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At the age of eighteen, Patrick Leigh Fermor set off from the heart of London on an epic journey—to walk to Constantinople. A Time of Gifts is the rich account of. A Time of Gifts Patrick Leigh Fermor John Murray £, pp One of the most romantic books of the twentieth century, Patrick Leigh Fermor’s. At the age of eighteen, Patrick Leigh Fermor set off from the heart of London on an epic journey—to walk to Constantinople. A Time of Gifts is.

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He is 19 when he travelled.

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A Time of Gifts by Patrick Leigh Fermor | : Books

I was the only passenger: We have here all the makings of a literary adventure: George Elliot both anticipated and perfectly summed up Leigh Fermor in Middlemarchin the character of Will Ladislaw—another young Englishman with vague literary and artistic ambitions who travels to the continent to bask in the culture: In this book, we learn about their swimming feats, from tackling the km River Eden to setting the world record for swimming in feermor Arctic.

Fermor can’t help but entertain you if you stick with him.

Bratislava and his friend there, Hans, the banker; the last-minute train trip with Hans to Prague in the snow, a backtrack to the only city on his plus mile route he does not enter on foot; his discussion the following morning with the Jewish baker’s Hasidic heritage; the oeigh he’s held at gunpoint on the Austria-Czech border when he’s thought to be a smuggler; his contemplative loitering on the bridge between Ferrmor and Hungary, the Basilica of Esztergom looming overhead, the Danube rushing below.

It can be hard work to read but it’s blazingly evocative of a vanished, perhaps fairytale pre-war Europe. So there is a continual bittersweet tone to gifrs story.

Writing the book decades after the fact, in a baroque style that is always rigorous, never flowery, he was able to inject historical depth while still retaining the feeling of boyish enthusiasm and boundless curiosity. You cannot find better.


May 08, Sherwood Smith added it Shelves: Second of all, it is always fascinating. His vocabulary is vast; he has a solid grasp of art history and a fine appreciation of architecture; he can speak and read several languages; his knowledge of English poetry borders on encyclopedic.

I would certainly have picked up the next two in the trilogy if I wasn’t about to follow Fermor’s example if, it goes without saying, in a less admirable and courageous fashion and going traveling for a while, and thus can only take giant books which will take me a long time to finish. As the final exhibit in my prosecution, I include this snippet patrixk a description from a bar in Munich: Sorry, pattrick blog cannot share posts by email.

Distilling two lifetimes’ knowledge, expert insight and enthusiasm, award-winning authors and passionate naturalists Brett Westwood and Stephen Moss take us through the year, day by day, sharing the unexpected delights that we can experience in our skies, beaches, rivers, fields, forests and back gardens. Even at 18, Fermor had an incredible background in poetry and literature, huge swaths of it memorized even. He was widely regarded as “Britain’s greatest living travel writer”.

I followed his steps on a map of Europe dated Few people living at the time would have regarded the early Thirties as a golden age, nor has posterity been kind to the period that W.

Romantic journey

The river streamed past wooded giftd and when I gazed either way, the seeming water-staircase climbed into the distance. Fermor apparently quoted memorized poetry that the captured soldier also had committed to memory. His host introduces him around as the “English globetrotter,” which PLF resents.

The place should have been lit by pine-torches in stanchions. The lights on either beam had become scarcer but one could pick out the faraway gleam of other vessels glfts estuary towns which the distance had shrunk to faint constellations. Actually, it was more like this: In Austria he fetches up at the schloss of K.

A Time of Gifts by Patrick Leigh Fermor

Grand architecture to wax poetic about in a sensory-overloaded, vertigo-inducing manner. To have been able to explore this last fragment of pre-modern Europe — Germany before it was turned to ash, Central Europe before fifty years of a Soviet yoke!


He did keep a travel diary though he lost the first one, when he left his backpack at a youth hostel in Munich for a day, after having met a pair of schoolgirls who took him in so th It took me a long time to comprehend history as a palimpsest. All of a sudden, this was not merely the obvious, but giffts only thing to do.

Indeed, much as I appreciated it, I struggled to stick with it. In Germany Hitler had recently come to power but most of his abuses were not yet evident. Much has been written about him since his death, and each of his books has feemor own admirers. Most of the villages and towns are on it. But that the same time this book is so special, so truly unique in your life and also the universe, that to read it is sort of like the time in the Wizard of Oz when it all goes from black-and-white to Technicolor and only truly worthy people deserve moments like that so hifts also want to keep it a secret and never put in the hands germor someone else a book that is maybe the fullest expression of what it is tims be young and alive and human?

A Time of Gifts

Fermor seems to have understood patrlck viscerally, if not yet intellectually, as a teenager dropping out of school in order to walk from Ostend to Constantinople. This is a remarkable book; the account of giftts 18 year old who decides to escape England and walk from the Hook of Holland to Constantinople. From the Hook of Holland to the European culture and history is an open book in his hands and what a wonderful and profoundly strange place it is!

After twenty-five years of conflict, the IRA and the British have agreed an uneasy ceasefire, as a first step towards lasting peace. The landlord asked where I was going: