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Between the Woods and the Water (Trilogy #2)

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4.35 of 5 stars 4.35  ·  rating details  ·  1,301 ratings  ·  162 reviews
Continuing the epic foot journey across Europe begun in A Time of Gifts

The journey that Patrick Leigh Fermor set out on in 1933—to cross Europe on foot with an emergency allowance of one pound a day—proved so rich in experiences that when much later he sat down to describe them, they overflowed into more than one volume. Undertaken as the storms of war gathered, and provi
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Paperback, 280 pages
Published October 3rd 2005 by NYRB Classics (first published 1979)
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(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Eric
Patrick Leigh Fermor relied on a Rhine barge, the odd lorry lift and his own two legs to carry him through Holland, Germany, Austria, Czechoslovakia and Northern Hungary. Now, he’s crossing the Great Hungarian Plain on horseback:

Whenever he got the chance, Malek broke into a canter, and one of these bursts turned into a long twilight gallop...


Back in Budapest, Leigh Fermor had fallen in with a “noctambulistic” smart set (cellar nightclubs, scotch-and-soda, American jazz) whose country-housed,
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Bruce
In this volume Patrick Leigh Fermor continues his account of his walk forty years before from Holland to Constantinople, a walk undertaken when he was less than twenty years old and taking three or four years. When his previous volume, A Time of Gifts, ended, Leigh Fermor had traveled to Budapest and was about to cross Hungary. This book describes his experiences until he arrives at the Iron Gates, the narrows in the Danube River between Rumania and Serbia.

Herein Leigh Fermor continues to demons
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Chrissie
This book follows A Time of Gifts, which was superb. In this part of his travels Patrick Leigh Fermor walks on foot, for the most part, from Budapest to the Iron Gates, a gorge on the Danube River beween Romania and Serbia. His end destination is Constantinople. He does get there, in the last book The Broken Road: From the Iron Gates to Mount Athos and goes even a bit further to Mount Athos in Greece.

Fermor is nineteen when he makes this trip. He did it in 1934. The world is changed now. The wa
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Geoff
The middle leg of Paddy Leigh Fermor’s walk from the Hook of Holland to Constantinople finds him dropping into Hungary on Holy Saturday among the pageantry of elaborately costumed peasants, ornate processionals of gilded clergy, scimitared grandees, the raiment of Archbishops, all imbued with incense, gathering dusk, the drone of organs, and canopied by a horizon of migrating storks and the silvery sheen of the Danube sinking and shimmering into twilight. A typical PLF scene; and nothing is wast ...more
Jim
The travel books of Patrick Leigh Fermor are rare examples of travel writing as literature. I have read four of them to date, including this one, its prequel A Time of Gifts, Mani, and Three Letters from the Andes. This volume is particularly fascinating to me because I am a Hungarian, and this volume covers Patrick's walking tour through Hungary and Romania (most of which was through Hungarian-speaking Transylvania).

A particularly rare feature of this book is a last, lingering look at the old M
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Debra
My favorite travel book of all time. Patrick Leigh Fermor walked across Europe in the 1930s with just a backpack and this eloquent account of what he found along the way is something I read again and again. His descriptions of Hungary and especially of Transylvania are utterly compelling and you wish you had a time machine to join him then. A fine excerpt:
All through the afternoon the hills had been growing in height and now they rolled into the distance behind a steep and solitary hemisphere cl
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Janez Hočevar
If I could, I would rate this book with ten stars!!!!! Patrick Leigh Fermor's book is not just a travelogue, it is a piece of art, a fresco evoking the world, the people and the customs long gone. Patrick Leigh Fermor was lucky indeed to have been the witness to the this civilisation destroyed by the Second World War and its aftermath. His skill, nay the virtuosity of the English language when describing the nature, the people or anything at all-left me speechless. I could literally see the land ...more
carl  theaker
Apr 15, 2010 carl theaker rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommended to carl by: R. Ellis
Shelves: history

Take a stroll across central europe in 1934, along the Danube to the
Iron Gates, what a nice recollection! With its great descriptions of the
countryside, this book would be a great prep for a visit of the Danube area.

