¡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!

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

La Coquille

Despite forecasts of thunderstorms, today has been a perfect, even glorious day for walking. The October sun is warming, yet the pilgrim never gets hot. The fields and pastures remain splendidly green, while the woods and forests are clearly changing their wardrobe to the autumn collection.
Today’s route took me mostly along dirt and grass paths, still very wet from recent rains and morning dew. I took my first fall of the journey this morning while crossing a small wooden plank placed over a creek as a sort of bridge; as I stepped of the slippery board, one foot went out from me and down I went;
but it was a soft landing and I managed to keep my fanny out of creek, mud and nettles.
Shortly thereafter I crossed into a new region of France, Aquitaine, formerly ruled over by the extraordinary Elinore, whose son, by the way, Richard the Lionhearted, took the arrow in Chalus (where I stayed yesterday), that took his life.
I only met one other person on the road today; just before arriving in La Coquille I was passed by a cyclist, who then pulled off the road at an intersection and seemed lost. I arrived and greeted him; he was a New Zealander on a week bicycle holiday from his sabbatical studies in Oxford. We had a great visit on the roadside. Since I was the only pilgrim he had seen in his travels thus far, he asked to take a picture of me to send to a friend back home who hopes to do a pilgrimage some day, “Just to show her that people really do do this!”.
La Coquille, despite its historical pedigree as a medieval pilgrim stop, seems to be a very modern village: no tipsy open-frame houses, dank and damp churches, or ruined castles about, but cheery.