¡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 18, 2007


I’m actually at a pilgrim hostal about 2 kms. beyond Loye, a farm called Foret-Vieille. Our hosts are a retired couple who made a bit of their place into this refuge. Accomodations are spartan but clean and most welcome after a very long day on the road. I’m here with 2 Dutchmen, a father and teen son team who started in Vezelay and have 3 weeks available to see how far they get. I’m the first other pilgrim they’ve met; there aren’t many of us out here, I guess.
I left Charenton at 7.30 under very heavy clouds, but no rain. The early morning breeze was cold. Almost the whole 10 kms. to Saint-Amand was along a grassy path next to a canal; my boots and eventually my socks got quite wet again, but not sloshy. I got lost enough in St. Amand to add another km. to my day’s walk, but eventually got to the church, (always the end-point and point of departure in my guide). I spent some quiet time within its dark and warm Romanesque interior (not much Gothic in these parts), said my prayers, then stopped in a bar across the street for a coffee (as ever, all the “regulars” stared at me like I was really strange). Then I headed out of town for another 18 kms.
Blessedly, the heavy clouds broke up into bundles of cumulousities (I think I just made up a word), letting the sun shine intermittently enough to warm me up after a cold and damp morning; the last hour of walking was actually quite warm. There are still lots of dark clouds about, so I don’t know what tomorrow will bring.
I really pushed my limits today, walking just shy of 30 kms., too far really, but in the end I made it, and though tired, seem no worse for the wear. Tomorrow will be less: about 24 km.