• You might see some error messages on the forum today. We are working on it.
  • For 2024 Pilgrims: €50,- donation = 1 year with no ads on the forum + 90% off any 2024 Guide. More here.
    (Discount code sent to you by Private Message after your donation)
  • ⚠️ Emergency contact in Spain - Dial 112 and AlertCops app. More on this here.

Search 69,459 Camino Questions

Very busy Semana Santa at the Santiago Pilgrim Office

t2andreo

Veteran Member
Time of past OR future Camino
2013 - 2018 , Pilgrim Office volunteer 2014 - 2022
Yesterday, I received a phone call from a very good friend who was volunteering at the PIlgrim Office in Santiago. The information excitedly conveyed to me was this:
  • On Thursday, 6 April, more than 2,200 Compostelas were issued.
  • Yesterday, Friday (Good Friday), 7 April, just over 3,000 Compostelas were issued.
It was reported to me that many arriving pilgrims were processed so fast, that they did not even have time to use the bathrooms before their numbers were called. Also, there were evidently sporadic complaints because the modified process works so fast. Observations suggest that the maximum wait at any time of the very busy day yesterday were around 10 minutes. Surprising - no!

I was told that, no more than 10 counter positions were occupied by staff or volunteers at any one time. In the view of the reporter, and based on my historical knowledge regarding process changes at the office, these are the evident reasons for this huge success:
  • The preferred method of providing the identifying Estadillo and statistical information and to request a Distance Certificate, or another special service, is to register online BEFORE arrival at Santiago.
  • The online system provides a QR code. Showing that QR code at the front entry does two things:
1. It informs the system that you have arrived to seek a Compostela, or whatever else you requested.​
2. It issues you another QR coded 'ticket" stating your place in the queue. This also permits you access to the PIlgrim Office campus.​

You enter the office, and the final process. When your queue waiting number is called - and they are apparently being called almost in real time - even on Good Friday - you walk into the inner office and to the designated numbered counter position.

Five things happen in VERY quick succession:

1. You are greeted, and your credential quickly reviewed to see if you qualify for the certificate(s) requested.
2. The worker scans the credential for anomalies.
3. Finding none, the worker clicks on on an icon to print the certificate(s) you just qualified for.

I do not know what kind of printer is being used. But, when I first recommended this practice several years ago, I did suggest a laser printer, one for Compostelas and another for Distance Certificates. In any event, I am told they are using an attractive font that compliments the pre-printed Compostelas and Distancias. I am told the end result looks custom-printed.​

4. While the certificates are being printed behind the counter, the worker will stamp your credencial twice - once on the last page to indicate you arrived at the Pilgrim Office, and a second time in the inside front cover to close this credencial. It can no longer be used to apply for a Compostela once it is sealed with the second stamp.
5. Your Compostela and Distance Certificate is presented to you with the congratulations of the office.

That's it! Easy peasy. Oh, one more thing - the enhanced process could not have worked as well as it apparently did without managers and senior staff who coached and motivated their paid staff and volunteers to work at a feverish pace. Having been there during many periods of "all hands to the pumps" arrival numbers, I can testify to the effort to keep everyone motivated and working at peak efficiency.

I offer my hearty congratulations to all for a job very well done. That said, the season just opened. Semana Santa and Easter Week always see a surge in the arrival numbers. However, reports from others in this forum and from external sources I follow, indicate to me that 2023 will easily surpass 2019 - pre COVID, and Holy Year volumes.

I am making a prediction that the end of this season will see in excess of 550,000 pilgrims arriving at Santiago and requesting Compostelas and Distance Certificates. IIRC, last year's final number was around 438,000. So, I feel good about this estimate.

Also, the advent of this enhanced processing system will likely induce more finishing pilgrims with the appropriate sellos / stamps in their credentials to seek formal documentation in the form of a Compostela and DIstancia. The significantly more efficient processing system, will reduce the number self-turnaways, whose opt not to seek documentation.

I hope I recounted all I was told correctly. But, it does all seem to fit - the data dots all link up as expected. I will be working in July for a few weeks, and will see this in action. Finally, I hope I got these assessments right.

Best WIshes for a Happy and Holy Easter Season to all.

Tom
 
Last edited:
Technical backpack for day trips with backpack cover and internal compartment for the hydration bladder. Ideal daypack for excursions where we need a medium capacity backpack. The back with Air Flow System creates large air channels that will keep our back as cool as possible.

€83,-
I am making a prediction that the end of this season will see in excess of 550,000 pilgrims arriving at Santiago and requesting Compostelas and Distance Certificates. IIRC, last year's final number was around 438,000. So, I feel good about this estimate.
That's a fairly ambitious prediction but from the trend so far this year I can see where it comes from. Do you have any opinion on what is driving this increase in numbers - possibly going well beyond the Holy Year record set last year?
 
Ideal sleeping bag liner whether we want to add a thermal plus to our bag, or if we want to use it alone to sleep in shelters or hostels. Thanks to its mummy shape, it adapts perfectly to our body.

