We “registered” as pilgrims and obtained our Credencial (aka the pilgrim’s passport, aka distance certificate) at the start of our journey back in St. Jean Pied de Port, France. The credential proved we had done the Camino journey, and that very proof was required to earn the Compostela de Santiago, the certificate that testified we completed the Camino de Santiago. It is issued to pilgrims by the official Pilgrim’s Office in Santiago de Compostela. There are two types of certificate: one is in Latin, and is issued to pilgrims who declare that they did the camino for religious or spiritual purposes, hence our names are in Latin. (The second certificate is for those who did it for cultural or historical purposes. This one is written in Spanish.)
To receive the compostela, pilgrims must have completed the last 100 kms of the camino if walking or on horseback (or the last 200 kms if riding a bicycle). For the officials of the Santiago Cathedral, the point of the pilgrimage is to reach the tomb of St. James. In the last 100 km (walking/horseback) or 200 km (cycling) you must also have at least two or three stamps per day in your pilgrim’s passport to prove that you did not get buses or taxis!!
Nancy and I had no problem satisfying that requirement – hotels, albergues, bars, restaurants, roadside vendors, lemonade stands – almost all businesses along the trail provided and ink pad and a stamp. The stamp logos of each were as varied and colorful as every bit of scenery we took in. It was quite a fun thing to accomplish!Below is my daily Pilgrim’s Credential (though Nancy’s was much the same as mine except where she covered the extra miles that I could not, hence earning more stamps!), and finally both of our Compostelas in Latin.