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The queues in Santiago

Mel C

New Member
Past OR future Camino
2021
I did my first camino in July-August 2021. I had a really great experience right up until Santiago but Santiago left me massively underwhelmed and disappointed. My main reason for this was that I felt that having walked from St Jean that those who had walked similar distances, with our backpacks all the way, were forced to wait long periods to get the compostella solely due to the large numbers who walked the last 3 days with their bags carried in taxis! In my case, it was 2 1/2 hours! It left a really bad taste in my mouth. Why isn't there a separate office for those who walk for the last few days? I'm all for equality, but this isn't about equality but a lack of respect for those who have come a greater way. In my case, I waited as I say 2 and half hours on feet that were aching from blisters. Some pilgrims walked as far as from southern Germany! So, why oh why isn't there a different queuing system for pilgrims who clearly have put a much greater investment of time, money and effort than those who have gone on a gentle stroll for a few days, with the family?

The large groups that joined for the last sections were not unexpected. That they were incredibly noisy on the track, breaking all chances of quiet contemplation, and make getting a space in an albergue next nigh impossible for the past few days, was something I had already been warned about. But while I may do another section of a camino again, I am pretty certain at this moment in time that I won't do that last leg again and that's a pity. It doesn't have to be so crappy at the end, does it? If anyone at the head office reads this, please consider fast tracking those who have taken the long, slow trek to Santiago.
 
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gerardcarey

Veteran Member
Past OR future Camino
CFx2, CPx1
So, why oh why isn't there a different queuing system for pilgrims who clearly have put a much greater investment of time, money and effort than those who have gone on a gentle stroll for a few days, with the family?
This is a question that surely should be put to the Pilgrim Office in Santiago.
But then, you have probably already done this, or are about to do so.
Please advise as to the outcome of your enquiry as it is surely of interest to many forum members.
Thank you,
Gerard
 
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Jeff Crawley

Veteran Member
Past OR future Camino
2018
I did my first camino in July-August 2021. I had a really great experience right up until Santiago but Santiago left me massively underwhelmed and disappointed. My main reason for this was that I felt that having walked from St Jean that those who had walked similar distances, with our backpacks all the way, were forced to wait long periods to get the compostella solely due to the large numbers who walked the last 3 days with their bags carried in taxis! In my case, it was 2 1/2 hours! It left a really bad taste in my mouth. Why isn't there a separate office for those who walk for the last few days? I'm all for equality, but this isn't about equality but a lack of respect for those who have come a greater way. In my case, I waited as I say 2 and half hours on feet that were aching from blisters. Some pilgrims walked as far as from southern Germany! So, why oh why isn't there a different queuing system for pilgrims who clearly have put a much greater investment of time, money and effort than those who have gone on a gentle stroll for a few days, with the family?

The large groups that joined for the last sections were not unexpected. That they were incredibly noisy on the track, breaking all chances of quiet contemplation, and make getting a space in an albergue next nigh impossible for the past few days, was something I had already been warned about. But while I may do another section of a camino again, I am pretty certain at this moment in time that I won't do that last leg again and that's a pity. It doesn't have to be so crappy at the end, does it? If anyone at the head office reads this, please consider fast tracking those who have taken the long, slow trek to Santiago.
Perhaps a "priority boarding" system could be introduced? One of the Volunteers could come out and assess pilgrims based on the damage done to their bodies: pilgrims with blisters, tendonitis, plantar fasciitis, missing toenails and the like get moved to the front of the queue, those with unsullied clothing or immaculate footwear could be made to wait longer?
 
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alexwalker

Forever Pilgrim
Past OR future Camino
(2009): Camino Frances
(2011): Sevilla-Salamanca, VdlP
(2012): Salamanca-SdC, VdlP
(2014): SJpdP-Astorga
(2015): Astorga-SdC
(2016) May Pamplona-Moratinos; Sept.:Burgos-SdC
(2016): August/Sept: Camino San Olav (Burgos-Covarubbias), Burgos-Sarria
(2017): May: Portuguese; Sept: Pamplona-SdC
Perhaps a "priority boarding" system could be introduced? One of the Volunteers could come out and assess pilgrims based on the damage done to their bodies: pilgrims with blisters, tendonitis, plantar fasciitis, missing toenails and the like get moved to the front of the queue, those with unsullied clothing or immaculate footwear could be made to wait longer?
Speaking as a (former) volunteer in the Pilgrims Office, this happens: When I saw someone (old/obviously sick, or in other ways) incapable of being in-line, I moved them in front, with full approval from the other pilgrims.

Also, for groups of more than 4, we picked one person as a representative for the group, collected all pilgrim passports of that group, and dealt with the paper work for the group in a separate room.

Having said that: Now the Office has implemented a ticket system as replacement for "the line". You don't have to wait in a line anymore: Get your ticket, and go to the nearest bar (100 m.). You can check on your phone how long time it is for your turn; just finish your beer or other worthy drink and stroll over to the Office when your time comes close. At least it worked like that, last I heard.

IMHO, all pilgrims are equally worthy.
 
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alexwalker

Forever Pilgrim
Past OR future Camino
(2009): Camino Frances
(2011): Sevilla-Salamanca, VdlP
(2012): Salamanca-SdC, VdlP
(2014): SJpdP-Astorga
(2015): Astorga-SdC
(2016) May Pamplona-Moratinos; Sept.:Burgos-SdC
(2016): August/Sept: Camino San Olav (Burgos-Covarubbias), Burgos-Sarria
(2017): May: Portuguese; Sept: Pamplona-SdC

Jeff Crawley

Veteran Member
Past OR future Camino
2018
Speaking as a (former) volunteer in the Pilgrims Office, this happens: When I saw someone (old/obviously sick, or in other ways) incapable of being in-line, I moved them in front, with full approval from the other pilgrims.

Also, for groups of more than 4, we picked one person as a representative for the group, collected all pilgrim passports of that group, and dealt with the paper work for the group in a separate room.

Having said that: Now the Office has implemented a ticket system as replacement for "the line". You don't have to wait in a line anymore: Get your ticket, and go to the nearest bar (100 m.). You can check on your phone how long time it is for your turn; just finish your beer or other worthy drink and stroll over to the Office when your time comes close. At least it worked like that, last I heard.

IMHO, all pilgrims are equally worthy.
Well put. One day back in 2018 when I was working there, two elderly (80s?) ladies, smartly dressed with the standard "abuela" hair cut and padded shoulders were guided to the desks. Both were blind yet presented credentials claiming that they had come from Sarria with two stamps for each day.
I looked at the young Spanish lady working alongside me, there was no way they could have possibly walked from Sarria but we shrugged and issued them each with a Compostela. As she said afterwards, who were we to refuse them?
 
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Airfix

Member
Past OR future Camino
2021
We waited in line for nearly 2 hours in 2019 and enjoyed the company of pilgrims in the same queue. Shared a few thoughts and experiences. Some with obvious mobility needs were moved to the front without complaint. You can enjoy or endure any experience, even queuing.
 
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Past OR future Camino
CF 2006,08,09,11,12(2),13(2),14,16(2),18(2) Aragones 11,12,VDLP 11,13,Lourdes 12,Malaga 16,Port 06
Well put. One day back in 2018 when I was working there, two elderly (80s?) ladies, smartly dressed with the standard "abuela" hair cut and padded shoulders were guided to the desks. Both were blind yet presented credentials claiming that they had come from Sarria with two stamps for each day.
I looked at the young Spanish lady working alongside me, there was no way they could have possibly walked from Sarria but we shrugged and issued them each with a Compostela. As she said afterwards, who were we to refuse them?
Yup. God will sort it out.
 

Flyguy

New Member
Past OR future Camino
September2016
I did my first camino in July-August 2021. I had a really great experience right up until Santiago but Santiago left me massively underwhelmed and disappointed. My main reason for this was that I felt that having walked from St Jean that those who had walked similar distances, with our backpacks all the way, were forced to wait long periods to get the compostella solely due to the large numbers who walked the last 3 days with their bags carried in taxis! In my case, it was 2 1/2 hours! It left a really bad taste in my mouth. Why isn't there a separate office for those who walk for the last few days? I'm all for equality, but this isn't about equality but a lack of respect for those who have come a greater way. In my case, I waited as I say 2 and half hours on feet that were aching from blisters. Some pilgrims walked as far as from southern Germany! So, why oh why isn't there a different queuing system for pilgrims who clearly have put a much greater investment of time, money and effort than those who have gone on a gentle stroll for a few days, with the family?

