from SJPDP to SdC is 779km. Official distances on specific routes are not negotiable, no matter what a pilgrim insists their GPS measures or whatever, but in the case of distances outside of these parameters, such as from a home city or indeed someone's front door, this is generally agreed in an amicable way between the staff member and pilgrim.

It might also come as a surprise to some, that many who walk for months halfway across Europe, don't bother with a distance certificate at all. It's humbling when a travel weary pilgrim with a ragged credencial puts hand on heart with a smile, they know they have walked a long way, they are happy to arrive, it's enough..

The OP presented one side of someone else's account of their alleged unfair treatment. Where is the balance in this?
 
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Yes, they know everything!😄

For what it's worth, the official distance from SJPDP to SdC is 779km. Official distances on specific routes are not negotiable, no matter what a pilgrim insists their GPS measures or whatever, but in the case of distances outside of these parameters, such as from a home city or indeed someone's front door, this is generally agreed in an amicable way between the staff member and pilgrim.

It might also come as a surprise to some, that many who walk for months halfway across Europe, don't bother with a distance certificate at all. It's humbling when a travel weary pilgrim with a ragged credencial puts hand on heart with a smile, they know they have walked a long way, they are happy to arrive, it's enough..

The OP presented one side of someone else's account of their alleged unfair treatment. Where is the balance in this?
It's the truth.
 

Flog

Active Member
Time of past OR future Camino
2015, 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019, 2020, 2021, 2022
Now I know. Apparently if you are caught in this situation and you want an accurate distance certificate, calculate your actual kms traveled and figure out the starting point where that would be from. Tell them, yah, I started walking again in Llanes or wherever.

I do not condone lying.
Right. So be creative, lie and ask for a certificate that doesn't reflect your actual journey? What would be accurate about it and what would be the value of it to someone who knows it to be false?
 
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OZAJ

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I wanted distance certificates for my first and my longest Caminos.

The first was in 2008 from Malaga to Sdc. The longest was 2012 from Rome to Sdc.

From memory, I obtained both of these by mail, and think the deal was facilitated by Ivar for a small fee. I photocopied the first and last pages of my credenciales, sent them off together with my own calculation of distance walked and in due course received the certificates.

No questions, no problems. How things change!
 
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To Santiago and back (roads & paths; Tours; Francés; sea; roads & paths)
I wanted distance certificates for my first and my longest Caminos. The first was in 2008 from Malaga to Sdc. The longest was 2012 from Rome to Sdc.From memory, I obtained both of these by mail, and think the deal was facilitated by Ivar for a small fee.
[...] How things change!
Oh yes, how things change.

At first, there were no distance certificates.

Then they created distance certificates in response to demand from pilgrims who wanted to have a record of more data about their Camino than what it said on their Compostela. I quote: Este documento responde a la demanda de los peregrinos en las que pedían que quedasen registrados más datos sobre su peregrinación.

This new product was made available in March 2014 for the first time. Pilgrims could ask for a distance certificate for their earlier Caminos which is why the Pilgrim Office provided an email address for this purpose at the time.

Apparently, not only things change. Demand changes, too. :cool:

One of many articles from 2014:
 

NorthernLight

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Le Puy to Santiago via the Frances 2012-2013. EPW2015
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Let us remember that many of the ‘staff’ at the pilgrim office are volunteers and therefore there will be a greater variation in the application of the rules. When in dispute, ask for a supervisor.

I received my distance certificate in May 2017. Maybe they added in my hike to the castle after all, or that fact that women often wander around looking in shop windows.
Ah, but the climb up to the castle and the window shopping is not part of the distance of walking to Santiago. It is part of the experience, but these are detours.

This gets way beyond stuff talked about so far. She just wanted a hike. She just got caught up in bullshit.

I’m sorry your friend was disappointed and cried, and sorry that her tears hurt your heart, but did she ask for that compostela or was she honest and said she was just hiking the camino? If her intent was solely the hike, she qualified for the welcome certificate, not for the compostela.

My personal view, not that anyone cares, is that the distance certificate is a waste of trees.
 
Time of past OR future Camino
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I’m sorry your friend was disappointed and cried, and sorry that her tears hurt your heart, but did she ask for that compostela or was she honest and said she was just hiking the camino? If her intent was solely the hike, she qualified for the welcome certificate, not for the compostela. My personal view, not that anyone cares, is that the distance certificate is a waste of trees.
But isn't it the Distance Certificate that the friend wanted?

Not a Compostela and not a Welcome Certificate but a Distance Certificate? At least that is what my attentive reading of the meagre facts lets me conclude.

What isn't clear yet is which number the person wanted to see on her Distance Certificate. The distance in km from Bilbao to Santiago which, if she had taken the A8, appears to be just under 600 km? Or a detailed split between the kilometres she walked since Bilbao and the kilometers she travelled by motorised transport? Now we will never know what the staff member or volunteer would have written on such a Distance Certificate because they did not issue one. She apparently did not want the one that was available to her and offered to her: a Distance Certificate certifying the distance that she had actually walked to Santiago without motorised transport between sections.

Me? No certificates of any kind. I scribble my daily distances in my diary and add them up from time to time to be up to date. When someone asks me how long it took me I barely remember the numbers. I think it is something like 120 days and 1800 km in total. Every step of the way .... 😇.
 
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She apparently did not want the one that was available to her and offered to her: a Distance Certificate certifying the distance that she had actually walked to Santiago without motorised transport between sections.
Actually @Kathar1na, I think Damian's point was that she did want this, but was not in fact offered it. She seems to have been offered certification only for the distance walked since her ultimate bus trip after covid infection interrupted her walk.
 
