¡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, September 19, 2007


Though it was completely unplanned, my two fellow pilgrims, with who I spent the night, and I ended walking together throughout the day. Sietse and Evert are father and (teenage)son, Dutch, from the island of Texel.
As we finished our breakfast with our hosts, Paul and Anne, we were all ready to go at the same time, so off we went down the gravel path together. Since beginning this pilgrimage, this is the first time I have walked with anyone else (except the first day out of Leuven). It was enjoyable to have their company and to witness the care and good humor they share with one another as they wander down the road, sometimes ahead of me, sometimes with me. I think they enjoyed having me along with them as well. When we finally arrived here in Chateaumeillant, we passed by the parish church, a XIIth C. Romanesque mountain of a church, and I had the pleasure of explaining a bit about the church’s architecture and its meaning, and they were very attentive to the little I was able to offer them.
We finally got to the municipal refuge, located in the basement of some sort of center next to a lake and campground. It is very simple but adequate, but we all mentioned that it lacks the personal touch of hosts like Paul and Anne.
Another Dutch pilgrim, Thomas, arrived on bicycle, at the same time we did, so there are four of us here tonight.
It was another long day on the "chemin", 25 kms. but the weather was great for ambling down the road all day.
Next issue for the day: ”What about dinner?”. Rumor has it that all the restaurants in town are closed. This seems hard to believe, but who knows, maybe tonight we starve…

We found a boucherie just as it was closing and bought some leftover pizza, a small saucisse, and from a bar a bottle of local wine (quite good), so we had a good if inelegant dinner after all!
Demain we’ll walk together to Chatre; then they will go on after I stop for the day (17 km.)