The Route 66 is one of the original highways in the United States of America. It was established in 1626 and started in Chicago, Illinois, heading west through Missouri, Kansas, Oklahoma, Texas, New Mexico and Arizona before ending in Santa Monica, California. The route spreads over 3,940 kilometers, crossing a great variety of landscapes.
The Route 66 was the major road for migrants from Oklahoma who travelled west after a period of heavy dust storms in the 1930s, that had caused severe drought and damaged the agriculture in the U.S. Many farmers, but also other workers, that suffered from the change in ecology had been told that there was still work enough in California and travelled there with good hopes. However, due to the economic crisis now known as the Great Depression, the situation in California was not much better than in the country the migrants had left behind. This migration is beautifully described in John Steinbecks novel "The Grapes of Wrath". The only ones that enjoyed the migration movement were the communities based along the Route 66. Restaurants, car workshops, gas stations and grocery stores thankfully profited from the many travellers that passed them.
It were those people who fought for the preservation of the Highway when its use declined because of the establishment of interstates in the 1950s and 1960s. Eventually, in the late 1980s, associations were founded and Missouri declared the highway to be a State Historic Route in 1990. In 2008, the route was added to the World Monuments Watch to preserve the existing gas stations, motels, cafes etc. alongside the route. Today, the Route 66 has grown to be a popular cult route for motor riders.
The story of the Route 66 served as a topic in John Steinbeck's novel The Grapes of Wrath (1939) and in the Disney Pixar movie Cars (2006).
The 'Grand Tour' was a trip through Europe that was untertaken by rich Englishmen, mainly from the upper class. Later also Americans took on the journey, as did Mark Twain, who wrote a satirical book about it. Because the journey was a rather expensive undertaking, travellers usually stayed in post stations or even in horse stables. Only the very rich could afford a coach of their own, most travellers were dependent on rather uncomfortable post carriages.
Means of the trip was to get acquainted with the classical cultural history of the continent. The Tour traditionally could last several months to several years, but had a standard itinerary. The trip provided an opportunity to view specific works of art and antique or Renaissance architecture and to hear specific works of music.
The typical journey started in Dover, crossing the channel to Ostend in Belgium or to Calais or Le Havre in France. From there, the tourist went to Paris. Since French was the language of the European gentry, an English tourist would learn French and the manners and fashion of the French high society.
From Paris, the traveller typically travelled on to Switzerland and stay a while in Geneva or Lausanne before taking on a streneous journey across the Alps to norther Italy. Italy was a must visit for its richdom of antique architecture and as the cradle of the Renaissance. The Uffizi gallery in Florence, Turin and Venice were required stops. From there, the tourist would travel south to Rome to study ancient roman ruins and various paintings and sculptures in museums. The traveller could either travel further south to Naples or even as far as Greece, or travel northbound to Austria and Germany. Typical stops in the German-speaking part of Europe were Salzburg (where some traveller could have enjoyed a Mozart concert), Vienna (Beethoven) and Berlin. Some tourists spent a semester at the universities of Munich or Heidelberg and get acquainted with German habit. Before crossing the Channel back to England, the traveller would see some Dutch masters paintings in Holland and Flanders.
The Grand Tour's popularity declined when Romanticism surfaced in the early 19th century. Instead of antiquity, the European Gothic and medieval times became of interest - and relics from that time were as present in Britain as in (southern) Europe.
1. The French & Indian War (1754–1763), the North American part of the worldwide Seven Years War, made Great Britain the dominant power in eastern North America, but also left the country with high debts. Hence, the British government passed several acts on the colonies imposing taxes on, among other things, tea and paper. Also, the Quartering act compelled Colonists to provide British soldiers with any needed housing or food.
2. These acts led to resistance among the Colonists and the building of an opposition against the British suppressors. Acts were disobeyed and the import of British goods were boycotted. In the line of the European Enlightenment movement, rebels plead for democracy, liberalism and a republic instead of being part of the British monarchy.