¡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!

Monday, September 17, 2007


My sojourn in the Auvergne was a brief one; today I passed into another region, “Centre”, and the department of “Cher”, landing in this little village after about 18 kms. of walking. Ordinarily, that would be a fairly easy walk, but not so today: just as I left the little hotel of Valigny at 8.00 am., rain began to fall and remained persistent most of the morning. Even with my gore-tex jacket I still got plenty wet, soaked, actually. I was happy to be welcomed into the private home of a kindly older couple, Mme et Mr. Mativon, who happily offer pilgrims a room and feed them for the night. The house has been in their family for 6 generations, and must once have been a great beauty though now its glory is somewhat faded. Not faded is the hospitality and generosity of my hosts, who are wonderful.
The weather will, I hope, be better tomorrow, at least not so wet; I’m planning a long walk for tomorrow, about 28 kms., so could use “cool” and “dry” from the weatherman. If it is too wet, I’ll stop earlier; damp socks inside damp boots are no fun after a certain point…and lead to blisters. Places to spend the night are more limited than I thought they would be this side of Vezelay, and their placement determines the length of a day’s journey as much as physical well-being. It is not at all like the Spanish “Camino” where every village has its cheap or free refuge. It’s a little frustrating in the afternoon to plan the next day or two, but once I start walking the next morning I don’t care so much and feel more trusting that things will work out.
So am I up for 28 kms. tomorrow? It will be my first walk that long since returning to the pilgrimage after my month of tendonitis recovery. We’ll see!
“Rain, rain, go away; come back some other day!” as we used to sing as kids!