The large groups that joined for the last sections were not unexpected. That they were incredibly noisy on the track, breaking all chances of quiet contemplation, and make getting a space in an albergue next nigh impossible for the past few days, was something I had already been warned about. But while I may do another section of a camino again, I am pretty certain at this moment in time that I won't do that last leg again and that's a pity. It doesn't have to be so crappy at the end, does it? If anyone at the head office reads this, please consider fast tracking those who have taken the long, slow trek to Santiago.
I am going on my third Camino soon and have no intention of lining up for a Compostela. I know I did the Camino so don't feel the need for a Compostela that usually ends up in a drawer somewhere. Just sayin😊
 
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alexwalker

Forever Pilgrim
Past OR future Camino
(2009): Camino Frances
(2011): Sevilla-Salamanca, VdlP
(2012): Salamanca-SdC, VdlP
(2014): SJpdP-Astorga
(2015): Astorga-SdC
(2016) May Pamplona-Moratinos; Sept.:Burgos-SdC
(2016): August/Sept: Camino San Olav (Burgos-Covarubbias), Burgos-Sarria
(2017): May: Portuguese; Sept: Pamplona-SdC
Sometimes, the volunteers in the Office get an opportunity to have some fun and entertain the waiting pilgrims:

I have posted this one before, but all posts sink into oblivion in here, so I'll repeat it:

I was working as a volunteer in the Pilgrim's Office in Santiago May/June 2019 (A luxury you should try: Free housing in Santiago & contact with 1.000's of pilgrims (in a normal year) each day).

Due to my language "skills", my job(s) was to welcome arriving pilgrims, giving them info on the lineup (la cola; the queue) (now it is a new, digital solution for that), ordering them to have their papers (Credential & passport) ready in order to speed up the processing of the line (1500-2000 new pilgrims/day), filling up the sales stands, finding pilgrim groups that could be treated as a bulk arrival, and more. So I was mostly out in the courtyard, helping the new arrivals, giving info at intervals.

One day, after I had given the standard information to the newly arrived pilgrims, in English, German and Spanish, a man yelled out at me:

"But do you speak NORWEGIAN???!!!"

I asked him (in English and Spanish) if that was what he really wanted, and he nodded intensely. The long waiting line of pilgrims were paying great attention to what was going on in the courtyard now...

So I said "Momentito!", lifted my head towards the sky and stared upwards in silence for 5 seconds, then said out loud "Gracias!", and then I gave him the same pilgrim info in Norwegian (I am a native and citizen of Norway).

I have never before in my life seen such a shocked face... He jumped up and down, yelling words I shall not repeat here, before he came running towards me, giving me a huge pre-CovID hug.

The whole line of pilgrims (100's) was laughing so hard, the volunteers inside stopped writing Compostelas, and came out to see what on Earth was happening outside.
 

The Kolbist

Active Member
Past OR future Camino
past: Frances, inland Portuguese, Fatima
future: Del Norte, coastal Porugues, Englis
When we did our first Camino in 2014, we got to the old pilgrim office closer to the cathedral, it was raining cats and dogs. We waited patiently in cold and rain for 2 1/2 hours and if I recall correctly, the people around us were happily suffering. So we believe in one of the quips in Efren's youtube videos "We carry our sins and the sins of the people behind us"......LOL
 
Past OR future Camino
2019
I am going on my third Camino soon and have no intention of lining up for a Compostela. I know I did the Camino so don't feel the need for a Compostela that usually ends up in a drawer somewhere. Just sayin😊
Those were my thoughts. I wasn't going to frame it. I have photos and memories. I started from SJPP, but as it happened, got sick during the last few stages, so taxied in to Santiago - didn't qualify for a compostela anyway. Although it was disappointing not to walk into Santiago, I was not that disappointed in not collecting a compostela. So, it was going to be a file cabinet awaiting the sorting by my children after I die. I may or may not pick up a compostela this year. I'll decide when the time comes.
 
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alexwalker

Forever Pilgrim
Past OR future Camino
(2009): Camino Frances
(2011): Sevilla-Salamanca, VdlP
(2012): Salamanca-SdC, VdlP
(2014): SJpdP-Astorga
(2015): Astorga-SdC
(2016) May Pamplona-Moratinos; Sept.:Burgos-SdC
(2016): August/Sept: Camino San Olav (Burgos-Covarubbias), Burgos-Sarria
(2017): May: Portuguese; Sept: Pamplona-SdC
Some people have more baggage, and need more help, than others. From my period as a volunteer in the Pilgrims Office, I have many stories, but one has etched within me:

A man in his 80's, with his daughter, approached me, and kindly asked if I could help them: He had no chance of staying in the line for 2+ hours. I hushed them to the front, and 5 mins. afterwards they came out with their Compostelas. The old man (American, but of no importance) kissed me on both cheeks, cried, and said thank you many times. Then he showed me his Compostela, that was dedicated to his late wife (In Vicario Pro, and her name on it, which means he had been walking for her/in her name).

Next, he showed me his urn with his wife's ashes, ready to be emptied in Finisterre. They were walking there the next days... I just helped him to fulfill his mission, without knowing it.

Never, ever, judge people. There are some strong emotions moving across the Camino(s), and some people need a little help sometimes.
 
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C clearly

Moderator
Staff member
Past OR future Camino
Most years since 2012. Hoping now for 2022.
why isn't there a different queuing system for pilgrims who clearly have put a much greater investment of time, money and effort
I can only assume that since you are a new forum member, and have just completed your first camino, you have not thought too much about how this really is not a simple matter of merit.

The quoted words are interesting to consider. Should those who "invest" more money get priority? Or maybe those who have more leisure time? Or should the percentage of one's disposable income or free time be calculated? Effort will be even more difficult to evaluate. Does pain of an unprepared person count as effort? Or does daily training for a year before?

Here's an idea - set a minimum distance, and then have people queue up. Those who really want the compostela and have adequate patience will get one. Those who are so inclined can go to a bar across the street to share their disdain for compostelas. The rest can make another decision of what to do on their day in Santiago.
 

André Walker

Never losing my way: always standing on it
Past OR future Camino
2018
Which was more important to you, the voyage or the gift at the end of it?
Well, the voyage I’d say. Although I always treat myself to a large bowl of icecream at Airas Nunes Café when I reach Santiago. Instead of getting another Compostela: I’ve already got one and don’t feel the need to collect them.
 
Past OR future Camino
Camino Francés, Oct 2020
Sometimes, the volunteers in the Office get an opportunity to have some fun and entertain the waiting pilgrims:

I have posted this one before, but all posts sink into oblivion in here, so I'll repeat it:

I was working as a volunteer in the Pilgrim's Office in Santiago May/June 2019 (A luxury you should try: Free housing in Santiago & contact with 1.000's of pilgrims (in a normal year) each day).

Due to my language "skills", my job(s) was to welcome arriving pilgrims, giving them info on the lineup (la cola; the queue) (now it is a new, digital solution for that), ordering them to have their papers (Credential & passport) ready in order to speed up the processing of the line (1500-2000 new pilgrims/day), filling up the sales stands, finding pilgrim groups that could be treated as a bulk arrival, and more. So I was mostly out in the courtyard, helping the new arrivals, giving info at intervals.

One day, after I had given the standard information to the newly arrived pilgrims, in English, German and Spanish, a man yelled out at me:

"But do you speak NORWEGIAN???!!!"

I asked him (in English and Spanish) if that was what he really wanted, and he nodded intensely. The long waiting line of pilgrims were paying great attention to what was going on in the courtyard now...

So I said "Momentito!", lifted my head towards the sky and stared upwards in silence for 5 seconds, then said out loud "Gracias!", and then I gave him the same pilgrim info in Norwegian (I am a native and citizen of Norway).

I have never before in my life seen such a shocked face... He jumped up and down, yelling words I shall not repeat here, before he came running towards me, giving me a huge pre-CovID hug.

