¡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!

Friday, October 5, 2007


Today’s 17,5 km. walk was an easy one, few hills and no mud or rain to contend with. It also was one with few encounters along the way, except for a couple of yapping dogs, and a mule that ambled across its pasture to greet me. “My, what big ears you have!” I told her. She flopped them about for a second, then wandered off as I headed up the road.
Last evening’s dinner at the table of Jos and Jeanine, along with their other guests, two women from their hometown of Tilburg, was lively and great fun. In visiting a bit more this morning with Jeanine, I was further impressed with her and Jos’ dedication to caring for us pilgrims; it is really a vocation for them, and I believe our pilgrimages belong as much to them and the other pilgrim “hôtes” along the way, as they do to us who walk.
I arrived here in Sorges at about 12.30, only to find that the refuge doesn’t open until 4 pm., so I find myself and Gregory the Great sprawled out on a small lawn, leaning up against the 12th century stone walls of the parish church, killing time until opening hour. The clouds are growing heavier so I may have to take refuge IN the church if rain begins to fall. I already spent some time there. There is a wonderful holy water font from, I suppose, the 12th century or so, carved on four sides with the cockleshell of the Compostela pilgrimage. It attests to the importance of the pilgrims to this village, who passed through here in their medieval droves. I wonder if the tradition of opening the village refuge at 4 pm. goes back to the 12th century as well?

Sorges, evening.
My host for the night arrived to open the refuge at 3.30, and as soon as we met I felt sorry for my earlier impatience. Madame Micheline is a fine host, who is spending two weeks in this little refuge 20 kms. from home to take care of the few of us who are still wandering down the “chemin”. This week she has only had two of us: my Canadian companion from a few days ago, and now me, yet she keeps the place clean and ready for whomever may yet show up.
Tonight, she had a meeting here with the newly elected president of the Association des Amis de Saint Jacques for Limousin/Perigord, whose hard work makes all of this possible for us; they prepare the maps and guides, set up the refuges, maintain the trail signs, and a lot more. He himself stamped and signed my pilgrim passport; I thanked him and all the “Amis” for all they do for us otherwise pretty helpless pilgrims.
Micheline and I shared a simple dinner together, and now it is almost time for bed; another day closer to Compostela