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Luggage Transfer Correos

The New Compostela Queuing System

2020 Camino Guides

Derrybiketours

A journey of 500 miles begins with one step!
Camino(s) past & future
SJPdP-SANT-FIN (09/2018)
PORTO-SANT (11/2018)
Caminho Da Fe (01/2019)
SJPdP- Meseta (28/09/2019)
Congratulations on achieving your compostela, can you elaborate on what change has taken place 🤔
 
Camino(s) past & future
Frances 2017, 2018, 2019, Ingles 2018, Madrid (2019) Portuges (2020)
What with it being staffed by volunteers, free and in peak season and all that ...

I have two from caminos which finished in Santiago in February and November. In both cases I walked straight into the building and straight up to the counter.

If there had been a five hour queue and no companion to hold my place I would probably not have bothered.
 

Sho

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Francés, 2019
You go in and get a number. There are places to wait, or you can go do other things. I ate scallops and organized my pack, and had a pleasant conversation in the English speakers hospitality area. There's a big digital board in the waiting area letting you know which group should go up to the desks. There's also a lovely chapel. It took 2.5 hours. I arrived at about 11:30 and was out by 2:00.
 

t2andreo

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
C/F: 2013, 2014
C/M: 2016
C/P: 2015, 2017
C/I: 2018
Voluntario: 2014 - 2019
I am intentionally refraining from saying anything pro or con about the new queuing system, as I have worked for the past six years, each summer, for a month. I would very much like to be welcomed back next year.

These people are very good friends, and are like a second family to me. We may, and do disagree sometimes. But I am going to avoid being critical in public.

The new system has promise. However they rolled it out on a very rainy, very busy Friday. We also had a lot of groups. This was a HUGE independent variable.

As an FYI, Friday is statistically the busiest day of the week during the season. The season starts with Semana Santa and ends about 1 October, after the universities are back in session, and annual holidays are exhausted.

By about 10:00 pm, when the paid staff finally left, instead of at 9:00 pm, volunteers and paid staff had processed some 3,200 pilgrims. Most of those were in groups.

The actual counting is running seriously behind. I was given that number orally, by a permanent staffer when I arrived for duty this morning.

In other words, management chose to roll out this new system on the worst possible day. Some of the variables they could have controlled better. Other variables were unknown when they opened for business yesterday, Friday.

I suggest that everyone just chill. Change DOES NOT come easy to anything within the hierarchy of the Catholic Church. This includes the Camino Pilgrim Office at Santiago de Compostela.

Face it, the single-line, first-come-first-served queuing has been used for some 1,000 years in this process. Anything that changes this process is NOT going to come easily, either to pilgrims or the folks trying to welcome them.

They will work it out on their own. So long as there are no broken bones, blood in the streets or a general breakdown of law and order, we will survive this.

I am asking for general patience and understanding while the Pilgrim Office continues to build this airplane, while flying it. The best news is that the season is drawing to a close.

Hope this helps.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Francis (2014, 2015, 2016, 2017) SJPDP-SDC
Camino Norte 2018
Pilgrims Office Volunteer 2018
I am intentionally refraining from saying anything pro or con about the new queuing system, as I have worked for the past six years, each summer, for a month. I would very much like to be welcomed back next year.

These people are very good friends, and are like a second family to me. We may, and do disagree sometimes. But I am going to avoid being critical in public.

The new system has promise. However they rolled it out on a very rainy, very busy Friday. We also had a lot of groups. This was a HUGE independent variable.

As an FYI, Friday is statistically the busiest day of the week during the season. The season starts with Semana Santa and ends about 1 October, after the universities are back in session, and annual holidays are exhausted.

By about 10:00 pm, when the paid staff finally left, instead of at 9:00 pm, volunteers and paid staff had processed some 3,200 pilgrims. Most of those were in groups.

The actual counting is running seriously behind. I was given that number orally, by a permanent staffer when I arrived for duty this morning.

In other words, management chose to roll out this new system on the worst possible day. Some of the variables they could have controlled better. Other variables were unknown when they opened for business yesterday, Friday.

I suggest that everyone just chill. Change DOES NOT come easy to anything within the hierarchy of the Catholic Church. This includes the Camino Pilgrim Office at Santiago de Compostela.

Face it, the single-line, first-come-first-served queuing has been used for some 1,000 years in this process. Anything that changes this process is NOT going to come easily, either to pilgrims or the folks trying to welcome them.

They will work it out on their own. So long as there are no broken bones, blood in the streets or a general breakdown of law and order, we will survive this.

I am asking for general patience and understanding while the Pilgrim Office continues to build this airplane, while flying it. The best news is that the season is drawing to a close.

Hope this helps.
Morning T2!!

So, the new process is rather than standing in line but rather take a number and rest in a nice cool spot until your number gets called? That sounds like a great idea!!

I am sure that whatever slowed things down (if that is the case) then they will get that worked out very, very quickly. Great people in the Pilgrim Office and they are always helpful when I served there as well.

Ed
 

erikakiana

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Francés July-August 2019
I thought it was pretty good. I was glad to get a number, be told the approximate wait time, and then was able to grab a coffee and people watch. We came back, waited ten more minutes, and were processed pretty quickly.
 

t2andreo

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
C/F: 2013, 2014
C/M: 2016
C/P: 2015, 2017
C/I: 2018
Voluntario: 2014 - 2019
The new system hinges on PAYING ATTENTION. I cannot emphasize this enough. The biggest problem I am hearing from the folks working the counter are “no shows.”

These are people who took a number then did not return when their number finally came up. It wastes a LOT of time.

The folks at the counter are twiddling their thumbs waiting for people who are not coming. THAT is why the typical wait times exploded from less than an hour this past week, to several hours these past couple of days using the new system.

This said, management are working on a policy to call your number... using “Señor Bong” (my nickname for the ‘next served’ sign in the hall). If you fail to materialize after “X” ‘bongs” you lose your turn and have do it all over again.

This said, another volunteer told me earlier today that it is possible to scan the QR code on the number ticket, using your smartphone, to bring up the current number being served from wherever you are.

IF THAT IS TRUE, and I plan to ask tomorrow- also my last day - it is a HUGE improvement. I BEGGED for this feature when I worked back in May. It is a positive step that someone heard and acted... or thought of it themselves. I don’t care who gets the credit, as long as it gets done.

We shall see. But paying attention remains key to the new process.

Hope this helps.
 

Sho

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Francés, 2019
I was told today that I could scan the QR, but I didn't have a QR reader on my phone or a way to download one.
 
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VNwalking

Wandering in big circles
Camino(s) past & future
Francés ('14/'15)
San Olav/CF ('16)
Baztanés/CF ('17)
Ingles ('18)
Vasco/CF/Invierno ('19)
I suggest that everyone just chill.
I am asking for general patience and understanding while the Pilgrim Office continues to build this airplane, while flying it. The best news is that the season is drawing to a close.
Thank you T2!
Indeed. It all sounds very pleasant to me. Rather than standing in an endless line, you can go and have a coffee, talk to the sisters upstairs, enjoy the garden, whatever - so long as you are willing to pay attention.
What in the world is wrong with that?