The whole line of pilgrims (100's) was laughing so hard, the volunteers inside stopped writing Compostelas, and came out to see what on Earth was happening outside.
I have read this before but it still makes me laugh. Wish I had been there. Thanks @alexwalker
 
Past OR future Camino
(2017) Started in Sarria.
(2019) Considering a longer walk.
I'm sorry, I have to bite my tongue every time I see a post like this. I am one of "those people" you are complaining about. Your post harkens back to the posts when I did my Camino in 2017 and started in Sarria. In this forum posts were saying "those people are not real peregrinos". I felt so "unworthy" at the time, I would qualify my journey as "I only walked from Sarria". So, now, I see your post; and I think "how dare you judge my Camino". You have no idea about my circumstances. I took the opportunity to do something I always wanted to do when friends decided in June to go to Portugal in September. I arrived a week early to walk the Camino. I was 66 years old, walked alone, and, while I am a hiker, I had never hiked more than 6 miles a day without a hip or a knee hurting afterwards. During my Camino, I walked at least 9 miles a day with a maximum of 15. Yes, I did send a suitcase ahead but also carried a pack on my back. I walked through cold weather, hot weather, an all day pouring rain, and ended up with 3 blisters. But, I enjoyed my walk so much that I'm ready to do a longer walk. If I hadn't started with that one week to prove to myself I could do it, I would never have thought about trying a longer Camino. Since my walk I have seen many posts about the multitude of walkers that do the last 100 km, but I haven't seen many like this post that complained the whole Camino was "ruined" because of the number of people who do the last 100 km. So, in ending, I'd like to thank the people on this forum who do understand it's not how many miles you walk but about your individual journey.
 
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Peter Fransiscus

Be a Rainbow in someone else's cloud.
Past OR future Camino
All that we are is the result of what we have thought.
So, why oh why isn't there a different queuing system for pilgrims who clearly have put a much greater investment of time, money and effort than those who have gone on a gentle stroll for a few days, with the family?
Why ?? , because we are all equall .
 

alhartman

2005-2017 Delightful 346 days in Spain and France.
Past OR future Camino
2017
Queueing is also about number capacity as well as about systems (yes, I agree the current system is a terrible design and based on a silly legacy 100km arbitrary policy). I was blessed to discover the Camino ‘early’ (2005), 93k got Compostela then, in 2019 it was up to 347k. In 2005, 14k joined in Sarria vs 96k in 2019. So, the Office must deal with 4x the number of just 15 years prior. And that has to be accomplished with limited resources—and I do not remember any charge, the camino is supported by largely broken donativo model. And just as you (and I) would prioritize the long distance pilgrim, what about prioritizing the aging, the Catholics, the Spanish, the rich...............?

I had a very hard time ‘sharing’ my Camino with the ‘johnnie come latelies’ in 2006, 2007, and 2009. I absolutely tortured myself judging the crowds (and their worthiness) after Sarria. In 2010, I started getting infected with the joy in some of the youth groups. And I realized that none of the short-haulers got to see the beautiful stained glass at Leon, ElCid tomb in Burgos (and eat morcilla afterwards, a communal dinner at Granon, a cold shower at Fenix, Ponferrada Castle, the Bishops Palace in Astorga (I’d never heard of Gaudi), Tomas at Monjardin, or Eduardo’s breakfast flute concert in Boadilla, or the contemplative walk across the meseta--the real walkers paradise..

Although no frustration for me at the very end, there was plenty along the way: last bed in Roncevalles, floor in Ocebreiro, Carrion, Hornillos. A hour wait for coffee in a café in Gonzar as the barista served scores of later arriving pilgrims ahead of me.

My last Compostela was in 2016 walking with adult daughter, but I definitely would not wait for yet another—too frustrating and I would rather use my limited patience for other queues on the now crowded camino. Making reservations in 2016 was bad enough.
I am sure that you now are back into the camino gratitude; and sorry the end queue left the bad taste. The happy camino lessons last longer than the frustrations.
 
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alexwalker

Forever Pilgrim
Past OR future Camino
(2009): Camino Frances
(2011): Sevilla-Salamanca, VdlP
(2012): Salamanca-SdC, VdlP
(2014): SJpdP-Astorga
(2015): Astorga-SdC
(2016) May Pamplona-Moratinos; Sept.:Burgos-SdC
(2016): August/Sept: Camino San Olav (Burgos-Covarubbias), Burgos-Sarria
(2017): May: Portuguese; Sept: Pamplona-SdC
IMHO, this has developed into a very interesting thread, especially for new Forum members/wannabe pilgrims.

What is right on the Camino? How long should we walk to be deserving?

The answer is: I have no answer. It is your Camino: You decide where to start, how long to walk each day, how to overnight (albergue, hotel, AirBnB), how to eat, transport stuff bc of illness/weakness, whatever. There are no rules. Go by your rules.

Do not judge others, lest you shall be judged.

As for how long: As long as you can/can afford. But I can share my experiences here, after who knows how many Caminos: It will do you good to do as much as you can in one go; the longer you are on the Camino, the better the chance for deeper insight into yourself. It takes time to get into the rythm of daily walking/routines and get to know yourself. It is also a good teacher for tolerance and patience, as well as accepting your surrounding people, with all their strenghts and weaknesses. I guess I am talking about achieving some moral basics/acceptance.

Some may have to repeat the walk in order to achieve this, obviously. I am myself a repeat Camino offender, hopefully for other reasons...

Just MHO.

,
 

domigee

Veteran Member
Past OR future Camino
2021
I'm confused by this thread. What queue are we talking about? Aren't they using the numbered ticket system that began in 2019? Why would anyone be waiting in line for 2 hours?
I’m puzzled too. The whole process took less than 10 min for me, at the end of July. (And only that long because my phone refused to scan so I had to fill-in the form by hand 😁).
Had there been more people, I would have gone to a bar clutching my numbered ticket and come back when it was my turn 🙂 Maybe we missed something 🤨
 
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Original artwork based on your pilgrimage or other travel photos.
Past OR future Camino
Inglese 2021
I'm confused by this thread. What queue are we talking about? Aren't they using the numbered ticket system that began in 2019? Why would anyone be waiting in line for 2 hours?
If you show up early like I just did you'll have a wait to get to the ticket issuing desk but it's still not two hours. The whole experience took me three hours last week from getting on line to getting my Compostela, but I did some sketching, reading, and souvenir shopping while waiting.
 

domigee

Veteran Member
Past OR future Camino
2021
I did my first camino in July-August 2021. I had a really great experience right up until Santiago but Santiago left me massively underwhelmed and disappointed. My main reason for this was that I felt that having walked from St Jean that those who had walked similar distances, with our backpacks all the way, were forced to wait long periods to get the compostella solely due to the large numbers who walked the last 3 days with their bags carried in taxis! In my case, it was 2 1/2 hours! It left a really bad taste in my mouth. Why isn't there a separate office for those who walk for the last few days? I'm all for equality, but this isn't about equality but a lack of respect for those who have come a greater way. In my case, I waited as I say 2 and half hours on feet that were aching from blisters. Some pilgrims walked as far as from southern Germany! So, why oh why isn't there a different queuing system for pilgrims who clearly have put a much greater investment of time, money and effort than those who have gone on a gentle stroll for a few days, with the family?

The large groups that joined for the last sections were not unexpected. That they were incredibly noisy on the track, breaking all chances of quiet contemplation, and make getting a space in an albergue next nigh impossible for the past few days, was something I had already been warned about. But while I may do another section of a camino again, I am pretty certain at this moment in time that I won't do that last leg again and that's a pity. It doesn't have to be so crappy at the end, does it? If anyone at the head office reads this, please consider fast tracking those who have taken the long, slow trek to Santiago.
My husband just reminded me of what the priest said when he arrived in Santiago Cathedral at the end of his first Camino : ‘‘it doesn’t matter what you have done to get here, the fact that you are here is all that matters ‘ … or something to that effect 😉
 

legs

New Member
Past OR future Camino
cf 2008, Le puy,2009 Via f Fideza -rome2012, via F calais besancon 2013, vdlp 2015, porto-2019
Oh for the old days
We did our first camino in 2008 ( french way ) arriving in Santiago 2 November and walked straight to the old pilgrim office . In and out in 2 minutes.
Having to wait 2 hours. So be it if you want a Compostela. But hey most have spent between 30-40 days walking the camino, why worry about a couple of hours. Use the time for recollection

Stay safe everyone
 

SteveSherry

New Member
Past OR future Camino
2014,Camino Frances, 2016 Frances, 2018 Francés, 2016/18 Finisterre and Muxia
Speaking as a (former) volunteer in the Pilgrims Office, this happens: When I saw someone (old/obviously sick, or in other ways) incapable of being in-line, I moved them in front, with full approval from the other pilgrims.

Also, for groups of more than 4, we picked one person as a representative for the group, collected all pilgrim passports of that group, and dealt with the paper work for the group in a separate room.

