There’s a goal for the 278,000 Pilgrims who walked/biked the Camino in 2016. They were all matriculating through Spain in order to graduate with a Compostela Certificate. (I call it earning your Diploma).
The Certificate is a classy looking piece of beige paper with lots of Latin words printed on it. There’s a space reserved for your name (in Latin) once you prove you have the required kilometers/mileage distance for Camino-Ing to Santiago de Compostela, Spain.
The minimum distance for walking is 100 Kilometers (62 Miles). The small city of Sarria is (according to my map guide) 118 K away from Santiago’s Cathedral. Eureka! Pilgrims can earn a Diploma with less than a week’s worth of sweat labor by starting there. And that’s just what 70,000 late coming Pilgrims did in 2016. Thus, I call it the Sarria Syndrome. An already crowded Camino gets more so.
To prove One walked the walk, a Pilgrim’s Credentials are eventually presented in Santiago. The Credentials are a Passport looking multi-folded piece of paper which get stamped as you amble through the Spanish Countryside. Churches, Visitor Centers, Alburgues, Hotels and Bars all have rubber stamps. I never tire of seeing adults play Treasure Hunt to get a “Thump!” stamp.
I’m proud to say my 2006 and 2013 Credentials had the highest recorded number of Bar Stamps ever presented to the Santiago Office. When the Official Clerk asked me the reason for my Camino. I said “Spiritual!” without blinking. Drinking beer or wine has always been an enlightening experience for me.
In 2013, I had to walk 28, 10, 29 and 6 Miles/day in order to find an accommodation fitting the high standards of a Jewish Prince who sleeps in a Van for many months at a time. In other words, I wanted a bed and my own bathroom. I wasn’t seeking the Ritz Carlton. I had to go these distances in 2013, all the other hotels were booked with Sarria starting Pilgrims.
A few days ago, I went to Saint Booking.com to see if I could piece together an entryway to Santiago from Sarria. For two hours, I tried many combinations of towns and distances. Nothing obvious or practical was lining up. Apparently the hotels are booked up once again.
So...from Sarria, I’ll partake in the Camino de Choo-Choo to Santiago. From that BUSY city, I’ll walk to the End of the World (Fisterra) to stare at the Atlantic Ocean. This stretch has always been a favorite of mine. I’m sure it will be once again.
BTW, you may now address me as Don Godefridum Sambur. That’s my Latin name written on two Certificates sitting in a duffle bag in Boulder, Colorado.
Cheers from Triacastela, Spain