Only 18 when he set off in 1933 to walk from Holland to Constantinople, Patrick "Paddy" Leigh Fermor described the sojourn many years later in A Time of Gifts and Between the Woods and the Water. It was during these early wanderings that he started to pick up languages, and where he developed his extraordinary sense of the continuity of history. Whether he is drawing portraits in Vienna or sketching Byron's slippers in Missolonghi, the Leigh Fermor touch is unmistakable, and is well represented in this collection of articles and excerpts from one of Britain's great travel writers.
"What is charm? In Leigh Fermor's case it is an infinite curiosity about other people. He treats Bulgarian peasants and English dukes exactly alike.... Paddy Leigh Fermor has lived one of the great picaresque lives of the 20th century. Yet his achievement is to be what he is—even more than what he has done. This collection beautifully illustrates both.... Paddy draws the reader, like his huge acquaintance, into instant intimacy. Paddy Leigh Fermor—war hero, linguist, adventurer—is at heart a great storyteller."—Sunday Telegraph (London)