(Some friends and I have a half-serious joke when one of us is railing about the unavoidable unpleasantries of life: "Grow up and get over it, amen," said with sympathy, love, and a chuckle. It actually helps, because then we laugh and say "Oh, yeah..." and move on. ) ;)
 
Camino(s) past & future
Frances(2006) Portugues(2013)
San Salvador (2017) Ingles (2019)
For many services, you take a number and wait your turn. Today we did that. In fact a Korean pilgrim was standing hovering because he had missed his turn, so i alerted the volunteer who was going to deal with me, and she let the Korean guy come before me. Later we met some of the pilgrims who had arrived more or less with us, and they had followed the app to know their time - I presume that means they scanned the code. We had plenty of time to go for the famous ice-cream, and visit the welcome area upstairs... and meet @t2andreo for good measure! Such a lovely space for everyone! Not quite as personalised as 13 years ago, but still a good experience. And I got mine in Vicarie pro, or whatever, without a bit of bother, for a friend who died shortly before I headed over here to Spain.
 

t2andreo

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
C/F: 2013, 2014
C/M: 2016
C/P: 2015, 2017
C/I: 2018
Voluntario: 2014 - 2019
Ok folks.. as promised, the first thing I did was scan recently used, current day tickets. Here is what I learned. Recommendations are provided:

HOW TO ACCESS THE OFFICE QUEUE REMOTELY USING THE INTERNET

To access the queue number NOW being served at the Pilgrim Office queue, you can paste this into a browser address window AFTER you make THREE changes to the link.

https://catedral.df-server.info/?num=221&fecha=2019-08-11&lang=2

Where 221 is YOUR ticket number, and change the date to today... REMEMBER to use the European date format (YYYY-MO-DA.

Also:
“lang=2” is Spanish
“lang=5” is English

I am still working on the other five or more languages...

So to use the URL directly, you have to:
  • Change the ticket number to yours
  • Change the date to the current date
  • Change the desired language number, presently 2 for Spanish and 5 for English
Using an iPhone to scan YOUR ticket.

Also, you can turn on the “scan QR code” function of an iPhone. Doing so allows you to see your number AND the current queue number being served. This is a HUGE improvement in only 48-hours.

To do this:
  1. Go to SETTINGS/CAMERA
Scan down in the camera settings...
Toggle ON “Scan QR codes”
Back out...
  1. Go to CONTROL CENTER
Scan down...
Add Scan QR Codes”
  1. Swipe down on any page, from the top of the screen, to see your shortcuts.
  2. A new shortcut that looks like a QR icon is there.
  3. To read a QR Code, press this icon, this brings up the camera in ‘scan QR code’ mode. Place the QR code in the yellow brackets and take a photo.
  4. iOS will ask at the top of this screen if you want to open the scanned link in Safari.
  5. Click on the Safari icon...
  6. Your ticket number, along with the number presently being seen is shown in a Safari browser.
  7. Once you do this scan, you can pull down to refresh the screen as desired.
Using an Android OS smartphone to scan YOUR ticket.

I assume this works for Android, but have zero experience with this OS.

A contribution to this thread from someone with knowledge of how an Android phone accomplishes this, with or without an auxiliary app, would be appreciated.

Hope this helps.
 

Kathar1na

Member
Camino(s) past & future
Santiago and beyond (own way - voie de Tours - camino francés - Biskaya - Manche)
Excellent information, @t2andreo!
“lang=2” is Spanish
“lang=5” is English
I am still working on the other five or more languages...
Perhaps you can confirm that it's this sequence from 1-8: Galician, Spanish, Catalan, Basque, English, French, Italian, German. Anything higher will currently turn out in English.
 

t2andreo

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
C/F: 2013, 2014
C/M: 2016
C/P: 2015, 2017
C/I: 2018
Voluntario: 2014 - 2019
That does appear to be the order, EXCEPT the last two, German and Italian are flipped. I believe #7 is German, and #8 is Italian.

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
Also, I researched using Android to scan QR codes. I wrote this summary up for management:

To scan QR codes with Android 9.0, or higher:

There is an built-in QR code scanner in Android. It works in the Camera app when Google Lens Suggestions is activated.

Steps:
* Open Camera
* Focus to QR code
* See the pilgrim office queue system URL popup automatically.
* Refresh to see the latest status.

Set Up the Camera app:
* Open Camera and click: More
* Click: Settings
* Activate: Google Lens suggestions

That’s it!

I asked them to translate this and a streamlined version of my iPhone explanation above to post conspicuously near the kiosks that dispense the queue numbers. We will see.

Fingers crossed...
 

t2andreo

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
C/F: 2013, 2014
C/M: 2016
C/P: 2015, 2017
C/I: 2018
Voluntario: 2014 - 2019
Finally, when you take a ticket downstairs from the kiosk, the adjacent flat screen display tells you the, then current, estimated wait in minutes and seconds. This is in the center, at the bottom of the big screen TV.

I asked why this estimate was not now on each of the tickets printed at the kiosk. The answer is that the system is still “learning” how to calculate the appropriate wait time estimates. To be fair, they only fired this thing up on Friday, about 48-hours ago.

They told me that the plan is to eventually print the time estimate on the ticket, AND at the bottom of the status snapshot you can obtain by following the steps above on your smartphone.

Right now I am telling people to get back to the Pilgrim Office from wherever they are if their number is within 50 of the number now being served, and to RUSH back here if the difference is 30 or less. Being a “no show” is going to work out badly.

Hope this helps.
 

Kathar1na

Member
Camino(s) past & future
Santiago and beyond (own way - voie de Tours - camino francés - Biskaya - Manche)
That does appear to be the order, EXCEPT the last two, German and Italian are flipped. I believe #7 is German, and #8 is Italian.
https://catedral.df-server.info/?num=221&fecha=2019-08-11&lang=8 - definitely German
https://catedral.df-server.info/?num=221&fecha=2019-08-11&lang=7 - Italian

Trust me, #8 is German. "Flur bis" for "zona del pasillo" ("hallway" in the English version) is very odd German and barely understandable to your average native German speaker but it's German nontheless and the sort of thing you just see depending on who got the task of expressing something in another language with which they are not very familiar.
 
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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
Okay, I defer to you. I was using the listing on the old “Señor Bong” sign over the office entry for reference.

Señor Bong still has a job, albeit with a slightly different description. He continues to alert people to pay attention and look at the screen for the next queue number being called.

Thanks for the assist.


https://catedral.df-server.info/?num=221&fecha=2019-08-11&lang=8 - definitely German
https://catedral.df-server.info/?num=221&fecha=2019-08-11&lang=7 - Italian

Trust me, #8 is German. "Flur bis" for "zona del pasillo" ("hallway" in the English version) is very odd German and barely understandable to your average native German speaker but it's German nontheless and the sort of thing you just see depending on who got the task of expressing something in another language with which they are not very familiar.
 

Davey Boyd

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Again, soon as possible!
For many services, you take a number and wait your turn. Today we did that. In fact a Korean pilgrim was standing hovering because he had missed his turn, so i alerted the volunteer who was going to deal with me, and she let the Korean guy come before me. Later we met some of the pilgrims who had arrived more or less with us, and they had followed the app to know their time - I presume that means they scanned the code. We had plenty of time to go for the famous ice-cream, and visit the welcome area upstairs... and meet @t2andreo for good measure! Such a lovely space for everyone! Not quite as personalised as 13 years ago, but still a good experience. And I got mine in Vicarie pro, or whatever, without a bit of bother, for a friend who died shortly before I headed over here to Spain.
I don't bother with the compostela anymore, but
I am REALLY interested in the famous ice cream?????

And thank you to t2andreo for the info and your dedication.
Davey
 

VNwalking

Wandering in big circles
Camino(s) past & future
Francés ('14/'15)
San Olav/CF ('16)
Baztanés/CF ('17)
Ingles ('18)
Vasco/CF/Invierno ('19)

Ian Afloat

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
CF July 25th 2017 from SJPDP
Face it, the single-line, first-come-first-served queuing has been used for some 1,000 years in this process. Anything that changes this process is NOT going to come easily, either to pilgrims or the folks trying to welcome them.
Ever heard of the phrase “if it ain’t broke don’t fix it”?
 

t2andreo

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
C/F: 2013, 2014
C/M: 2016
C/P: 2015, 2017
C/I: 2018
Voluntario: 2014 - 2019
I am wrapping up my service here in the Pilgrim Office for this season. This is my last day in the office.