Having said that: Now the Office has implemented a ticket system as replacement for "the line". You don't have to wait in a line anymore: Get your ticket, and go to the nearest bar (100 m.). You can check on your phone how long time it is for your turn; just finish your beer or other worthy drink and stroll over to the Office when your time comes close. At least it worked like that, last I heard.

IMHO, all pilgrims are equally worthy.
Totally agree. It’s a pity to leave Santiago with that negative vibe, but after 3 Camino Francés, always carrying my gear, badly blistered, I’m prepared to cut short Caminos some slack.
Some people don’t have the time afforded to the more fortunate ones of us, some have chronic conditions that don’t allow them to carry packs or walk all day, others just don’t have the money to go all the way.
Of course, there’s also those who just don’t want to carry all that stuff and just want a Camino Holiday, not so much the pilgrim experience. That’s okay. I did mine my way and was happy to let others do it their way. I must say I did feel a bit like a zoo exhibit when 5 Americans passed me one day near Ribadiso as I was getting out my poncho. I heard one of the men say, ‘ You see, there’s one getting out his raincoat because it might rain’ , as though I couldn’t understand him. Well, I looked at this well groomed group with their tiny daypacks, smiled and nodded, and thought, you’re in bloody trouble and they were. The skies opened and it poured. Welcome to the Camino.
Seriously, don’t be put off. I walked in late September/ October and it was okay. Busy at the end , but also remember, this is a Holy Year. Stay safe, Steve.
PS, I’d put up with anything to be able to walk now but our government , Australian,won’t let us leave the country.
 
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Anamiri

Veteran Member
Past OR future Camino
2016, 2017, 2019 Camino Frances
In 2019, after our walk, we collected our Compostelas, went to the Anglican church service - then went upstairs for an informal meeting with others who had finished walking. Our chairs were in a circle. We described our Camino in an anticlockwise manner, from Ferrol, from Sarria, from St Jean, from Leon, from Pamplona, from Sarria, ... then the next person said.... from Prague.
There was complete silence - no-one could compete with that!
Our grandson, who was so proud to have walked from Leon, got out his phone and worked out the distance - and was gobsmacked.
 

dick bird

Active Member
Past OR future Camino
Plata, Ingles, Madrid, Norte, Primitivo, Invierno, Aragones, Olvidado, Chemin D'Arles
We were sitting at a café in the Plaza Cervantes, having just finished our most recent camino and got chatting to an Australian lady who was most pleased with herself for having walked all the way from Sarria. Having walked all the way from Toulouse we were feeling quite smug and very pleased with ourselves. She went on to explain that walking all the way was most gratifying as it meant that all the money her sponsors had promised would therefore definitely go to the cancer research charity she was raising money for. 'How much?' we asked. '$7000'. We, of course, had not raised a cent for anybody. Camino Rule 1: don't judge until you know.
 
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Robo

Veteran Member
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CF SJPdP to SdC
(May 2015)
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(May 2016)
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VdlP (2022?)
I'm not sure that distance walked and burden carried has anything to do with the validity or 'merit' of one pilgrim over another.

I have walked that last section from Sarria three times to date. Twice starting in St Jean.

That last section is wonderful. Yes it is very different. But the energy, and buzz and joy of the 'new' Pilgrims on that section is heart lifting.

I have met some people walking from St Jean, who did not have a Pilgrim bone in their body. Whatever your interpretation of that might be.

And some walking from Sarria, who were an absolute joy to meet, and were making that journey for deep and profound reasons that made me question my own motives. And Yes some of them even had a 'team bus', one with an 85 year old Nun as 'Team Manager'. They were great people to spend a little time with.

In Santiago, I'll just take my place in the queue. For I have no way of knowing what is in the minds and hearts of the others waiting for their Compostela. Only that I am probably one of the least worthy if only I knew the truth.

Walk in Peace ;)

P.S. The first time I walked that section from Sarria, having already walked some 700 kms, it was a shock!
But I accepted it for what it was, adapted, and loved it. It's probably one of my favourite sections of the CF now! 😲
 

Camino Chrissy

Take one step forward...then keep on walking..
Past OR future Camino
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Those were my thoughts. I wasn't going to frame it. I have photos and memories.
And then there are those of us in our excitement in getting our first Compostela, who "thought" we were going to frame it...but never did. Yep, in its tube, in a drawer.
 

peregrina2000

Moderator
Staff member
I'm confused by this thread. What queue are we talking about? Aren't they using the numbered ticket system that began in 2019? Why would anyone be waiting in line for 2 hours?
I’m puzzled too. The whole process took less than 10 min for me, at the end of July. (And only that long because my phone refused to scan so I had to fill-in the form by hand 😁).
Had there been more people, I would have gone to a bar clutching my numbered ticket and come back when it was my turn 🙂 Maybe we missed something 🤨
I still want to know what kind of queues @Mel C had to suffer to receive a Compostela.

My first thought on reading the post that started this discussion a few days ago was — troll!

But I have to say I am quite impressed that many forum members are so much more generous in their reactions than I. Thanks to everyone for keeping it civil and respectful.

And as a heads up to all the long distance people out there, for many Spaniards, this is a religious journey, no matter how many days they walk. I think as the visitors to a country where this tradition is so firmly entreched, we really have no business criticizing people just for the fact that they “only” walk 100 km.

I have several favorite stories, but here is my favorite (which I have told MANY times, just like you @alexwalker, so forgive me). I was working in the pilgrims office writing compostelas back in the days when the office was over on Rua Villar with that inner courtyard. On a Sunday morning, all of a sudden there was a burst of noise and energy outside. Lots of groans from the people at the desks - oh no, another rowdy bunch of teenagers descending on the office.

As they came in one or a few at a time, we saw that they all had t-shirts on that said “Te queremos Juanjo.” It turns out that this group of Juanjo’s friends was walking from Sarria, with Juanjo’s family, to arrive in Santiago on the one year anniversary of his death. There weren’t many dry eyes by the time the whole group got their compostelas. The back and forth between tears, happiness, excitement, mourning, joy, all mixed into one big group, was a pretty powerful reminder about a lot of important things.
 

Camino Chrissy

Take one step forward...then keep on walking..
Past OR future Camino
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My husband just reminded me of what the priest said when he arrived in Santiago Cathedral at the end of his first Camino : ‘‘it doesn’t matter what you have done to get here, the fact that you are here is all that matters ‘ … or something to that effect 😉
After finishing my first Camino in 2015, I was sitting at a restaurant in Santiago and struck up a conversation with a much older couple at the table next to me. They had arrived in Santiago by car, having driven the whole way, stopping at many villages/cities on the Frances. They were unable to walk the Camino due to health issues, so no Compostela for them. I was extremely touched by their story and their enthusiasm; in my book they still did the camino "their way, their voyage".
Yes, this is an interesting thread. I have enjoyed both reading it and participating, with some seriousness and a laugh; the best of both imo.
 
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Robo

Veteran Member
Past OR future Camino
CF SJPdP to SdC
(May 2015)
CF Sarria to SdC
(May 2016)
CF SJPDP-SdC
(May 2018)
VdlP (2022?)
After finishing my first Camino in 2015, I was sitting at a restaurant in Santiago and struck up a conversation with a much older couple at the table next to me. They had arrived in Santiago by car, having driven the whole way, stopping at many villages/cities on the Frances. They were unable to walk the Camino due to health issues, so no Compostela for them. I was extremely touched by their story and their enthusiasm; in my book they still did the camino "their way, their voyage".
Yes, this is an interesting thread. I have enjoyed both reading it and participating, with some seriousness and a laugh; the best of both imo.

Lovely story @Camino Chrissy . I think many of us have similar ones.
I recall, the lady leading her blind husband, the group in wheelchairs, those walking to help come to terms with grief. All 'just' walking the final 100kms.

