Personal and undiluted views
Mike the Vlach

1550 days ago

Photo article Mike the Vlach arrives and I meet his sister as well

My father's oldest Greek friend Mike the Vlach was due back at three. This being Greece he was bound to be late and so his wife Alega insisted I hang on as the day dragged on. Heck I had travelled by bus for nine hours to get to Metsovo and then walked for an hour and a half to get to Anelion to see Mike, I was not leaving. I could not explain this but I sat there drinking coffee and enjoying a lunch of lamb, rice and a lump of feta, I was going nowhere.

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1551 days ago

Photo article - entering Anelion: it has all changed but is Mike the Vlach still alive? Tearful reunion with Alega

As the road enters Anelion there is a sign advertising the fact that there is now a four star hotel in the village. Boy is this different from 40 years ago when here was not even a road to this place and there was no main street either. We just walked along cobbled pavements. The houses of today are nearly all post road, modern constructs and it brought back no memories at all. The smell of woodsmoke had not changed but everything else had. I started to panic - how on earth would I find Mike the vlach (if indeed he was still alive)?

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1551 days ago

Photo Article: The walk to Anelion Part 1: gosh my Dad was a hero 40 years ago

With the snow still blowing, I set off on the walk from Metsovo to Anelion not really believing that it would take only half an hour as the chap I met last night had told me. Perhaps it was because I took the scenic route through the lower terraces of Metsovo, following the signs marked with a bear print. Evil Knievil has emailed to suggest that we bears stick together and do not eat each other but, more importantly, as I headed lower I remembered that bears, like snakes, hibernate. So the bears of the Pindus will be sleeping, dreaming of honey and Rob Terry. The wolves on the other hand...

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1551 days ago

Photo Article...let it snow , let it snow let it snow (in Metsovo) as I ponder the bear threat

It felt decidedly nippy last night as i wandered out for a light meal of calf in tomato sauce.I was struck by how the only language I heard was Greek, not Vlach, But also how the waiter spoke English. Fourty years ago more or less no-one here in Metsovo did. The other big change was the women.

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1551 days ago

Daddy couldn't you find Mike the Vlach on the internet?

So asks a daughter of the 21st century.The answer is that I could discover whether my father's oldest Greek friend is alive and make contact via the interwebby thing.

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1563 days ago

Anelion - the name explained and my sister's panda

As you know, I head off soon for Greece and will be making a pilgrimage to the tiny village of Anelion in the snow covered Pindus mountains of Northern Greece. The aim is to see if my father's oldest Greek friend, Mike the Vlach, is still with us, as I explained here.

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1569 days ago

Dreaming of Anelion - I feel I must go visit Mike the Vlach, whether he is still alive or not

In the high Pindus mountains of Northern Greece is a small village called Anelion, a place where we spent a number of childhood holidays. It was home to a man who was a friend of my father's, Mike the Vlach. It may still be, I have no idea if he is dead or alive. I was dreaming of Anelion last night and feel a very strong urge to go.

I am not sure how dad got to know Mike. I think that the first person to meet him was my father's mother Lesbia. This is a woman named after a Greek island and whose brother, David Cochrane, died falling down the mountain opposite Delphi. Greece is in the blood in our family. My grandmother had a real love of Greece and of languages and so it was she who introduced my father to the world of the vlachs.

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3250 days ago

Greeks, Lesbians and Vlachs – why my fascination with Greece?

I am asked why am I so fascinated with Greece? In part it is a romantic thing – the idea of brave Hellas reasserting its independence and history – see my great hero pictured here. But it is more a family thing. My father’s family have been Helleno-nuts for 200 years. I shall touch on Lesbians, in that vein, below.

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