A journey down the spine of Italy, from Milan to Naples, taken 60 years after my mother as a young girl did the very same route.
I had found a book, hidden away since 1956. A book written by great-grandfather.
It was my great-grandfather who had taken my 12 year old mother and 11 year old aunt on their Italian adventure. In the book he wrote of all their experiences on their tour, the people they met, the sights they saw.
As I read, I realised I had to follow in their footsteps.
So I find myself, waiting for the bus at Milan Centrale, and wondering just what changes I would see find in my own tour down the great Christmas stocking country, from north to south.
After 2 years away, the British Journey is taken up once more.
Here is the rambling but truthful account of what one man and one Greek saw and heard and felt during a tour down the eastern side of Britain.
A country they felt they never fully knew before they both left to make a new life in Greece.
Following great swathes of the old Orient Express route on sleeper trains, a hint of murder and romance in the air. Stop-overs in the grand European cities of Empires’ past.
Or on rural trains through fields and plains in those mysterious regions between the Vienna Woods and the Black Sea.
A long detour round the back of Europe.
Describing the stage and halts, background and conclusions, of journeys through mainland Greece and the islands.
From the countryside to the buildings to the beaches; the customs and the habits; the best bars to have a quiet glass of tsipouro or personal favourite places to gorge on souvlaki.
Living momentoes from wanderings around Greece.
Hopefully they can be a guide for some other visitors. Or otherwise, just serve as a chance for reflection on the people and place, so as not to forget rambles around the country…
Britain is blown out like a candle and the blue really begins as we head towards a new life on the island of Corfu.
But what is lying in store for us on this extraordinary Ionian archipelago? What do the people of Corfu really do here throughout the whole year when the tourists aren’t looking? And can man-made Corfu and the tempestuous Corfiots ever live up to the incredible nature that surrounds them here in the ‘Garden of Greece’?
4 stories from a new life on a Greek island.
Before setting off for a new life in Greece, I’m talked into taking a tour of Britain. Visiting many places in the country for the first time – places I’d heard of, made assumptions about, but never really bothered to visit – it was a chance to see my country in a whole new way. And also through the eyes of my accompanying Greek Passepartout.
So a last chance to see. Which turned out to be so much more…
I had never really thought of Greece before. I knew others went there, but my family summer holidays were taken without fail at home, in Llundudno in the rain. All this changed quite suddenly and irrevocably though, when I met a rather quiet, unhappy looking, beautiful Greek girl who had come to teach in a summer school in Winchester.
Within a year I was with her, slogging my way to the top of Mount Olympus with a ring in my pocket and Greece, its people, its culture, its landscape, its refusal to be like anywhere else, indelibly in my mind.
A new world opens up for Kemp after he meets his travelling Passepartout – a bored, searching, pretty Greek teacher in a suburban English boarding school for the summer, longing to get away and explore.
Passports in hand, they make a dash for it together…