If you want to be dedicated, read it with a map by your side and
if you want to go for bonus points also a book on the history of Europe.

Along each stop of the walk there are references to the history of
each town, influences of the various invasions by Turks and the counter
influences
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Newengland
Aug 22, 2011 Newengland rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Elizabeth, Kelly
Recommended to Newengland by: Patrick Leigh Fermor
Like A TIME OF GIFTS (its predecessor), BETWEEN THE WOODS AND THE WATER has moments where the narrative slows down like turgid water eddying in the bend of a river, usually for architectural details or historical asides, but overall the muscular description of nature rules the day and makes the book sing. In fact, this sequel's setting (Hungary, Romania, Transylvania) lends itself to Fermor's strength even more than the first due to the vast swaths of dark forests splintered by sunlight, mist, s ...more
Chris S.
Probably the best (written, at least) travel book I've ever read. If you truly want a worm's eye view of European inter-war society, this is one book that really captures and encapsulates a sense of the fractured, schizophrenic (yet deeply historically aware) nature of what several stratums of society were thinking, felling and experiencing in that great historical pause before the coming of WWII. Highly, highly recommended.
William1
Feb 24, 2015 William1 marked it as to-read
The initial reports are excellent. This volume is extremely well-written, like its predecessor, but without the dense explication, the highflown metaphors, etc. Result: it's much more readable. And one tends to move through it faster. Still reading...
Nigeyb
I revelled in "A Time of Gifts", the first volume in a trilogy that recounts Patrick Leigh Fermor's extraordinary journey, which commenced in 1933, when he was 18 years old, and during which he set out to walk from the Hook of Holland to Constantinople. At the end of "A Time of Gifts" we left Paddy in Hungary, and this is where "Between the Woods and the Water" picks up the journey.

In "Between The Woods And The Water", Paddy travels to Budapest and thence across the Great Hungarian Plain, before
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Eleanor
As beautiful as the first part of the trilogy, "A Time of Gifts". Patrick Leigh Fermor writes exquisitely, and the beauty of his descriptions should be savoured. There is also the occasional reminder of the dreadful future awaiting so many of the people he met along his way in 1934:

"Every part of Europe I had crossed so far was to be torn and shattered by the war; indeed, except for the last stage before the Turkish frontier, all the countries traversed by this journey were fought over a few yea
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Jan
These comments apply to this book and its sequel, "A Time of Gifts."
Puts all other travel books to shame. Patrick Leigh Fermor, a young man at the eve of World War II, traveled across all of Europe by foot, reaching Istanbul after over a year. On the way, he meandered through an ancient world that was soon to be completely destroyed. In this riveting story (put together years after the fact), Fermor gives us a picture of proud peasants and solicitous nobles clinging to a way of life that hadn't
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^
The nine years between the publication of this book (1986) and, “A Time Of Gifts”, (1977) is noticeable. With time apart, it is as if PLF had taken a deep breath, begun to relax, and had warmed to his memories. His poetic descriptions, are, as ever, a challenge to surpass:

