¡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 12, 2007


This morning’s walk was an easy and pleasant 16 kms to the big city of the area, Nevers.
Upon entering the city my almost ever faithful Compostelle arrows disappeared, and left me trying to figure my way with only my map at hand, and I’m not much of a Boy Scout!
I was misdirected once by a lady on the street which sent me off wandering into a suburb of Nevers…about a 1 km. mistake, so not so tragic.
My first stop was the wonderful Romanesque church of St. Etienne, dark and heavy and cool. Some French tourists were inside and seemed delighted to have a real pilgrim show up on the scene. They ended our little visit in the nave with the now so familiar “Courage”.
I made my way then through the streets of Nevers to the “Espace Bernadette”, where the sisters welcomed me and gave me a room for the night (well, they didn’t really “give” me the room, I’m a paying guest, though it’s a bargain!). The convent chapel is just across from me, where Bernadette’s uncorrupt body is kept. It’s open to the public, and there are always a good number of people there, all very prayerful and quiet.
The Cathedral is an easy walk from here. A 13th C. crucifix in the nave really attracted me; there is little emphasis on the gory details, Christ is completely peaceful in his death and life seems still to be emanating from his body. I find this kind of image invites me into the mystery of Christ more than others.
No need to stay here another day, but I’m a little concerned about tomorrow’s trek: it’s 29 kms to the next town with very little in between; I’m trying to contact a family that takes in pilgrims at 21 kms, but no answer so far. I’ll keep trying.