A Walking Guide to 42 Greek islands (1987) by Gerald Thompson - page 8

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gives one a comforting sense of security, but also vastly enhances the attractiveness of any
walk.
I have also deliberately omitted from the main section of the book, all the islands on the
periphery of Greece - namely both the so called Ionian Isles which lie off the West coast of
the mainland , and also Crete and Rhodes which occupy the Southern and Eastern fringes of
the Aegean Sea. Again my reasons for so doing are threefold. First and foremost, most of
these islands are so large and varied that they each merit a book to themselves. Secondly in
the course of many years' travelling I have developed a distinct preference for the smaller
island, where both because of the more intimate scale of the landscape, and the relative
paucity of the population, one can more quickly and easily feel at home and accepted within
the community. Thirdly it is on the smaller and often neglected islands where one can best
discover in all their pristine integrity those traditions and values which are the very essence of
what is most distinctive and most precious in the unique heritage of Greece. Furthermore, it is
also here that the effects of depopulation have often been most severe, and where in
consequence there is the most urgent need for tourism, albeit on a modest and judicious scale,
to implant 'the kiss of life' to communities now sadly in danger of becoming totally
moribund. Conversely, my main motive for observing a tactful silence about such renowned
resorts as Mykonos, Skiathos, Ios and Hydra, is precisely the fact that excessive exposure to
tourism has regrettably stripped these areas of much of their former charm and tranquillity, to
such an extent that I can no longer in honesty commend them to the prospective walker.
With the single exception of the island of Aegina, with which repeated visits have made me
reasonably familiar, I an painfully aware that I have barely scratched the surface of the other
areas described, each of which would require a lifetime to know in intimate detail, as even the
local residents would admit. Nevertheless this book, however unworthy, will have achieved
its main purpose if it stimulates the reader to explore for himself, and possibly even to
pioneer for others, the long neglected footpaths and bye ways , upon which and by which he
may discover some of the enduring and inexhaustible treasures of Greece.
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