¡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, September 11, 2007


Last evening as I came down for dinner in the restaurant half of my humble hotel I was presented to two other pilgrims already seated, both French-speaking Belgians, Daniel and Jean-Pierre. They welcomed me to their table & together we enjoyed our “plats du jour”. I was amazed that they were putting in 30+ km days, double my average since re-beginning, and Daniel was almost my own age. I was jealous of their fitness for just a moment; then considered I have nothing to complain about especially after my August hiatus. At least I’m walking…that’s something!

During the dessert course, it dawned on me that I had forgotten to take my little mountain of pills in the morning, two of which do a great job of keeping my ticker in proper time (atrial fibrillation inherited from Mom). Then it hit: Thump, thimp, thump-thump… and lasted the whole night and into this morning. After some hasty messages back to my doctor in Leuven, the word was that I could walk today when the ticker got back into sync. I waited quietly on my bed, but with some concern that it was never going to get back to normal, sent a quick word to St Jacques for coronary assistance, then at 9:30 it just clicked back into fine working order.

I said my thank yous, quickly packed up and was on my way to GuĂ©rigny, 18 km down the Chemin. I practically flew down the path, hiking more than 5 km/ hr, including a couple of long climbs: that’s great for me! So just when I felt less than adequate next to a couple of super-walkers, AND then got stopped in my tracks by my own fliberty heart, I somehow still put in a great day of walking (I was a machine out there today!) Thanks Big Jim. Tomorrow I’ll hit the big city of Nevers about noon. Bernadette of Lourdes is buried there; she has become a focus of modern pilgrims. So I will be sure to pay my respects and offer a prayer for friends and family. Whenever one of us Codd kids was seriously sick, out came the Lourdes water; it must have worked - we’re still all pretty healthy.