Regarding the new queue system, everyone needs to put the system rollout into context. The date chosen for the rollout, last Friday, had several independent variables that placed the system into a ‘worst case’ scenario:

1. It rained hard, on and off all day. This compelled arriving pilgrims to want remain indoors under cover.

2. The power went out twice, and the LAN went down once. The outages were brief. But you can image the reaction.

3. A final count of 3,200 pilgrims arrived and were processed on that first day. This is some 50 percent more pilgrims than we saw on the Feast of Santiago, normally the heaviest arrival day of the year.

4. Further on this volume thing, the first day, Friday 9, July had 3,200 arrivals. Saturday had over 2,900 arrivals, and on Sunday 2,372 arrivals. Each of these high volume days exceeded the day before, of, and after the Feast of Santiago... Go figure!

The surge over the weekend was precipitated by several HUGE groups that just showed up. Normally, large groups preregister, send in their data beforehand, then just need to have the credentials verified and stamped before the pre-written (behind the scenes) Compostelas are handed over. The large group process is unaffected by the new ‘take a number’ queue system.

In this regard, I have suggested that management adopt a standard policy that ALL groups of 10 or more persons, MUST preregister with the Pilgrim Office and send their estadillo information in beforehand. After all, large groups must plan transportation, housing, meals, etc. all in advance. So, there should not be a problem.

I also recommended that these groups not be permitted en masse into the Pilgrim Office campus, as they overwhelm all available resources. Under my recommendation, only the group leader would be permitted into the group office. We shall see...

So the point was that, all things considered, the system managed to get through a very hectic period. As more folks learn how to view the present queue status on their smartphones from anywhere, people are tending to leave to get other things done, before returning to the office when their number gets close.

Management is having signs made with the instructions to set up an iPhone or Android smartphone to scan the QR code from anywhere. These signs will be translated into the usual eight languages and ousted conspicuously adjacent to the ‘take your ticket’ kiosks. When I left today, management were discussing size, format, etc. for these signs.

I have suggested they find Korean students living locally to add Korean to the language offerings. There happen to be a few college students working at the adjacent Galicia Tourism Office. So, with any luck, our Korean comrades will get an assist.

Hope this helps... “el Sherif” has left the building!
 
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JennyH94

Pilgrim in progress
Camino(s) past & future
CF - sections and whole (2012-2019) and part VF (2017)
All at the Pilgrims Office are going to miss El Sherif ... Tom - you made our Compostela experience very, very special - thank you.
Cheers -
Jenny
 

debra

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
VdlP 2010, Frances 2010
Via Francigena 2014 bicigrino
Way of St. Francis 2017 bicigrino
I am wrapping up my service here in the Pilgrim Office for this season. This is my last day in the office.

Regarding the new queue system, everyone needs to put the system rollout into context. The date chosen for the rollout, last Friday, had several independent variables that placed the system into a ‘worst case’ scenario:

1. It rained hard, on and off all day. This compelled arriving pilgrims to want remain indoors under cover.

2. The power went out twice, and the LAN went down once. The outages were brief. But you can image the reaction.

3. A final count of 3,200 pilgrims arrived and were processed on that first day. This is some 50 percent more pilgrims than we saw on the Feast of Santiago, normally the heaviest arrival day of the year.

4. Further on this volume thing, the first day, Friday 9, July had 3,200 arrivals. Saturday had over 2,900 arrivals, and on Sunday 2,372 arrivals. Each of these high volume days exceeded the day before, of, and after the Feast of Santiago... Go figure!

The surge over the weekend was precipitated by several HUGE groups that just showed up. Normally, large groups preregister, send in their data beforehand, then just need to have the credentials verified and stamped before the pre-written (behind the scenes) Compostelas are handed over. The large group process is unaffected by the new ‘take a number’ queue system.

In this regard, I have suggested that management adopt a standard policy that ALL groups of 10 or more persons, MUST preregister with the Pilgrim Office and send their estadillo information in beforehand. After all, large groups must plan transportation, housing, meals, etc. all in advance. So, there should not be a problem.

I also recommended that these groups not be permitted en masse into the Pilgrim Office campus, as they overwhelm all available resources. Under my recommendation, only the group leader would be permitted into the group office. We shall see...

So the point was that, all things considered, the system managed to get through a very hectic period. As more folks learn how to view the present queue status on their smartphones from anywhere, people are tending to leave to get other things done, before returning to the office when their number gets close.

Management is having signs made with the instructions to set up an iPhone or Android smartphone to scan the QR code from anywhere. These signs will be translated into the usual eight languages and ousted conspicuously adjacent to the ‘take your ticket’ kiosks. When I left today, management were discussing size, format, etc. for these signs.

I have suggested they find Korean students living locally to add Korean to the language offerings. There happen to be a few college students working at the adjacent Galicia Tourism Office. So, with any luck, our Korean comrades will get an assist.

Hope this helps... “el Sherif” has left the building!
Thanks for the update on the system. All in all the system sound like a great plan but day 1-3 are always hard when dealing with about 3000 people.

Do you know what the plan is for people that are an able to be served in a single day?
 

t2andreo

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
C/F: 2013, 2014
C/M: 2016
C/P: 2015, 2017
C/I: 2018
Voluntario: 2014 - 2019
No one is permitted to take a number who cannot be seen that day. Put another way, they stop the kiosks issuing queue numbers (hopefully) early enough to slide into closing time with no hold overs.

No shows are just SOL.

Hope this helps.
 

trecile

Camino Addict
Camino(s) past & future
SJPDP-Finisterre X 2 - 2016 & 2017, El Norte - Irun to Vilalba 2018
I am wrapping up my service here in the Pilgrim Office for this season. This is my last day in the office.

Regarding the new queue system, everyone needs to put the system rollout into context. The date chosen for the rollout, last Friday, had several independent variables that placed the system into a ‘worst case’ scenario:

1. It rained hard, on and off all day. This compelled arriving pilgrims to want remain indoors under cover.

2. The power went out twice, and the LAN went down once. The outages were brief. But you can image the reaction.

3. A final count of 3,200 pilgrims arrived and were processed on that first day. This is some 50 percent more pilgrims than we saw on the Feast of Santiago, normally the heaviest arrival day of the year.

4. Further on this volume thing, the first day, Friday 9, July had 3,200 arrivals. Saturday had over 2,900 arrivals, and on Sunday 2,372 arrivals. Each of these high volume days exceeded the day before, of, and after the Feast of Santiago... Go figure!

The surge over the weekend was precipitated by several HUGE groups that just showed up. Normally, large groups preregister, send in their data beforehand, then just need to have the credentials verified and stamped before the pre-written (behind the scenes) Compostelas are handed over. The large group process is unaffected by the new ‘take a number’ queue system.

In this regard, I have suggested that management adopt a standard policy that ALL groups of 10 or more persons, MUST preregister with the Pilgrim Office and send their estadillo information in beforehand. After all, large groups must plan transportation, housing, meals, etc. all in advance. So, there should not be a problem.

I also recommended that these groups not be permitted en masse into the Pilgrim Office campus, as they overwhelm all available resources. Under my recommendation, only the group leader would be permitted into the group office. We shall see...

So the point was that, all things considered, the system managed to get through a very hectic period. As more folks learn how to view the present queue status on their smartphones from anywhere, people are tending to leave to get other things done, before returning to the office when their number gets close.

Management is having signs made with the instructions to set up an iPhone or Android smartphone to scan the QR code from anywhere. These signs will be translated into the usual eight languages and ousted conspicuously adjacent to the ‘take your ticket’ kiosks. When I left today, management were discussing size, format, etc. for these signs.

