¡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!

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

I have landed in Landes...

Many apologies for so few posts, but internet access has been surprisingly rare out here on the "chemin".
Now that I have use of a computer I have discovered hat keyboards here are very different from ours at home and it is quite tedious to write...so only a very brief post for now.
I am in my fourth day of walking and have finished as of today about 70 kilometers, about a third of the way.Todqy, about midway in my 20 km walk, I passed from the Garrone Deptartment of France (sort of like a state), into the Department of Landes...a flat and very sandy region. I have been walking reasonably well, though with a few ups and downs, including today, a very annoying blister (and a little bit painful!).
The great story of the French "Chemin" is the extraordinary welcome we pilgrims receive from the locals who unquestioningly welcome us into their homes, feed us, and support us in any way possible! They are really an inspiration to me and remind me just how important hospitality is, especially in the Church. These folks do not fear the stranger, but embrace him/her; would that we all could be so generous and trusting and kind!
Grace and peace to you all...and as the locals here say to the pilgrims as they pass: "Bon courage!"