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55 of 56 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Simply wonderful
This is the sequel to 'A Time of Gifts', and continues the young Leigh-Fermor's walk through the length of 1930s Europe. Here we start from where the previous book left off, at the border into Hungary, and continue through until the Iron Gates border between Rumania and Bulgaria. I immensely enjoyed 'A Time of Gifts', and this book is the perfect companion to it. It is a...
Published on 11 Sep 2002

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10 of 12 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Between lost note books and a hazy memory.
Patrick Leigh Fermor is a legendary prose stylist, and his territory is the pre-war world of Central and Balkan Europe which was dredged to destruction first by the Nazis and then by the Communists.
Fermor is candid in that he says " a trunk containing much material " went missing during the Second World War and that he lost some more, when he was torpedoed during...
Published on 28 Nov 2009 by John Irons-patterson


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55 of 56 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Simply wonderful, 11 Sep 2002
By A Customer
This is the sequel to 'A Time of Gifts', and continues the young Leigh-Fermor's walk through the length of 1930s Europe. Here we start from where the previous book left off, at the border into Hungary, and continue through until the Iron Gates border between Rumania and Bulgaria. I immensely enjoyed 'A Time of Gifts', and this book is the perfect companion to it. It is a seamless mix between the world seen through the eager eyes of the nineteen-year-old Leigh Fermor, and a wealth of historical, geographical, linguisitc, and anthropological information, which must have taken most of the intervening decades for him to research. The one drawback of the book is the envy it is bound to create in the reader -- envy of his ability to take a journey such as this in a time now past, and envy (for those who also try to write) at the magnificent prose with which he has captured his memories. Patrick Leigh-Fermor's place in the ranks of the great writers of travel literature is already firmly established, and this is surely one of his finest. If reading this book doesn't inspire you to embark on a journey of your own, then I can only suggest you read it again, only this time with your eyes open.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Central & E Europe before the catastrophe of WWII, 5 Oct 2008
By 
D. Thomas (Devon, England) - See all my reviews
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I read both of Fermor's books of his trek from UK towards Instanbul in sequence, and enjoyed both hugely. It was a great pity he never produced the projected 3rd volume! This (2nd) volume covers his travels through Hungary and Romania, largely by being befriended by local people and being in turn passed on to their friends, so he had the enormous luck of not only their open-handed hospitality but also of their local knowledge. Many of these characters are compelling: I especially loved the studious land-owner who opened the conversation by asking what was Fermor's special research topic. He was clearly disapproving that the 19y old had not got one, and was only mollified by his evidently wide classical reading. Fermor writes perceptively and sympathetically, but his beguiling account is bittersweet as one knows that he is describing a region and people who are on the brink of the horrors of WWII and the dead hand of prolonged totalitarianism. The book ends with an exciting ferry ride through the Danube's Iron Gates gorge - which seemed so spectacular that I decided to visit the place asap, only to discover that it had since been submerged by a dam put up in later more utilitarian times!
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Sheer density of description is amazing, 22 Aug 2012
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This review is from: Between the Woods and the Water: on Foot to Constantinople from the Hook of Holland - The Middle Danube to the Iron Gates (Paperback)
While precise memories of events must have faded in the fifty years between the journey and the book, the context benefits from the breadth and depth of the man's reading. It made me want to read all his other books (done that) but also to read all that he has read (no chance). I have never come across a better descriptive writer. My son, who is a well read engineer and a harsh critic of pretty much everything, was impressed with this quality. In one of his other books, about the Mani, he mentions, in discussing his home there, that every home should have at least two shelves of reference books. I bet he had a lot more than that.

Buy it, read it, and then go buy his other books.
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15 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A great classic - and much more, 22 Jun 2008
Leigh Fermor's great classic is extraordinary. His language is immensely beautiful, but I believe that the secret to understand the book is that he is actually painting pictures with words. There are some great set pieces in this second volume such as the Easter ceremonies in Hungary, his unforgettable aristocratic hosts and the chateau life he began to lead after Munich while still camping out from time to time. His descriptions of those country houses, and their denizens, particularly once he crosses into Romania, are like small jewels.

