¡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, October 17, 2007


I feel a bit more like a tourist today than a pilgrim. After a morning coffee in a small café in San Sebastian, I and ever-faithful Gregory the Great headed down the street to the local bus station. The plan: to head to Bilbao, about an hour away to see the Guggenheim Museum of Art, the first of architect Frank Gehry’s titanium buildings that have so captured the imagination of the world.
Upon seeing it with my own eyes and then listening to the audio description of it I was really quite impressed with the building, though not as surprised as I might have been if I had not already seen other Gehry buildings in the same style elsewhere. The building trumps the collection it holds; much of the contemporary art left me unmoved and uninspired, but a few pieces did intrigue and even delight me, like a series of rusty barrels I walked through, intricately designed like a series of strange mazes.
From Bilbao I caught another bus to Santander, still on the coast, where I am spending two nights so that I can take time tomorrow to try to visit some nearby caves with their wonderful paintings by primitive people who lived here many thousands of years ago. (It’s not clear which ones I might eventually get to see; the most famous caves, at Altamira, near Santillana del Mar, seem now to be closed to the public. The ones at Puente Viesgo apparently are open. Hopefully this will all become a bit clearer tomorrow!).
I arrived in Santander about 6:00 pm so I had some time to walk through the streets of the city before the rain began to fall; in the sidewalks were the Compostela shell and arrow indicating the direction of the northern route. I walked it for only a couple of blocks, but enough to feel like I had walked it – at least a little. Riding through the mountainous country between San Sebastian and Bilbao on the bus I was rather happy I wasn’t having to conquer those ups and downs; they were much tougher than those of France.
In spite of that hesitation and even if I am indulging in a bit of tourism I am trying to keep my pilgrim attitude and values in place as I roll along towards Compostela. That holy city is still my goal and I look forward to praying there with the multitude of pilgrims who have done so over the last 1000 years and continue to do so in their thousands.