Today I trudged into Santiago de Compostela, having completed my Camino, tired and footsore, but happy. At the queue in the cloisters waiting for our certificates we all compared blisters to see who had the biggest (losing a toe nail seemed to outrank my painful blisters).
The line to show our Credencial with its stamps from along the Camino reminded me of a passport control line, with an electronic board and buzzer in the front to show which station one should go to to get the Crendencial checked. Sheer numbers help explain the queuing and the setup: right now 600-700 pilgrims a day are coming into Santiago de Compostela off the various Camino routes.
I had heard that in order to get the Compostela in Latin (as mine is, shown above) one had to do one’s Camino for religious or spiritual reasons (otherwise you get a somewhat smaller certificate in Spanish). One of the people I was chatting with on line told me he had a friend who liked to joke around, and last year when asked why he had walked a pilgrimage route said that he had walked his Camino to “lose weight”. He tried to take it back when he realized he would be denied his Compostela, to no avail.
So when I filled out the form that had three possibilities (Religious, Spiritual, and Cultural) I knew not to check Cultural. If you are curious, I went for Spiritual reasons, which is even mostly true (I think).
The image below shows my stamped Credencial and my Compostela in my rather incredible room at the rather incredible Hostal dos Reis Catolicos Parador. Since I am staying a few nights here, I am looking forward to photographing the four interior cloisters and other unique features of this place.