“Soon after an interval of silence, sheaves of organ-pipes were thundering and fluting their message of risen Divinity. Scores of voices soared from the choir, Alleluiahs were on the wing, the cumulus of incense billowing …”(p
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Jeremy
While I think I liked A Time of Gifts slightly more, this book really shows off Fermor's formidable skill for untangling the thick morass of central european history and linguistic evolution. And while the dscriptions of what he sees seem to take more of a back seat to the history in this volume, they also seem much richer. His accounts of peasant folk in the carpathians, of their ancient traditions and the wild, oft-ignored forests they dwell in are wonderful, almost as rich as Parajanov's Shad ...more
Dan
If anything, even better than its prequel, A Time of Gifts. In the first book, Paddy Fermor walked every mile & slept mostly in barns, hayricks, and shelters. By the time he got to Hungary, he had charmed several aristocratic families and had gotten introductions to others along the way. His profiles of these Habsburg-era holdovers are vivid pictures of a world that vanished in WW2. Paddy occasionally foresakes shanks mare to ride part of his route on horseback or in an ancient carriage. The ...more
Ffiamma
bel tipo questo patrick leigh fermor, che abbandona l'inghilterra e la scuola e parte a piedi "come un pellegrino, un palmiere o un chierico vagante" alla volta di costantinopoli! questo secondo volume si svolge tra ungheria e romania e racconta un mondo che sarà inesorabilmente cancellato di lì a pochi anni, spazzato via dalla guerra e dagli stravolgimenti successivi. tra natura, città, incontri con persone davvero poco ordinarie, lunghe digressioni storiche, citazioni colte- si cammina e si sc ...more
Adam Floridia
Patrick Leigh Fermor turns memory into art. Except unlike mere beautiful paintings, his art appeals to, nay assaults, all the senses. Unfortunately, I can only spend so long admiring beautiful art in a museum, and I can only withstand so much of an assault on my senses. Add to that the fact that I can withstand far less history. I wish this weren't the case; I wish I loved art and history nearly as much as I would love to love art and history. It's so hard being a wannabe pedant (negative connot ...more
Nicholas Whyte
http://nhw.livejournal.com/952221.html[return][return]Two brilliant, brilliant books of travel writing: the first describes Leigh Fermor's journey on foot through the Netherlands, Germany, Austria and Czechoslovakia in the winter and spring of 1933 and 1934; the second takes him on through Hungary and Romania. They were written respectively forty and fifty years after the events described; the second volume ends with the promise "to be concluded", but it seems now unlikely that Leigh Fermor hims ...more
Andrew
Reading Between the Woods and the Water I found it to be, I'm afraid, something of a poor cousin to A Time of Gifts. Sure, there was plenty of lyrical travel writing, and the sort of dalliances with countesses and nights of abandon among the demimonde of rotting old European capitals and bonhomie with cheery Brueghel peasants to satisfy. But there were also long, stream-of-names digressions into Roman and Habsburgian war history that, as much as they might impress Lord Grantham, bore this impetu ...more
Richard Newton
I have been meaning to read this book for years, having heard about the life of Patrick Leigh-Fermor. And what a life and what a character that lived that life.

The slight problem is that I had such high expectations of this book, that I was in the end slightly disappointed. It is a wonderful story and it is well written. I don't think it is the masterpiece I was expecting. Perhaps I have made a mistake by reading the second volume of the trilogy before the first, but I doubt that would have made
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Nick
An amazing man, Patrick Leigh Fermor, who, at least in these reminiscences, was at home not only riding through Eastern Europe and making camp with Romany but also ounging in castles as the guest of what was left of the local aristocracy. Granted, the latter come off with greater depth than the former, but he spent more time with them. Some of the women in those castles, at least one of which Fermor admitted having an affair with, are rendered with a striking eye, although it is the count who wa ...more
Michael
I've spent many pleasant hours now vicariously strolling across Mitteleuropa in the mid-thirties with Patrick Leigh Fermor. His descriptions are exquisite and his prose wonderfully crafted, although I have to look up more terms descriptive of arcane architectural details than I would like. Between the Woods and the Water, which covers the middle part of his journey from the Hook of Holland to Constantinople, is even more interesting than A Time of Gifts, which covers the first part of his trek, ...more
Carey Combe
Oct 29, 2011 Carey Combe rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Bettie, Hayes, Laura
A wonderful portrait of a vanished world. His trip on foot across Europe apparently bred in Leigh Fermor a love of language and remote places but through his exuberant personality, the wonderful writing, the remarkable range of his learning and the irresistible flow of his descriptive prose made me want to live it too.
Zanna
I was thoroughly lost in the Transylvanian forests.

