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Holidays come in different shapes

and sizes, as the idiomgoes. For some

people holidays means relaxing,

stopping the hectic regular activity,

sleeping longer and more rewarding

hours and if possible not doing

absolutely anything. This is probably

due to the stressful pace of life we

handle during about 11 months of the

year, if not more. This perfectly fits

the etymology of the word “holiday”

which means “religious festival” or

“day of exemption from labour”.

For other people the word “holiday”

is a synonym for “travelling”. They

want holidays for travelling, there’s

no holiday without travelling.

Conversely to the previous “holi-

day”, the word “travel” comes from

the word “travail” due to the fact

that when our ancestors wanted

to travel they really had to suffer

extreme difficulties to reach their

destinations. So then going travelling

meant great effort and difficulties.

If you like digging down a bit more

on this terminology I can tell you

that curiously the word “viaje” in

Spanish comes from the Catalan

term “viatge” and not the other

way round. “Viatge” comes from

“viaticum” from the word “via”

more familiar to all of us.

So, if travelling was “travail” this

means it was not a fun thing to do.

But that’s not difficult to understand,

looking back we can recall the old

travellers: warriors who travelled for

fighting while risking their lives or

pilgrims who travelled to pay a debt

or to contract it with God in exchange

of a wish. Then, we have the

explorers, Marco Polo 14th century,

or Columbus searching for new lands.

A bit later, the first health travellers,

the first SPA visitors -Salute Per

Aqua- around 17th century, visiting

thermal spring waters to help their

health conditions improve.

Later on, the Grand Tour when

aristocrats started sending their

bachelor children to other countries

to gain the world experience which

their studies had not given them; and

maybe finally people like Thomas

Cook in 19th century who started

to see travelling as a business and

started the tourism industry, the

most important one nowadays in our

Catalan country.

And this way, travelling became a

leisure activity, a fun and relaxing or