WITH THE WING OF TRAVEL, Fotini Kaimaki

Our attention should be focused on the time period: 1994-2015. Twenty one years. The first trip takes place on Friday 11 November 1994 and the last, fifteenth in a row, on Thursday 10 September 2015 to Saturday 19 September 2015. That is ten days. Diary writing has a huge tradition in the Greek language, but the reader's sense is that the author is reviving earlier writings of travelers, who toured a place and wrote about it with the sense of a reverent pilgrim. Most of the material in the diary refers to the Greek-speaking culture of Apulia and Calabria. We learn about cities, towns, villages, temples, buildings and people. What we get from reading it is the emotion, joy, surprise, admiration and human warmth that the author experiences and saved in her diary. In an interview she granted to me for the Machitis Artas newspaper, on January 26, 2018, the author confided in me that: "The enormous material of the diaries demanded in itself to become a book, to go to society, to save the memory of a people from here and a people from here. It took six years to write The Wing of the Journey, but in reality it took 23 years to write, since every day during the trip I wrote in the notebooks-diaries everything I saw, heard, experienced, along with the feelings that arose. But even when I returned to Athens, I filled the diaries with readings and watching the events from afar".

On her successive trips, tour trips, she made a pilgrimage, not tourism, loaded with a backpack and heavy cameras, she searched by driving all day without rest, often without food, to discover the endless crypts, rocky churches, brilliant monasteries - copy offices of ancient Greek writers, ruins today. She descended ravines, climbed ravines, entered dark caves to capture in the darkroom of her analog cameras exquisite faces of saints, colorful Byzantine dresses, humble pilgrims. He captured people, monuments, landscapes, with passion, as if he wanted to stop time and merciless decay.

Most readers will be fascinated by reading travel and tours. The magic that the culture of Lower Italy emits comes from the fact that we feel it a little familiar, ours, we find it similar to us, we hear its voice coming from the depths of the centuries and speaking to us in Greek. He is next to us and yet we ignore him, for years now we have heard his breath and yet we have not turned our heads, except for some romantics, to give him importance and value. Then, we feel his mental breakdown and this makes him likeable in our eyes and prompts us to get closer to him and get to know him, before he leaves us. And what will happen after the departure of the last people engaged in the study of Lower Italy, will we have researchers? Will there be a future?

Again the author will answer us: "Scientists who study language and culture are few left in both Italy and Greece. The great and important work was done by the first scholars, Morosi, Parlangeli, G. Hadjidakis, Tsopanakis, Kapsomenos, Karatzas, Karanastasis and others, who collected the language from the mouths of ordinary people, because it was oral, the people who spoke it were illiterate . They recorded it and studied it, to reach the conclusion that it is an unbroken continuation of the language of Great Greece. The diaries of Apulia and Calabria from 1994 to 2015 are a small contribution to the preservation of this culture, the preservation of memory for future generations."

But not only the people, their language, their attitudes are lost, but also the monuments, always living witnesses of life. The passage of time, the interventions of people, the destruction done to the Byzantine churches by the Latins, when they took them into their hands after the departure of the Byzantines from Italy in 1071, created enormous damages. But even in recent years, especially in the 60s, churches were demolished in the countryside in order to get a subsidy to build a new house. But we must also mention the indifference to their protection even by the competent state agencies, when important frescoes of the 9th and 10th c. they are in caves exposed to any vandalism. Also, it was poorly maintained by responsible, supposedly, maintainers. Samples-witnesses of the poor maintenance can be found in the author's book. After all this, one can, I think, imagine the future of this civilization, which cries out loudly, calls for help and there is no doctor to heal it. The future will lie in its past in books.

Twenty-one years of painstaking and passionate research by the author. Every day, every step, every encounter, every narrative, every myth and story, faces, monuments, adventures, poetry, a whole world, a unique multifaceted culture, cries out magically, asks for help, the rescue of memory...

The book also comes with a CD. The author, in addition to her camera and notebook, also had a tape recorder where she recorded her meetings with ordinary people, the lullabies, the conversations with great people who recorded their experiences, the music, the parties, the tarantellas. All these (54 files lasting over 5 hours) Fotini Kaimaki wanted to adapt to the book with a CD, because they document what the book contains and because she did not want to remain in obscurity or lose this great live material, which saves the ,what has already been lost and what is being lost.

That is why the book On the Wing of Travel is a document of culture. Hundreds of crypts, rocky churches, brilliant monasteries, copy offices of ancient Greek authors. Dozens of saints and hermits in the Thebaids of Calabria, and a people who for centuries defended their Greek language, defended their faith for six centuries, after the departure of the Byzantines.

Twenty-one years of painstaking and passionate research by the author. Every day, every step, every encounter, every narrative, every myth and story, faces, monuments, adventures, poetry, a whole world, a unique multifaceted culture, cries out magically, asks for help, the rescue of memory...

Source: diastixo.gr

With the wing of travel
The diaries of Apulia and Calabria 1994-2015: Persons, monuments, language, popular culture
Fotini Kaimaki

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