I have suggested they find Korean students living locally to add Korean to the language offerings. There happen to be a few college students working at the adjacent Galicia Tourism Office. So, with any luck, our Korean comrades will get an assist.

Hope this helps... “el Sherif” has left the building!
It sounds like they should have tested this new system during a much quieter time of the year!
 
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Francis (2014, 2015, 2016, 2017) SJPDP-SDC
Camino Norte 2018
Pilgrims Office Volunteer 2018
I am wrapping up my service here in the Pilgrim Office for this season. This is my last day in the office.

Regarding the new queue system, everyone needs to put the system rollout into context. The date chosen for the rollout, last Friday, had several independent variables that placed the system into a ‘worst case’ scenario:

1. It rained hard, on and off all day. This compelled arriving pilgrims to want remain indoors under cover.

2. The power went out twice, and the LAN went down once. The outages were brief. But you can image the reaction.

3. A final count of 3,200 pilgrims arrived and were processed on that first day. This is some 50 percent more pilgrims than we saw on the Feast of Santiago, normally the heaviest arrival day of the year.

4. Further on this volume thing, the first day, Friday 9, July had 3,200 arrivals. Saturday had over 2,900 arrivals, and on Sunday 2,372 arrivals. Each of these high volume days exceeded the day before, of, and after the Feast of Santiago... Go figure!

The surge over the weekend was precipitated by several HUGE groups that just showed up. Normally, large groups preregister, send in their data beforehand, then just need to have the credentials verified and stamped before the pre-written (behind the scenes) Compostelas are handed over. The large group process is unaffected by the new ‘take a number’ queue system.

In this regard, I have suggested that management adopt a standard policy that ALL groups of 10 or more persons, MUST preregister with the Pilgrim Office and send their estadillo information in beforehand. After all, large groups must plan transportation, housing, meals, etc. all in advance. So, there should not be a problem.

I also recommended that these groups not be permitted en masse into the Pilgrim Office campus, as they overwhelm all available resources. Under my recommendation, only the group leader would be permitted into the group office. We shall see...

So the point was that, all things considered, the system managed to get through a very hectic period. As more folks learn how to view the present queue status on their smartphones from anywhere, people are tending to leave to get other things done, before returning to the office when their number gets close.

Management is having signs made with the instructions to set up an iPhone or Android smartphone to scan the QR code from anywhere. These signs will be translated into the usual eight languages and ousted conspicuously adjacent to the ‘take your ticket’ kiosks. When I left today, management were discussing size, format, etc. for these signs.

I have suggested they find Korean students living locally to add Korean to the language offerings. There happen to be a few college students working at the adjacent Galicia Tourism Office. So, with any luck, our Korean comrades will get an assist.

Hope this helps... “el Sherif” has left the building!
Thank you for what you do for all the Pilgrims Tom!! God has blessed you and you have blessed all of us Pilgrims....
 

VNwalking

Wandering in big circles
Camino(s) past & future
Francés ('14/'15)
San Olav/CF ('16)
Baztanés/CF ('17)
Ingles ('18)
Vasco/CF/Invierno ('19)
Gracias, El Sherif. And safe travel home.

In this regard, I have suggested that management adopt a standard policy that ALL groups of 10 or more persons, MUST preregister with the Pilgrim Office and send their estadillo information in beforehand. After all, large groups must plan transportation, housing, meals, etc. all in advance. So, there should not be a problem.
This is a great idea. And has anyone thought of having a separate window or area only for groups? (Though if they instituted your idea, I guess this would not be so necessary.)
 

t2andreo

Veteran Member
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It sounds like they should have tested this new system during a much quieter time of the year!
THAT is what I told management when I was here working for two weeks in May, in lieu of walking my annual Camino. Doctor’s orders...

Trying to bring about improvements at the office is a lot like training a toddler. You can tell them NOT to poke a metal object into a wall outlet until YOU are blue in the face. But it usually does not sink in until THEY have been blown off their toddler feet by a shock, hopefully with no ill effect. The same goes for NOT touching a hot stove,

The older of my two younger sisters did the stove experiment and is now a leftie, the hard way. Third degree burns will train you to use the other hand...

The youngest sister stuck her wet finger (from mouth) into a vacant, old school Christmas light socket, some 55 years ago. That’s one way to stop a heart...

I was present both times, as the older brother. But DAMN, toddlers are fast...and sneaky... Anyway, I reacted very fast for a youngster and both grew up...

Point made. Working at the pilgrim office is s LOT like herding cats... everyday!

Hope this helps.
 

t2andreo

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Thank you for what you do for all the Pilgrims Tom!! God has blessed you and you have blessed all of us Pilgrims....
Thank you! You are very kind. I do the best I can using the “gift” of OCD that the Lord in his odd sense of humor bestowed on me.
 

t2andreo

Veteran Member
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Gracias, El Sherif. And safe travel home.


This is a great idea. And has anyone thought of having a separate window or area only for groups? (Though if they instituted your idea, I guess this would not be so necessary.)
We presently do have a separate office for groups. It is the tiny office to the right as you enter off Rua das Carretas. It is opposite the Chapel. If they adopted my rule for only having the leader of preregistered groups come in, everything would be fine.

My proposed rule would compel all groups larger than 10 to wait OUTSIDE the office campus, except for the leader. The facilities simply cannot handle the surge one or more of these groups creates.

Imagine if you will, over 100 Italians in a group ALL trying to cram into this office, like they are afraid they will miss something. Or, that we will give out the last EVER Compostela- and they want it...

I am Italian by ancestry and it aches to see people behave like this, even when they are asked then told by security (in Italian) that ONLY the leader can go in to take care of things, and that they should wait quietly outside, or in the case of rain, sit SILENTLY in the adjacent Chapel... Yeah right!

Yup, working at the Pilgrim Office is a lot like herding cats... on a good day.
 

Kathar1na

Member
Camino(s) past & future
Santiago and beyond (own way - voie de Tours - camino francés - Biskaya - Manche)
Imagine if you will, over 100 Italians in a group ALL trying to cram into this office, like they are afraid they will miss something. Or, that we will give out the last EVER Compostela- and they want it...
There was a group of 270 Italian pilgrims, aged 15 to 30 years old, from the diocese in Perugia, who did the Camino Ingles and arrived on Friday 9 August in Santiago. Did they all come to the Oficina or only some of them? ☺
 

sillydoll

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
2002 CF: 2004 from Paris: 2006 VF: 2007 CF: 2009 Aragones, Ingles, Finisterre: 2011 X 2 on CF: 2013 'Caracoles': 2014 CF and Ingles 'Caracoles":2015 Logrono-Burgos (Hospitalero San Anton): 2016 La Douay to Aosta/San Gimignano to Rome:
I am wrapping up my service here in the Pilgrim Office for this season. This is my last day in the office.

Regarding the new queue system, everyone needs to put the system rollout into context. The date chosen for the rollout, last Friday, had several independent variables that placed the system into a ‘worst case’ scenario:

1. It rained hard, on and off all day. This compelled arriving pilgrims to want remain indoors under cover.

2. The power went out twice, and the LAN went down once. The outages were brief. But you can image the reaction.

3. A final count of 3,200 pilgrims arrived and were processed on that first day. This is some 50 percent more pilgrims than we saw on the Feast of Santiago, normally the heaviest arrival day of the year.

4. Further on this volume thing, the first day, Friday 9, July had 3,200 arrivals. Saturday had over 2,900 arrivals, and on Sunday 2,372 arrivals. Each of these high volume days exceeded the day before, of, and after the Feast of Santiago... Go figure!

The surge over the weekend was precipitated by several HUGE groups that just showed up. Normally, large groups preregister, send in their data beforehand, then just need to have the credentials verified and stamped before the pre-written (behind the scenes) Compostelas are handed over. The large group process is unaffected by the new ‘take a number’ queue system.