I think if we worry about how far they walked or the manner in which they walked, we have kind of missed the point of the whole thing. ;) And need to walk it again, and again 😲 (till the 'penny drops')
 

biarritzdon

Veteran Member
Past OR future Camino
CF11, CF12, CP13, CF14, CA15, S.Anton15, CF&CI15
Ditch Pig16, CF&CP17, CdN18, CM18, CF18, LePuy19
In Re: to the comments from Chrissy and Robo
I would like to share "funny" story from the other end of the CF. I do not mean to denigrate anyone but my best friend from Biarritz, who walks for many miles along the beaches every morning taking photos for Sud Ouest and who has often commented to me about my wheezing after walking up hill to the Marche, decided that he wanted to accompany me to Orisson and spend the night and participate in the communal dinner before I started the CF a few years ago. He wasted most of the morning before we drove down to SJPdP and the Pilgrim Office as closed when we got there. I said we needed to get our walk started ASAP and he said, "But it is only 8km, what's the big deal?" I said it is all uphill and you will soon see. He made it as far as the cut-off from the road when the Camino starts up a muddy hill a few kilometers short of Orisson. He said he had enough already and thumbed his way back down hill to where his car was parked. Later he was back and sitting on the deck at Orisson when I arrived. That was the same day I met my great walking buddy Patty Doran, Donna V and some other intrepid Caminoist who I walked with to SdC.
My friend's brother walks the Camino often, so I think there might be some sibling rivalry involved here. We drove to SdC and Finisterre a few year later in his Mini Cooper and he proudly proclaimed it was his "Mini Camino."
 
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Past OR future Camino
06,CF;13,CP;17,SSal;19,Ingles
Mel, welcome to the Forum. I see this was your first post. I do hope that it will not be your last!
Many members might be envious of the fact you were able to walk so recently. There are so many thoughts in my head, reading your post and the entire list of replies. Reply number two echoed what had come straight into my mind.
I am fairly advanced in age, and have learned the hard way that if you put your head above the parapet, you need to be ready for what comes!
A problem with this kind of communication online is the gap that exists simply because it is so remote. Of course it is immediate. A little distance in time has often helped me to see things in a different light. I hope that as you read through the responses you will find that happens to you too. Even in 2006 when I walked the Camino Francés, there was talk about turigrinos in the last 100km. That was unkind and uncalled for.
My final words? I did consider sending you a private message, but no, you wrote in the public forum, I will reply likewise.
Thank you for helping me to stop and think again about how I see other people around me, here, on my life camino.
 
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Albertagirl

Veteran Member
Past OR future Camino
Frances (2015); Aragones-Frances (2016); VdlP-Sanabres (2017); Madrid-Frances-Invierno (2019)Levante
Yes, the ticket system began in the summer of 2019.
That's interesting. I walked in the fall of 2019 and saw no sign of such a system being in use. I walked right in, on Nov. 10, and was ushered in to see a volunteer, there being no line-up. This year, I expect to be arriving on Nov. 11, so maybe the situation will be the same. Regardless, I may, for whatever reason, be tired and grumpy. I certainly am right now, as preparations for leaving on camino next week continue to be challenging (I know some stronger words for this, but prefer not to shock my forum friends). One aspect of walking a camino, for many of us, is being tried until we feel that we can't stand it any more. And then it gets worse (sometimes). And then it gets beyond our control (sometimes). And the wonderful moments also occur beyond our control. I hate standing in line, especially when I am exhausted and grumpy and my feet and legs hurt. Anyone near me who looks happy can easily become a target. I find camino walking to be a wonderful learning experience. One way or another, we are all in this together.
 

domigee

Veteran Member
Past OR future Camino
2021
Yes, the ticket system began in the summer of 2019.
I queued in 2012, 2013, 2016, 2018…. It was part of the fun 😀 You met with people again in the queue and you hugged them (pre-covid! 😳). Honestly, had I been on my own, I wouldn’t have bothered, one Compostela was enough. But I did what we all did 😎 No regrets.
I can’t recall queing in 2019 and certainly not this year, 2021!
it is all very organised now. It looked busy when I finished the last 100 km from the Camino Portugués so I just went to a cafe and didn’t bother. 😎
Each to their own.
 

domigee

Veteran Member
Past OR future Camino
2021
That's interesting. I walked in the fall of 2019 and saw no sign of such a system being in use. I walked right in, on Nov. 10, and was ushered in to see a volunteer, there being no line-up. This year, I expect to be arriving on Nov. 11, so maybe the situation will be the same. Regardless, I may, for whatever reason, be tired and grumpy. I certainly am right now, as preparations for leaving on camino next week continue to be challenging (I know some stronger words for this, but prefer not to shock my forum friends). One aspect of walking a camino, for many of us, is being tried until we feel that we can't stand it any more. And then it gets worse (sometimes). And then it gets beyond our control (sometimes). And the wonderful moments also occur beyond our control. I hate standing in line, especially when I am exhausted and grumpy and my feet and legs hurt. Anyone near me who looks happy can easily become a target. I find camino walking to be a wonderful learning experience. One way or another, we are all in this together.
You’ll be fine 😎
 
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alexwalker

Forever Pilgrim
Past OR future Camino
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(2014): SJpdP-Astorga
(2015): Astorga-SdC
(2016) May Pamplona-Moratinos; Sept.:Burgos-SdC
(2016): August/Sept: Camino San Olav (Burgos-Covarubbias), Burgos-Sarria
(2017): May: Portuguese; Sept: Pamplona-SdC

Faye Walker

Veteran Member
Past OR future Camino
CF 2014, CF 2018, CP 2019 from Coimbra
That's interesting. I walked in the fall of 2019 and saw no sign of such a system being in use. I walked right in, on Nov. 10, and was ushered in to see a volunteer, there being no line-up.
Hmmm. I arrived about 14 days after you did, and I had a ticket. I remember that I was #12 and that there was nobody in front of me, nobody behind me… long, long gaps between arrivals I guess. I still have my ticket at home in my ziplock of things from that Camino, but am presently in the remote woods so can’t dig it up.
 

alexwalker

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Past OR future Camino
(2009): Camino Frances
(2011): Sevilla-Salamanca, VdlP
(2012): Salamanca-SdC, VdlP
(2014): SJpdP-Astorga
(2015): Astorga-SdC
(2016) May Pamplona-Moratinos; Sept.:Burgos-SdC
(2016): August/Sept: Camino San Olav (Burgos-Covarubbias), Burgos-Sarria
(2017): May: Portuguese; Sept: Pamplona-SdC
Hmmm. I arrived about 14 days after you did, and I had a ticket. I remember that I was #12 and that there was nobody in front of me, nobody behind me… long, long gaps between arrivals I guess. I still have my ticket at home in my ziplock of things from that Camino, but am presently in the remote woods so can’t dig it up.
2019, just after I left the Office, was the year they implemented the new line digital ticket regime. They may have had some hickups and have had to temporarily return to the old system. I do not know.
 
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trecile

Camino Addict
Past OR future Camino
Francés (2016 & 2017), Norte (2018), Francés-Salvador-Norte (2019), Portuguese (2019)
I did my first camino in July-August 2021. I had a really great experience right up until Santiago but Santiago left me massively underwhelmed and disappointed. My main reason for this was that I felt that having walked from St Jean that those who had walked similar distances, with our backpacks all the way, were forced to wait long periods to get the compostella solely due to the large numbers who walked the last 3 days with their bags carried in taxis! In my case, it was 2 1/2 hours!

My question is - were you given a ticket and then had to return 2.5 hours later to get your Compostela, or did you have to actually stand in line for 2.5 hours, like in the old days before the ticket system?
 

alexwalker

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Past OR future Camino
(2009): Camino Frances
(2011): Sevilla-Salamanca, VdlP
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(2015): Astorga-SdC
(2016) May Pamplona-Moratinos; Sept.:Burgos-SdC
(2016): August/Sept: Camino San Olav (Burgos-Covarubbias), Burgos-Sarria
(2017): May: Portuguese; Sept: Pamplona-SdC
My question is - were you given a ticket and then had to return 2.5 hours later to get your Compostela, or did you have to actually stand in line for 2.5 hours, like in the old days before the ticket system?
The intention of the ticket system is: You draw a ticket number, you get/download an app, and the app will show where you are in the line, timewise, based on the recent speed of flow of the "line". So you can relax at one of the cafes nearby (atleast 2), and walk down to the Office (100 m.), when you are nearing your number in the line.

It is of course a great improvement versus the old system, where you had to stay in the line, however long it was. Difficult for old people/health issues.

But as we used to say to lineup pilgrims: You have walked and struggled across Spain for 30+ days for forgiveness: Do not complain about waiting 2 hours for your salvation... (I am not talking about vacationers; but they will also enjoy the Camino, and during their walking days, they may also consider getting a Compostela: Many people do change (for the better) during their walk, (and the Camino (also on that issue) does a great job at that...)
 
