In the decades before TV, social media and slick advertising agencies, vintage travel posters were the most commonly-used way to lure travellers to destinations. Those were the days when “every voyage a gay cruise” meant something else entirely, and people said “This sure is swell” and “Golly gosh, this is fun.”
They reflected the cultures and stylised art of the early to mid 20th century. The French Riviera was described as “inexpensive”. How many years ago was that?! Read about Taste for Travel’s jaunt in the French Riviera: It’s so Nice on the Cote d’Azur. Travel for ordinary people was seen as a great romance and a once-in-a-lifetime journey. Women were portrayed decoratively rather than actively, reclining on beaches, gracefully preparing to dive into azure water, draped over a ship’s railing staring wistfully out to sea, or wearing cute traditional costumes and cheesy smiles. The posters were enticing, although less said about this Dutch poster, the better. Men were painted as fit and athletic, models of handsome, virile masculinity, with no visible hair on their bodies. Maybe manscaping isn’t so new after all.
Some destinations lost their gloss and accessibility over decades of turmoil and lack of basic human rights. A delightful description of Pakistan described as being at the world’s end. And I wonder what Palestine was like as a travel destination before 1948?
Today’s women travellers go almost everywhere: they climb mountains, sail around the world, jump out of planes (or fly them), go on odysseys through Greece, on safari through Africa and cycle around Paris. A few intrepid souls may even still visit Pakistan. I wish more women of Pakistan had freedom to travel. And ditto women of Afghanistan. These posters beckoned the few of those who lived without fear and already had the freedom of movement.
Anyway, enjoy our giggle down memory lane.