In this regard, I have suggested that management adopt a standard policy that ALL groups of 10 or more persons, MUST preregister with the Pilgrim Office and send their estadillo information in beforehand. After all, large groups must plan transportation, housing, meals, etc. all in advance. So, there should not be a problem.

I also recommended that these groups not be permitted en masse into the Pilgrim Office campus, as they overwhelm all available resources. Under my recommendation, only the group leader would be permitted into the group office. We shall see...

So the point was that, all things considered, the system managed to get through a very hectic period. As more folks learn how to view the present queue status on their smartphones from anywhere, people are tending to leave to get other things done, before returning to the office when their number gets close.

Management is having signs made with the instructions to set up an iPhone or Android smartphone to scan the QR code from anywhere. These signs will be translated into the usual eight languages and ousted conspicuously adjacent to the ‘take your ticket’ kiosks. When I left today, management were discussing size, format, etc. for these signs.

I have suggested they find Korean students living locally to add Korean to the language offerings. There happen to be a few college students working at the adjacent Galicia Tourism Office. So, with any luck, our Korean comrades will get an assist.

Hope this helps... “el Sherif” has left the building!
amaWalkers Groups used to send the forms by email but on many occasions the volunteer staff at the office didn't know who had received the form or where it was. So we usually send the group leader with the form and all of the credenciales. When they go back to collect the Compostelas some group members might accompany them. The attached form is the template Johnnie compiled when he was still in charge of the office. We still use it today. If there is a different document we would appreciate having one.
 

Attachments

gschmidl

sator arepo tenet opera rotas
Camino(s) past & future
Kumano Kodo (11/2018), Camino Sanabres (4/2019)
With older Android systems or those that don't have Google Lens, you need to install a QR code reader, and then it'll work. The most popular one is just called Barcode Scanner.
 

t2andreo

Veteran Member
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There was a group of 270 Italian pilgrims, aged 15 to 30 years old, from the diocese in Perugia, who did the Camino Ingles and arrived on Friday 9 August in Santiago. Did they all come to the Oficina or only some of them? ☺
I believe they ALL arrived, unannounced and not preregistered. That contributed to the general circus on Friday.

It is also an example of how large group policy needs to change as volumes increase. Groups that do not preregister and submit data beforehand definitely gum thing up for everyone on arrival.
 

t2andreo

Veteran Member
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amaWalkers Groups used to send the forms by email but on many occasions the volunteer staff at the office didn't know who had received the form or where it was. So we usually send the group leader with the form and all of the credenciales. When they go back to collect the Compostelas some group members might accompany them. The attached form is the template Johnnie compiled when he was still in charge of the office. We still use it today. If there is a different document we would appreciate having one.

Believe it or not, they are working to have group data come in via an online application. This may happen next next season. Don’t quote me. I only know what they tell me.

But I have seen the application running offline. It should work. But there are a lot of things that need to occur before they can implement this, advanced data submission for groups, can go live.

Management recognizes that surges caused by groups is among the process weaknesses that needs to be addressed as the holy year approaches.

The onlinePp they are working on is the exact same information as on the Estadillo form.

I attached a .pdf scan of the Estadillo form. I just happened to have it on my phone. Use it if it helps.

Hope this helps.
 

Attachments

jerbear

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino de madrid, camino francis, camino inverino (2012, 2013,2014)
CdM, Francis, San salvador, primativo june 2015 CDM , francis, inverino 2016
Camino madrid, via de Plata. Santiago.
Coast of the dead malpica to muxia
Thanks Tom.
 

t2andreo

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Tom, you have made reference to herding cats on a few occasions.
For your amusement...
I’ve seen that old EDS advert. It is HILARIOUS! Thank you for posting so our global friends can see what we mean when we use the phrase., ‘chasing cats.’ It AIN’T EASY!

I also like the various takeoffs in the running of the bulls. As bogus as some of them are, they still make me laugh. Laughter is GOOD!
 
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Francis (2014, 2015, 2016, 2017) SJPDP-SDC
Camino Norte 2018
Pilgrims Office Volunteer 2018
Being able to wait in line (reasonable time) and finally getting to the counter where you present your finished Credential has always been one of my favorite emotional feelings when I walk a Camino. The camaraderie of the line is tremendous!!!

Having the person behind the counter congratulate me on walking the Camino seems to feel so good and everlasting to me. Much more personable to me, as my Camino is very personal to me......

Getting my Compostela personally from behind the counter just means so much more than having someone else hand it to me from a stack in the alleyway outside the Pilgrim Office. I have never walked in a group and so I cannot be sure about this BUT I am pretty doggone sure it would feel different.

Just my thoughts.

Ed
 

sillydoll

Veteran Member
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I really wanted the Compostela in 2002 after my first walk. Although I wasn't walking for religious reasons and definitely not for the reasons given on the Compostela document.

The text is written in Latin but here is the translation:

"The Chapter of this Holy Apostolic Metropolitan Cathedral of St. James, custodian of the seal of St. James' Altar, to all faithful and pilgrims who come from everywhere over the world as an act of devotion, under vow or promise to the Apostle's Tomb, our Patron and Protector of Spain, witnesses in the sight of all who read this document, that: Mr ... ... ... ... ... ... ...'ve visited this devoutly Sacred Church in a religious sense (pietatis cause).

Even so, I ticked all the boxes so that I would be given a certificate.

I walked to Santiago again in 2004 and this time asked for the 'Welcome' certificate. Then again in 2007, 2009, twice in 2011, twice in 2013, 2014 and 2017. I haven't collected any other certificates and won't do so in September when we walk to Santiago.
 

Camino Chrissy

Take one step forward...then keep on walking.
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Frances 2017;
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Tom, you are a modern day saint in my eyes for your endless efforts on this forum to inform and educate pilgrims. This thread is just one fine example. I am privileged to know you and hope you have many more years of health to continue serving and walking these wonderful paths.
 

t2andreo

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Tom, you are a modern day saint in my eyes for your endless efforts on this forum to inform and educate pilgrims. This thread is just one fine example. I am privileged to know you and hope you have many more years of health to continue serving and walking these wonderful paths.
Chris - You are very kind. Thank you for the nice compliment.
 

Pelegrin

Veteran Member
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SJPP - Logroño June 2014
Ingles July2016
Trying to bring about improvements at the office is a lot like training a toddler.
Yup, working at the Pilgrim Office is a lot like herding cats... on a good day.
Well, I think that those things have also something to do with:
- Low direct income expectations (300.000 distance certificates in 2021?)
- Lack of competitors.
With other parameters, in Galicia/Spain is definitely possible to implement original effective Masterplans.
There are many, but as an example I'm going to select the goods distribution by Galician company Inditex/Zara that provides product from 10 logistics centers in Spain to 7500 shops all over the world twice per week.
 

t2andreo

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Competition is a good thing. But I don’t see it happening. The only ways that I can see to radically transform the process are either:

1. Outsource the entire Compostela process and let the contractor use best practices and optimized processes. But this would require the Cathedral hierarchy to step back and let professionals drive the proverbial bus, OR,

2. Just discontinue issuing Compostelas at all. Replace the entire process with only affixing sellos to credencials at journey’s end, to signify that you made it. Everything else is, after all, just spiritual. In that context, the entire thing is between you and the God, Higher Power or Supreme Being you defer to.

It COULD be that simple.

I remain cautiously optimistic that the hierarchy will respond in time and implement some simple process improvements to help them manage to get through the 2021 Holy Year. I cannot worry much further into the future than that.
 

