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Hajar | profile | all galleries >> Art of Jan and Cora Gordon >> Jan and Cora Gordon in Albania and The Balkans tree view | thumbnails | slideshow

Jan and Cora Gordon in Albania and The Balkans

Jan and Cora Gordon's first book told the story of the Serbian retreat during 1915. The account of how the book came to be written and published can be read here: . They returned to the area the following decade and in 1925 published the story of the journey as "Two Vagabonds in the Balkans." See: I own a rare copy of this book, complete with its green dust cover. The cover displays the following enticing text:

"Readers of "Poor Folk in Spain" and their other delightful travel-books know Jan and Cora Gordon as the most accomplished and attractive of artist-vagabonds. They do not travel as others do ; they invariably get away from the beaten track and fraternise instinctively with the people. "Two Vagabonds in the Balkans" is an account of their journey through Bosnia, Herzegovina and Montenegro, and gives a vivid and unforgettable picture of that little-known and picturesque part of Europe. The illustrations are as racy and as full of humour as the text."

Jan and Cora Gordon visited Albania in the summer of 1925 and in 1927 published the book "Two Vagabonds in Albania." See:

Two phrases from this book resonated when I first read it:

"Now and again a wolf howled from far away, and somewhere a kid, lost or smelling some wolf-taint in the air, bleated with persistent terror" pg. 138.


"As we came down into the cultivated fields of the valley we found ourselves walking through clouds of red-winged grasshoppers, which sprang up on all sides with a clattering flight." pg. 139

The book begins with "Don't stay in Durazzo." From Durazzo they made a clockwise loop to the south, passing through Tirana, Elbasan, Berat, Kelcyre, Permeti and Gjinokastro before returning north to Tirana. The second leg of the journey was an excursion to the north, from Scutari up into the mountains.

The second leg of Jan and Cora Gordon's journey in Albania involved a northward excursion from Scutari "to trespass upon the almost unpoached preserves of Miss Edith Durham, whose memory still lingers here." "In the towns they have made her godmother to some back street, but in the country, even in the none too retentive memories of the everyday people, they still call her "Kralitza" or "The Queen."" Edith Durham travelled extensively in the southern Balkans and had written seven books on Balkan affairs. See:
Two vagabonds in the Balkans and Albania.jpg Two Vagabonds in Albania Map.jpg Two vagabonds in the Balkans.jpg JCG Northern Albania route.jpg
Ali hair.jpg Albania journey map.jpg Gjinokastro bazar and mosque.jpg Husband and wife.jpg
In Gjinokastro.jpg In Tirana market.jpg Mustache.jpg Okoli and accursed mountains.jpg
Permeti.jpg Sadri Lukas.jpg Scutari Bazar.jpg Evading the drums.jpg