My time in Barcelona before the Camino was brief, way too brief. However, I made the most of it by finding Els Amics dels Pelegrins to mark the beginning of my Camino in Spain with a Barcelona stamp (sello) for my credencial, like I did in Dublin a few months earlier.
Finding Camino sellos in Barcelona turned out to be much, much easier than I thought. I found a website database of almost any conceivable sello on the Camino, Los Sellos del Camino, and searching “Barcelona” generated a lot of interesting options close to where I was staying, but I was struck by Els Amics dels Pelegrins.
Els Amics dels Pelegrins – Barcelona’s Friends of the Camino
Els Amics dels Pelegrins is the local society that issues Camino de Santiago credenicials and provides information and support to Catalan pilgrims (els pelegrins). As luck would have it, they were having office hours the day I arrived in town. I sent them a brief email, in Catalan, Castellano (how the locals describe Spanish), and English to ask whether they would stamp my credenical, and they responded they would, happily.
The society uses office space at the community centre in the Hostafrancs neighbourhood and they hold office hours on Wednesday evenings (except in August and on holidays) from 20h to 21h30.
I arrived a few minutes early, and found myself waiting with a small group of pilgrims. At 8:00 pm promptly, the office door opened, and Els Amics started working through the line of pilgrims waiting for credencials and stamps.
When it was my turn, I made my request for a sello in half-Catalan/half-Castellano, and managed to have a short conversation about my start in Leon. Turns out, the man helping me had family in that area and promised me I would love it.
The sello is delightful, with its scallop shell tribute to Santiago and the Sagrada Familia, a nod to Barcelona’s largest landmark. In adding this sello to my collection, I was able to weave another favourite place into the fabric of my Camino journey.
With my credenical stamped, it was time to move on. The Hostafrancs neighbourhood is nice to explore, with Parc de Joan Miró nearby as well as Montjuic. If you stay in Hostafrancs, you’ll find a very residential neighbourhood which gets you a lot closer to authentic Barcelona life than what you’ll find in other parts of the city. A rare opportunity given the crush of tourism in Barcelona these days.
Finding Els Amics dels Peregrins:
Carrer del Rector Triadó, 53, Barcelona
Metro: Tarragona or Sants Estació
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