€46,-
Yesterday, I received a phone call from a very good friend who was volunteering at the PIlgrim Office in Santiago. The information excitedly conveyed to me was this:
  • On Thursday, 6 April, more than 2,200 Compostelas were issued.
  • Yesterday, Friday (Good Friday), 7 April, just over 3,000 Compostelas were issued.
It was reported to me that many arriving pilgrims were processed so fast, that they did not even have time to use the bathrooms before their numbers were called. Also, there were evidently sporadic complaints because the modified process works so fast. Observations suggest that the maximum wait at any time of the very busy day yesterday were around 10 minutes. Surprising - no!

I was told that, no more than 10 counter positions were occupied by staff or volunteers at any one time. In the view of the reporter, and based on my historical knowledge regarding process changes at the office, these are the evident reasons for this huge success:
  • The preferred method of providing the identifying Estadillo and statistical information and to request a Distance Certificate, or another special service, is to register online BEFORE arrival at Santiago.
  • The online system provides a QR code. Showing that QR code at the front entry does two things:
1. It informs the system that you have arrived to seek a Compostela, or whatever else you requested.​
2. It issues you another QR coded 'ticket" stating your place in the queue. This also permits you access to the PIlgrim Office campus.​

You enter the office, and the final process. When your queue waiting number is called - and they are apparently being called almost in real time - even on Good Friday - you walk into the inner office and to the designated numbered counter position.

Five things happen in VERY quick succession:

1. You are greeted, and your credential quickly reviewed to see if you qualify for the certificate(s) requested.
2. The worker scans the credential for anomalies.
3. Finding none, the worker clicks on on an icon to print the certificate(s) you just qualified for.

I do not know what kind of printer is being used. But, when I first recommended this practice several years ago, I did suggest a laser printer, one for Compostelas and another for Distance Certificates. In any event, I am told they are using an attractive font that compliments the pre-printed Compostelas and Distancias. I am told the end result looks customs printed.​

4. While the certificates are being printed behind the counter, the worker will stamp your credencial twice - once on the last page to indicate you arrived at the Pilgrim Office, and a second time in the inside front cover to close this credencial. It can no longer be used to apply for a Compostela once it is sealed with the second stamp.
5. Your Compostela and Distance Certificate is presented to you with the congratulations of the office.

That's it! Easy peasy. Oh, one more thing - the enhanced process could not have worked as well as it apparently did without managers and senior staff who coached and motivated their paid staff and volunteers to work at a feverish pace. Having been there during many periods of "all hands to the pumps" arrival numbers, I can testify to the effort to keep everyone motivated and working at peak efficiency.

I offer my hearty congratulations to all for a job very well done. That said, the season just opened. Semana Santa and Easter Week always see a surge in the arrival numbers. However, reports from others in this forum and from external sources I follow, indicate to me that 2023 will easily surpass 2019 - pre COVID, and Holy Year volumes.

I am making a prediction that the end of this season will see in excess of 550,000 pilgrims arriving at Santiago and requesting Compostelas and Distance Certificates. IIRC, last year's final number was around 438,000. So, I feel good about this estimate.

Also, the advent of this enhanced processing system will likely induce more finishing pilgrims with the appropriate sellos / stamps in their credentials to seek formal documentation in the form of a Compostela and DIstancia. The significantly more efficient processing system, will reduce the number self-turnaways, whose opt not to seek documentation.

I hope I recounted all I was told correctly. But, it does all seem to fit - the data dots all link up as expected. I will be working in July for a few weeks, and will see this in action. Finally, I hope I got these assessments right.

Best WIshes for a Happy and Holy Easter Season to all.

Tom
It worked well for me arriving on Thursday and the lady who gave me my Compostela was congratulatory and empathic. I couldnt have asked for more to seal my joy at arriving after my solo Camino.
 
That's a fairly ambitious prediction but from the trend so far this year I can see where it comes from. Do you have any opinion on what is driving this increase in numbers - possibly going well beyond the Holy Year record set last year?
Based on my observations over the years, and looking at numbers obtained from all sources - including from reading everything people post here about departing pilgrim numbers from Saint Jean Pied de Port, Porto and other main jump-off locations - I assess that:
  • The current departure numbers from key places are about 30 - 33 percent higher than 2019, as reported.
  • The current arrival numbers - usually published daily for the previous day on the Pilgrim Office website - are a lot higher than for any previous year, day-to-day, at this very early point of this pilgrimage season.
  • Three years of a global COVID pandemic suppressed many travel plans. Aside from the disruption of international travel, the pandemic changed people's expectations and expenditure patterns. They are only now "getting back to normal."
  • I have not actually run day-to-day comparisons for 2019 to 2023 on the pilgirm office number of Compostelas issued. But, I would be willing to make an informed guess that they are at least 15 percent higher.
  • Before the pandemic hit, I had been making assessments, published here, based on annual growth and the known surging effect of an impending Holy Year, of something like 660,000 to 700,000 pilgrims annually. estimated originally for 2020. The net effects of the past three years have contributed to taking us two-steps back.
  • I now assess that we are seeing the rebound effects of the customary annual growth in arrivals, plus the added interest that a three-year hiatus / freeze brought. Everyone continued to learn and read about the Camino, while not being able to plan to do one. Now, the brakes are off.
In summary, I could be wrong. But, aside from another pandemic, a large regional or global war, or a global financial recession affecting all travel (God forbid all or any of these things), the Camino remains, people have planned and dreamed. Now they will act on those dreams. All considered, I hope I am right.