Bradypus

Antediluvian
Camino(s) past & future
Too many and too often!
2. Just discontinue issuing Compostelas at all. Replace the entire process with only affixing sellos to credencials at journey’s end, to signify that you made it. Everything else is, after all, just spiritual. In that context, the entire thing is between you and the God, Higher Power or Supreme Being you defer to.
That sounds an excellent suggestion. In practice the pilgrim office no longer concerns itself with the religious/spiritual motivations of the individual walker as they are expressed in the first paragraph of the Compostela anyway. The focus is entirely on compliance with the various technical rules concerning distance walked/cycled, route and so on. The religious/spiritual aspect has been reduced to a simple tick in a box and Compostelas are routinely distributed to large groups without an individual ever having to personally confirm that they have in fact visited the tomb of the apostle (as the Compostela explicitly certifies they have done) or travelled in pietatis causa however broadly that term is interpreted. So what value does the document have when its literal meaning is no longer even notionally upheld? I think that for many it has become primarily a trophy - a completion certificate for a journey rather than a reminder of an explicitly religious or spiritual visit to the shrine of the Apostle. Why not accept that fact and replace it with something which more honestly reflects the current situation?
 

t2andreo

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Lest we all forget, I rather doubt that anyone turns up at the Pearly Gates waiving a Compostela in old Saint Peter’s Face seeking admission.

Regardless of your religious tradition, if your God is an omniscient Being, knowing everything about every aspect of your life, a Compostela seems highly redundant, doesn’t it?

Hope this helps...
 

Bala

Veteran member
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That sounds an excellent suggestion. In practice the pilgrim office no longer concerns itself with the religious/spiritual motivations of the individual walker as they are expressed in the first paragraph of the Compostela anyway. The focus is entirely on compliance with the various technical rules concerning distance walked/cycled, route and so on. The religious/spiritual aspect has been reduced to a simple tick in a box and Compostelas are routinely distributed to large groups without an individual ever having to personally confirm that they have in fact visited the tomb of the apostle (as the Compostela explicitly certifies they have done) or travelled in pietatis causa however broadly that term is interpreted. So what value does the document have when its literal meaning is no longer even notionally upheld? I think that for many it has become primarily a trophy - a completion certificate for a journey rather than a reminder of an explicitly religious or spiritual visit to the shrine of the Apostle. Why not accept that fact and replace it with something which more honestly reflects the current situation?
Well said, @Bradypus . I posted a while back on another thread that I think everyone wanting a Compostela should have to answer three questions:

1. Who was St. James?
2. Where is his tomb?
3. What is his connection with the Camino de Santiago?

It was would very interesting to see the results of a random sampling of those questions at any given time.

But everybody wants a Compostela. How many times did I hear people say, "Be sure you say you walked for spiritual reasons. Otherwise you won't get a Compostela."

It is what it is.

And since it is, the Take A Number system seems like it will be a big help for the congestion in the Pilgrim Office. It must be crazy in there some days. Yet, in spite of the occasional complaint that shows up here and there online, over 300,000 pilgrims a year continue to line up, and often talk about the fun and commaradie as they wait.

Many thanks, @t2andreo for all you do at the office, and for keeping the rest of us up to date. I really enjoy your postings. Safe travels home.
 

trecile

Camino Addict
Camino(s) past & future
SJPDP-Finisterre X 2 - 2016 & 2017, El Norte - Irun to Vilalba 2018
1. Who was St. James?
2. Where is his tomb?
3. What is his connection with the Camino de Santiago?

It was would very interesting to see the results of a random sampling of those questions at any given time.

But everybody wants a Compostela. How many times did I hear people say, "Be sure you say you walked for spiritual reasons. Otherwise you won't get a Compostela."
I can answer those questions, but I've never wanted nor asked for a Compostela. I don't walk for religious or spiritual reasons so the first two times I arrived in Santiago I asked for the "welcome" certificate. I did not check the religious or spiritual box, but rather the cultural reasons box. However, upon returning home from the second Camino I discovered that i had two different documents. Not knowing Latin I posted pictures of both here on the forum and discovered that I had been given a Compostela the first year.

I really don't understand why someone would want a piece of paper that says that they did the Camino for religious or spiritual reasons when they didn't. It's not like it has any material value, it's only value is personal to the one who receives it.
 

Bala

Veteran member
Camino(s) past & future
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I can answer those questions,.......

.....I really don't understand why someone would want a piece of paper that says that they did the Camino for religious or spiritual reasons when they didn't. It's not like it has any material value, it's only value is personal to the one who receives it.
I think most of us posting on the forum could easily answer them 😉, but I also think we're a group that just generally is interested in history, culture, tradition, even faith, whether or not we have it ourselves. Those who describe the Camino as "kind of like a 30-day beer party" (actual quote from a sales clerk at a famous US outdoors store) are a different story. 🙄🤷‍♀️

I have also never understood why anyone who did not walk for spiritual or religious reasons and who didn't bother to go to St. James' tomb would want a certificate, issued by the Catholic Church, no less, that says they did. 🤔 But they do. And the Distance Certificate or Welcome Certificate don't seem to suffice. No explaining some people! 😊
 

t2andreo

Veteran Member
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Ever heard of the phrase “if it ain’t broke don’t fix it”?
I DID try to ask them to consider this. Nope! Someone in authority got a bright idea and moved to implement it. End of story...
 
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debra

Active Member
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VdlP 2010, Frances 2010
Via Francigena 2014 bicigrino
Way of St. Francis 2017 bicigrino
I DID try to ask them to consider this. Nope! Someone in authority got a height idea and moved to implement it. End of story...
In idea phase the pull the number and see Santiago as you wait sounds great but it is a slow to get 100% right. I am happy that they are trying to get this together now, instead of, on the holy year.
 
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grayland

Moderator
Staff member
Camino(s) past & future
Yes
I don't really need or care about any more Compostelas. I am not sure where the many I have are at the moment......but...having been to (and worked in) most of the old pilgrim offices over the years to pick up a compostela...I may go to the new office and see the latest version of this fire drill. :cool::cool::cool:
 
Camino(s) past & future
Frances(2006) Portugues(2013)
San Salvador (2017) Ingles (2019)
I don't bother with the compostela anymore, but
I am REALLY interested in the famous ice cream?????

And thank you to t2andreo for the info and your dedication.
Davey
Ha! I have had little wifi access lately, so just catching up. It will take a while for me to put a review together, so meantime, for those whose tongues are hanging out,
Bico de Xeado
4.6 (435) · €
Ice Cream · Rúa do Vilar, 81
Closed ⋅ Opens 1PM
 
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances, 2015
If this queuing system works for expected 600,000 in Holy Year 2021, can it be expanded to the Pearly Gates?? But maybe a separate queue for those with a Compostella. After several 30 day 1000km walks, I really should not have to wait. :D
Be careful about what you say. There is more than one way to get to Heaven early.
 

Annalisa

Member
Camino(s) past & future
Arrive in Biarritz on June 25, 2017
You go in and get a number. There are places to wait, or you can go do other things. I ate scallops and organized my pack, and had a pleasant conversation in the English speakers hospitality area. There's a big digital board in the waiting area letting you know which group should go up to the desks. There's also a lovely chapel. It took 2.5 hours. I arrived at about 11:30 and was out by 2:00.
Thank you for the update. I should be arriving there on Oct 7th or 8th.
 

auburnfive

Active Member
Can one person still bring in the credentials and get the compostelas for a group if they start in the same place? Thanks
 

David Tallan

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances (1989 and 2016), Portugues - from Porto (2018)
If this queuing system works for expected 600,000 in Holy Year 2021, can it be expanded to the Pearly Gates?? But maybe a separate queue for those with a Compostella. After several 30 day 1000km walks, I really should not have to wait. :D
I don't know. You already have several. If priority is to be given, shouldn't it go to those who have none?
 

t2andreo

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Yes, a group is defined as a number of pilgrims who all started from the same place (town) on the same date. The number constituting a group is dynamic based on how busy they are. In my experience, it can range from a low of three or four, to several hundred.