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trecile

Camino Addict
Past OR future Camino
Francés (2016 & 2017), Norte (2018), Francés-Salvador-Norte (2019), Portuguese (2019)
The intention of the ticket system is: You draw a ticket number, you get/download an app, and the app will show where you are in line, timewise, based on the recent speed of flow of the "line". So you can relax at one of the cafes nearby (atleast 2), and walk down to the Office, when you are nearing your number in the line.
Thanks. I realize that. I arrived in Santiago in September 2019, and while I didn't want a Compostela, several others that I was with got their numbers, then returned to the pilgrim office when it was close to their time. No one queued for hours, like we did in the pre-ticket times.
 

Anamiri

Veteran Member
Past OR future Camino
2016, 2017, 2019 Camino Frances
The intention of the ticket system is: You draw a ticket number, you get/download an app, and the app will show where you are in the line, timewise, based on the recent speed of flow of the "line". So you can relax at one of the cafes nearby (atleast 2), and walk down to the Office (100 m.), when you are nearing your number in the line.

It is of course a great improvement versus the old system, where you had to stay in the line, however long it was. Difficult for old people/health issues.

But as we used to say to lineup pilgrims: You have walked and struggled across Spain for 30+ days for forgiveness: Do not complain about waiting 2 hours for your salvation... (I am not talking about vacationers; but they will also enjoy the Camino, and during their walking days, they may also consider getting a Compostela: Many people do change (for the better) during their walk, (and the Camino (also on that issue) does a great job at that...)
In 2019 we recived a ticket, went off and had breakfast, and came back to a short queue.
 

alexwalker

Forever Pilgrim
Past OR future Camino
(2009): Camino Frances
(2011): Sevilla-Salamanca, VdlP
(2012): Salamanca-SdC, VdlP
(2014): SJpdP-Astorga
(2015): Astorga-SdC
(2016) May Pamplona-Moratinos; Sept.:Burgos-SdC
(2016): August/Sept: Camino San Olav (Burgos-Covarubbias), Burgos-Sarria
(2017): May: Portuguese; Sept: Pamplona-SdC
In 2019 we recived a ticket, went off and had breakfast, and came back to a short queue.
Much better for the pilgrims, and reduces the need for volunteers like me. But it was a good time...
 
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Robo

Veteran Member
Past OR future Camino
CF SJPdP to SdC
(May 2015)
CF Sarria to SdC
(May 2016)
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(May 2018)
VdlP (2022?)
In fairness to @Mel C, those 'us and them' emotions amongst first time Pilgrims are not that unusual.
I felt it myself on my first Camino from Sarria.

I had already walked some 700 kms, was injured and in pain. And was down to walking 10 kms per day.

Suddenly from Sarria I was surrounded by noisy 'tourists'! What were they doing with their laughing and singing, their support buses, only carrying tiny day packs. How dare they spoil my 'real' Camino.

After that first day out of Sarria, I stopped to reflect.
I had known, from this Forum, that it would be like this.
And yet I resented it, and 'them'.

I felt ashamed.

So I resolved to enjoy every step of this final stage.
And rather than 'look down' on these 'short walkers' I made sure to engage with them every day.

I met some amazing people.
I heard stories that brought tears to my eyes.

My mantra on that first Camino, from Day 1, due to injury, has become my daily mantra on Caminos since.
I say it as I start out each day, as I end each day, and at each church that I stop at.

Thank You Lord for allowing me to walk another day on this journey.
I promise to walk with an open heart and an open mind.
And to learn from the lessons you put before me.


I learned a lot of lessons on that first Camino, particularly in the last stages from Sarria. ;)

Does that stage still challenge me?
Yes, sometimes LOL

I just remind myself of why I am there.
 
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We were sitting at a café in the Plaza Cervantes, having just finished our most recent camino and got chatting to an Australian lady who was most pleased with herself for having walked all the way from Sarria. Having walked all the way from Toulouse we were feeling quite smug and very pleased with ourselves. She went on to explain that walking all the way was most gratifying as it meant that all the money her sponsors had promised would therefore definitely go to the cancer research charity she was raising money for. 'How much?' we asked. '$7000'. We, of course, had not raised a cent for anybody. Camino Rule 1: don't judge until you know.
Australian! How did she get there !o_O
 
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2014, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19
Various routes...
Australian! How did she get there !
Presumably stuck outside of Australia or lives in the EU?

Lots of replies and reacions here. I've strongly censored mine, as people in glass houses...well, you know.

But to add to some of the wonderful stories~
On my first camino, meeting the 'Sarria barbarians' was a shock. But then, as one does, I started meeting them. The best was a group of deaf students from Ireland, every single one of them a conduit of pure joy, even in the sometimes driving and cold April rain. I don't understand sign, but I understand happiness.
They were so much happier than many of us who'd plodded from far further away - and I began to wonder why I was taking myself so very seriously. It was a humbling but wonderful lesson.

@Mel C hasn't been here since they posted. But the discussion has been fruitful.

The whole line of pilgrims (100's) was laughing so hard, the volunteers inside stopped writing Compostelas, and came out to see what on Earth was happening outside
I'm so sorry not to have been in thd queue that day, Alex. 😂
 

steve 217

Active Member
Past OR future Camino
Camino frances planning via del la plata
Presumably stuck outside of Australia or lives in the EU?

Lots of replies and reacions here. I've strongly censored mine, as people in glass houses...well, you know.

But to add to some of the wonderful stories~
On my first camino, meeting the 'Sarria barbarians' was a shock. But then, as one does, I started meeting them. The best was a group of deaf students from Ireland, every single one of them a conduit of pure joy, even in the sometimes driving and cold April rain. I don't understand sign, but I understand happiness.
They were so much happier than many of us who'd plodded from far further away - and I began to wonder why I was taking myself so very seriously. It was a humbling but wonderful lesson.

@Mel C hasn't been here since they posted. But the discussion has been fruitful.


I'm so sorry not to have been in thd queue that day, Alex. 😂
I understand the frustration but i agree with the majority of comments we never know what those last 100km mean to those pilgrims having walked from SJPDP to santiago i was more moved when i next walked in company with my 82 year old mother from sarria to santiago just to see the sense of achievement upon her face.
We each walk for our own reasons however far but at heart we are all pilgrims and deserve to be treated all alike surely that levelling up is one of the things that keeps drawing us back to the camino
 
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2014, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19
Various routes...
i was more moved when i next walked in company with my 82 year old mother from sarria to santiago just to see the sense of achievement upon her face.
Beautiful.
That's exactly it.
And anyway, 100km isn't nothing. Far from it.
We can get all snooty if we've walked a lot more and think 100km is a warm-up - but if we're lucky we see that for what it is and don't feed the inner troll.
 

natefaith

Moderator
Staff member
Past OR future Camino
2009, 2014, 2017
But to add to some of the wonderful stories~
On my first camino, meeting the 'Sarria barbarians' was a shock. But then, as one does, I started meeting them.
They were so much happier than many of us who'd plodded from far further away - and I began to wonder why I was taking myself so very seriously. It was a humbling but wonderful lesson.

Yes!! We have so much to learn from each other.

One of my favorite quotes is, "I used to want to fix people. Now I just want to be with them."

My life is richer because I've let myself rest in the moment and connect with people, people my younger self just would have wanted to avoid for whatever reason!
 
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Take one step forward...then keep on walking..
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Yes!! We have so much to learn from each other.

One of my favorite quotes is, "I used to want to fix people. Now I just want to be with them."

My life is richer because I've let myself rest in the moment and connect with people, people my younger self just would have wanted to avoid for whatever reason!
All so very true, Faith. I think of all the numerous stories you hear all year long at Pilgrim House, and how they must impact your "heart" in so many ways.

I will make a small pun of your lovely quote...
"I used to want to fix people. Now I just want them to fix me."🙃
 
Past OR future Camino
CFx5
Norte
Primitivo
CP
Le Puy-SJPP
Via F
On our last CF Camino and on leaving Sarria we met a young lad from Seville on his first Camino
We shared a torch as it was still dark and later had a coffee together.
we walked for quite a while that day and he explained that
he was on a weeks holiday and wanted to see how he would get on before attempting the “full” Camino
He had a sedentary job and never walked that much

the next day, on our way to Melinda,we met him just outside Palace de Rey(I think it was) as he hobbled into the albergue opposite a cafe
he ached all over from the walk the day before and could not take another step.