Hope this helps the dalog.

Tom
 
St James' Way - Self-guided 4-7 day Walking Packages, Reading to Southampton, 110 kms
The preferred method of providing the identifying Estadillo and statistical information and to request a Distance Certificate, or another special service, is to register online BEFORE arrival at Santiago.
  • The online system provides a QR code. Showing that QR code at the front entry does two things:
HI T2andreo, which is the website or app that we are to register online before arrival at Santiago?
thanks.
 
The 2024 Camino guides will be coming out little by little. Here is a collection of the ones that are out so far.
Yesterday, I received a phone call from a very good friend who was volunteering at the PIlgrim Office in Santiago. The information excitedly conveyed to me was this:
  • On Thursday, 6 April, more than 2,200 Compostelas were issued.
  • Yesterday, Friday (Good Friday), 7 April, just over 3,000 Compostelas were issued.
It was reported to me that many arriving pilgrims were processed so fast, that they did not even have time to use the bathrooms before their numbers were called. Also, there were evidently sporadic complaints because the modified process works so fast. Observations suggest that the maximum wait at any time of the very busy day yesterday were around 10 minutes. Surprising - no!

I was told that, no more than 10 counter positions were occupied by staff or volunteers at any one time. In the view of the reporter, and based on my historical knowledge regarding process changes at the office, these are the evident reasons for this huge success:
  • The preferred method of providing the identifying Estadillo and statistical information and to request a Distance Certificate, or another special service, is to register online BEFORE arrival at Santiago.
  • The online system provides a QR code. Showing that QR code at the front entry does two things:
1. It informs the system that you have arrived to seek a Compostela, or whatever else you requested.​
2. It issues you another QR coded 'ticket" stating your place in the queue. This also permits you access to the PIlgrim Office campus.​

You enter the office, and the final process. When your queue waiting number is called - and they are apparently being called almost in real time - even on Good Friday - you walk into the inner office and to the designated numbered counter position.

Five things happen in VERY quick succession:

1. You are greeted, and your credential quickly reviewed to see if you qualify for the certificate(s) requested.
2. The worker scans the credential for anomalies.
3. Finding none, the worker clicks on on an icon to print the certificate(s) you just qualified for.

I do not know what kind of printer is being used. But, when I first recommended this practice several years ago, I did suggest a laser printer, one for Compostelas and another for Distance Certificates. In any event, I am told they are using an attractive font that compliments the pre-printed Compostelas and Distancias. I am told the end result looks custom-printed.​

4. While the certificates are being printed behind the counter, the worker will stamp your credencial twice - once on the last page to indicate you arrived at the Pilgrim Office, and a second time in the inside front cover to close this credencial. It can no longer be used to apply for a Compostela once it is sealed with the second stamp.
5. Your Compostela and Distance Certificate is presented to you with the congratulations of the office.

That's it! Easy peasy. Oh, one more thing - the enhanced process could not have worked as well as it apparently did without managers and senior staff who coached and motivated their paid staff and volunteers to work at a feverish pace. Having been there during many periods of "all hands to the pumps" arrival numbers, I can testify to the effort to keep everyone motivated and working at peak efficiency.

I offer my hearty congratulations to all for a job very well done. That said, the season just opened. Semana Santa and Easter Week always see a surge in the arrival numbers. However, reports from others in this forum and from external sources I follow, indicate to me that 2023 will easily surpass 2019 - pre COVID, and Holy Year volumes.

I am making a prediction that the end of this season will see in excess of 550,000 pilgrims arriving at Santiago and requesting Compostelas and Distance Certificates. IIRC, last year's final number was around 438,000. So, I feel good about this estimate.

Also, the advent of this enhanced processing system will likely induce more finishing pilgrims with the appropriate sellos / stamps in their credentials to seek formal documentation in the form of a Compostela and DIstancia. The significantly more efficient processing system, will reduce the number self-turnaways, whose opt not to seek documentation.

I hope I recounted all I was told correctly. But, it does all seem to fit - the data dots all link up as expected. I will be working in July for a few weeks, and will see this in action. Finally, I hope I got these assessments right.

Best WIshes for a Happy and Holy Easter Season to all.

Tom
We arrived on Holy Thursday morning. Once we'd scanned the QR code outside the Pilgrims Office, we sat on the wall and filled in the online form. There was no queue at this time (about 11.30 ish). We then showed the bar codes on our phones, were escorted inside and a ticket with a bar code on was printed from a machine in the entrance of the building. We barely had time to walk to where your number 'pings up'. We both went straight in! The fastest ever. Very impressive. Of note, there was an 'official' looking man in a smart suit in the entrance. Seemed like he was there to see how things were working. Not sure who he was. Maybe a Cathedral official?
 
New Original Camino Gear Designed Especially with The Modern Peregrino In Mind!
I tried to fill this out, just to see how it would work. Right away the starting point is a problem.
You can't fill in the starting point manually, and there are only limited options depending on what camino you've chosen. So people walking from far away - say, Brussels or Paris- don't look as though they can enter their information.

So if you're doing an unconventional route - well, just forget about the fast processing. I assume it is still possible to fill out a form mannually? Or?

Am I missing something?
 
