Saturday, 9 January 2016

If its Tuesday it is Lake Garda ........ travelling by the hotel labels in the 1950s part 1

Now I don’t even know if hotels still give away suitcase labels.

If they don’t that is a shame because I am sitting beside some of the ones my dad collected in his years as a coach driver and they are fascinating

Not that he ever stuck them on his suit cases, he just brought them home which may have been an earlier version of the tourist habit of collecting the soap and shampoo from the bathroom.

He was at the luxury end of the motor holiday trade and his passengers would be whisked on a seven, nine or fifteen day tour of mainland Europe from the Benelux countries as far as the Swiss Alps and the Italian Lakes.

They would be fed and accommodated at good hotels, provided with a first class guide and had time off to wander as they wished.

But it was a fairly rigid timetable which has often prompted me to think that if you dozed off or looked away long enough from the window you might well have missed an entire country.

It is not my idea of a holiday but was so successful that it kept Glenton Tours going from the 1920s well past the time Dad retired in 1982.

That said it was still a wonderful way of seeing new places allowing you to get a sense of what  made each country and town along the way that little bit different.

Today most of us just get on a plane and with in a couple of hours have arrived at the destination,  having spent the entire journey ordering a drink, wrestling with a packet of peanuts and pondering on what to buy from "the onboard offers."

Only after the bags have been collected and passport control completed do you get a sense of where you are which even then may be some what muted by the long wait for the holiday tour bus to fill up and set off.

All of which makes me think that the fifteen day coach holiday to the Italian Lakes, taking in a bit of France, lots of Luxembourg and Bellgium and northrn Italy has some merit.

And so for no other reason than I haven’t looked at these labels for half a century I shall post a few a week, and in the fullness of time will go looking for each of the hotels.

Pictures; hotel labels from the 1950s, from the collection of Andrew Simpson

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