Medieval-style traveling is making a comeback. But given that societies are becoming more and more secular, what causes people to still choose to walk these ancient pilgrimage routes?
Camino de Compostela, a UNESCO World Heritage Site
Camino de Compostela is unequivocally Europe’s most famous pilgrimage route. It consists of a network of pilgrim’s ways in France and Spain, which lead to the shrine of the apostle Saint James the Great in the cathedral of Santiago de Compostela. In 1972, only 67 pilgrims were recorded to embark on the journey. In 2019, an estimated 348,000 people walked through the paths of Camino de Compostela.
Other lesser-known routes such as Japan’s Buddhist Shikoku or the Via Francigena between Canterbury and Rome are also back in fashion. Furthermore, popular pilgrimages such as the Hindu Kumbh Mela or the Muslim Hajj, which are attended by millions, have also seen significant growth.
The upward trend for this type of travel is striking. It raises the question of what makes it so attractive to many? Some travelers explain their choice by highlighting their need to reconnect with nature after spending months in a city. Others say that such journeys make the world more human-sized.
Pilgrimage Allows Travelers to Explore the World
Another important aspect of pilgrimage is sightseeing. In the past, visiting a holy place was one of the few reasons people would be allowed to travel. As pilgrim sites become more popular, a whole new infrastructure would grow around them. Even today, when people walk on ancient paths, they have the opportunity to explore various natural and man-made sites that they would otherwise miss while traveling by plane, train, or automobile.
Finally, medieval-style traveling is a new experience based on old traditions. It challenges the modern understanding of tourism and allows travelers to go on adventures similar to the ones of their predecessors.
Kids with Balloons – Disneyland, 1961
It looks like this adorable pair of siblings wished upon a star, which ended up coming true! Make no mistake about it, these two are not auditioning for the seven dwarfs, as much as Snow White and her friends would enjoy that. Anyone who is a fan of any Disney movie needs to embark on a trip to Disneyland at least once in their lives. If you didn’t go as a child, make sure that you take your own children.
Fashion Models – 1960s
It’s a shame that these glamorous individuals grew up in a time when color photos were less prevalent. We are dying to know exactly what colors were on these awesome looking dresses. We can already guess two of them – the lady second from left was dressed in white and the one furthest on the right was obviously in all black. Whatever the colors of the other two might have been, it appears that these four knew how to strike a pose.
Keeping Cool in the Summer – New York City, 1943
Many things have changed in New York City over the years. The people have changed, classic stores and restaurants have come and gone. One thing though that has remained fairly consistent for as long as we could remember is the hot summers. Even back in 1943, there were heat waves in the middle of the summer and New Yorkers would find numerous ways to keep themselves cool. Take these friends, for example, who are pouring buckets of freezing cold water on each other.
Couples Sunbathing – 1940s
Is it just us, or were these two couples looking forward to their double date day out, only to have = a fifth wheel join in at the last minute? Based on this vintage photo from the 40s, that looks like what happened. At any rate, this group of friends looked like they were enjoying themselves enough on their trip to a nature reserve. They are actually sitting on some rocks above a lake. They just took a dip in the waters and were drying off in the Summer sun.
Sitting on Mercedes-Benz – 1970s
It is a pose that is timeless and many try to imitate it even now. This lady seems to be an originator of the classic “sit on the hood of one’s car” pose. It also helps when the car looks as good as the person in front of it. This Mercedes-Benz has an undeniable vintage feel to it. We just hope that the lady makes sure to put on some shoes before she drives that beautiful vehicle.
Ladies Strutting – London, 1930s
There is no denying that these ladies were dressed for a big occasion. It appears that they had just been dropped off at their desired location and were caught on camera while walking that last 100 yards to the venue. The end result was what many musicians today would be proud to have as an album cover. Remember the classic scene from Reservoir Dogs with the crew walking in slow motion down the street? These ladies were the original Reservoir Dogs.
Friends Having a Picnic – 1900s
Picnics have pretty much been common practice since the dawn of man. Therefore, to see a vintage image of two women and one of their sons sitting in the park together, eating fruit and cake shouldn’t come as too much of a surprise. Even still, to think that this photo was taken over a hundred years ago is absolutely mind-boggling. Everything from the dresses to the fancy little teapot scream out that this was from a completely different era.
Holding Hats in the Wind – Philadelphia, 1947
The truth is that this photographer probably couldn’t have captured such a great image if he tried. As these individuals made their daily walk to the office, they all held their hats in unison, implying that the wind was just a bit too wild at that very moment. At any minute, their hats could have blown off their heads, so they were all forced to put a hand on their heads. As vintage as it comes.