So if you're doing an unconventional route - well, just forget about the fast processing. I assume it is still possible to fill out a form mannually? Or?
A question for @t2andreo or the other pilgrim office volunteers I think. Though I have been told that those without mobile phones and such like are being directed to electronic terminals in the pilgrim office which presumably link to the same system.
 
Ideal sleeping bag liner whether we want to add a thermal plus to our bag, or if we want to use it alone to sleep in shelters or hostels. Thanks to its mummy shape, it adapts perfectly to our body.

€46,-
So if you're doing an unconventional route - well, just forget about the fast processing. I assume it is still possible to fill out a form mannually? Or?
Way back in the dark ages of pen and paper I had a difference of opinion with the pilgrim office when they refused to recognise San Andres de Teixido as the starting point of my journey and insisted on recording me as having started in Neda. Flexibility did not seem to be a prominent feature even then.
 
In two weeks I start from Bayonne on the Baztan, then the Frances to Ponferrada, then the Invierno to SdC. I used the web site and QR codes etc last year for the Frances and it was straightforward and quick. But these upcoming joined-together-Caminos look like they will challenge the computer programme. Computers don’t always make life easier do they??? Cooee
 
Geoff, do make sure to let's know how you get on! Buen Camino...
 
The 9th edition the Lightfoot Guide will let you complete the journey your way.
I tried to fill this out, just to see how it would work. Right away the starting point is a problem.
You can't fill in the starting point manually, and there are only limited options depending on what camino you've chosen. So people walking from far away - say, Brussels or Paris- don't look as though they can enter their information.

So if you're doing an unconventional route - well, just forget about the fast processing. I assume it is still possible to fill out a form mannually? Or?

Am I missing something?
Caveat - it's a year since i worked at the PO but looking at this form it seems the same as last year and in my experience aligns with the computer system used to record pilgrim details (which predates this online form)

So in the past the pilgrim might have written the specific starting point (their home town for example) and the route - when you pick Camino Francés, the drop down box then for starting point will have all the familiar places along that route from say SJPP - But also significant starting points in Frances e.g. Vezeley, Arles but also general catch all points e.g. Reino Unido - CF (UK Camino Frances) - see the pic i attach here.

For folk who have walked a mixture of caminos, that's always been an issue for recording on the system as ONLY one can be chosen. Note also the "Otros caminos" route which (now I'm guessing here) could cover some of the more obscure routes.

In my (personal) experience, in these examples i would have picked the most dominant route the pilgrim did for recording on the system (unless he expressed a strong preference). The route is irrelevant for the Compostela but if a distance certificate was requested, then i would ask what exactly the pilgrim wanted written e.g.route written as camino Baztan, Frances e Invierno

What i do not know now is the current situation now that the forms are printed - does the volunteer still have that discretion of what to write on the dist cert?

Hope this helps
 

Attachments

  • Screenshot_20230410_082201_com.android.chrome.jpg
    Screenshot_20230410_082201_com.android.chrome.jpg
    322.5 KB · Views: 8
Down bag (90/10 duvet) of 700 fills with 180 g (6.34 ounces) of filling. Mummy-shaped structure, ideal when you are looking for lightness with great heating performance.

€149,-
Thanks @SioCamino, that clarifies a bit.
What i do not know now is the current situation now that the forms are printed
I can see the benefit in terms of efficiency and volunteer comfort, but to be honest I think it's sad to see the hand-written certificates go. I hope for the weirder routes that's still possible.
 
In my (personal) experience, in these examples i would have picked the most dominant route the pilgrim did for recording on the system (unless he expressed a strong preference). The route is irrelevant for the Compostela but if a distance certificate was requested, then i would ask what exactly the pilgrim wanted written e.g.route written as camino Baztan, Frances e Invierno

I have used the same approach, pilgrim's are always pleased to have some input.


I can see the benefit in terms of efficiency and volunteer comfort, but to be honest I think it's sad to see the hand-written certificates go.

I fully agree, progress at a big price. It's a very personal thing, both the pride in writing and the pleasure of having a compostela (or distance certificate) written for you..
 
Last edited:
Don’t forget in this discussion that the names and the total length of the camino(s) you have chosen are irrelevant for the content of your Compostela. You get the Compostela as recognition of having made a minimal effort of walking on foot to Santiago, and only your name and the date of issue are added to the standard form.

Is not only the Compostela now printed (including name and date) but also the distance certificate? According to volunteers’ experience and impression, which percentage of pilgrims even requests a distance certificate in addition to their Compostela?
 
3rd Edition. More content, training & pack guides avoid common mistakes, bed bugs etc
According to volunteers’ experience and impression, which percentage of pilgrims even requests a distance certificate in addition to their Compostela?

Officially, I can't say.. but in my own experience, about a third.. and everyone is asked if they'd like one.
 
Yesterday, I received a phone call from a very good friend who was volunteering at the PIlgrim Office in Santiago. The information excitedly conveyed to me was this:
  • On Thursday, 6 April, more than 2,200 Compostelas were issued.
  • Yesterday, Friday (Good Friday), 7 April, just over 3,000 Compostelas were issued.
It was reported to me that many arriving pilgrims were processed so fast, that they did not even have time to use the bathrooms before their numbers were called. Also, there were evidently sporadic complaints because the modified process works so fast. Observations suggest that the maximum wait at any time of the very busy day yesterday were around 10 minutes. Surprising - no!

