¡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


Morning dawned with a great fog spread over the countryside. The damp coolness felt like a mid-September morning should with fall coming on. As I walked through the morning the fog burned off, and once again the feel of summer returned as the sun rose ever higher in the sky.
By 10.45 I had arrived in the village of Lurcy-Levis just as the church bells were announcing the 11.00 Mass. The priest was a very old fellow who had troubles moving about, but he moved about anyway; it was a simple but lovely liturgy, made especially so by the man who confidently led us in the hymns and acclamations. I am always surprised how well the French sing in church; the people in France’s pews really do their part. After Mass the pastor and congregation were very attentive to me, wishing me well and asking all the usual questions: Where are you from? How many kms. a day? Where will you end today? Where did you begin? Etc. I felt rather adopted by them all and felt a little sad to move on down the road, though I now know all relationships and encounters on the Way are necessarily fleeting. I also know that that doesn’t mean they are superficial; on the contrary, today’s promises to pray for me and requests that I pray in Compostelle for them when I get there were accompanied by smiles and handshakes that bespoke plenty of sincerity and even fondness among us. I felt like they were my people, and I think they felt like I was their pilgrim.
I didn’t get out of Lurcy till 12.30, so the remaining 12 kms to Valigny were very warm, even hot, and seemed very long. I’m back in a small hotel/restaurant for the night, the only lodging available within 10 kms.