A load of old bull

A load of old bull

Here Patrick Leigh Fermor tests the veracity of a much touted myth about Maniots in the Peloponnese being bull wrestlers.  I liked the progressive debunking of the myth, starting out with simple denial, then embellished with further evidence, all the way down to a tin...
Flask-wielding host

Flask-wielding host

Despite the manifest hospitality, the flask-wielding host sounds like a walking health hazard.  However, by the time you succumb to his antimicrobial prescriptions, you may be past caring, given how great you’ll feel. Regardless, I wish you optimism, vigour and...
Bullet-echoing crags

Bullet-echoing crags

Beware the bullet-echoing crags, wherever they are. You can hear those cowboy-film ricochets in this one. ‘… bullet-echoing crags of Acroceraunia and Epirus and Acarnania just over the water.’   Source: Patrick Leigh Fermor, Mani: Travels in the...
A table laid by ravens

A table laid by ravens

Leigh Fermor describes the unexpected hospitality and kindness encountered in the Mani after having been warned that his throat would more likely be slit. I found this description of meals appearing quite magical, as if ravens were waiting on you. I was also surprised...
Heat like a casserole

Heat like a casserole

One of many descriptions of staggering heat and light in the Mani. ‘The stone flags at the water’s edge … flung back the heat like a casserole with the lid off.’ Source: Patrick Leigh Fermor, Mani: Travels in the Southern Peloponnese,...
Heat as strong as a curse

Heat as strong as a curse

Leigh Fermor finds many ways to convey the unforgiving heat and light of the sun in the Mani, so strong as to feel like a curse more than a blessing. ‘The sun beat down like a curse.’ Source: Patrick Leigh Fermor, Mani: Travels in the Southern Peloponnese,...
Ankle-snapping boulders

Ankle-snapping boulders

Another vivid image of this lunar landscape, boulders both too big and too small to step on, instead being the perfect size to catch and break your ankles as you walk.  And always, in the Mani, the ‘stagnant glare’ of the sun. ‘At last, panting,...
Rough-hewn peninsulars

Rough-hewn peninsulars

A rugged description of all-enduring peasants who survive in a brutal landscape. ‘The three young fruiterers … seemed queerly townish after the rough-hewn peninsulars.’ Source: Patrick Leigh Fermor, Mani: Travels in the Southern Peloponnese,...
Rock-strewn surface

Rock-strewn surface

Two ideas were imprinted on my mind in Leigh Fermor’s description of the Mani landscape – unremitting heat and unforgiving rock. ‘The Deep Mani road still hobbled on a for a few miles, the cratered and rock-strewn surface becoming more lunar in...
Dungeon-like gloom

Dungeon-like gloom

This gloom was no doubt accentuated by the blinding brilliance outside, and may even have been a soothing balm to the exhausted eye.  You think air is clear until you see such shafts of mote-whirling light. ‘Our interruption had set the dust moving and a thin...
Brittle-looking lorry

Brittle-looking lorry

I imagine a clapped-out lorry with rusted, flaking panels, paint-stripped by the endless sun.  And watermelons for thirsty Maniots reminds me of Thoreau’s praise of watermelons as the perfectly rolling cask. ‘We got a lift along it next morning in a...
Pepper-pot turrets

Pepper-pot turrets

The description of these towers and turrets in the village of Kardamyli, which are a match for the mine’s-bigger-than-yours competition of medieval San Gimignano lords, is extraordinary.  Leigh Fermor was housed and cared for in one of them, with meals and fresh...
Seldom-failing blessings

Seldom-failing blessings

A lasting impression from Leigh Fermor’s Mani is inescapable heat, from which any respite is a gift.  I also like the notion of ‘seldom-failing’ allowing the possibility that blessings can come and go, giving you all the more reason to cherish them...
Light-skinned Yemenite

Light-skinned Yemenite

This describes Leigh Fermor’s first incursion into the Mani, after having been warned by the rest of Greece that going there would put his life in danger.  No such thing, he had a wonderful time and was charmingly cared for. ‘Such is the force of...

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