The great glory of this book is the trip he makes in Transylvania: it shows a world which no longer exists (Romanian, Hungarians, Swabians etc all living together in one area) and makes one wish to go there immediately.

Leigh Fermor is a polymath and the book is not really travel literature at all, or if it is, it is of a totally different order to anything I have ever read.

Will Leigh Fermor write the promised third part of the great trilogy?
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars brilliant follow up to a time of gifts, 27 Dec 1999
By A Customer
To enhance the wanderlust yet again in a similar fashion to that seen in "A Time of Gifts" would take an author of great integrity and ability - Leigh Fermor manages once again. Possibly the best travel writer of the 20thC. PLF takes us on not only a journey but also on an adventure in philosophy, history and art. YOU MUST READ IT!!!!!!!!!!!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Immensely enjoyable!, 27 Sep 2008
By 
Mr. DAVID Geer "Korngold Fan" (Sydney Australia) - See all my reviews
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As one reviewer said it makes you envious of a vanished time and life style otherwise immensely enjoyable!
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11 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Magical, 22 Jan 2001
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I can only reiterate what the previous reviewer has written, you must read this book.
'Between the Woods and Water' is part two in the triology recounting PL-F's walk in 1933 from Holland to Istanbul. This book is an utter delight, the author must rank as one of the greatest travel writers alive.
There is so much charm, poetry and delight within these pages that it would be a tragic shame to miss out on them.
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10 of 12 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Between lost note books and a hazy memory., 28 Nov 2009
By 
John Irons-patterson (Vienna, Austria) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Between the Woods and the Water: on Foot to Constantinople from the Hook of Holland - The Middle Danube to the Iron Gates (Paperback)
Patrick Leigh Fermor is a legendary prose stylist, and his territory is the pre-war world of Central and Balkan Europe which was dredged to destruction first by the Nazis and then by the Communists.
Fermor is candid in that he says " a trunk containing much material " went missing during the Second World War and that he lost some more, when he was torpedoed during his SOE activities off Crete. The book was written over fifty years after the described events, and although it's a sweet book, it doesn't carry the conviction of the first book in the series "A Time of Gifts ", which is altogether more vivid.
"Between the Woods" is a good read, especially if you live and travel in Central Europe as l do. The Fermor style is there,but not so prominent as in his other works. The book is entitled "to the Iron Gates " on a journey from the Hook of Holland to Constantinople. The book has a postscript, but Fermor doesn't say if ever reached Contantinople...probably he intended to write a third book concerning the journey, but it's an unfinished and unsatisfactory ending for a travel book.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Serious travel-writing, and completely satisfying, 22 Mar 2014
By 
A Common Reader "Committed to reading" (Sussex, England) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Between the Woods and the Water: on Foot to Constantinople from the Hook of Holland - The Middle Danube to the Iron Gates (Paperback)
In 1933 at the age of 18, Patrick Leigh Fermor set off on an epic walk across Europe. Adolf Hitler had just come to power in Germany and the continent would soon be ravaged by war. Leigh Fermor set of at the end of December with only a small amount of money and carrying a rucksack containing a few possessions.

Although he kept extensive notes about his journey, he didn’t start writing this book until the 1970s and it was first published in 1977, over 40 years after the events described. In the intervening period, Leigh Fermor had become a war hero (kidnapping a German Commander in Crete) and an established travel-writer. A Time of Gifts has none of the signs of immaturity one might expect of a teen-aged traveller although I suspect that even at 18 he already showed many of the qualities that would be evident in his later work.

Not many people would choose to set off on such an epic journey in the middle of winter, but Leigh Fermor embarked on a Dutch steamer sailing from Tower Bridge to the Hook of Holland in mid-December. Wearing an ex-army great-coat and hob-nail boots, he disembarked in Rotterdam and began his trudge across Europe in the flat lands of Holland, walking along the polders and canals in a bitterly cold east wind.

