¡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, July 8, 2012

From Saint Sever

It has been a long while since I found wifi access so my apologies for the Blogger silence over the past days!
I am now in my 9th day on the road and making it a day of rest and restoration after a long week of walking about 155 kms. I took today off after a scare yesterday: leg pains that reminded me of the first stage of tendinitis, which can be a real pilgrim-stopper, I know from experience. I was almost ready last night to call it quits rather than risk the Big-T. Today, things feel better and I am hoping to continue on. I am in Saint Sever, a lovely town in the Department of Landes. I went to Mass in the Abbatial church both last night and this morning and the liturgies were wonderful, including a massive pipe organ accompanying a lively choir. The pastor had a very fine touch with everything he did; I really liked his manner and pastoral way. I introduced myself to him after Mass today and he was very happy to encourage me on my way.
The weather has been mixed: some days getting very hot and some days rainy and gray. I prefer the clear days in the morning when it is still fresh and cool, buy by the time it gets hot i am longing for the rain to cool me off.
The French folks who make all this possible are just wonderful to me and all pilgrims; we are really special to them and they will do anything and everything to care for us. I stayed with one lady a couple of nights ago who just retired and bought a house specifically on the Way do she could receive and care for pilgrims as they pass; I had the honor of being her first pilgrim to visit her new "refuge". In the village of Auros, I came across a group of teenagers enjoying a meal out the sidewalk; they called me over, served me a cool beer, and we got to know each other (two spoke English!) they found me on Facebook even as we were sitting around and a couple have befriended me already. So to the football (soccer) team of Auros and your supporters: MERCI BEAUCOUP!
If all stays reasonably well, I have 7 days left I walking. I now expect to arrive in St Jean Pied de Port on Sunday, a week from today. We'll see how the days go; most are sub 20 km days now with one exception (24 kms). Hopefully shorter days will help keep me healthy.
Thanks to all for your support and prayers for this old pilgrim just trying to walk as He walked…