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May 13, 2013

Pilgrims of yore had much in common with present-day tourists

“It may seem absurd to view a sightseeing tour of Versailles or the Pyramids as a kind of pilgrim’s progress toward spiritual fulfillment — or it may seem entirely appropriate. For one thing, the pilgrim of yore had more in common with the present-day tourist than many suspect. One of the first books printed in English, Informacion for Pylgrymes unto the Holy Londe (1498) is a sort of primitive Rough Guide, advising pilgrims on how to negotiate with ships’ captains, obtain the best berth once aboard and find the strongest horses upon arrival. What’s more, many of the vices that today’s tourists are accused of in Ibiza or Las Vegas were also leveled against pilgrims. The sixteenth century Dutch theologian, Erasmus, condemned pilgrimages as little more than excuses for dissipation, accusing pilgrims of merely seeking adventure and a chance to boast of their exploits upon return.”
–George Pendle, “Sight Seers,” Bidoun, Spring/Summer 2006

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Category: Travel Quote of the Day


One Response to “Pilgrims of yore had much in common with present-day tourists”

  1. Sage Says:

    Good quote. Mark Twain, “Innocent’s Abroad” is filled with stories how the Holy Lands were filled with tourist traps in the late 1860s.

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