Pilgrim Passports, Part 2: Where do I get my credentials?

21 Aug

In Part 1 of Pilgrim Passports we learned a little more about what the Credencial is and its importance.

First thing’s first. Where do I even get a Credencial, a pilgrim passport?

I recommend that you do some research to find out what kind of “Friends of the Camino” group is in your area. For us, there were a few different groups but we were scared off because on the website it said that you had to become a member of the group to get a passport from them. We did some more research and found out we could pick up passports at the local university in Pamplona. We decided that we would go that route.

But, but, but. Curiosity got the best of me. Plus I wanted to spend some time exploring Pamplona and not just exploring the inside of the pilgrim passport office. Again, after some research of what was available in Paris we decided to head down to La Société Française des Amies de Saint Jacques de Compostelle, on 8, rue des Canettes 75006 Paris (close to the Saint Sulpice church). When we arrived, there was no sign or anything to indicate we had arrived in the right place. Also, we has arrived 30 minutes early before their 2pm opening time.

Quick internet research showed that there was another pilgrim office in the 4th arrondissement about a 30 minute walk away. Here we found Compostelle 2000, L’Association d’Ile de France au service du pèlerin on 26 rue de Sévigné 75004 (close to the Saint Paul church in the Marais). Walking up we saw a sign post with a pilgrim silhouette and a scallop shell. We had arrived!

St Paul Cathedral

St Paul Cathedral

rue de Sevigne

rue de Sevigne

Pelerin in Paris!

Pelerin in Paris!

Compostelle 2000

Compostelle 2000

We walked right in and met a gentleman named François. He was a volunteer there and invited us to sit down and talk about the Camino. He asked us about our plans for the pilgrimage and he gave us some information about the group and membership. He asked when we were leaving, how heavy our packs were, etc. He imparted only one piece of advice, “Stay hydrated. Drink a LOT of water.” He was also reassuring and said that we would be fine. I asked him how he got started working at the office and he explained that when he retired he was really bored, did some internet research, and kept becoming more and more involved in the group. I asked about the activities and they not only offer fun stuff, but one of the coolest by far is that every year they go as a group and take handicapped pilgrims. They use a one wheeled “wheelchair” to push and pull their fellow pilgrim. They closely follow the rules of being pilgrims. But, they do camp and they have a man come with his truck behind them to cater some meals. Super awesome!

In the end, we donated 80 euros for the family membership and four pilgrim passports (one each for me, AJ, and my aunt and uncle). As new members of the group it includes activities like once a month diner meeting to talk about going or coming back from the Camino, workshops for packing a backpack, writing, or general questions. There are also group hikes that are planned year-round. This was pure magic.

We were beyond pleased with the down-to-earth friendly service and help with any questions we had. It is just a shame that we found them only a few days before we left!

We are set. I am eager to watch the passport slowly fill up and to see the final result. So, come along and watch as my pilgrim passport adds one stamp after another!

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One Response to “Pilgrim Passports, Part 2: Where do I get my credentials?”

  1. atlantapilgrim August 23, 2013 at 22:09 #

    Love your blog! Thank you for stopping at mine :). I’m such a blog newbie. Look forward to following you on your journey. Since I’m starting ahead of you, please contact me if you have questions.

    Love all these connections 🙂

    Buen Camino!
    Laura

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