Thursday, October 2, 2014

The Unwritten Places - Wanderings In The Mountains Of Northern Greece by TIM SALMON


GENRE: Travel, Greece; Travel, Walking & Hiking

When Tim Salmon first set out to explore the remote mountain regions of Northern Greece, nobody he knew, either Greek or foreign, knew anything about them or had ever been there. This, along with the  absence of any books or detailed maps,proved irresistible to the Rough Guide author, travel journalist, mountaineer and linguist. " Those hazy bulwarks seen against a summer sky from lowland roads and tourist routes where the black-caped winter shepherds repaired in spring. Where did they go?" 

For the next 40 years Tim made it his business to find out. A close friendship, ongoing to this day, with a family of Vlach mountain shepherds lies at the heart of The Unwritten Places. The Vlachs are called Arumani in their own language, which today is their principal distinguishing feature. It is a language derived from Latin and is considered to be a dialect of Romanian.  Tim has watched his friends' flocks grow in size and seen the road arrive as their children grew into their sophisticated twenties.  Tim's final acceptance by these proud and secretive peoples (but never quite their dogs!) is marked by his participation in the annual transhumance of the shepherds and their flocks between winter and summer pastures at a time just before the roads and the lorries took over.

A beautifully-written, intimate portrait of an all but vanished way of Greek mountain life, uninterrupted for thousands of years.

"He has a sensitive and perceptive eye for mountainscape and skyscape, an eye any landscape painter might envy." The Anglo-Hellenic Review

"He describes the remote parts of Greece beautifully, and comments hauntingly on their despoliation." The Times Literary Supplement

 TIM SALMON was one of the original authors of The Rough Guide to France and The Rough Guide to Paris. For more than thirty years, he has contributed to national newspapers and magazines such as The Guardian, The Independent, The Telegraph, The Times, Time Out and  Country Life. An indefatigable traveller, Tim’s adventures have included trips to the mountains of Tajikistan, walking the length of France (described in On Foot Across France: Dunkerque to the Pyrenees) and making a documentary for Greek TV about the transhumant shepherds featured in this book. In 2010, Tim appeared on BBC Radio 4’s All In The Mind to talk about schizophrenia, prompting a huge public response. His Blackbird Digital book, Schizophrenia – Who Cares? – A Father’s Story is a moving personal account of life with a son who was diagnosed with schizophrenia in his early twenties.

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