The great travel classic, first published in 1977 and recounting an epic journey of nearly 50 years before. A John Murray Journey.
INTRODUCED BY JAN MORRIS
'[This] gloriously ornate account of that epic journey is a classic' ROBERT MACFARLANE
'The feeling of being lost in time and geography with months and years hazily sparkling ahead is a prospect of inconjecturable magic.'
In 1933, aged eighteen, Patrick Leigh Fermor set out on his 'great trudge', a year-long journey by foot from the Hook of Holland to Istanbul. Three decades later he wrote A Time of Gifts, the sparklingly original account of the first part of this youthful adventure, which took him through the Low Countries, up the Rhine, through Germany, down the Danube, through Austria and Czechoslovakia, and as far as Hungary.
Alone, carrying only a rucksack and with a small allowance of only a pound a week, Fermor had planned to sleep rough - to live 'like a tramp, a pilgrim, or a wandering scholar' - but a chance introduction in Bavaria led to comfortable stays in castles, and provided a glimpse of the old Europe of princes and peasants.
Hailed as a masterpiece, A Time of Gifts is in part a coming-of-age memoir, but it is also a rich and compelling portrait of a continent that - despite its resplendent domes and monasteries, its great rivers and grand cities - was soon to be swept away by war, modernisation and profound social change.
'Not only is this journey one of physical adventure but of cultural awakening. Architecture, art, genealogy, quirks of history and language are all devoured -- and here passed on -- with a gusto uniquely his' COLIN THUBRON, SUNDAY TIMES
'One of the most romantic books of the twentieth century, Patrick Leigh Fermor's account of a long walk across Europe is also a literary treasure, a rich blend of action and observation' GUARDIAN
Nothing short of a masterpiece - Jan Morris
A treasure chest of descriptive writing - Spectator
Not only is the journey one of physical adventure but of cultural awakening. Architecture, art, genealogy, quirks of history and language are all devoured - and here passed on - with a gusto uniquely his - Colin Thubron, Sunday Telegraph
Every page of this book is distinguished by an image, a metaphor, a flash of humour always original and sometimes as incisive as a laser beam. - Vincent Cronin
A tremendous journey ... and he's fabulous company - Manchester Evening News
This is a traveller's tale at its infectious and informative best; vividly remembered and beautifully written - Church Times
John Murray is doing the decent thing and reissuing all of Leigh Fermor's main books ... But what else would you expect from a publisher whose commitment to geography is such that for more than two centuries it has widened our understanding of the world? - Geographical Magazine
Rightly considered to be among the most beautiful travel books in the language - Independent