a sight of grecofilia

travels across the islands of Greece

Δεν ελπίζω τίποτα
Δε φοβούμαι τίποτα
Είμαι λεύθερος

I expect nothing. I fear no one. I am free.

- Νίκος Καζαντζάκις.


                                           Shepherd Boy - E.V.Lenbach


Dear Visitor,


Thank you for coming to this site. It is an honour and a surprise to have the frenzied thoughts of my wanderings in Greece expressed on the Internet.

I sincerely appreciate the efforts of Tim Berners-Lee, the man who invented and then gave away the World Wide Web, which have allowed me to bring this curious work to your attention. I hope you will find the site useful or amusing.

When I was young my family instilled the need to restrain my natural boisterousness whenever we had visitors in our home or made acquaintance with people we had never met before, and this reserved behaviour became prevalent even into my teenage years and certainly didn't help me break the ice when in the company of strangers, until I went to Greece, that is. There's no such thing as ice in Greece, well not the snooty type, and particularly not amongst the village communities. Instead they shower strangers with warm hospitality and sincere conviviality, so you can understand, dear visitor, how grateful and carefree I felt to be able to breathe again once in the company of such generous, brave, hard-working and uncomplicated people.

This is a personal site, full of personal opinion and therefore open to debate. May I suggest you skip over the parts you don't like or disagree with, dip into it here and there, and perhaps you will find a passage or even a page that resonates with your curiosity. After a while, if you are sufficiently bored or unemployed, you may want to read it from beginning to end, in any case I thank you for your interest in this wordy collection of gossip, humour, favourite imagery, and muffled hopes and fantasies - an interest which indicates to my thinking a rather reckless, though touching, generosity on your part.

'Grecofilia' is simply a word I coined to describe a love for all things Greek and when I am in Greece it is a consciousness, an intuition, truly beautiful and pleasant, that comes with the realisation that I am actually walking there, in that land, on that soil, and it is something usually best expressed with a smile.

It introduced itself to me many years ago on my first visit to the home of art and thought, the land of Socrates and Plato, in the responsibility I was given by the taxi driver with a great heart who agreed to wait while I, a complete stranger in his country, disappeared into a busy street to search for somewhere to exchange sterling for drachmas so I could pay my fare.

In that single crystal moment I realised I was home, a member of a world-wide family and, as we all know, in Greece it's all about family.

I felt included wherever I went. I read the writings of Gail Host, of Patrick Leigh-Fermour, of philosopher Nikos Kazantzakis, the works of George Seferis - perhaps the most important poet of the 20th century, and those of Nikos Gatsos, translator, lyricist and poet. I grew to love the wonderful music of genius Mikis Theodorakis, and the deeply moving yet unsophisticated rembetika music of Sotiria Bellou and Dionysiou Stratos, Vassilis Tsitsanis and Marika Ninou, Yiannis Papaioanou and dear Markos Vamvakaris, music that, even to this day, touches me more deeply than anything I have heard or felt since. People gave me things and told me things and I began to write them down. More discoveries were kept in memory, notebooks, jotters, on scraps of paper and on postcards, and these I sent home to myself as I ambled about the islands, mainland and seas of Greece.

What you have before you is more of a well-spring than a website - in that it's just the beginning.

Dear Visitor, please forgive me if I am wasting your time.

Tony Brown




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