The acclaimed travel writer Patrick Leigh Fermor’s youthful journey – as an 18-year-old – across 1930s Europe by foot began in A Time of Gifts, which covered the author’s exacting journey from the Lowlands as far as Hungary. Picking up from the very spot on a bridge across the Danube where his readers last saw him, we travel on with him across the great Hungarian Plain on horseback, and over the Romanian border to Transylvania.
The trip was an exploration of a continent which was already showing signs of the holocaust which was to come. Although frequently praised for his lyrical writing, Fermor’s account also provides a coherent understanding of the dramatic events then unfolding in Middle Europe. But the delight remains in travelling with him in his picaresque journey past remote castles, mountain villages, monasteries and towering ranges.
After his walk across Europe, Patrick Leigh Fermor lived and travelled in the Balkans and the Greek Archipelago. In the Second World War he joined the Irish Guards, became a liaison officer in Albania and fought in Greece and Crete – living disguised as a shepherd in the mountains for two years organizing resistance activities. He was awarded the DSO and CBE, and a knighthood in the 2004 New Year Honours List. He died in June 2011, at the age of 96.
‘A book so good you'll resent finishing it. ’ Sunday Times
‘As full of zest, joy and delight as its predecessor.’ Country Life
A Great Adventure
In late December 1933, Patrick Leigh Fermor set out on foot for Constantinople (as he anachronistically termed it). Recently expelled from school for the unpardonable crime of holding hands with a...Read more
Off All the Standard Maps
The only time I have been to Greece as it appears on the modern map was when I was barely out of short trousers. I went with that indispensable aid to travel, an aunt, and with the idea that I knew...Read more
Robert Macfarlane: ‘When I first read A Time of Gifts I felt it in my feet. It spoke to my soles . . .’
Listen to Robert Macfarlane reading from The Gifts of Reading. Recorded especially for Adventures for Harriet: a 600-mile literary pilgrimage across Europe by foot.Read more