The group “leader” identifies the group to security at the entry. They will explain if your number of people meets that day’s group criteria and the process. If you do not qualify as a group, you will be directed to the new take a number queuing process.

This offline process for processing groups involves taking all group member credencials and completing the “Estadillo” data form, one row per group member.

The leader turns in the form with the credencials. A receipt is given, and the leader is told what time to return to pick up the completed Compostelas, Distance Certificates, etc.

Groups DO NOT take a number under the new system... at least as I left last week. An example of why not would be the group of 147 Italian scouts, in a group, who EACH took a queue number. This TOTALLY screwed things up until we got the issue identified and sorted.

Yup, some days can be like herding cats...
 
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Annet2020

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Portugues 2020
I still have to walk my first camino, but getting a number and being free do some sightseeing of grab a coffee until my number comes by sounds so much better than having to stand in line for a couple of hours, not being able to sit down or go anywhere.
 

Susan M Fron

SusanM
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances (August 2019)
I am intentionally refraining from saying anything pro or con about the new queuing system, as I have worked for the past six years, each summer, for a month. I would very much like to be welcomed back next year.

These people are very good friends, and are like a second family to me. We may, and do disagree sometimes. But I am going to avoid being critical in public.

The new system has promise. However they rolled it out on a very rainy, very busy Friday. We also had a lot of groups. This was a HUGE independent variable.

As an FYI, Friday is statistically the busiest day of the week during the season. The season starts with Semana Santa and ends about 1 October, after the universities are back in session, and annual holidays are exhausted.

By about 10:00 pm, when the paid staff finally left, instead of at 9:00 pm, volunteers and paid staff had processed some 3,200 pilgrims. Most of those were in groups.

The actual counting is running seriously behind. I was given that number orally, by a permanent staffer when I arrived for duty this morning.

In other words, management chose to roll out this new system on the worst possible day. Some of the variables they could have controlled better. Other variables were unknown when they opened for business yesterday, Friday.

I suggest that everyone just chill. Change DOES NOT come easy to anything within the hierarchy of the Catholic Church. This includes the Camino Pilgrim Office at Santiago de Compostela.

Face it, the single-line, first-come-first-served queuing has been used for some 1,000 years in this process. Anything that changes this process is NOT going to come easily, either to pilgrims or the folks trying to welcome them.

They will work it out on their own. So long as there are no broken bones, blood in the streets or a general breakdown of law and order, we will survive this.

I am asking for general patience and understanding while the Pilgrim Office continues to build this airplane, while flying it. The best news is that the season is drawing to a close.

Hope this helps.
To me, this is still first come, first served, you just don't have to stay in one place to wait. Am I missing something?
 

t2andreo

Veteran Member
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NO, you have it right. You get there early enough, you will get a number and QR code, guaranteeing you will be processed that day. Come too late, and you have to return the next day.

The "improvement" is being able to do something relatively more constructive with your time, other than stand in a queue. But, this depends on your number and the processing rate.

I am coming up with suggestions for an automated assist, express processing system that would eliminate lines for many, if not most arriving pilgrims. But, selling it, as I am just a volunteer, is an entirely other thing...
 

Susan M Fron

SusanM
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances (August 2019)
NO, you have it right. You get there early enough, you will get a number and QR code, guaranteeing you will be processed that day. Come too late, and you have to return the next day.

The "improvement" is being able to do something relatively more constructive with your time, other than stand in a queue. But, this depends on your number and the processing rate.

I am coming up with suggestions for an automated assist, express processing system that would eliminate lines for many, if not most arriving pilgrims. But, selling it, as I am just a volunteer, is an entirely other thing...
When is "too late"?
 

t2andreo

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
C/F: 2013, 2014
C/M: 2016
C/P: 2015, 2017
C/I: 2018
Voluntario: 2014 - 2019
Trecile got it right. But, arriving much after the noon Pilgrim Mass lets out might be about it for getting a daily number, especially now that most volunteers are gone. This event (noon Mass) always produces a surge of pilgrims who attended Mass first.

Without the Botafumeiro in operation until sometime next year (2020) the noon Pilgrim Mass, is just a Mass. There are many other Masses all over town.

I recommend taking care of business at the Pilgrim Office first. It is easier to locate another Mass, when you allowed too little time in Santiago before departing, than it is to try to argue with the security staff at the front door.

Remember, your failure to plan ahead, does not make an emergency for them, or the staff inside. This happened a lot this past summer, when individuals and families would try to jump the queue because they had a bus, plan or train soon(ish).

Invariably, these individuals had CHOSEN to do other things first instead of proceed directly to the office to handle the paperwork FIRST. We, as a general rule, do not make exceptions to the FIFO rule (first in, first out).

I always recommend taking care of things that are inflexible FIRST, like the Compostela process. So, once you have your Compostela, etc. THEN you can proceed to do those things that will always be there, regardless: hugging the Apostle, venerating the relics in the crypt, attending a Mass, etc.

Forewarned is forearmed, PLAN AHEAD. Come to the office as early as you can after the opening time. During the peak season this is at 08:00. In the off-season, I think it is 09:00.

Hope this helps.
 

Bradypus

Antediluvian
Camino(s) past & future
Too many and too often!
I always recommend taking care of things that are inflexible FIRST, like the Compostela process. So, once you have your Compostela, etc. THEN you can proceed to do those things that will always be there, regardless: hugging the Apostle, venerating the relics in the crypt, attending a Mass, etc.
I have a pedantic streak and can't help feeling that if one takes the Compostela seriously as a document which "recognises before all who observe this document that: …………… has devotedly visited this most sacred temple with Christian sentiment (pietatis causa)" then visiting the Cathedral should be the FIRST thing to take care of. Otherwise the Compostela is a false statement. And giving priority to receiving a piece of paper over the completion of one's pilgrimage at the shrine of the apostle feels like putting the cart before the horse.
 

t2andreo

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
C/F: 2013, 2014
C/M: 2016
C/P: 2015, 2017
C/I: 2018
Voluntario: 2014 - 2019
I concur with your pedantry, but, my recommendation is still highly practical. In the end, each pilgrim will do what they choose. The results may vary, for the better or worse...

All I can do is observe, assess, and recommend...
 
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Camino(s) past & future
2013 Camino Frances SJPP / 2014 Camino Portugues / 2015 Camino Ingles / 2015 Hospitalero Training
2016 (fall) Camino Sanabre / Hospitalero?
There is a new numbering system at the Pilgrim Office that issues Compostela's. As with many new systems there have been problems and disappointments. I would suggest going to the Pilgrim Office “EARLY”. Currently, allotment numbers for Compostelas are often filled before noon.
 

SabineP

Camino = Empathy + Compassion.
Camino(s) past & future
some and then more. see my signature.

Shazenalan

Member
Camino(s) past & future
CF 2018
I started writing a response from our experience a couple of days ago.... I changed my mind and deleted it. My suggestion is to use the waiting time to reflect on your own Camino.... and accept that managing such huge numbers each day can never be easy. Buen Camino. X
 
Camino(s) past & future
Frances 2017, 2018, 2019, Ingles 2018, Madrid (2019) Portuges (2020)
There is a new numbering system at the Pilgrim Office that issues Compostela's. As with many new systems there have been problems and disappointments. I would suggest going to the Pilgrim Office “EARLY”. Currently, allotment numbers for Compostelas are often filled before noon.

St Peter will not ask to see the paperwork.
 

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'm sorry you are finding this last 100 km difficult. It is a huge shock to the body to hit the Sarria starters and a real test of our humility, tolerance and patience.

