Aymeric Picaud

Aymeric Picaud, a French monk, is one of the most famous pilgrims who made the Route to Santiago. Around 1140 he wrote the "Pilgrim Guide to Santiago de Compostela", which is included in the 5th book of the "Codex Calixtus", also called "Liber Sancti Jacobi". Picaud´s work is considered the first tourist guide ever written.

It comprises a detailed and exact study of the Route to Santiago. The author also included his unfavorable opinions about the Iberian inhabitants along the way as well as many details, descriptions of the villages and warnings of dangers.

The French monk divided the French Way into thirteen stages, perfectly defined. Each of them had to be traversed in several days, according to "the spirits of each group of pilgrims". The average distance to cover per day was 35 km on foot or almost the double on horseback. The guide indicated the distances between the villages and the location of sanctuaries and monuments along the Route. He also included some comments about the gastronomy, condition of the waters, character of the inhabitants and local customs. A complete and "modern" guide at the time it was written.

Picaud also deals with the curative powers of the Apostle Santiago. According to him, it was a divine gift granted to the Apostles. With this statement, the monk tried to promote the Sanctuary of Compostela, and for that purpose he wrote stories about Santiago curing diseases. By his intercession, the blind recovered their sight, the dumb their speech, the dead their lives, and the sick got rid of their disease for the glory and praise of God.

Likewise, the French monk tells the story of the discovery of Santiago´s remains in Galice, which has become the most extended version. According to him, the prodigious event took place in Iria Flavia, in the year 813, under the reign of Alfonso II, the Chaste in Asturias, when Carlomagno governed in the West. However, historical facts confirm that by that time Carlomagno had already died.