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On Holiday

On Holiday: A History of Vacationing

Copyright Date: 1999
Edition: 1
Pages: 334
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  • Book Info
    On Holiday
    Book Description:

    Löfgren takes us on a tour of the Western holiday world and shows how two centuries of "learning to be a tourist" have shaped our own ways of vacationing. We see how fashions in destinations have changed through the years, with popular images (written, drawn, painted, and later photographed) teaching the tourist what to look for and how to experience it. Travelers present and future will never see their cruises, treks, ecotours, round-the-world journeys, or trips to the vacation cottage or condo in quite the same way again. All our land-, sea-, and mindscapes will be the richer for Löfgren's insights.

    eISBN: 978-0-520-92899-2
    Subjects: Anthropology

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-viii)
  3. List of Illustrations
    (pp. ix-xii)
  4. Acknowledgments
    (pp. xiii-xiv)
  5. Introduction
    (pp. 1-10)

    In the winter, summer becomes inescapably visible. Walking through a vacationland in January feels rather like an archaeological expedition through the remains of an alien culture. I am the only inhabitant of this wintry landscape out at the coast, moving freely between the abandoned houses, crossing lawns, and glancing through windows.

    The barren bushes and threadbare winter grass mercilessly expose frost-bitten leftovers from summer: lost toys, tennis balls, a Martini bottle cap, faded confetti from end-of-season parties. Looking through veranda windows, I can see the artifacts from a life of leisure, now in patient hibernation: barbecue grills, croquet mallets, sandals,...


    • Looking for Sights
      (pp. 13-40)

      This almost paralyzing list of imperatives for carefree enjoyment was the start of a winter 1997 campaign for a new chain of Mediterranean summer resorts called Blue Village. Who could resist it? As a top-ten list of tourist “musts” it pulls together the results of a long learning process on what vacationing is supposed to be about. It also sets the stage for a discussion of what constitutes the basics of tourist experiences. Behind the standard question, what did you experience on your vacation? lies the notion of tourists and vacationers in constant search of sights and attractions, impressions, events,...

    • On the Move
      (pp. 41-71)

      This advertisement from the early 1950s belongs to the great sightseeing era of the railways, as they were battling increased competition from bus and air travel. While Pan Am flew its Strato-Clippers across the Atlantic,the California Zephyr had five Vista-Domes in each train. There was also the Strata-Dome, another double-decker railcar with panorama windows and seats that revolved, equipped with instruments such as a speedometer, to tell you how fast you were going, as well as an altimeter to inform you of how high above sea level you were riding.¹

      The Greyhound alternative was the "Scenicruiser" double-decker, A typical 1958...

    • Telling Stories
      (pp. 72-106)

      We were waiting for our baggage, forming the kind of uneasy collectivity that marks any charter flight. As soon as the conveyor belt spat out our bags, we would disperse to the various hotels along the coasts of Cyprus, but now we glanced surreptitiously at the other families. When the conveyor belt started with a sudden pull, I heard a man next to me talking loudly to himself. Turning around I saw him eagerly filming the suitcases as they appeared on the belt, making a running commentary on the scene into the camcorder’s microphone. It seemed a strange choice of...


    • Cottage Cultures
      (pp. 109-154)

      Why do people need a vacation? Linnerhielm and many of his contemporaries did not travel in search of rest and relaxation. For these privileged gentlemen leisure was part of everyday life. In the industrial society of the nineteenth century the idea of leisure as compensation developed. A 1903 guide to the Catskills elaborates the arguments:

      We need change, and cannot live on monotony or systematic routine. Every one of the five senses need a new diet and a change of regime. This cannot be had in the atmosphere or horizon of the town home, even with the entire cessation of...

    • The Mediterranean in the Age of the Package Tour
      (pp. 155-210)

      A walk along a Mediterranean beach through the cultural flotsam and jetsam is rather like an excavation of the world of tourism in the spirit of the French historian Fernand Braudel, quoted above.

      In the sand lies the ribbed blue cap of thestandard plastic 1.5 liter bottle of mineral water, without which no Mediterranean tourism is possible. ("We recommend that you do not drink the local tap water," tends to be the opening remark of tour guides.) Next to the cap is the black rubber mouthpiece of a snorkel, an empty tube of NIVEA suntan oil (factor 25), a broken...


    • The Global Beach
      (pp. 213-239)

      Once I found a postcard in a secondhand shop. It was manufactured in New York, probably in the fifties, and carried the simple text: “By the beautiful sea.” It is a good example of the universalization of the beach experience, the making of a truly global iconography and choreography of beach life. It is one of those many postcards without any hint of the “local,” just sand, sea, and carefully arranged groups of beach visitors. Pictures like these turn up in any card rack along the coasts of the world. No surprise that I found it in Sweden.

      What is...

    • Resort Ruins
      (pp. 240-259)

      The 1920s and 1930s saw a new kind of summer resort emerging, based on the invigorating beach. The modernist cult of simplicity and functionalism found the outdoors an important terrain for human improvement and experiments with new aesthetics and lifestyles. The beach itself was so modern. On the clean white sand with the blue ocean as a backdrop the new modern man flexed his muscles, while the modern woman exposed her beautifully tanned body. On this classless terrain of new and healthy democratic mass tourism, the tanned body in overalls and sandals or just a swimsuit represented modernity, not class....

    • Looking for Tourists
      (pp. 260-282)

      In the 1990s the Royal Caribbean Cruise Line built the perfect tropical island, as a stopover for cruise ships. There snorkelers can enjoy a replica of a three-hundred-year-old ship, which is sunk next to the harbor and cleaned up every other month. There are imported native shops next to the beach, rustic buildings, and a hidden garbage dump on the other side of the island. The project is a great success. Tourists love this model island, where nothing can go wrong, a company spokesman tells the journalist from the upscale travel magazineCondé Nast Traveler.¹ The article presents this fake...

  9. Notes
    (pp. 283-306)
  10. Selected Bibliography
    (pp. 307-310)
  11. Index
    (pp. 311-320)
  12. Back Matter
    (pp. 321-321)