¡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!

Sunday, September 9, 2007

St. Reverien

One thing I have learned as a pilgrim is that a good sleep makes all the difference in how a day on the Way goes; last night I fell asleep quickly but woke up many times to the strange noises my Trappist roommate made in his sleep: not snoring, but loud exclamations incomprehensible to me, and enough to keep me restless and tossing and turning till dawn. So today’s 19 km. walk was a fatigued one where every step was work and almost nothing was fun. Just one of those days…..
My destination, St. Révérien, is a little Vezelay without tourists or religious in its quiet streets (also no store, café, or restaurant); it too is set on a hill and its 12th century church is mostly Romanesque and very beautiful, having once been a priory of the Cluny Benedictines. The patron, St. Révérien, was a 3d century missionary to this region in the time before the Romans liked Christians, so he had his head removed by the Romans, who had a garrison near here.
I’m holed up in the city’s refuge for pilgrims, and alone so far; it’s a nice place but it took some work to discover that the toilets are the public ones across the “Place de la Eglise”. That will be fun at 6 am! In the mean time, I rest my feet, do my wash and hope for a good night’s sleep!