Date Night – 1950s
When it comes to dating, things have changed a lot. Nowadays, it is considered more normal to dress more casual and go to more formal places for your first date. However, back in the 1950s, it was pretty standard to do the opposite: go to a classic American diner dressed in your finest attire. We find this couple absolutely adorable, as the man holds the milkshake for his date to have a taste. Dating is just not the same anymore.
T-Birds – New York, 1950s
It seemed like every young man who wanted to be a part of the in-crowd tried looking like Danny Zuko from Grease. Or maybe it was Danny Zuko who tried to look like everyone else. Whatever the case may be, it was a fashion trend that was prevalent throughout the 50s. What is great about vintage photos like these is imagining what this gang of guys must’ve been doing on that very day. Also, are they still around to tell the story of what happened next?
College Professor – 1930
For all the teachers out there, this image must speak volumes. Teaching can be a draining, arduous profession. You are trying to improve the knowledge of many students. That’s not all though: when all the lessons have been taught and the day is done, one has to go home, mark their papers and plan for the next day. So we can appreciate this college professor’s ability to kick back for a moment, relax, and pose with a pipe in his mouth.
Mexican Border, 1950
Even without the title of this page, it probably wouldn’t take you long to guess where this photo was taken back in 1950. Words such as “Tequila” and “Adios Amigos” scream out that this was taken in the land of the U.S.’s Spanish-speaking neighbors – Mexico. The vibrant colors and flashy signs don’t give a clear indication of where this was exactly taken. However, if you look at one particular billboard, it says in smaller print, “come back again.” This must be the border.
Human Resume – 1930s
The ways that people find work has evolved over the last century. For a while, the main way to apply for work has been to submit a printed sheet of your resume to companies. Nowadays, you are able to e-mail it or even have companies hire you through your LinkedIn account. However, back in the 1930s, some took to the streets and screamed out their resumes. Then there are people like the guy in this vintage photo, who wore his resume as a human billboard.
Father Sitting With Son – 1937
It’s an observation that many historians have already made – but it seems like people a hundred years ago looked much older than they actually were. 30-year-olds back in 1937 could potentially look double their age! Take this man, for example. By today’s standards, he could probably pass for 60 years of age, but if we had to guess, we’d say that he was at least decade younger when this photo was taken. He does look old enough to be this boy’s grandfather.
Skateboarding to Work, 1982
One of the more recent photos on this list of vintage photos, this guy proves that you can still stay true to yourself even if you work for a corporate company. In truth, skateboarding started back in the 1940s. However, it would take a few decades before the sport became popular amongst the masses. However, by the time this photo was taken, skateboarding culture had already become rife. We imagine that this guy slipped his shoes into his briefcase.
Tehran – 1960s
This vintage photos clearly demonstrates how fast things can change in less than half a century. Back in the 1960s, Iran’s capital, Tehran, was just like any other major Western city at the time. Not only was the infrastructure of the city modern and metropolitan, but society was generally much more secular. People had a lot more freedom to dress the way they wanted and live how they saw fit. Then, the Iranian Revolution came about, paving the way for the Iran you see today.
Midwest Businessman – 1939
It’s certainly not one of the biggest cities in the United States. However, this didn’t stop the people of Omaha, Nebraska living the big city life back in the 1930s. Take this man, for example, who was certainly a figure of importance simply based on his impressive-looking attire. Giving the Mad Hatter a run for his money, it seemed that the further back a photo is taken, the more one’s attire was an indication of their financial status.
New Year’s Eve – 1960
There ain’t no party like New Year’s Eve party and over the years, people have done some pretty outlandish things to bring in the New Year. Two things that many people love are cocktails and jacuzzis. So when New Year’s Eve of 1960 came around, a party organizer decided to combine the two together, commissioning the design of a jacuzzi shaped like a Martini glass, and hiring two women to dance in it while wearing metallic sheen bikinis.
Times Square – 1904
Boy, things have changed. These days, New York’s Times Square is the commercial hub of the Big Apple. It is one of the most visited locations in the whole of the U.S. and the amount of neon lights and billboards is absolutely staggering. However, back in 1904, over a century ago, Times Square looked like a completely different street. Other than the One Times Square building situated in the center of the photo, there is hardly any similarity between then and now.
Ice Skater In A Suit – 1937
It’s something you don’t really see anymore, but back in the 1930s, it was perfectly normal to see men who were dressed formally putting on some ice skates and looking for the closest rink. Nowadays, people go ice skating in everyday attire, casual clothes such as jeans and tracksuit bottoms. Back then though, it wasn’t just fashion trends and circumstances that were different, it was the mentality. If you want to go ice skating after a hard day at the office – go for it.
