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Two Early 20th ct Travel Journals in my Collection

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Recently, I have acquired two interesting travelogues, travel journals from the first half of the 20th ct. I collect interesting materials related to this region and there are stil some pieces that I don’t have but, eventually, I will have the largest collection of Dalmatica. It is just a matter of time.

Travel Journals on Dalmatia

Travel journals dedicated to Dalmatia date all the way to the pilgrimage times when the people of Europe were traveling to the Holy Land but those are hardly journals in the modern way. The proper journals started appearing in the XVIII ct and there were quite a few of them. Most notable are Balthasar Hecquet, Robert Adam, Louis François Cassas, Alberto Fortis, Giacomo de Concina, H. F. Rődlich and Polish Aleksander Sapieha. This is the time when Europe started discovering the “noble savages” of Morlachia and the beauty of the Dalmatian coast. The only way to travel, for most part, was by sea only…

Later, land based journals appeared.

Two Travel Journals from first half of 20th ct.

Recently, I have purchased two interesting travel journals on Dalmatian coast but also the broader region of the Balkans. The fascination with Balkans is present among many writers and this is a fascinating region for sure. In the recent decades, the nations became more homogeneous but that seems to be the everlasting process limiting our cultures. Modern days bring even greater “threat” of globalization and emigration making all the traditions and even languages and dialects in “jeopardy”. I guess that’s how it is supposed to be.

Two Travel Journals
Two Travel Journals

The books are “Motoring in the Balkans” by Frances Kinsley Hutchinson, 1909. and “Balkan Sketches” by Lester G. Hornby from 1928.

Motoring in the Balkans
Motoring in the Balkans
Balkan Sketches
Balkan Sketches

Balkan Sketches has beautiful inside cover, too.

Ex Libris of Balkan Sketches
Ex Libris of Balkan Sketches
Title page of Balkan Sketches
Title page of Balkan Sketches

Balkan Sketches

This books is lovely account of a journey through the Kingdom of Serbs, Croats and Slovenes back in 1928. It is richly illustrated by the author himself.

Travel diary on Diocletian's Palace
Travel diary on Diocletian’s Palace
Balkan Sketches - shepherdess
Balkan Sketches – shepherdess
Balkan Sketches - illustration
Balkan Sketches – illustration

The illustrations are very interesting and the author thoroughly described the journey covering most of the places on the coast but mentioning numerous small places like Podgradje and ruins of Asseria. Descriptions and sketches of life on the Adriatic coast in the late 1920s are still showing a very traditional region with only cities slowly catching up with the modern world happening somewhere far away.

Motoring in the Balkans

Motoring through the Balkan
Girls working in a quarry

It is an account by some of the rare travelers to our region in those days, particularly being impressed by the traditional costumes and the local life. It was all so very exotic to them that one of the travelers even says how he hopes globalization does not reach us!

Book Motoring in the Balkans
Book Motoring in the Balkans
Motoring in the Balkans
Motoring in the Balkans

They were traveling at Easter time so all villages were particularly busy and all the locals were dressed in their most festive attires.

Another valuable part of the book are the photographs. The travelers took A LOT of photos and photographing – or kodacking – was one of the most valuable part of the journal.

Skradin - Motoring through the Balkans
Skradin – Motoring through the Balkans
Klis fortress - Motoring through the Balkans
Klis fortress – Motoring through the Balkans

The book shows great fascination with the region at the edge of civilized Europe but it is also a fascinating document of the times long gone. After 1945., Yugoslavia worked hard on getting rural regions up to date with 20th century and the past war put the final nail in the coffin of traditional village life. Images and customs from this book – now 110 years old – are now just a valuable document.

Crossing Boka - Peasants in Split - Klis fortress - Motoring through the Balkans
Crossing Boka – Motoring through the Balkans

Both books are wonderful accounts of times gone by. Of some other Dalmatia. That we both cherish and try to preserve at least through collecting books, postcards, documents…

I got the books from eBay but one can also order from Amazon or Forgotten Books:
https://www.forgottenbooks.com/en/books/MotoringintheBalkans_10278188

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One Reply to “Two Early 20th ct Travel Journals in my Collection”

  1. These books are so cool! So great that you got them! I will have to try and get them too. Cheers.

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