¡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!

Sunday, September 23, 2007


Our first look out the window this morning revealed a heavy and damp mist covering the hills and dales of Gargilesse and environs, but no rain was falling. Praise God! A second piece of good news came thereafter: my boots were still damp after their night in the warmth of the furnace room, but good enough to walk in. Sietse, Evert and I headed down the road wrapped in mist. It was not long before we were generally climbing upward as we tackled the “skirts” of the Massif Central and entered the region of Limousin. The route was mostly dirt roads and grassy paths, except when they led us deep into creek gorges and out again, then they were more like slippery goat trails. The sun finally began to break through the morning fog about noon; how lovely its warmth as it dissipated the damp!
We finally pulled into Crozant about 4 pm. and found special pilgrim lodging at the local hotel/restaurant, the three of us sharing a room together. A beautiful river winds around the hilltop where the village is located, with the ruins of a once grand castle just across the way. The late afternoon sun illuminating the ruins made a stunning vista. I never suspected France was so completely beautiful, and now understand the exclamation:”La belle France!”.
We are meeting a few more pilgrims now that both the Northern (Bourges) and the Southern (Nevers) branches from Vezelay have come together. Yesterday a young Frenchman with his dog visited with us a while in Gargilesse, before continuing on his way. Today here in Crozant two other French young men met us as we climbed up the steep hill into the town center. I’ve noticed we pilgrims generally are becoming less exceptional and a more common part of the local social landscape.
So a new week has begun, my 8th on the road, I think. May it be a graced one!