I was told that, no more than 10 counter positions were occupied by staff or volunteers at any one time. In the view of the reporter, and based on my historical knowledge regarding process changes at the office, these are the evident reasons for this huge success:
  • The preferred method of providing the identifying Estadillo and statistical information and to request a Distance Certificate, or another special service, is to register online BEFORE arrival at Santiago.
  • The online system provides a QR code. Showing that QR code at the front entry does two things:
1. It informs the system that you have arrived to seek a Compostela, or whatever else you requested.​
2. It issues you another QR coded 'ticket" stating your place in the queue. This also permits you access to the PIlgrim Office campus.​

You enter the office, and the final process. When your queue waiting number is called - and they are apparently being called almost in real time - even on Good Friday - you walk into the inner office and to the designated numbered counter position.

Five things happen in VERY quick succession:

1. You are greeted, and your credential quickly reviewed to see if you qualify for the certificate(s) requested.
2. The worker scans the credential for anomalies.
3. Finding none, the worker clicks on on an icon to print the certificate(s) you just qualified for.

I do not know what kind of printer is being used. But, when I first recommended this practice several years ago, I did suggest a laser printer, one for Compostelas and another for Distance Certificates. In any event, I am told they are using an attractive font that compliments the pre-printed Compostelas and Distancias. I am told the end result looks custom-printed.​

4. While the certificates are being printed behind the counter, the worker will stamp your credencial twice - once on the last page to indicate you arrived at the Pilgrim Office, and a second time in the inside front cover to close this credencial. It can no longer be used to apply for a Compostela once it is sealed with the second stamp.
5. Your Compostela and Distance Certificate is presented to you with the congratulations of the office.

That's it! Easy peasy. Oh, one more thing - the enhanced process could not have worked as well as it apparently did without managers and senior staff who coached and motivated their paid staff and volunteers to work at a feverish pace. Having been there during many periods of "all hands to the pumps" arrival numbers, I can testify to the effort to keep everyone motivated and working at peak efficiency.

I offer my hearty congratulations to all for a job very well done. That said, the season just opened. Semana Santa and Easter Week always see a surge in the arrival numbers. However, reports from others in this forum and from external sources I follow, indicate to me that 2023 will easily surpass 2019 - pre COVID, and Holy Year volumes.

I am making a prediction that the end of this season will see in excess of 550,000 pilgrims arriving at Santiago and requesting Compostelas and Distance Certificates. IIRC, last year's final number was around 438,000. So, I feel good about this estimate.

Also, the advent of this enhanced processing system will likely induce more finishing pilgrims with the appropriate sellos / stamps in their credentials to seek formal documentation in the form of a Compostela and DIstancia. The significantly more efficient processing system, will reduce the number self-turnaways, whose opt not to seek documentation.

I hope I recounted all I was told correctly. But, it does all seem to fit - the data dots all link up as expected. I will be working in July for a few weeks, and will see this in action. Finally, I hope I got these assessments right.

Best WIshes for a Happy and Holy Easter Season to all.

Tom
Dare I?
When I arrived in Santiago in July 2006 - 29 days after leaving Roncesvalles on 23 June - it was a significant event, to be on the stairs up to the level where a serious French gentleman asked the usual - why? Did you? Etc.
It was quite challenging.
My Compostela is a certificate to be placed in my archives.
Someday it will be discovered. 👣
 
Ok, to sum up: nowadays pilgrims tick a box in the online application form for their Compostela when they want a distance certificate in addition to the Compostela. And there are apparently now data entry devices inside the Office for those pilgrims who don’t have a mobile phone or can‘t use it. And, but this is mere speculation on my part, those who won’t or can’t use these devices installed in the office will find a helpful volunteer or other pilgrim who can assist … 😶.

So did anyone reading this thread receive a distance certificate recently for a combination of Caminos? Was all of it printed? Name and date? Or were the fields for starting point empty and filled in by hand? Was only the last Camino (for example Invierno) printed and were the previous ones added by hand?

It is usually best to analyse a process first before criticising it and trying to improve it. 😉
 
Last edited:
A selection of Camino Jewellery
In two weeks I start from Bayonne on the Baztan, then the Frances to Ponferrada, then the Invierno to SdC. I used the web site and QR codes etc last year for the Frances and it was straightforward and quick. But these upcoming joined-together-Caminos look like they will challenge the computer programme. Computers don’t always make life easier do they??? Cooee

Off topic but... You will love the Invierno. Please share your journey on the Forum: it is very appreciated by the Invierno Fan Club. :cool: I will follow in your footsteps on the Baztán in a few months.

As for the Compostela... I never collect them so I have no worries. 🤗
 
Off topic but... You will love the Invierno. Please share your journey on the Forum: it is very appreciated by the Invierno Fan Club. :cool: I will follow in your footsteps on the Baztán in a few months.

As for the Compostela... I never collect them so I have no worries. 🤗
Will do. I must admit that I do like both the Compostela and the Distance Certificate. Cooee
 
Off topic but... You will love the Invierno. Please share your journey on the Forum: it is very appreciated by the Invierno Fan Club. :cool: I will follow in your footsteps on the Baztán in a few months.

