How did our parents travel?


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It seems that a millennium has passed since we used disposable cameras, we wore proud canteens, supermarket caps and paper maps … oh, what times those in which being a tourist was well seen!

In a matter of forty years we have gone from traveling in the Seat the whole family, to practically not making any trip with them and, until leaving alone by the world and alone by the world… but connected to the mobile, that new companion of the millenial generation from which we do not separate and much less to travel.

But there was a time when people dared - yes, dared - to travel without a mobile phone, GPS, or anything that located them without going into shock. Nor did they care much if they wore a different look for each day, it was enough with something comfortable to spend the holidays happy sea. Those bold were our fathers and mothers.

En Nueva Orleans siempre suena el jazz.

In New Orleans jazz always sounds. © Getty Images


It was in March 1998 when Ramón and María Cristina, Galician travelers, flew to New Orleans. As they say, it was not a destination that was on the Spanish radar in the 90s, but it ended up being the trip of their lives thanks to their company.

“How multicultural the city was, the great African, Spanish, French and Latin American influence. Also the landscapes, those immense plains, the endless cotton and sugar plantations, and of course, jazz, ”they tell.

The route was immortalized forever with its German camera, a ROLEY 35T the size of a pack of snuff perfect for travel and inseparable during all those years. “The photos were, after culture and visits, the most important thing to remember and relive those moments. In our house there are infinite photo albums, family parties, everyday moments but, above all, summer travel . There are unfocused (many), careless (many) … but all keep a memory even if they are not perfect, ”they add.

A shared post by Ramón Cristina (@ ramon.cristina.7) on May 28, 2018 at 3:10 p.m. PDT

And that was how they portrayed a New Orleans that sounded in jazz incessantly, how they toured the Mississippi in a 19th-century ship where Creole food and music were not lacking, as they discovered the replica of the Tara plantation of What the Wind Was led and the cemetery of Lafayette, "pure Gothic, so impressive …".

In short, the other side of American life and an energetic and vibrant New Orleans before it was devastated by Hurricane Katrina.

Los viajes en coche eran los más populares.

Car trips were the most popular. © Getty Images


It is impossible to erase from memory those eternal trips by car (no plane: one per year and hopefully) and, of course, with the Michelin Guide ! If there was something that was not missing in the travel kit of our parents were the red map 990 of Spain and the green guide of tourist and cultural curiosities . How to forget that map that had a life of its own and with it you could reach Australia if necessary.

"At the beginning of the 80s we traveled without a mobile phone, without internet, without a browser, without air conditioning, but with Michelin tires, our maps and guides that deluded us from the beginning, " explains José Benito Lamas to, Chief Inspector of the Michelin Guide.

Since 1973 they have been making maps of Spain and the world, every year updated with the best routes, hotels, restaurants; in the 80s and 90s, yes, more aimed at families. For 1, 250 pesetas you got a Michelin Guide and, for 325 pesetas, with the map of Spain.

"The most demanded routes were those of the Madrid-Catalonia and Madrid-Basque Country axis, and the most sought-after maps were those of Spain-Portugal and France, " said José. The Michelin Guide has not stopped being in our lives, although now much more in digital format. In 1997, 630, 000 maps were sold, while in 2017, 425, 000 copies.

París en los 90.

Paris in the 90s. © Getty Images


For Frank Babinger, geographer and professor of Tourism at the Faculty of Commerce and Tourism of the UCM, what has changed the most have been the infrastructure and the quality of the means with which we travel. Well and the number of travelers, "we have gone from 300 million, in 1980, to 1.3 billion today, " he says.

“Today, any car has a higher quality and better equipment than the luxury cars of that time. A Seat Ibiza has better finishes than a Mercedes of that time. Airplanes were also other models that have nothing to do with what we have today, ”and adds that the ones that may have undergone the least changes have been ferries, since cruises practically did not exist.

And to Paris, he was leaving by train, of course. In 1991, it was when Carol and Martín decided to travel to the city ​​of love making it accompanied by their group of inseparable neighbors and friends (there was a time when we related to the neighbors, that's right). “As we had such a good time at the parties we organized at home, we decided to share our joy with the French. We took a Talgo that made the route Barcelona-Paris . Already on the train we started the party, we had dinner: potato omelette, pa amb tomàquet, and of course, a bottle of Juve and Camps, ”says Euphoric, Carolina.

A shared post by Carolina Martin (@goodcokkie) on May 25, 2018 at 1:15 p.m.