Red Square, Moscow – 1978
For many centuries now, Moscow’s Red Square has been the epicenter of Russian life, culture, and politics. Between the iconic St. Basil’s Cathedral, the Kremlin, and the home of the President, it is a square that has staged some of the most important moments in the country’s history. To this day, it is arguably the most visited part of Russia and attracts millions of tourists from around the world every year. Of course, this was a time when the Soviet flag waved loud and a proud.
Stylish Man – 1940s
There is no denying that in the 1940s, life was so uncertain and war was on the minds of millions of people around the world. However, this didn’t stop people from waking up in the morning, dressing up smartly, and going down the street just because they could. That was the ultimate symbol of American freedom, being able to do just that. Take this man, for example, who was undoubtedly the best-dressed guy on the main street that day.
Beauty Pageant – 1920
It might come as a surprise, but this particular beauty pageant is pretty recent as far as the classic competition goes. It is believed that beauty pageants have been a thing since the medieval era. But in the last couple of centuries, they have become a truly prestigious event for those who compete. Amazingly, just a year after this photo was taken was the very first Miss America pageant, which took place in Atlantic City, New Jersey.
Boy With Mohawk – 1951
The Mohawk hairstyle is a classic example of a cultural phenomenon that has confused roots. While many believe that the Mohican people sported this hairstyle en masse, it was actually the 1939 movie Drums Along The Mohawk that popularized this misconception. And while the hairstyle became popular in the 1970s and 1980s, there were some who were brave enough to sport the hairstyle years beforehand. Take this young teenager, for example, who certainly got the attention of his friends.
Burger King – 1970s
While fast food chains have, in general, been around for a while now, it’s amazing to think that Burger King was only two decades old when this photo was taken back in the ’70s. The logo of this classic burger restaurant hasn’t changed too much. However, it is relatively easy to guess the time period that this vintage photo came from, especially from the disco-esque, psychedelic color scheme of the restaurant’s exterior. Some things just never change, and Burger King is a good example.
Harlem – 1970s
In a number of ways, the 1970s was one of the worst decades in Harlem’s history. After the government spent millions of dollars on a ten-year plan to improve virtually every aspect of the neighborhood, little signs of growth were seen. Due to widespread issues revolving around poverty, substance abuse, crime, and poor education, this was one of the areas of Manhattan that suffered considerably. While the neighborhood still has issues to this day, there have been considerable improvements.
Punk Rocker – 1970s
If there was ever a subculture that completely radicalized the way that rock n’ roll was perceived, it has to be the punk genre. This style added a new layer of attitude to what was already considered to be a style of music that pushed the envelope. Bands such as The Sex Pistols, The Clash, and the Ramones were at the forefront of punk and heavy influenced the way people dressed, talked and even thought. This man was a typical subscriber to the genre.
Man Riding Harley – 1955
The leather jacket and the greased up hair. If you weren’t rocking these two things in the 50s, then you just weren’t cool enough. Being a skilled rider of a motorbike was just the cherry on the cake and a perfect excuse for a vintage photo like this one. If you’ve seen the movie Grease, then you might mistake this guy for Danny Zuko. The only difference is that not even John Travolta’s character rode a Harley.
Hitchhiker with Flowers – Oklahoma, 1973
We are purely speculating that this young lady was hitchhiking while carrying a bouquet of flowers. For all we know though, she was simply standing on the side of the road on Valentine’s Day and selling flowers to passersby who needed to buy last minute. There is no denying that the connection between her holding flowers and wearing a shirt with a flowery theme is a cool little detail. However, it’s certainly not as cool as the actual lady.
This famous and iconic picture was taken outside of the Am Himmel orphanage in Vienna, Austria, by Gerald Waller. Soon after it was taken, Life magazine published this photo for its December 30, 1946 edition. This blissful boy, six-year-old Hans Werfel, had just got a gift of shoes donated by the Junior Red Cross in the U.S. Austria struggled for years after World War II with shortages and a terrible economy. Can you imagine growing up as a child in that environment and finally getting a brand new pair of shoes?
Rock N’ Roll
When Rock N’ Roll music first burst on the scene, parents were quick to condemn the new genre of music. They were certain it promoted juvenile delinquency, which is really funny to think about today. Looking back at pictures of young kids rocking out in the fashion of the time is pure gold. Just look at this little guy’s face. He doesn’t look more than 13 years old and having the time of his life. He probably snuck out to go to the dance with all of his delinquent friends.