As for the Compostela... I never collect them so I have no worries. 🤗
Just walked the Invierno. Gosh it was tough, but boy it was so beautiful and peaceful too. We only saw 5 pilgrims until we reached A Laxe.
 
3rd Edition. More content, training & pack guides avoid common mistakes, bed bugs etc
Thank you for this exciting update! When is the best time to register online; the day before arrival, or on the day of, shortly before reaching the cathedral?
Anytime before you show up at the pilgrim office entry - even earlier the morning of arrival. Personally, I would do it at my last overnight accommodation, when I KNEW I would be arriving the next day. The added benefit is that you might have free W-Fi / internet.

If you arrive at the Pilgrim Office, not having done this, the security folks or a volunteer will direct you to nearby signs with QR codes to scan. this link takes you to the data entry page. Scan the QR code with your phone's camera. Assuming you have a data capability, this will go to the data entry page on the Pilgrim Office website.

Long story short - do it before or do it later. But you WILL self-report all of your ID and statistical information over the internet. That primes the entire documentation process. The VERY small number of people who do not have a smartphone will be directed to a limited number of tablets or computer terminals made available for these pilgrims.

These terminals are also used, downstairs around the back, for group leaders to enter ALL the data for each and every pilgrim in their group. Like I said, before, do it before, or do it when you first arrive, but you will enter all data via the internet.

You don't have to trust what I say - although I am relying on the most reliable information made available to me and my personal experience in prior years. Read the related posts from people who have experienced the enhanced process first-hand, and just recently during Semana Santa.

Hope this helps,

Tom
 
Further to my OP above, assessing that this will be a VERY busy year, I just read this article in EL Correo Gallego. The original is in Spanish. But, the Chrome browser, or an online translator can translate the entire article for you.

Here is the link to the original article:


As reported above, the first quarter, calendar 2023 pilgrim arrival numbers, alone, were 132% higher than for the first quarter of 2022. The first calendar quarter typically and logically ends on 31 March. So, this amazing increase rate did not include Semana Santa (Holy Week) as Easter was on 9 April this year.

Hang on folks.

Hope this helps.

Tom
 
Join our full-service guided tour of the Basque Country and let us pamper you!
Glad you enjoyed it. How busy did it get after A Laxe? Compared to your previous Camino Frances walks?
Compared to the Camino Frances last year and in 2019, the Invierno was practically empty. The municipal in A Laxe had about 20 pilgrims. Some empty beds. Plenty of time walking alone after A Laxe.
 
Anytime before you show up at the pilgrim office entry - even earlier the morning of arrival. Personally, I would do it at my last overnight accommodation, when I KNEW I would be arriving the next day. The added benefit is that you might have free W-Fi / internet.

If you arrive at the Pilgrim Office, not having done this, the security folks or a volunteer will direct you to nearby signs with QR codes to scan. this link takes you to the data entry page. Scan the QR code with your phone's camera. Assuming you have a data capability, this will go to the data entry page on the Pilgrim Office website.

Long story short - do it before or do it later. But you WILL self-report all of your ID and statistical information over the internet. That primes the entire documentation process. The VERY small number of people who do not have a smartphone will be directed to a limited number of tablets or computer terminals made available for these pilgrims.

These terminals are also used, downstairs around the back, for group leaders to enter ALL the data for each and every pilgrim in their group. Like I said, before, do it before, or do it when you first arrive, but you will enter all data via the internet.

You don't have to trust what I say - although I am relying on the most reliable information made available to me and my personal experience in prior years. Read the related posts from people who have experienced the enhanced process first-hand, and just recently during Semana Santa.

Hope this helps,

Tom
Yesterday, I finished my 2 weeks in the office. All of your information is correct.
I would add that we all worked hard to support each other on that 3000 day. I think Montse was the genius behind the rostering, we all knew the system for a week before Semana Santa. There was no panic, or no sense of pressure from any manager to work fast. Everyone worked as fast as they were able, but remained kind. I never heard a raised voice or an unkind word in my 2 weeks. The security staff, paid staff and volunteers were a Camino family helping the pilgrims. It was a beautiful experience. I consider it another Camino completed for me, with no visible certificate, but the one printed on my heart and soul🙏I will be back🥰
 
Yesterday, I finished my 2 weeks in the office
Great to hear from you.

Could you shed some light on a question that has popped up a few times recently and has remained without an answer: pilgrims who walk say from Pamplona to Ponferrada on the Camino Francés and then on the Camino Invierno to Santiago. They want to get a Compostela (no problem there) as well as a distance certificate for Pamplona to Santiago. The online registration system does not allow to enter all these details.

How do you volunteers handle this nowadays. Is the distance certificate printed in full or do you fill in some details yourselves and in your own handwriting, such as chosen combination of Caminos and chosen starting point of first Camino of the combination? Many thanks.
 
