¡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, June 29, 2012


I left Leuven early this morning after a light breakfast with my friends and hosts, Gene and Caroline Foley. I pulled a fairly light Gregory (23 pounds or so) and with Caroline, walked to the Leuven station to catch my train to the Brussels airport. The 2 hour flight here was uneventful; as was the hour-long (!) bus ride from the airport here to the city center. I found my hotel, supposedly a two-star place but I haven't found those stars yet; it is not exactly a dump, but it's nothing to write home about either. My room is a little bigger than a closet but boasts a window that opens (air conditioning!).
The city is lovely though today it has been hot and humid. I walked to the Cathedral and found a fine choir of young people rehearsing for a concert; they were singing English hymns and the various parts of the Mass. It was really a lovely little concert they offered the few of us listening in.
Tomorrow, I catch an early train to La Reole, then a taxi up to Saint-Ferme, and then I begin walking from right where I left off five years back. It will be about a 12 mile walk back to La Reole where a family will put me up for the night. How often I can write frim here on depends, of course, on wifi access and all that.
I am feeling quite nervous tonight and worry that I am not sufficiently prepared for this, but I'll give it my best shot and try to take it easy, and as much as possible, try to walk as He walked…
Grace and peace to all!

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Leuven Days

Before heading south to Bordeaux on Friday for the actual beginning of my walk, I have the luxury of spending a few days back in the town that I consider my second home, Leuven (Louvain), Belgium. It was here that I first studied theology in preparation for my life as a priest and here that I worked, first as Vice-Rector, then as Rector of my seminary, The American College, and here where I began the second part of my pilgrimage from Leuven to Compostela almost exactly five years ago. It is good to be back and I am so grateful for the warm welcome of my hosts, Gene and Caroline Foley, and to all who have greeted me and feted me over the last few days.
Our reunion of the students of The American College begins later today and it will be great to see everyone again.
Leuven has been a stop on the Low Lands pilgrim route for many centuries and that important role is still manifest in the Sint-Jakob church down the street and a newly placed plaque set in the cobblestones just outside its main portal; it reminds us that it is 2,370 kms to Santiago from here. I have walked all but 200 of those, but I hope to finally finish then next week, God willing!
(I'll try to post a picture or two…

Monday, June 18, 2012

Beginning the Finish

Well, my friends, it is time to "reactivate" this blog. Tomorrow I leave the United States for a month back in Europe. I'll spend about ten days in Belgium attending a reunion of  my seminary in Leuven/Louvain, (The American College) and visiting with many great friends. Then, on June 29th, I will fly to Bordeaux, make my way first to La Reole, then Saint-Ferme, to pick up my grand pilgrimage exactly where I left off five years ago. From Saint-Ferme I will walk the final 200 kms/120 miles to Saint-Jean-Pied-de-Port. With arrival in SJPdP, I will have walked finally from Leuven, Belgium to Santiago de Compostela; it will have taken three passes at it, but it will be done. All this, of course, presuming that I stay healthy on the road for the ten to twelve days it should take: no blisters and no tendonitis, please God.
It feels a bit strange having my big friend, Gregory the Great, now dusted off and ready to go again, my  big Bavarian boots, the Meindle Brothers, softened up and broken in again, and, yes, Click and Clack, my walking poles, at hand. Okay, boys, here we go...
I am nervous. My French language skills have gone from passable to negligible, I haven't done enough training, I weigh ten pounds more than five years ago...etc...etc. But its only 200 kms...what can go wrong?
I'll do my best to make the whole thing a prayer and be ready to accept whatever comes my way, the good and the not-so-good.
Once this is done, I'll get back to finishing up the sequel to To The Field of Stars, (its been sitting on my desk for five years now!)...I promise!
I'll try to keep up on posting to this blog as I am able...and to my Facebook page ("Kevin A Codd").
Okay, time to go...