Inspecting Women’s Swimsuits – 1920s
You might be looking at this vintage photo and thinking to yourself, “what on Earth is going on?” We wouldn’t be surprised because we were also asking the same question. That is a testament to how much society has changed in the last hundred years. This man was basically measuring women’s swimsuits to determine if they were too short or not. Nowadays, this practice doesn’t happen in most parts of the world, but in the 20s, it was the norm.
Best Dressed Couple – Chicago, 1975
Isn’t this just the coolest couple you have ever seen?! Like something out of a movie, these two lovebirds don’t care if it’s a Saturday afternoon, they are proud to dress in the most flamboyant of colors and own the sidewalk during their day off. However, the likelihood is that they are actually dressed for a special occasion. If there was a slicker dressed couple at that wedding, we would love to see them. Who knows, maybe everyone was dressed like this!
Getting Some Shade – France, 1955
Remember the song “Everybody Loves the Sunshine” by Roy Ayers? Well, we believe that this should be changed to “99% of People Love the Sunshine,” because let’s face it – not everyone’s a fan. While this French lady was happy in 1955 to sit out in the sun while drinking some lemonade, it made sense for her to sit under the yellow shade to protect her pale skin from the sun’s rays. We love the yellow theme connected by the shade, the lemonade, and her blonde hair.
Long before the Beatles came to the U.S. and kicked off the British Invasion, Elvis Presley was causing women to swoon with his swinging hips, dangerous good looks, and deep voice. With pictures like this showing a young female fan losing control at one of his shoes, it’s no wonder parents thought these tunes were a bad influence on their youth. People were seriously scared of all the insanity caused by Elvis’ crazy fans, but later Elvis fandom became much more mainstream.
Slappin’ Da Banj’
They say that to visit the same place but in a different time is like visiting a foreign country, and they’re right. The picture below, taken in the 1920s, depicts a sight that would be so foreign to us now. However, there are few things as universal as music, and we would likely be enjoying this kid’s song just as much as his dog is. This cute kid is plucking and slapping away without a care in the world.
Sitting on a Caddy – 1975
Up until this very day, Cadillacs have been an undeniable symbol of wealth and style. It seems like this guy didn’t just have the flashy car, but he also had the clothes to complement it. We are firm believers that if you can afford it, then why not buy it? One thing is for sure – the custodian of this caddy kept his prized possession in top condition and was so proud that he just needed to take a photo of him sitting on the hood.
Lady with Knitted Top – 1960s
What is so mesmerizing about this vintage image is how the knitted top that the lady is wearing seems to be ahead of its time. While the tie and collar design is pretty cool, the knitting gives it a quality reminiscent of an 8-bit video game, something you would associate more with 80s culture. Not only does the contrast of the orange and black stand out, but the lady’s mascara pops in a complementary way.
Friends Posing on the Beach – 1950s
If you don’t like going to the beach, then there must be something kind of wrong with you. Fine, sand can be annoying, but other than that, it’s one the most wonderful experiences in the world. It brings people together and is a fantastic place to take friends, family and even a date to. This charming group of friends took it upon themselves to have a group photo, showing the horizon in the background.
Mini Master Flash
This little guy epitomizes black culture of the ’80s. Remember what a boombox is? For those too young to remember, we’ll let you guess which item it is in the image below. Back then, instead of downloading music you would press “record” on the double tape deck when your favorite song came on the radio. Interestingly, the 1980’s style seems to have made a comeback, so this guy would look just as hip today as he did back then.
Brooklyn Bridge – 1883
There are just some images of New York that are iconic, and one of those is this one of the Brooklyn Bridge. In 1869, the construction of this landmark began, and after 14 years, the link between New York and Brooklyn opened. The ribbon cutting was witnessed by thousands of people. It was presided over by President Chester A. Arthur and New York Governor Grover Cleveland. This image was one of the first taken after the bridge went into use.
Pumpin’ Gas – 1960s
Nowadays, we all get out of the car to pump our gas, but back in the 60s, there was always a gas attendant to help with that. This Milwaukee gas attendant is looking to deliver quality service. Not only would they fill your gas tank, but they would often wash your windows, and some would even check your tire pressure. That is what full service used to mean. There are still some gas stations that offer this in more rural areas of the US and internationally, as well, but they are a rare find.
Halloween – the 1940s
Modern Halloween has kids running around as their favorite superheroes or cartoon characters, but the holiday used to be scary. In the early 1900s, Halloween costumes were meant to be frightening per the tradition of the holiday. What is scarier than a clown!? There is no doubt that this costume would have won the most frightening award. It was even traditional back then to do a photoshoot to make sure you commemorate the frightful look you chose for All Hallows Eve.