He entered Germany a few days later with some trepidation. Years of anti-German propaganda dating from the First World War had conditioned Patrick to expect a certain image of the German people; “the bristling paterfamilias, his tightly buttoned wife, the priggish spectacled children and the odious dachshund reciting the Hymn of Hate among the sausages and the beer-mugs – nothing relieved the alien strangeness of these visions”. Experience soon convinced him otherwise however and he writes, “I very soon found myself liking them. There is an old tradition in Germany of benevolence to the wandering young: the very humility of my status acted as an Open Sesame to kindness and hospitality”.

In Cologne, after looking around the famous twin-spired Cathedral, Patrick met up in a pub with a group of barge-men and with the thought of hitching a life on a barge on his journey down the Rhine, ended up being offered a free berth all the way down to Coblenz. His account of the river voyage is magical, the bargees singing Christmas songs accompanied on a mouth-organ while the little towns along the bank slip past, appropriately illuminated for the season.

The German hospitality offered to this poor student traveller is consistently good throughout his journey. Even on Christmas Day in an un-named village near Coblenz, Patrick stopped at an inn for lunch only to be swept up in a huge family party, waking up the next morning on somebody’s sofa with a huge hangover.

As Patrick made his way through Germany he noticed increasing number of Nazi enthusiasts. Generally speaking, the people he met were disdainful about the Nazis and had no love of Hitler. The German people generally had a high regard for Britain, not least because of our Empire and our Navy, which seemed to attract admiring words wherever he went. No doubt a few years later it would have been a different story.

Patrick travelled with very little money in his pockets. Every so often he was able to pick up 4 from a British Consulate, presumably mailed to him by his parents, but usually he relied on very cheap lodging houses and the hospitality of some contacts made in Britain and contacts picked up along the way. Occasionally he was able to find casual work chopping wood or helping out with other mundane tasks, but in Vienna, a new friend called Konrad suggested that he offered his services door-to-door as a sketcher of portraits. At first Patrick was very unsure about this, but egged on by Konrad he found a ready market and found that fifteen minutes with pencil and paper could earn him enough for his evening meal and accommodation. This chapter gives some lovely cameos of German domestic interiors and the people who lived in them.

Overall, this is serious travel-writing, offering a snap-shot of a Europe about to be ravaged by war and enjoying a brief respite of relative prosperity and peace. Readers can only admire Leigh Fermor’s courage in setting out on a journey spanning a continent with so little in the way of resources. His trust in good fortune has been an inspiration to many other young travellers and for someone like me who likes to tie up all the loose ends before he departs on a journey, it represents a very different but much-admired approach.

The book ends with the author in the mid-Danube region of Czechoslovakia. A second volume, Between the Woods and the Water (1986), takes us through to Romania. Leigh Fermor never wrote the third volume which would have described the route to Constantinople. However, a third volume has now been produced by Colin Thubron and Artemis Cooper based on Leigh Fermor’s diaries and was published in September of last year (2013) as The Broken Road,

Readers may also be interested in Artemis Cooper’s biography of Patrick Leigh Fermor, Patrick Leigh Fermor: An Adventure, and also Nick Hunt’s recreation of Patrick Leigh Fermor’s journey documented in his book Walking the Woods & the Water: In Patrick Leigh Fermor’s footsteps from the Hook of Holland to the Golden Horn .
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Patrick Leigh Fermor's second book about his walk from Holland to Constantinople., 3 Dec 2013
By 
Trish. NIBLOCK (Edinburgh Scotland) - See all my reviews
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His books are always thrilling to read whether it is for the poetic descriptions of the places he visits, or the range of knowledge that he gains and then describes for us. He has a gift for languages especially his own but also for numerous other languages that he picks up along the way. As always he meets a variety of people from Counts to fellow students, farmers and great landowners and is made welcome to a variety of homes and sheds!

A marvellous read written by a unique character.
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