¡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!

Saturday, September 29, 2007


After an extraordinary day there must come an ordinary one: a lesson for the pilgrim!
Though today’s weather was near-perfect for a 20 km. walk through the French countryside, a steep rise that lasted for 4 kms. at the beginning of the day seemed to sap me of any “overdrive” power the rest of the day. On the “pay-off” side of those early kms. was the view once I got to the top of the hill: from my sun-drenched height I was looking down on Saint-Leonard in the middle distance, still nestled in its white valleyfog, just the steeple of its church piercing through. Lovely!
The last 5 kms. of the day were of the urban kind. Limoges is a big city and it took more than an hour to negotiate its suburbs and light industrial areas before I found my way to the front door of the formerly grand Grande Seminaire of Limoges, my home for the night. It’s no longer a real seminary, but diocesan offices and rooms for retired priests, visitors, and pilgrims like me.
While I waited for he receptionist to return from her lunch break, one of those retired priests sat down next to me on a bench in the front court, and we had a fine chat in a mix of French, Spanish, and English. I can only hope I’m as bright at 86!
This afternoon I did a quick tour of Limoges’great churches and also went about some necessary shopping since this will be my last big city for most of the rest of the pilgrimage, I suspect. Super light long-johns, gloves and cap for the cooler days of October, wax and waterproofer for my boots, a new phone card to pay for these text messages, and a few groceries for tomorrow.
The next two stages in the guide are both very long ones, and I had hoped to divide them over 3 days, but by late afternoon it was clear my plan wasn’t working out; I was having no luck arranging lodging for tomorrow along the route. So I’m going to stay in Limoges one more day and then do a long walk on Monday. A day of rest on a Sunday seems to have some biblical backing, I think!