¡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 10, 2007


Continuing from yesterday: I safely negotiated the dark parking lot and lightless and paperless public toilet at 6.15 this morning and thus began a new day…
After getting my stuff all back together and settled into Gregory the Great’s interior I sat down for my breakfast before taking off: coffee, yoghurt, and cold pork sandwich. Not so different from last night’s dinner: cold pork sandwich (first half), or yesterday’s lunch: cold saucisse sandwich. Tonight I’ll have a proper dinner for a change! Anyway, it was enough to get me a fair ways down the road in good time: I did the first 10 kms. in just 2 hours (after that I slowed down a bit). The morning was cold enough to see my breath and stayed cool until about 11.00, just as I came into Premery. September’s mists curled over the countryside like diffuse streams of white angel hair on a Christmas tree, then lifted and disappeared. Lovely, but a reminder that summer is quickly being overtaken by autumn.
My first look at PrĂ©mery does not leave me so impressed; it has the aspect of a once busy town that is on the wrong side of progress: lots of closed shops and storefronts. I’m spending the night at a low end hotel/restaurant. Toilet: almost like yesterday: downstairs and outside (and shared with the restaurant guests).
A final word for today about Gregory the Great, not my pack, but the real one. I was listening to Thomas Cahill’s “Mysteries of the Middle Ages” last night, and was pleased by his comment that Gregory was the most pastoral pope until John XXIII, because of his openness to adapting Christianity to the barbarian cultures of Europe. Much of popular Christian culture as it has come down to us is a direct result of his wisdom, everything from Easter eggs to Christmas trees. I like this Gregory and I’m glad to have him along as yet another patron saint of this pilgrimage!
A demain…