New Original Camino Gear Designed Especially with The Modern Peregrino In Mind!
there is a possibility to select more than one Camino on the software. I think 3 is the limit to combine using the software, so we ask the pilgrims which ones they want, and which is the most important for them, so that it appears first. We have distances for every Camino available, so we can add up the distances and enter this number on the software to be printed on the certificate of distance.
However this is the first time that I have worked in the office, so I do not know how things were in the past, nor am I familiar with all the variations of problems which people have.
Yes, other items are added by hand in Latin, such as a dedication. Also sometimes the Spanish surnames are too long for the space available, and I have seen them dropping one of their choice to allow for printing.
Over the last 2 weeks, I have seen some pilgrims who have walked over 2000 kms, and they only want a Compostela, they say that the distance is not important. I have seen pilgrims who have walked 115km from Sarria, crying when they look at their Certificate of Distance. That is the beauty of the Camino, it can be different for every pilgrim.
 
A question for @t2andreo or the other pilgrim office volunteers I think. Though I have been told that those without mobile phones and such like are being directed to electronic terminals in the pilgrim office which presumably link to the same system.
I was informed that a number of tablets or dedicated computer terminals are in the entry vestibule for those without smart phones, or internet access on the way into Santiago.

Hope this helps

Tom
 
St James' Way - Self-guided 4-7 day Walking Packages, Reading to Southampton, 110 kms
I was informed that a number of tablets or dedicated computer terminals are in the entry vestibule for those without smart phones, or internet access on the way into Santiago.

Hope this helps

Tom
I think the question was more about how the pilgrim office would deal with someone who wanted to enter a starting point or route which is not listed in the options on the computer system. Is it still possible to do this the old fashioned way with paper and pencil and actually talking to a volunteer?
 
Yesterday, I received a phone call from a very good friend who was volunteering at the PIlgrim Office in Santiago. The information excitedly conveyed to me was this:
  • On Thursday, 6 April, more than 2,200 Compostelas were issued.
  • Yesterday, Friday (Good Friday), 7 April, just over 3,000 Compostelas were issued.
It was reported to me that many arriving pilgrims were processed so fast, that they did not even have time to use the bathrooms before their numbers were called. Also, there were evidently sporadic complaints because the modified process works so fast. Observations suggest that the maximum wait at any time of the very busy day yesterday were around 10 minutes. Surprising - no!

I was told that, no more than 10 counter positions were occupied by staff or volunteers at any one time. In the view of the reporter, and based on my historical knowledge regarding process changes at the office, these are the evident reasons for this huge success:
  • The preferred method of providing the identifying Estadillo and statistical information and to request a Distance Certificate, or another special service, is to register online BEFORE arrival at Santiago.
  • The online system provides a QR code. Showing that QR code at the front entry does two things:
1. It informs the system that you have arrived to seek a Compostela, or whatever else you requested.​
2. It issues you another QR coded 'ticket" stating your place in the queue. This also permits you access to the PIlgrim Office campus.​

You enter the office, and the final process. When your queue waiting number is called - and they are apparently being called almost in real time - even on Good Friday - you walk into the inner office and to the designated numbered counter position.

Five things happen in VERY quick succession:

1. You are greeted, and your credential quickly reviewed to see if you qualify for the certificate(s) requested.
2. The worker scans the credential for anomalies.
3. Finding none, the worker clicks on on an icon to print the certificate(s) you just qualified for.

I do not know what kind of printer is being used. But, when I first recommended this practice several years ago, I did suggest a laser printer, one for Compostelas and another for Distance Certificates. In any event, I am told they are using an attractive font that compliments the pre-printed Compostelas and Distancias. I am told the end result looks custom-printed.​

4. While the certificates are being printed behind the counter, the worker will stamp your credencial twice - once on the last page to indicate you arrived at the Pilgrim Office, and a second time in the inside front cover to close this credencial. It can no longer be used to apply for a Compostela once it is sealed with the second stamp.
5. Your Compostela and Distance Certificate is presented to you with the congratulations of the office.

That's it! Easy peasy. Oh, one more thing - the enhanced process could not have worked as well as it apparently did without managers and senior staff who coached and motivated their paid staff and volunteers to work at a feverish pace. Having been there during many periods of "all hands to the pumps" arrival numbers, I can testify to the effort to keep everyone motivated and working at peak efficiency.

I offer my hearty congratulations to all for a job very well done. That said, the season just opened. Semana Santa and Easter Week always see a surge in the arrival numbers. However, reports from others in this forum and from external sources I follow, indicate to me that 2023 will easily surpass 2019 - pre COVID, and Holy Year volumes.

I am making a prediction that the end of this season will see in excess of 550,000 pilgrims arriving at Santiago and requesting Compostelas and Distance Certificates. IIRC, last year's final number was around 438,000. So, I feel good about this estimate.

Also, the advent of this enhanced processing system will likely induce more finishing pilgrims with the appropriate sellos / stamps in their credentials to seek formal documentation in the form of a Compostela and DIstancia. The significantly more efficient processing system, will reduce the number self-turnaways, whose opt not to seek documentation.

I hope I recounted all I was told correctly. But, it does all seem to fit - the data dots all link up as expected. I will be working in July for a few weeks, and will see this in action. Finally, I hope I got these assessments right.

Best WIshes for a Happy and Holy Easter Season to all.

