¡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!

Tuesday, October 9, 2007


The first part of today’s walk was surprisingly level, the path staying generally close to the l’Isle river as it meanders southward, (the same river that rocked me to sleep the last two nights in St. Astiers). I crossed it at least three times through the morning. The terrain is clearly leveling out as I get closer to the wine country of nearby Bordeaux.
I had one quite steep hill just after the village of Douzillac, and that is where my optimism about my successful treatment of my troublesome plantar fascitis gave way to renewed concern as the thing flared up again when I climbed upward. It remained sore the rest of the day but was not so bad as to seriously impede my walking. So I’ll have to have a serious talk with Big Jim about this; I don’t want to have to deal with this for the next 1500 kilometer!

I’m staying tonight in Mussidan’s municipal refuge, a humble place but with all the necessities a pilgrim could want. The local “Amis de St. Jacques” really go out of their way to make these refuges comfortable and homey for us. My host for tonight is Joel, who stopped by a while ago to stamp my pilgrim pass, collect a few euros from me, and give me lots of good advice about the upcoming road and towns. The last thing he told me was that tomorrow, the weatherman is predicting not only rain but also lightning and thunder. I’m praying he’s wrong (Son of Thunder, are you listening?!)

So now it’s time to collect my damp laundry from outside as the sun goes down and hang it inside the refuge with the hope that it will be mostly dry by the morning (a vain hope in regard to my wool socks). Then off into town to rustle up some dinner.