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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Fermor had a privileged but unconventional childhood, and in at the age of 18, skipped out of an expected career path to walk across Europe to Constantinople. A versatile genius sends volley after volley of fantastic afterthoughts through the great Vitruvian and Palladian structures.

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: This book displays an empathy that is unusual in discussions of that tangled and tragic situation – the kind of empathy that will be essential in arriving at any decent solution to it.

This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers.

A Time of Gifts

Well, to get straight to the point, even by the end of the introduction I found myself disappointed. Sex sells and memoirs and travelogues are best peppered with dysfunction, somehow appealing to modern readers weaned in a world of shrinks and psycho-babble.

Patrick Leigh Fermor Limited preview – Hobnails grated, mugs clashed and the combined smell of beer and bodies and old clothes and farmyards sprang at the newcomer. Hell with the Stockholm Syndrome, an instant bond was created between captor and captive by literature.

A Time of Gifts by Patrick Leigh Fermor

His gifts for languages and history result in musings about Yiddish syntax, Byzantine plainsong, and most memorably the whereabouts of the coast of Bohemia as mentioned by Shakespeare turns out it existed for 13 years but also turns out Shakespeare probably couldn’t have cared lessand much much more.


You, so tender, will always melt hearts. The Czechs have always looked back with longing to the reigns of the saintly sovereign and of his descendants and to the powerful and benevolent Charles IV – a golden age when Czech was the leogh of rulers and subjects, religious discord unknown and the rights of crown and nobles and commons and peasants all intact. Jun 11, Kelly rated it it was amazing Shelves: With A Time of Gifts, Fermor has kind of entered my pantheon of personal heroes.

To change scenery; abandon London and England and set out across Europe like a tramp — or, as I characteristically phrased it to myself, like a pilgrim or a palmer, an errant scholar, a broken knight or the hero of The Cloister and the Hearth! It would be worth it to pick up this book if you are only interested in reading the chapter on Prague!!!!

Romantic journey

All That Matters Camilla Ween. There were moments when every detail seemed the tip of a phalanx of inexplicable phantoms. Maybe one day he will be a Wandering Scholar Like all travel literature, it’s episodic, and you will find your attention spiking in episodes you favor.

He naps in the pilot house and is in snowy Holland in a blink. Nor is this simply the prerogative of the adult writer, usurping the fresh observations of youth with his own literary stylizations. The writing style is fabulous.

Hitler has just come to power but war is still ahead, as he walks through a Europe soon to be forever changed–through the Lowlands to Mitteleuropa, to Teutonic and Slav heartlands, through the baroque remains of the Holy Roman Empire; up the Rhine, and down to the Danube.

He set out in December ofthough he didn’t write up his experiences until the seventies. NetherlandsGermanyAustria…more Hungary…less. View all 4 comments. He describes the people he meets, the generosity, and often in detail the food and the drink. Over the course of three years, starting when he was just 18, he walked from Holland to Constantinople.


Gulls mewed and wheeled overhead and dipped into the lamplight, scattering their small footprints on the muffied cobblestones and settled in the rigging of the anchored boats in little explosions of snow.

I note he waited many years before he wrote of his wanderings. The landlord asked where I was going: He does take one short trip on a barge and another trip by train with a friend to Prague.

A Time of Gifts | Patrick Leigh Fermor

His descriptions of the natural world are very good, especially the arrival of the storks in the spring in Hungary. At that time, after years of rocky performance in various schools, usually because he was an inveterate scamp who could not keep out of trouble, Leigh Fermor received parental permission to undertake a walk from London to Constantinople, up the Rhine and down the Danube, taking with him nothing but his Patrick Leigh Fermorone of the most outstanding travel writers of the 20th century, wrote this book indescribing events that occurred when he was eighteen years old, in 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 gifte for a while, and thus can only take giant books which will take me a long time to finish.

From encounters with the curious black redstart, which winters on our rocky coasts, to the tiny green snowdrop shoots that are the first sign that spring might be round the corner.

With one book, Leigh Fermor makes an easy leap into my “favorites. A Time of Gifts: In The Rhine, he sets out by bicycle from the Netherlands where it enters the North Sea, following it through Germany, France and Liechtenstein, to its oof in the icy Alps.

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