¡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!

Thursday, October 25, 2007


Fisterre, Finisterre, or “The End of the Earth”; it is here that I write today. I sit on a rocky outcropping next to a granite cross, at the very end of this Cabo de Finisterre, under the Faro or lighthouse that guides seamen around its rough sholes. I have jauntily walked the 2.5 kilometers from town to this end of the earth. The sun is shining brightly, the sky is blue above but increasingly white as it recedes to the misty horizon at the far end of the sea. The shine of the sun glistens silver off the surface of the sea, itself rippled and dippled by the lightest of breezes. It is just about perfect.

On the pillars of two steel towers all manner of pilgrim clothing have been strung and they flap dirtily in the breeze. On the arms and ledges of the granite cross small stones hold down folded pieces of paper with prayers and hopes and words of gratitude hastily scribbled on them. I have no pen with me but I must do something too, so I take my handkerchief, the one that has been in my back pocket for all these days on the road, the one embroidered with a fancy “R” for “Robert”, for this old rag once was my dad’s best handkerchief, which somehow I inherited, and I set it under a stone too, just above an almost hidden carving of Santiago in the base of the cross. There, I’ve done it. I’ve finished this pilgrimage. I’ve reached the geographical end of Europe, the end of the earth for previous generations who did not yet know of America.

I gaze out to the perfect line of the horizon- next stop: America. And I’ve reached the end of this particular pilgrimage of heart and spirit, too. Goodbye, dear road. Tot later, wonderful Weg. Au revoir, beautiful Chemin. Adios, gracious Camino. Thank you. Dank U, Merci, Gracias. My eyes well, I suppose for the last time out here. I hope I will be back someday not too far off. If not, I have already been plenty changed and much enriched, and so humbled and will always be more grateful than any words can express. I love this earth. I love its Creator. I love my brother and Lord Jesus, I love Big Jim. I love all those who have been so good to me and have accompanied me along the way on foot and in spirit.

I end the geographical part of this pilgrimage here at Fisterre and I now end this blog here, too. The greater pilgrimage of life continues, of course, and I am now ready for whatever is next. May we all be blessed on our way.

St. James, pray for us!