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Tourism is as old as cities –or at least most cities–. Greeks, for example, went on pleasure trips to attend the Games in the city of Olimpia. And Romans were very fond of baths and would travel long distances in order to enjoy them.

During the Middle Ages traveling however diminished, but tourism was still very much alive through pilgrimages to the holy places; as of today many of those routes are very popular for example Camino de Santiago.

However it is not up until the first industrial revolution that human beings –mostly in Europe– would take tourism as a serious endeavor. Once it begun it took only time to transform those XIXth century bourgeois tours into the global and prosperous industry it is nowadays. The magical moment would take place around the 1950’s, after a atrocious stop due to the previous World Wars.

Regardless of time and era, along with the tourist came always the suitcase. At the beginning of the XXth century a suitcase meant a status that only a handful of people could enjoy. Again, having a suitcase or a traveling trunk was indisputable proof of being well off. Suitcases could be made of wood, leather or even reinforced fabric. They were long-lasting objects, sometimes even inherited, such was the quality and endurance with which these old suitcases were made of.

They also served as a sort of window display through which one would show the different stamps and seals got in the cities one visited. These stamps were usually the way in which fine hotels promoted themselves. While their suitcases were carried across the train platforms, tourists would brag about their travels with these stamps. This trend, however, passed away as soon as the automobile became the main touristic mode of transportation. Car badges then became the new stamps; suitcases no longer were an indisputable sign of status, it was the car what was now in display and served as window display, feeding the owner’s ego big chunks of meat. I remember well those days: we, the youngsters, cleaned the cars from those badges and collected them, perhaps that was our way of traveling, our way of wanting to travel to those far unknown places.

And then these badges passed away too; but our need to brag about our travels didn’t. And the car badge became the fridge magnet sold in all souvenirs stores. No proud tourist would then miss the opportunity to add a reminder to the collection of fridge magnets showing the distances traveled in the world. The suitcase ceased to be the window display with which make relatives and friends green with envy.

In Córdoba, this trend of stamps and seals glued to a suitcase also had its day but then passed. Old defunct hotels that left their footprint in those pieces of paper right before being overthrown by bigger and nicer and new hotels. May this little gallery be a tribute to the pioneers of comfort that welcomed the first tourists visiting the city, but also to those who took their place and kept on working hard.

SUITCASE STAMPS FROM OLD CÓRDOBA HOTELS.

Hotel Simon
Hotel Avenida
Hotel El Brillante 2
Hotel El Brillante
Hotel Carmen
Hotel Cuatro Naciones
Hotel Granada
Hotel Montes
Hotel Palace
Hotel Palace 2
Hotel Regina
Hotel Victoria
Hotel Zahira 2
Hotel Zahira 1

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