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Author: Tim Salmon ISBN10: 9607269446 ISBN13: 9789607269447 Pages: 319
Description: The Unwritten Places tells the story of my wanderings in the Pindos mountains of northern Greece in the 1970s and '80s, when the only roads were dirt tracks and many villages were still only accessible using the footpaths that had served since time immemorial. I have told the story of my encounters with the postman and his mules sheltering in a hollow tree from a snowstorm; of attacks by wolves and sleeping rolled in a goathair cape beside the shepherds' campfires; of ancient villages houses where the women cooked squatting at open fires; and, in particular, of my experiences among the Vlachs. The Vlachs are what we would call an ethnic minority today. Traditionally they have been nomadic or seminomadic shepherds, entire families migrating with their flocks between winter pastures in the lowlands and summer ones in the mountains. I have enjoyed a close friendship with one particular family for thirty years now and the second half of this book is mostly about the experiences and adventures, both in the village and on the mountainside, that this friendship has allowed me to have. I am as grateful to them for letting me into their lives and teaching me things I would never have dreamt of as I think they are proud of me for taking an interest in them. Some reviews: Salmon minutely observes the character and practices of his shepherd friends, their families and wider circles. He has a sensitive and perceptive eye for mountainscape and skyscape, an eye any landscape painter might envy; his pen depicts what he sees in a fluent tongue, stark or lyrical or dramatic and in total sympathy with the occasion. There are passages in his book as compulsive and chromatic as those in which Edward Lear described, for instance, the scenes that confronted him at Petra. John Leatham, The Anglo-Hellenic Review, no.13.
Tim Salmon respectfully, yet candidly, illuminates a dying world crucial to understanding the development of modern Greek, Vlach and Balkan history... For this reviewer, not only do Salmon's candid, perceptive recollections succeed in capturing the essence of these lords of the mountains, especially the Vlach shepherds, it also imbues them with a certain nobility, Homeric virtue and endearing down-to-earth humanity... it takes a certain courage to write admiringly of this way of life in the 1990s, and Salmon certainly has it. Robert N. Talabac, Society Farsarotul, USA.