We’ll be walking 300 km. in 13 days and at the end, we want to receive the compostela from the Church, stating that we made it to Santiago de Compostela. Pilgrims who can prove that they have walked, biked or ridden on horseback for at least 200 km of the Camino may receive a compostela, which is a certificate which has been issued by the Office of Pilgrims in the cathedral of Santiago since the 14th century. The heavy paper credencial or “pilgrim passport” is stamped at the local church or pilgrim office at every stage of the Camino.
Until recently, I assumed that we would obtain a credencial when we started our journey in Leon, Spain. However, while reading other pilgrims’ accounts of their journey, I discovered that there is an organization in the USA called American Pilgrims on the Camino. This non-profit organization has been authorized by the Pilgrims Office in Santiago de Compostela to issue credenciales. Perfect! If you live in the USA and are planning to walk the Camino, requests can be made via their web site and arrive in about 1 month. The site is: http://www.americanpilgrims.com/about/welcome.html.
I requested our credenciales in early March and about 3 weeks ago, we received them in the mail. I felt like a kid waiting for that special letter to arrive in the mailbox. The day I open the envelope and saw my name printed in black and white, I felt another step closer to our journey.