Tom
Thank you for the helpful information. Can you help me locate where to register? I looked in the conventional website for the pilgrim office and could not find a registration option. Also you mention registering before arriving in Compostela. What is the recommended lead time? Thank you, Dianne
 
The 9th edition the Lightfoot Guide will let you complete the journey your way.
Yesterday, I received a phone call from a very good friend who was volunteering at the PIlgrim Office in Santiago. The information excitedly conveyed to me was this:
  • On Thursday, 6 April, more than 2,200 Compostelas were issued.
  • Yesterday, Friday (Good Friday), 7 April, just over 3,000 Compostelas were issued.
It was reported to me that many arriving pilgrims were processed so fast, that they did not even have time to use the bathrooms before their numbers were called. Also, there were evidently sporadic complaints because the modified process works so fast. Observations suggest that the maximum wait at any time of the very busy day yesterday were around 10 minutes. Surprising - no!

I was told that, no more than 10 counter positions were occupied by staff or volunteers at any one time. In the view of the reporter, and based on my historical knowledge regarding process changes at the office, these are the evident reasons for this huge success:
  • The preferred method of providing the identifying Estadillo and statistical information and to request a Distance Certificate, or another special service, is to register online BEFORE arrival at Santiago.
  • The online system provides a QR code. Showing that QR code at the front entry does two things:
1. It informs the system that you have arrived to seek a Compostela, or whatever else you requested.​
2. It issues you another QR coded 'ticket" stating your place in the queue. This also permits you access to the PIlgrim Office campus.​

You enter the office, and the final process. When your queue waiting number is called - and they are apparently being called almost in real time - even on Good Friday - you walk into the inner office and to the designated numbered counter position.

Five things happen in VERY quick succession:

1. You are greeted, and your credential quickly reviewed to see if you qualify for the certificate(s) requested.
2. The worker scans the credential for anomalies.
3. Finding none, the worker clicks on on an icon to print the certificate(s) you just qualified for.

I do not know what kind of printer is being used. But, when I first recommended this practice several years ago, I did suggest a laser printer, one for Compostelas and another for Distance Certificates. In any event, I am told they are using an attractive font that compliments the pre-printed Compostelas and Distancias. I am told the end result looks custom-printed.​

4. While the certificates are being printed behind the counter, the worker will stamp your credencial twice - once on the last page to indicate you arrived at the Pilgrim Office, and a second time in the inside front cover to close this credencial. It can no longer be used to apply for a Compostela once it is sealed with the second stamp.
5. Your Compostela and Distance Certificate is presented to you with the congratulations of the office.

That's it! Easy peasy. Oh, one more thing - the enhanced process could not have worked as well as it apparently did without managers and senior staff who coached and motivated their paid staff and volunteers to work at a feverish pace. Having been there during many periods of "all hands to the pumps" arrival numbers, I can testify to the effort to keep everyone motivated and working at peak efficiency.

I offer my hearty congratulations to all for a job very well done. That said, the season just opened. Semana Santa and Easter Week always see a surge in the arrival numbers. However, reports from others in this forum and from external sources I follow, indicate to me that 2023 will easily surpass 2019 - pre COVID, and Holy Year volumes.

I am making a prediction that the end of this season will see in excess of 550,000 pilgrims arriving at Santiago and requesting Compostelas and Distance Certificates. IIRC, last year's final number was around 438,000. So, I feel good about this estimate.

Also, the advent of this enhanced processing system will likely induce more finishing pilgrims with the appropriate sellos / stamps in their credentials to seek formal documentation in the form of a Compostela and DIstancia. The significantly more efficient processing system, will reduce the number self-turnaways, whose opt not to seek documentation.

I hope I recounted all I was told correctly. But, it does all seem to fit - the data dots all link up as expected. I will be working in July for a few weeks, and will see this in action. Finally, I hope I got these assessments right.

Best WIshes for a Happy and Holy Easter Season to all.

Tom
I arrived Thursday 6th no mass at the Cathedral. Simple solution to the pilgrim office I let God stamp my passport. He knows how long I walked. Not a problem. There were dozens of stands and shops selling souvenirs. Maybe that's the solution.
 
I think the question was more about how the pilgrim office would deal with someone who wanted to enter a starting point or route which is not listed in the options on the computer system. Is it still possible to do this the old fashioned way with paper and pencil and actually talking to a volunteer?

Yes it is.. The starting point, wherever in the world it might be, and the distance (as agreed between the pilgrim and staff member) can be typed in manually and any additional route, if not available in the drop down menu, can be written in by hand.

Pilgrims who can't input the correct information because of the limited menu options for a distance certificate needn't fret. Assuming it's not a ridiculously convoluted route, they should be able to explain it at the desk and get the distance certificate they require. As always, asking politely will yield the best results.
 
Last edited:

Most read last week in this forum

I just completed the Camino Fracis. I got to the pilgrim office in time to get my compesela, and had a very positive experience there. I dedicated my camino to a close cousin who recently passed...
It's been 5 years since being in Santiago and my perceptions are stuck in a decade ago. But these days it's so much easier to find good vegetarian and vegan food here. Yesterday I had a wonderful...

❓How to ask a question

How to post a new question on the Camino Forum.

Forum Rules

Forum Rules

Camino Updates on YouTube

Camino Conversations

Most downloaded Resources

This site is run by Ivar at

in Santiago de Compostela.
This site participates in the Amazon Affiliate program, designed to provide a means for Ivar to earn fees by linking to Amazon
Official Camino Passport (Credential) | 2024 Camino Guides
Back
Top