Living Behind the Wall – East Germany 1980s
It wasn’t that long ago that Germany was divided by a wall, and daily life on each side was very different. On the west side of the wall, there was a booming economy and democracy, and on the other side, a socialist republic that echoed the lifestyle of Russia. The men and women lived in small apartments with multiple family members, and this image shows a few frustrated children. In 1990, the wall would fall, and the world of East Germany would change forever.
Vintage Easy Rider – 1912
Did Gottlieb Daimler and Wilhelm Maybach ever imagine how much of an iconic statement riding and owning a motorcycle would become? In 1885, the first motorcycle was made. Ever since, those who want to stand out and perhaps be a little rebellious have used the purchasing of these two or three-wheeled machines to do just that. This is why it is such a great idea to take a family photo in one, like the Australian family who sits in this 1912 Henderson.
We Need a Revolution! – Czechoslovakia 1968
For decades, the country then known as Czechoslovakia had lived with rules expected for a nation behind the Iron Curtain. However, the people had been looking for a little relief from the strict and confining rules set forth for them. In 1968, under Alexander Dubcek, the Czechs and Slovakians got their wish. For several months, Dubcek lifted travel restrictions, gave Slovakia autonomy, and so much more. The USSR didn’t like that, so they marched troops into the country and deposed Dubcek and put things back to the way they were.
Schooltime – Greece 1960s
Imagine going to school is a small cramped room with uncomfortable furniture and tons of children crammed into that tiny space. Wait, that basically describes school today, too! The only difference is that these young students in 1960s Greece had a lot more on their plates than just reading and writing. Determination brought them to school, and they worked hard to make sure they got the most out of the few hours of learning that they were getting.
Have I Got a Deal for You – 1920s
Car salesmen have been cutting deals for as long as the four-wheeled motorized mode of transportation has been available. In this image, these gentlemen gather around and try to barter for this car. Most cars ran about $850, so $100 for this beauty was quite a steal. It may not seem like a lot for the modern shopper, but back in the 1920s, that was a month’s salary for some. Having a car was not a necessity, it was a luxury. Thus, whichever of these gentlemen walked away with this car left with an elevated social status.
Dresden Train Station – 1982
In the early 80s, Dresden, Germany, was still part of East Germany, and it was controlled by the GDR. However, there was still quite a bit of travel, especially between the countries behind the curtain. This train station was one of the main ones in this city. With a big band and plenty of ladies to dance the night away, these soldiers from an engineering division certainly look like they are having a great time.
Let’s Get the Party Started – Texas 1940s
In the 40s, with the troops retiring from the war, there were many celebrations both because of the war being over and for the holidays. There is nothing like a dance to celebrate the joys of Christmas. With a big band and plenty of ladies to dance the night away, these soldiers from an engineering division certainly look like they are having a great time.
Boy Selling Lemonade – 1973
This boy decided to make the most of this hot summer day and sell lemonade to the people of his friendly neighborhood. While we are not so sure if he made the drink all by himself, we can guess that he put together the fancy little ad to accompany his stand. With the star-spangled banner waving in the background, this image encapsulates the American dream – to embrace the skills and tools at your disposal, and use them to maximize your full potential.
Ladies Dipping Their Toes – 1944
This photo harks back to a simpler time when a group of ladies could enjoy themselves and still get in touch with their inner child. What stands out for us the most in this photo are the beautiful, colorful swimsuits.
Road to Woodstock – 1969
Arguably the most iconic music festival of all time, Woodstock ran from August 15 to August 17 in the summer of ’69 and featured the likes of Santana, Grateful Dead, Janis Joplin, The Who and Jimi Hendrix, to name a few. Those who were lucky enough to attend this rock n’ roll extravaganza flooded the Catskills like a modern-day pilgrimage. As you can see, some people tried to avoid large masses of fans by taking naps on their own cars.
Girls Just Want to Have Fun – 1980s
The 80s was, without question, a colorful time. As you can see, these young ladies knew exactly how to dress in accordance with the era. It was all about bright colors and bizarre hairstyles. We can imagine that the classic “Girls Just Want to Have Fun” by Cyndi Lauper blasted in the background while they had their group shot taken. When you think of the word “vintage,” its difficult to not have the 80s come to mind.
New York City Subway – 1970s
This guy epitomizes either 1) the concept of “cool,” or 2) the concept of “being tired after a hard day’s work.” Maybe it’s a combination of the two. Not to mention the plethora of graffiti plastered around him. The Subway has been a classic component of New York City living for over a hundred years and is the main mode of transport for millions of the city’s inhabitants. Its cultural significance is so important that many movies scenes and music videos have been filmed in it.