A Time of Gifts by Patrick Leigh Fermor

When Patrick Leigh Fermor was about eighteen years old he decided to walk across Europe. That was 1933 and A Time of Gifts is his memories of those days. The trip is set between the world wars; the scars of the first have begun to heal with Fermor's generation coming of age, but both the author and the reader knows in hindsight it will not last for many years more. Fermor walks across the Netherlands and into Germany just when the Nazis has come to power, then onward into an eastern Europe of a kind now gone; then on to the great Danube.

Along the whole journey Fermor makes friends and gets by day by day often through the charity of strangers. The title of the book is well-chosen: it is A Time of Gifts; A time of adventures of the kind I nowadays somehow only think young people can have during those precious years between the innocence of childhood and the caution born from experience.

I found the book very interesting, and have since reading it learned it (as well as its successor) have quite a following among readers of travel literature. Something I can understand.