There was always a limit to the number of Compostelas issued. While now they stop issuing tickets for the line up, previously Security just stopped letting you into the building at 6 or 7 or whatever time seemed reasonable for getting finished with those already inside, so that staff and volunteers could leave on time. Staff and volunteers at the counters are not slaves, they are entitled to food, sleep, and the occasional use of a toilet; they do this day after day after day, and labour laws apply in Galicia. They should not be blamed for the way the system works.

Buen camino.

*** Editted to note that the post I was replying to has disappeared.
 
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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
Before anyone direct any complaints or criticisms towards pilgrim office staff, I implore you to volunteer to work there. Click on the blue link in my signature...

Once you better understand what they must cope with day in, day out, year after year, you will (perhaps) develop some empathy.

Their jobs are not high-paid. They work six-days a week. The only days the office is closed are Christmas Day and New Years Day. If you ever saw the film “Groundhog Day,” you would get a mild idea of what working in the Pilgrim Office is like.

Staff see the exact same thing everyday, forever. Only as clothing changes with the seasons, does the view from behind the counter change. True also, colder weather does help attenuate some of the ‘Olor de Peregrino.” That is always a good thing.😉

I consider these folks both good friends and my second family. They know that I would do, and have done, anything I can to help, in anyway I can, at any time and from any place. That is why I whine on about issues, and advocate change here in the forum.

I also know that there are folks, in Santiago, who lurk and read much of what is here. I also believe that some of the substance might eventually percolate through to someone who can do something productive. Hope springs eternal....

hope this helps.
 

sillydoll

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
2002 CF: 2004 from Paris: 2006 VF: 2007 CF: 2009 Aragones, Ingles, Finisterre: 2011 X 2 on CF: 2013 'Caracoles': 2014 CF and Ingles 'Caracoles":2015 Logrono-Burgos (Hospitalero San Anton): 2016 La Douay to Aosta/San Gimignano to Rome:
This is not a comment on the people working in the office but a comment on the new ticket system which is obviously not working if people have to go home every day without a Compostela because only 1200 or so tickets are issued each day.
Ok folks.. as promised, the first thing I did was scan recently used, current day tickets. Here is what I learned. Recommendations are provided:

HOW TO ACCESS THE OFFICE QUEUE REMOTELY USING THE INTERNET

To access the queue number NOW being served at the Pilgrim Office queue, you can paste this into a browser address window AFTER you make THREE changes to the link.

https://catedral.df-server.info/?num=221&fecha=2019-08-11&lang=2

Where 221 is YOUR ticket number, and change the date to today... REMEMBER to use the European date format (YYYY-MO-DA.

Also:
“lang=2” is Spanish
“lang=5” is English

I am still working on the other five or more languages...

So to use the URL directly, you have to:
  • Change the ticket number to yours
  • Change the date to the current date
  • Change the desired language number, presently 2 for Spanish and 5 for English
Using an iPhone to scan YOUR ticket.

Also, you can turn on the “scan QR code” function of an iPhone. Doing so allows you to see your number AND the current queue number being served. This is a HUGE improvement in only 48-hours.

To do this:
  1. Go to SETTINGS/CAMERA
Scan down in the camera settings...
Toggle ON “Scan QR codes”
Back out...
  1. Go to CONTROL CENTER
Scan down...
Add Scan QR Codes”
  1. Swipe down on any page, from the top of the screen, to see your shortcuts.
  2. A new shortcut that looks like a QR icon is there.
  3. To read a QR Code, press this icon, this brings up the camera in ‘scan QR code’ mode. Place the QR code in the yellow brackets and take a photo.
  4. iOS will ask at the top of this screen if you want to open the scanned link in Safari.
  5. Click on the Safari icon...
  6. Your ticket number, along with the number presently being seen is shown in a Safari browser.
  7. Once you do this scan, you can pull down to refresh the screen as desired.
Using an Android OS smartphone to scan YOUR ticket.

I assume this works for Android, but have zero experience with this OS.

A contribution to this thread from someone with knowledge of how an Android phone accomplishes this, with or without an auxiliary app, would be appreciated.

Hope this helps.
Many people don't bring their cell phones or don't have a Smart Phone. How do they cope with the new system?
We arrived on Saturday at mid-day the three people in my group wanting a certificate were told that mo more numbers were being given that day as the max number if 1200 had been issued.
On Sunday they went back and were given numbers in the 900s. They were told that they wouldn't be given their certificates until around 8pm. Two people in the queue who had to leave to get a flight home gave them their tickets which were in the 400s.
When they went to the office around midday they were told that those numbers had already been called and because they weren't there they would have to start again with new tickets.
They had kept their original tickets and were told that they probably wouldn't be called before 8pm. Whilst we were at lunch we kept an eye on the app and saw that the numbers were close to the 900s before we had dessert. We hot footed it to the pilgrim office and the three got their certificates with just a few minutes to spare.
Many people have had to leave Santiago without a certificate.
 

Starseeker54

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino francis (2014). Camino portugese (2015).camino via francigena (2016) camino norte (2017) .
having just finished the via de la plata from seville ,i would like to make the following observations.
never again doing a summer camino.
this is my 6th camino.
the staff are not to blame for the new system.
going back to doing winter caminos.
i am a luddite,so smart/android passes me by.
in this age of computer simulations,did one get done for the new system?
if one walked any camino,especially the longer ones,but arrives after the cutoff point,and has to leave the next day.is there a system in place ,so that they can still receive their compostela?
 

Bradypus

Antediluvian
Camino(s) past & future
Too many and too often!
if one walked any camino,especially the longer ones,but arrives after the cutoff point,and has to leave the next day.is there a system in place ,so that they can still receive their compostela
No - a number of people in that position have posted here and in Facebook groups recently about having to leave next day without a Compostela.
 

sillydoll

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
2002 CF: 2004 from Paris: 2006 VF: 2007 CF: 2009 Aragones, Ingles, Finisterre: 2011 X 2 on CF: 2013 'Caracoles': 2014 CF and Ingles 'Caracoles":2015 Logrono-Burgos (Hospitalero San Anton): 2016 La Douay to Aosta/San Gimignano to Rome:
Because you only have to walk the last 100km to earn a Compostela there are no extra Brownie Points for walking 1000km or 5000km.
 

hel&scott

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
2004 St Jean - Santiago, 2008 &18 Seville - Finesterre, 2010 Ferrol - Lisbon, 2012 from Cartehenga.
Because you only have to walk the last 100km to earn a Compostela there are no extra Brownie Points for walking 1000km or 5000km.
On no, you are wrong there, walking 1000kms in the heat of the Spanish summer will leave you brown as a nut, or in my case it was the back of my legs that got the worst of it and i looked like a one sided piece of toast.
 
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sillydoll

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
2002 CF: 2004 from Paris: 2006 VF: 2007 CF: 2009 Aragones, Ingles, Finisterre: 2011 X 2 on CF: 2013 'Caracoles': 2014 CF and Ingles 'Caracoles":2015 Logrono-Burgos (Hospitalero San Anton): 2016 La Douay to Aosta/San Gimignano to Rome:
On no, you are wrong there, walking 1000kms in the heat of the Spainish summer will leave you brown as a nut, or in my case it was the back of my legs that got the worst of it and i looked like a one sided piece of toast.
Ha ha! You are right. In 2002 I wrote a long 4 line stanza poem. You reminded me of this one:

I have hair like straw, one-sided pilgrim tan
Brown face, brown legs, brown arms and hands
We all look the same, each woman and man
El Camino de Santiago
 

Bradypus

Antediluvian
Camino(s) past & future
Too many and too often!
Just been looking at the pilgrim office website. If this is true then perhaps the long queues are a thing of the past :cool:
1570186474510.png
 
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