We had stayed in Santiago for a few days and met him again just as we were leaving to come home
Against all the odds, he had made it to Santiago and happy as a sand boy said he would be coming back to walk the whole thing
This was such an achievement for him he said

so…..my question is…..did he deserve hi certificat?
You bet he did!
 
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Mel C

New Member
Past OR future Camino
2021
It was quite predictable that what seems a crazy system of excessive queues - again in my case - it was 2 and 1/2 hours. I had no idea there was a way of checking the queue online. Of course, had i known that i wouldnt have complained. My predictament was because I was stressed trying to get a covid test done in time and catch a flight, running back and forth and being left in the dark. Maybe staff letting pilgrims know there was an online check might help. Anyway, thanks for all the tut tuts and spiritualising of a soviet style queue :) I will remember that day as highly stressful and unpleasant regardless of whether you found it just fine and dandy.
 

trecile

Camino Addict
Past OR future Camino
Francés (2016 & 2017), Norte (2018), Francés-Salvador-Norte (2019), Portuguese (2019)
It was quite predictable that what seems a crazy system of excessive queues - again in my case - it was 2 and 1/2 hours. I had no idea there was a way of checking the queue online. Of course, had i known that i wouldnt have complained. My predictament was because I was stressed trying to get a covid test done in time and catch a flight, running back and forth and being left in the dark. Maybe staff letting pilgrims know there was an online check might help. Anyway, thanks for all the tut tuts and spiritualising of a soviet style queue :) I will remember that day as highly stressful and unpleasant regardless of whether you found it just fine and dandy.
Were you given a numbered ticket at the Pilgrims Office?

I'm trying to understand what the current process is at the Pilgrims Office. The last time I was in Santiago in September 2019 pilgrims got a numbered ticket at the office. There was a large sign explaining how they could check online to see what number was currently being served, and where they were in the queue.
Has that process changed?
Are you saying that you stood in an actual line for 2.5 hours?
 
Past OR future Camino
2014, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19
Various routes...
I will remember that day as highly stressful and unpleasant
No doubt, especially given you had to get that test. I can totally imagine the feeling of stress and frustration. It sounds like navigating the whole queueing system with an app/QR code is either not obvious, or could it be in abeyance?
@Trcile's question is a good one.

Your description of the system as you encountered it would potentially help the folks coming in behind you.
 

NorthernLight

Veteran Member
Past OR future Camino
Le Puy to Santiago via the Frances 2012-2013. EPW2015
Aragonese & Frances 2016
Burgos to Muxia 2017
I travelled alone in China back in 1991 - remember the days before internet was everywhere and tickets had to be purchased in person? - and I spent two DAYS queuing to get a train ticket. (I was unsuccessful day 1 and had to go back.) As a ‘polite’ Canadian, trying to queue with a canny crowd that did not want to line up and take turns taught me excessive amounts about patience.

I’ve learned over the course of my caminos that there is always someone who walked further than me (so no boasting of starting points) and those who walked shorter distances often have achieved a greater feat than I.

The ability to obtain a compostela is a privilege.
 

Mel C

New Member
Past OR future Camino
2021
I regret posting the original post as I left out a lot of details which are probably relevant to why it was a particularly stressful time for me. First, I was there first thing before the queue opened but I would have had to rush off after a few minutes to look for a covid test for my flight back. There was a sign that referred to scanning the code but I had no idea that this involved filling in a website, no information was next to it to explain what to do. I left my friend in the queue, I rushed across town to try and get a covid test done for the flight the next day's time. First place said it would be 6pm the next day before the result, suggested another clinic, another rush across town. I won't go into all the details but the nub of it was I had a test booked for 12, and the result was going to be in 48 hours time, worse than the first place, and it meant I would miss my flight. So that was why I was so stressed when I returned to the queue and now had 260 ahead of me by the time i worked out what to do back at the office. For the next two hours i stressed over whether i will have to choose between missing the test or my line in the queue, at no time did anyone inform me of the online info. In the end as the time got closer to my deadline, I gave up on the queue and went back to the original clinic, which was 1km away, the other was a further 1km or so. They arranged an early test, and now with the relief of that I rushed back to join the queue which was still about 70 to go. I think I eventually got the compostella at 1/1.30pm, as I'm only counting the time I stood in queue, between mad dashes across town. The panic was over once I was able to book a fresh flight which cost another 150 euro, on top of the 100 euro test. It is great that many of you think queues for this long are all par for the course but I think maybe my experience was not entirely unique, and maybe for newbies a sign at the front to explain the system might take some of the stress off. I did enjoy the rest of the day but if I wished one thing for other pilgrims is that they didnt have to wait literally hours for a piece of paper. Call me crazy but I think the system could be improved.
 
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Mel C

New Member
Past OR future Camino
2021
Were you given a numbered ticket at the Pilgrims Office?

I'm trying to understand what the current process is at the Pilgrims Office. The last time I was in Santiago in September 2019 pilgrims got a numbered ticket at the office. There was a large sign explaining how they could check online to see what number was currently being served, and where they were in the queue.
Has that process changed?
Are you saying that you stood in an actual line for 2.5 hours?
If there was a sign at the front door, I didn't see it. Looking at it with newbies' eyes, the system was a complete shambles. Those who knew in advance what to do were pretty much stress free as they knew of the online queue info.
 
Past OR future Camino
2012
I regret posting the original post as I left out a lot of details which are probably relevant to why it was a particularly stressful time for me. First, I was there first thing before the queue opened but I would have had to rush off after a few minutes to look for a covid test for my flight back. There was a sign that referred to scanning the code but I had no idea that this involved filling in a website, no information was next to it to explain what to do. I left my friend in the queue, I rushed across town to try and get a covid test done for the flight the next day's time. First place said it would be 6pm the next day before the result, suggested another clinic, another rush across town. I won't go into all the details but the nub of it was I had a test booked for 12, and the result was going to be in 48 hours time, worse than the first place, and it meant I would miss my flight. So that was why I was so stressed when I returned to the queue and now had 260 ahead of me by the time i worked out what to do back at the office. For the next two hours i stressed over whether i will have to choose between missing the test or my line in the queue, at no time did anyone inform me of the online info. In the end as the time got closer to my deadline, I gave up on the queue and went back to the original clinic, which was 1km away, the other was a further 1km or so. They arranged an early test, and now with the relief of that I rushed back to join the queue which was still about 70 to go. I think I eventually got the compostella at 1/1.30pm, as I'm only counting the time I stood in queue, between mad dashes across town. The panic was over once I was able to book a fresh flight which cost another 150 euro, on top of the 100 euro test. It is great that many of you think queues for this long are all par for the course but I think maybe my experience was not entirely unique, and maybe for newbies a sign at the front to explain the system might take some of the stress off. I did enjoy the rest of the day but if I wished one thing for other pilgrims is that they didnt have to wait literally hours for a piece of paper. Call me crazy but I think the system could be improved.
Thanks for coming back @Mel C and for reading and responding. Compostellas with a 2021 date on them will probably have bragging rights attached in the years to come. On your next Camino give yourself a little more time in Santiago. It's a great little city.
 

alexwalker

Forever Pilgrim
Past OR future Camino
(2009): Camino Frances
(2011): Sevilla-Salamanca, VdlP
(2012): Salamanca-SdC, VdlP
(2014): SJpdP-Astorga
(2015): Astorga-SdC
(2016) May Pamplona-Moratinos; Sept.:Burgos-SdC
(2016): August/Sept: Camino San Olav (Burgos-Covarubbias), Burgos-Sarria
(2017): May: Portuguese; Sept: Pamplona-SdC
I regret posting the original post as I left out a lot of details which are probably relevant to why it was a particularly stressful time for me. First, I was there first thing before the queue opened but I would have had to rush off after a few minutes to look for a covid test for my flight back. There was a sign that referred to scanning the code but I had no idea that this involved filling in a website, no information was next to it to explain what to do. I left my friend in the queue, I rushed across town to try and get a covid test done for the flight the next day's time. First place said it would be 6pm the next day before the result, suggested another clinic, another rush across town. I won't go into all the details but the nub of it was I had a test booked for 12, and the result was going to be in 48 hours time, worse than the first place, and it meant I would miss my flight. So that was why I was so stressed when I returned to the queue and now had 260 ahead of me by the time i worked out what to do back at the office. For the next two hours i stressed over whether i will have to choose between missing the test or my line in the queue, at no time did anyone inform me of the online info. In the end as the time got closer to my deadline, I gave up on the queue and went back to the original clinic, which was 1km away, the other was a further 1km or so. They arranged an early test, and now with the relief of that I rushed back to join the queue which was still about 70 to go. I think I eventually got the compostella at 1/1.30pm, as I'm only counting the time I stood in queue, between mad dashes across town. The panic was over once I was able to book a fresh flight which cost another 150 euro, on top of the 100 euro test. It is great that many of you think queues for this long are all par for the course but I think maybe my experience was not entirely unique, and maybe for newbies a sign at the front to explain the system might take some of the stress off. I did enjoy the rest of the day but if I wished one thing for other pilgrims is that they didnt have to wait literally hours for a piece of paper. Call me crazy but I think the system could be improved.
Sorry you had a stressful day. I have no experience with the new system at the Office, but it sounds as there is room for improvevent. Maybe someone on the ground, like @natefaith . @ivar or @SYates could walk over there and check out how informative it really is?

