A Walking Guide to 42 Greek islands (1987) by Gerald Thompson - page 7

6
PREFACE
This book is the product of frequent visits to Greece which it has been my good fortune to
enjoy both at Easter time and in the Summer holidays ,during the last 25 years, and in the
course of which I have amassed almost 3000 colour slides. It has been written largely at the
instigation of enthusiastic friends and pupils whose flattering remarks about the quality both
of my photography and accompanying commentary have at length persuaded me to offer my
experience of Greece to a hopefully somewhat wider audience. But lest that perhaps more
discerning public be deluded by false expectations, may I at the outset define more precisely
what has been my chief intention in writing.
In the first place this book does not pretend to be an erudite, comprehensive survey of the
country's enormously rich archaeological and historical heritage. For this field, important as it
is, has already been more than adequately explored in numerous guidebooks directed
specifically towards this end. Such archaeological and historical references as do appear in
the text I have included mainly because the relevant sites have either been too recently dug,
or have been regarded as too insignificant to receive detailed treatment in the wider context
of the unquestionably more prolific and more accessible sites of the mainland. Nor, on the
other hand, is the book a travelogue of intrinsic literary merit, as for example Henry Miller's
'Colossus of Marousi', or Lawrence Durrell's 'Bitter Lemons'. Its purpose is less ambitious
and more severely practical. First, in the Introduction, my main aim is to encourage the
tourist to exchange the overcrowded and now often polluted beach for the less publicized but
more genuine and salubrious delights of the countryside. For it is my firm conviction that,
even despite the alarming depopulation which the rural areas have suffered throughout this
century, here alone can one discover the true Greece. In the second and main section of the
book, after a brief general survey of each island and its lines of communication, I give more
detailed descriptions of the more successful excursions which I have made during my sojourn
there. Finally, in the Appendices, I offer those who are prepared to follow my advice one or
two hints on accommodation, travel, language and food, in the hope that by saving valuable
time, and being spared needless frustration, they may thereby be able to extract maximum
satisfaction from their efforts.
The main section is arranged in 12 chapters, each chapter dealing with a relatively compact
geographical area which could be visited comfortably within the span of a two or three
weeks' holiday, both avoiding excessively long and expensive journeys, and also leaving
ample time for relaxation, swimming, and all the other manifold activities which Greece
provides for her visitors' delight and enjoyment. I have for three reasons totally excluded the
mainland. In the first place the mainland is so rich in scenery of incomparable magnificence
and variety, it would require at least another volume to do it even the scantest justice.
Secondly one of the avowed objects of the book is to allure the beach-lover into the
countryside; and it seemed to me that my chances of success might be slightly higher on an
island, where the sea might either be dangled as the ultimate objective of a successful
excursion or alternatively might serve as a refuge in the event of failure. And thirdly, self-
confessed land-lubber though I am, I must admit that the constant prospect of the sea not only
1,2,3,4,5,6 8,9,10,11,12,13,14,15,16,17,...297
Powered by FlippingBook