Category: Greece

Muleheaded Exotica

‘These torturing hours of ascent seemed as though they could never end ……… the sun trampled overhead through sizzling and windless air. Feet became cannon-balls, loads turned to lead, hearts pounded, hands slipped on the handles of sticks and rivers of sweat streamed over burning faces and trickled into our mouths like brine. Why, we kept wondering, though too short of breath for talk, does one ever embark on these furious wrestling matches, these rib-cracking clinches with the sublime?’

Patrick Leigh Fermor, ‘Mani – Travels in the Southern Peloponnese’ (1958)

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Never go back! What never?

They say ‘ never go back’, but they also say ‘never say never!’ It’s hard to know what to do for the best sometimes and if you really want to grapple with the mixed messages in the genre that is our culture’s helpful sayings you can do no worse than Richard Hoggart ‘Uses of Literacy’ (1957) where the comedy of ‘too many cooks’ vs ‘many hands’ is explored in full.

Sue and I did go back – to the Sporades in the northern Aegean after 36 years, and in doing so felt that we were risking a fair bit as the previous trip had been huge for us – our first big holiday together and one which very much cemented our relationship. We both have very fond memories of the summer long adventure and of the islands – so would a return so many years later prove to be a huge disappointment and worse, would it contaminate our precious memories? 

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