They visited the Eiffel Tower, the Champs Elysees, the Invalids, the Galeries Lafayette and Versailles . And some anecdotes of that Paris of the 90s? Taxi drivers who wanted to take advantage, salads without oil and salt … "The memories of that trip are really great, because you didn't have everything as prepared as now, you went a little to what you wanted, " she recalls.


The agencies were the most rescued of the time, trips were rarely made outside Spain without resorting to their services. Susana and Santi organized their honeymoon in India with one of them. “It was not at that time a typical destination as a wedding trip, but we found in India a cocktail of emotions that go beyond the romanticism of Paris, the Caribbean 2x1 that was already beginning to penetrate strongly and that all agencies recommended us ", Explain.

And it was India, and for almost a million pesetas, a waste that made them feel like real marajás. “It was in 1999, before the world ended (remember that in 2000 all computer systems would stop working and the global collapse would occur…), ” he laughs.

An exciting month for an adventure where guides, hotels, meals, transfers were not lacking, as it was all arranged.

“We remember a lot about our Indian guide, a Sikh from the Punjab region, a spiritual warrior who constantly complained that we didn't pay attention to things because we wasted time photographing them. What would you say now if you saw us 24 hours with your mobile ?! ”, says Susana.

A shared post of Su (@sussanjau) on May 24, 2018 at 11:04 PDT

Ignoring Sikh, they photographed a cultural shock they fell in love with, they say that India either horrifies you or makes you fall in love. “We were carrying an SLR camera of my husband's father, which weighed a lot and that the Indian children saw miles away. Buying reels there was almost impossible and every time we stopped in a big city, New Delhi, for example, we ended up with stocks! ”

After that many other trips came, however they never forget India. Possibly in their 25 years of marriage they return, although surely (they say), they will leave the mobile at home.

¿Autostop hoy en día? ¡Imposible!

Hitchhiking today? Impossible! © Getty Images


Our parents did not travel every weekend to get away, that was rich. It all came down to once a year, Christmas, Easter or summer . “The era in which the big newspapers opened their August editions with the empty Gran Vía or Castellana ended. In Paris, parking was not charged to cars in August because it was not profitable, there was no one! ”, Tells Frank Babinger, geographer and professor of Tourism at the Faculty of Commerce and Tourism of the UCM.

From the eternal days of sun and beach, and from the summer afternoons in the village picnic boxes, we have begun to look for extraordinary experiences, trips (sometimes exhausting), hiking trails, sustainable tourism, etc. Because one of the big differences between our parents and us is that we do not want to be tourists, we want to go unnoticed and do not settle for spending a weekend, but we choose to stay months, even years.

“There was also no Airbnb and similar, although we did look at the balconies in search of apartments to rent in summer . People did not seek to live like the locals, or even know them: we were not anthropologists, we were tourists, ”Frank says.

And hitchhiking ? Before it was common, today almost a suicide. Angels, painter and adventurer, had traveled the Canary Islands and Portugal. On the second trip, the car left them lying and it was not surprising … "We were going to Estoril, a beach town in Portugal, four adults with two two-year-old children, a nine-year-old girl, cribs, strollers, a boat for the beach, and all in a Seat 121. There we broke down the car and hitchhiked. We stopped a car racer who went with his mechanic and fixed it, "he recalls.

All that innocence dissipated in the fall of 92 with the terrible crime of the Alcásser girls, since then hitchhiking began to be seen as a temerity only suitable for American films .

¿Dónde viajabas en verano?

Where did you travel in summer? © Getty Images

And as Miguel Ríos said in El blus del bus, people lived on the road and at the pace set by the day. It did not matter the arrival time, what mattered was the tour because you traveled without hurry . “We used to choose a destination for one or two weeks, and we left two or three days before marking a route on the way out and another on the way back, to Go like this on two different paths. That way we knew everything that was on the way, ”said Ramón and María Cristina, the New Orleans travelers.

On their trip from Galicia to Alicante, they stopped in the Valley of the Fallen, El Escorial, there they spent the night, they continued until Alcalá de Henares, they went back to sleep and, finally, they arrived in Alicante where they would spend 10 to 15 days. And on the way back Jaén, Albacete, Segovia … The trips through Spain were like that, improvised. “As night approached, we saw the next town or city and with the Michelin Guide we chose hotel, according to quality and price, we arrived and went to sleep! Upon arriving at the destination, we moved by word of mouth, asking the neighbors, "explains the Galician couple.

The trips were long, uncomfortable and on secondary roads . These were the great beneficiaries, because they had a network of restaurants, cafes and snacks where to stop for lunch, and how well those sausage tortilla lunches tasted!

¡Benditos sean aquellos veranos de sandías y melones!

Blessed are those summers of watermelons and melons! © Getty Images