Greeks and Romans

  • Tom Winnifrith


Many travellers to Greece get no further than Corfu which, in spite of its associations with Alcinous and Thucydides, is with its cricket and greenery and trim tourist villas the least Greek of islands. From Corfu it is two hours by boat to Igoumenitsa and then two hours by bus to the pleasant university town of Ioannina. Most travellers then take the main road which sweeps southward near the site of the battle of Actium past Byron country at Missolonghi to Athens. But there is an alternative route through the Katara pass to Thessaly. In winter and even in spring one can see little on this route except vast tracts of snow, but in summer the red roofs of Metsovo are visible from miles away, and sometimes the bus makes a precipitous detour to Metsovo, bringing nostalgic reminders of Greece as it was before the tourist explosion. From Metsovo it is an hour’s walk by mule track or half an hour by a perilous motor road to the village of Anelion. Here one feels that one has arrived in the real Greece that has survived unchanged for three thousand years. The old men still boast like Nestor of their prowess in battles long ago, the young men still strut and sulk like Achilles, the women work and weep and weave their webs like Penelope, and the wayfarer is still greeted with that charming mixture of curiosity and courtesy which greeted Odysseus.


Mountain Pass Balkan Peninsula Sixth Century Roman Province Greek Historian 
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© Tom Winnifrith and Penelope Murray 1983

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  • Tom Winnifrith

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