Next time I will check it out myself, whenever that will be.
 

Mel C

New Member
Past OR future Camino
2021
Thanks for coming back @Mel C and for reading and responding. Compostellas with a 2021 date on them will probably have bragging rights attached in the years to come. On your next Camino give yourself a little more time in Santiago. It's a great little city.
Unfortunately, due to the slow unwinding of covid restrictions in ireland, my schedule was tight and i didnt have as much time at the end that i would have liked. We were clocking up a lot of 34km days at the end just to get there on time. But yes, it would be nice to have more time to savour the place and visit the chapels.
 

alexwalker

Forever Pilgrim
Past OR future Camino
(2009): Camino Frances
(2011): Sevilla-Salamanca, VdlP
(2012): Salamanca-SdC, VdlP
(2014): SJpdP-Astorga
(2015): Astorga-SdC
(2016) May Pamplona-Moratinos; Sept.:Burgos-SdC
(2016): August/Sept: Camino San Olav (Burgos-Covarubbias), Burgos-Sarria
(2017): May: Portuguese; Sept: Pamplona-SdC
Unfortunately, due to the slow unwinding of covid restrictions in ireland, my schedule was tight and i didnt have as much time at the end that i would have liked. We were clocking up a lot of 34km days at the end just to get there on time. But yes, it would be nice to have more time to savour the place and visit the chapels.
Many of us oldtimers on this Forum know their ways around, but has also reached a changing point in life due to walking the Camino. I hope you too received some gifts from your walk. FWIW, I salute you for being able to walk the whole distance; my experience is that it may take some time to wind down, find peace, and just go with the flow.

I must have been a serious sinner myself, having walked so many Caminos...;) But not really; I just hear the call, calling me back again, time after time. I hope you can share how you experienced your first Camino.
 
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Smallest_Sparrow

Life is rarely what you expect or believe it to be
Past OR future Camino
2012: most of some, all of a few, a bit of others
Well put. One day back in 2018 when I was working there, two elderly (80s?) ladies, smartly dressed with the standard "abuela" hair cut and padded shoulders were guided to the desks. Both were blind yet presented credentials claiming that they had come from Sarria with two stamps for each day.
I looked at the young Spanish lady working alongside me, there was no way they could have possibly walked from Sarria but we shrugged and issued them each with a Compostela. As she said afterwards, who were we to refuse them?
Perhaps. But blind people run marathons so…all it takes is a little help. Perhaps, being of a certain age, there’s no way they wouldn’t first freshen up and change before doing something so important.

edit: in fact, when I walked there were two people in my albergue one night, walking together, one blind one not. I think great stretches of the Frances are extremely accessible (which is a positive thing) and I’d be surprised if the last 100km from Sarria wasn’t purposely so
 
Last edited:

Peter Fransiscus

Be a Rainbow in someone else's cloud.
Past OR future Camino
All that we are is the result of what we have thought.
I regret posting the original post as I left out a lot of details which are probably relevant to why it was a particularly stressful time for me. First, I was there first thing before the queue opened but I would have had to rush off after a few minutes to look for a covid test for my flight back. There was a sign that referred to scanning the code but I had no idea that this involved filling in a website, no information was next to it to explain what to do. I left my friend in the queue, I rushed across town to try and get a covid test done for the flight the next day's time. First place said it would be 6pm the next day before the result, suggested another clinic, another rush across town. I won't go into all the details but the nub of it was I had a test booked for 12, and the result was going to be in 48 hours time, worse than the first place, and it meant I would miss my flight. So that was why I was so stressed when I returned to the queue and now had 260 ahead of me by the time i worked out what to do back at the office. For the next two hours i stressed over whether i will have to choose between missing the test or my line in the queue, at no time did anyone inform me of the online info. In the end as the time got closer to my deadline, I gave up on the queue and went back to the original clinic, which was 1km away, the other was a further 1km or so. They arranged an early test, and now with the relief of that I rushed back to join the queue which was still about 70 to go. I think I eventually got the compostella at 1/1.30pm, as I'm only counting the time I stood in queue, between mad dashes across town. The panic was over once I was able to book a fresh flight which cost another 150 euro, on top of the 100 euro test. It is great that many of you think queues for this long are all par for the course but I think maybe my experience was not entirely unique, and maybe for newbies a sign at the front to explain the system might take some of the stress off. I did enjoy the rest of the day but if I wished one thing for other pilgrims is that they didnt have to wait literally hours for a piece of paper. Call me crazy but I think the system could be improved.
The gist of the story is that you have to plan not only the journey to… but also the time after you arrive. Next time just stay for a few days and explore the city further. It's so worth it.🙏
 

Smallest_Sparrow

Life is rarely what you expect or believe it to be
Past OR future Camino
2012: most of some, all of a few, a bit of others
Were you given a numbered ticket at the Pilgrims Office?

I'm trying to understand what the current process is at the Pilgrims Office. The last time I was in Santiago in September 2019 pilgrims got a numbered ticket at the office. There was a large sign explaining how they could check online to see what number was currently being served, and where they were in the queue.
Has that process changed?
Are you saying that you stood in an actual line for 2.5 hours?
I’m wondering how older pilgrims (who were most on the road when I walked during a non peak time of year) enjoy digital check in? I’m not young, but fairly computer savvy and am “tech support” for older friends and relatives. I’m imagining them being told to scan something. How’s that been working out?
 

alexwalker

Forever Pilgrim
Past OR future Camino
(2009): Camino Frances
(2011): Sevilla-Salamanca, VdlP
(2012): Salamanca-SdC, VdlP
(2014): SJpdP-Astorga
(2015): Astorga-SdC
(2016) May Pamplona-Moratinos; Sept.:Burgos-SdC
(2016): August/Sept: Camino San Olav (Burgos-Covarubbias), Burgos-Sarria
(2017): May: Portuguese; Sept: Pamplona-SdC
I’m wondering how older pilgrims (who were most on the road when I walked during a non peak time of year) enjoy digital check in? I’m not young, but fairly computer savvy and am “tech support” for older friends and relatives. I’m imagining them being told to scan something. How’s that been working out?
I am 67. Former computer engineer (programmer/systems engineer/designer) all my life. I have some trouble with the wonderful new world of apps and sh.t. I prefer real books and paper. But I manage...

Other old people without tech background may struggle a little, I suppose. But my partner who is 69, manages perfectly. But then again, she has her nose in the iPhone all day...
 

Smallest_Sparrow

Life is rarely what you expect or believe it to be
Past OR future Camino
2012: most of some, all of a few, a bit of others
I am 67. Former computer engineer (programmer/systems engineer/designer) all my life. I have some trouble with the wonderful new world of apps and sh.t. I prefer real books and paper. But I manage...

Other old people without tech background may struggle a little, I suppose. But my partner who is 69, manages perfectly. But then again, she has her nose in the iPhone all day...
I consider 60s on the youngest edge of older 😉 that’s the group that didn’t grow up w/ computers but were still employed when use was common. Just registering (online of course) for a covid shot at the start of this year was extremely stressful for many in the 75 and older group who were first eligible in my neighborhood, and even the 70+ when they dropped the age limit. My sister, the principal clarinet for several local symphonies, also teaches music. Or taught. For a while I sat in her studio reading so I was available to help with her zoom lessons when things went south. After a while she just said “see you all back once everyone is vaccinated”. If she walked up to a sign that said to check in online, she’d find it stressful.

edit: in my experience being the local “support” it’s not that the silent generation doesn’t understand apps etc but when things go amiss it’s easier to get frustrated, afraid of making things worse, or just give up. So there’s almost a built in expectation that “this isn’t going to end well”
 
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