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Actually @Kathar1na, I think Damian's point was that she did want this, but was not in fact offered it. She seems to have been offered certification only for the distance walked since her ultimate bus trip after covid infection interrupted her walk.
@Peregrinopaul, erm ... it is indeed a confusing thread. Are you and I not saying exactly the same thing? Fictive example:
  • A pilgrim starts walking out of Bilbao and ends walking into Santiago.

  • He gets ill in Santander. Between Santander and Gijon, he travels by bus and taxi. Or, every day he walks 5 km on foot and takes a taxi or the bus for 15 km to the next town to spend the night there and to make progress.

  • He recovers from his illness by the time he reaches Gijon. He walks on foot from Gijon to Santiago.

  • They offer him a Distance Certificate for Gijon-Santiago.

  • He does not want it. He wants a Distance Certificate for Bilbao-Santiago.

Isn't that what the 45 posts are about?
 
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@Peregrinopaul, erm ... it is indeed a confusing thread. Are you and I not saying exactly the same thing? Fictive example:
  • A pilgrim starts walking out of Bilbao and ends walking into Santiago.

  • He gets ill in Santander. Between Santander and Gijon, he travels by bus and taxi. Or, every day he walks 5 km on foot and takes a taxi or the bus for 15 km to the next town to spend the night there and to make progress.

  • He recovers from his illness by the time he reaches Gijon. He walks on foot from Gijon to Santiago.

  • They offer him a Distance Certificate for Gijon-Santiago.

  • He does not want it. He wants a Distance Certificate for Bilbao-Santiago.
Not quite - your hypothetical pilgrim in the last dot-point wants to include maybe the 100km he walked from Bilbao to Santander. Perhaps unreasonable? Not if you're the one who walked it.
 
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Not quite - your hypothetical pilgrim in the last dot-point wants to include maybe the 100km he walked from Bilbao to Santander. Perhaps unreasonable? Not if you're the one who walked it.
OK.

So I enlarge my earlier summary from:
What isn't clear yet is which number the person wanted to see on her Distance Certificate. The distance in km from Bilbao to Santiago which, if she had taken the A8, appears to be just under 600 km? Or a detailed split between the kilometres she walked since Bilbao and the kilometers she travelled by motorised transport?
To:
What isn't clear yet is which number the person wanted to see on her Distance Certificate. The distance in km from Bilbao to Santiago which, if she had taken the A8, appears to be just under 600 km? Or a detailed split between the kilometres she walked since Bilbao and the kilometers she travelled by motorised transport? Or the sum of the kilometres she had covered on foot between Bilbao and Santiago without the kilometres she had covered between Bilbao and Santiago on a bus or in a taxi.
Does this cut to the chase or are there any other possible requests about what should be written on a Distance Certificate in such “mixed” cases? 😶
 
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NorthernLight

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But isn't it the Distance Certificate that the friend wanted?

Not a Compostela and not a Welcome Certificate but a Distance Certificate? At least that is what my attentive reading of the meagre facts lets me conclude.
Yes, you are correct. My rather obscure point was related to the fact that she was being honest about what she walked, but perhaps not as honest about her intention, if she indeed wanted the compostela but was merely out for a hike.

She wanted a distance certificate to indicate her actual kms walked, not just those continuously walked before arrival into Santiago.

At the risk of belabouring this conversation, one could argue that the pilgrim office is quite justified to do what they did. They only issue compostelas for those who walk all of the last 100 km into Santiago, ignoring any km walked before those; it is the ‘continuous’ walking that is of concern to them. Why should the distance certificate be any different? Clearly volunteers interpret things as they deem best, since experiences at the PO vary.
 

Flog

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Determining distances isn't really a big deal at the PO, as staff (and volunteers) are well used to making calculations for simple requests such as where a pilgrim has taken a bus across the Meseta after say, walking the Lana from Alicante to Burgos, before continuing on foot from Leon to Santiago, or perhaps taking the whole French Way and skipping a section from Ponferrada to Sarria or whatever.

But the OP from my understanding, is describing a scenario where his friend walked a section, then sick with covid, "walked when she could but had to resort to public / private transportation to keep up with her friends", so basically has been on and off buses, in and out of taxis and wanted all her walked bits added up to reflect her achievement if I have this right?

This to me doesn't sound like a reasonable request in the circumstances, it's also messy and time consuming to calculate, there are other pilgrims in the queue, and the staff, helpful as they want to be, don't have all day. I agree it would be an acceptable suggestion in such an instance to offer a distance cert based on where his friend started walking without assistance into Santiago.

Of course, again, we have just one side of this story.
 
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dougfitz

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I have been reflecting on the circumstances for both of the times I have asked for a distance certificate where there has been sections that have not been walked. In each case, the start and end points of the sections we didn't walk were always albergues or other accommodation in cities, towns or villages. As such, they were stamped in our credentials. Perhaps this made it relatively easier for the Pilgrim Office staff to excise from the total for the CF or CP the distances between the towns where we took a train or bus.

I might add that the Pilgrim Office appears to have its own distance calculator, and wasn't interested in my view of the distance that I had walked, at least on the first occasion. I thought it would have helped to have that already worked out, but the person doing the calculations wasn't interested in anything but their 'official' distances. While I kept a detailed record of the distances I walked on the CP this year, I didn't bother trying to have that distance recorded, I just let the person at the counter work it out. It was no surprise to find that my record was different to the distance shown on the distance certificate.

The one time my own record was important was when I walked the CI, and started before Ferrol at Covas. I walked around the headland on the first day. My recorded distance from that day was added to the official distance for the CI. I think the only question there was whether I had walked around the head of the bay near Vilar, or taken the bridge leading into Nada.
 

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