¡Buen Camino!

Dear Friends,
It has taken three tries and nine years, but as of July 2012, I have finally walked the entire Way of Compostela from my former home in Leuven/Louvain, Belgium, to Santiago de Composela!
My first pilgrimage experience from the French frontier with Spain to Santiago itself took place in 2003. You can read the details of this first walk along the famous Camino across Spain in my book, To The Field of Stars: A Pilgrim's Journey to Santiago de Compostela, Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co. (2008). (You can order it from the publisher, from Amazon.com, or from your local bookseller).
In the summer and early fall of 2007, I walked from Belgium most of the way across France, with the hope of at least making it to Saint-Jean-Pied-de-Port near the Spanish border, where I began the first pilgrimage. I didn't quite make it. A bad case of plantar fasciitis took me down in the Bordeaux village of Sainte-Ferme. I continued on to Santiago by train and bus, but the "defeat of my feet" and those last 175 miles or so that were left undone, gnawed at me over the ensuing five years. Happily, I was finally able to wrap up this grand pilgrimage with a third walk from Sainte-Ferme to Saint-Jean-Pied-de-Port this past summer (2012). It was a joy to have completed all 2,370 kilometers between Leuven and Santiago.
My adventures and misadventures, my thoughts and prayers of both the 2007 and 2012 pilgrimages have been shared in this blog. I will leave the blog and its archives open for some time to come; if you want to read bits and pieces of it, feel free, but remember that the beginning is at the bottom and the end is at the top.
My contact e-mail remains the same: kacodd@gmail.com; I am always happy to receive mail!
As the pilgrims in Spain greet one another, so I greet you, my reader: "Buen Camino!"
And as the people of France greet their pilgrims along the "Chemin", I also wish to you: "Courage!"

Grace and peace to you all!

Friday, July 6, 2007


Finally, this morning, after three days of frustration and further and better preparations I got myself back on the road, though not without a fair amount of worry about how my old meniscus-troubled knee would hold up. My friends Gene and Caroline drove out to the Hamme-Mille campground where I had left off on Sunday afternoon. They also conveyed my backpack, big Greg, to the parish house where I would be spending the night, making my walk much lighter on my dicey knee. I was using my little GPS today to navigate along and, after a bit of confusion at the beginning, figured out how to use it to get myself heading south. My knee was feeling pretty good … a little bit of ache from time to time but nothing disastrous. I walked through some beautiful Belgian countryside, which was mostly fields of grain or vegetables with more than occasional dairy farms dotting the landscape. It was all rather beautiful, even under constantly dark and heavy skies. I was rained upon from time to time but didn’t melt, as my pa always assured us when he expected something done outside on days like this. I crossed over twenty kilometres of muddy roads and paths to the little crossroad village of Thorembais-Saint-Trond, where the pastor, Paul Hanson, welcomed me for the night. He is quite a priest! Having spent over twenty years as a missionary in Haiti, he runs his small parish like his former mission, with a grand vegetable garden out back (he was husking fresh peas when I arrived), raises his own sheep and slaughters them, and breeds racing pigeons for fun. It has been great fun visiting with him and his friends this evening. All in all, I am feeling much more optimistic about things than earlier in the week. Tomorrow I head for Namur with full pack and the hope that all goes as well as it did today, though I have just discovered that the waypoints I loaded into my GPS to guide me have disappeared. AAARGH! Somehow I’ll have to find my way. Santiago, guide me! May my knee hold together for another day.