The greatest value of Fermor's travelogues is perhaps as a document of a vanished world: Europe between the wars. Landscapes political and physical have utterly changed, communities remodelled, migrated or erased. These books are like maps from Atlantis.
Roger
Some time ago I had a look at the first volume of this trilogy, A time of gifts, which you can read about here - the book under review in this post is the second volume of the recollections by a mature Fermor of his walking trip from Belgium to Turkey during the early 1930s, just after he had left school.

The end of the first volume left Fermor walking across the Danube to enter Hungary, and in this volume he leads us through that country and Romania, to the borders of Serbia, and the Iron Gates
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Gary Mill


'Between the Woods and the Water' is the second part of Patrick Leigh Fermor's breathtaking sojourn through Mitteleuropa in the years preceding the devastation of World War Two. As finely honed as the first part ('A Time of Gifts'), this sublime travelogue again demonstrates the exquisite craft of Fermor's elaborate narrative; he is, without question, one of the greatest travel writers of the twentieth century.

As you consume with relish the luxurious banquet of words, there is a continuing sense
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Nooilforpacifists
Even better, and more "literary" than Volume 1, this begins in Hungary and ends at the Danube's Iron Gates. The author becomes more candid about his various affairs with high-born and a few peasant women. And his sentences got longer, but not in an annoying way.

Page 28, describing how they dress in Budapest: "Tigers for turnout."

Page 41: "The few clouds in the clear, wide sky were so nearly motionless they might have been anchored to their shadows." Bless him for not adding the unnecessary "that
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Paul
This is the sequel to A Time of Gifts, and picks up where we left Fermor on the Bridge in Budapest.

In this he carries on in the same manner as before, walking and meeting people, sharing wine and food, and laughter. In the background there is the spectre that is the Nazi party, and he mentions stories of atrocities that are starting to happen to people in Germany.

He spends a few months in Rumania / Transylvania and has an affair with a married woman. And meets those peoples in this complex land
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« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 99 100 next »
  • The Way of the World
  • Patrick Leigh Fermor: An Adventure
  • News From Tartary
  • The Road to Oxiana
  • An Armenian Sketchbook
  • Trieste and The Meaning of Nowhere
  • The Valleys of the Assassins: and Other Persian Travels
  • Black Lamb and Grey Falcon
  • Eastern Approaches
  • A Short Walk in the Hindu Kush
  • Hindoo Holiday
  • The Old Ways: A Journey on Foot
  • Clear Waters Rising: A Mountain Walk Across Europe
  • Eothen
  • The Marsh Arabs
  • Abroad: British Literary Traveling Between the Wars
  • Eastward to Tartary: Travels in the Balkans, the Middle East, and the Caucasus
  • Danube: A Sentimental Journey from the Source to the Black Sea
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Sir Patrick Michael Leigh Fermor DSO OBE was a British author, scholar and soldier, who played a prominent role behind the lines in the Battle of Crete during World War II. He was widely regarded as "Britain's greatest living travel writer".

At the age of 18, Leigh Fermor decided to walk the length of Europe, from the Hook of Holland to Constantinople. He set off on 8 December 1933, after Hitler ha
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More about Patrick Leigh Fermor...

Other Books in the Series

Trilogy (3 books)
  • A Time of Gifts
  • The Broken Road: From the Iron Gates to Mount Athos
A Time of Gifts A Time to Keep Silence Mani: Travels in the Southern Peloponnese The Broken Road: From the Iron Gates to Mount Athos Roumeli: Travels in Northern Greece

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“Scattered with poppies, the golden-green waves of the cornfields faded. The red sun seemed to tip one end of a pair of scales below the horizon, and simultaneously to lift an orange moon at the other. Only two days off the full, it rose behind a wood, swiftly losing its flush as it floated up, until the wheat loomed out of the twilight like a metallic and prickly sea.” 3 likes
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