Patrick Leigh Fermor

Overall Rating: 10
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Author: Patrick Leigh Fermor
Title: A Time of Gifts / Between the Woods and the Water
Time: 1933-34
Destination: from Amsterdam to the Iron Gates
Length: 2 years
Type: walking
Rating: 10/10

A youthful old man

The story: PLF is only eighteen years old when he decides to take a walk through Europe – all the way from Amsterdam to Constantinople (Istanbul). He walks for one year, picks up languages, talks to locals, learns about history, and keeps a meticulous diary.

young Patrick Leigh Fermor walks, old Patrick Leigh Fermor writes

And then the diaries get lost in the war. They get found again much later, and PLF decides to use them to write three books about his journey. The first two have been published in 1977 (from Amsterdam to the Middle Danube) and in 1986 (from the Middle Danube to the Iron Gates) – but readers around the world are still waiting for the third volume (the one from the Iron Gates to Constantinople). So, what about the first two parts that we have here?

refined and knowledgeable

They can be summarized in one word: awesome. You probably already know how much admiration I have for Michael Holzach. This guys is equally awesome, only in a slightly different way. To me, PLF seems as refined and knowledgeable as Michael Holzach is raw and intense. PLF’s writing might seem lengthy at first (hundreds and hundreds of pages), but it rarely ever gets boring. Instead it is abundant with personal stories and historical details instead.

the spirit of youth

And the best thing about it all: even though PLF wasn’t young anymore when he published these two books, they still have that certain fragrant fragrant of youth that makes reading them so much more worthwhile. Get them! Don’t hesitate.

An unquestionable 10/10.

2 thoughts on “Patrick Leigh Fermor”

  1. I recommend “Stranger in the Forest, On Foot Across Borneo” by Eric Hansen, which is #50 on the following list.
    I’ve read “Borneo” at least three times in the last 25 years. The book resonates with me because I traveled in Borneo for one month in 1978, the same year as the author. I walked with guides from the Kemena River to the Rejang River, one of the best trips of my life. Great video! Good travels.


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