Nick Hunt has written a glorious book, rich with insight and wit, about walking his way both across and into contemporary Europe. He set out as an homage to Patrick Leigh Fermor's legendary tramp across Europe in the early 1930s, but his journey became - of course - an epic adventure in its own right. A book about gifts, modernity, endurance and landscape, it represents a fine addition to the literature of the leg.
With Walking the Woods and the Water, Mr. Hunt has created an illuminating addition to what the travel writer Robert Macfarlane calls 'the literature of the leg'. The shepherds and the fishermen are long gone, but Mr. Hunt controls his nostalgia and avoids mimicking Leigh Fermor's flamboyant style. Still, his inspiration rubs off, like the skin on Mr. Hunt's feet.
This moving and profoundly honest book sometimes brings a sense of unlimited freedom, sometimes joy, sometimes an extraordinary, dream-like dislocation: always accompanied by a dazzling sharpness of hearing and vision. I see now how that youthful walk informed so much of Paddy's style. Before setting out Hunt was going to write to Paddy. The letter was never written, and by the time he set off, Paddy was dead. How touched and fascinated he would have been to read this book.
Vivid and hard-won.
In his 2,500-mile journey, which took him through eight countries, he nearly froze to death and he had had innumerable encounters with the kindness of strangers. Hunt's narrative mixes description elegantly with reportage.
An effective, no, beautiful accompaniment to Fermor's own books.
Hunt went in search of a good old-fashioned adventure and his vivid off-the-beaten-track encounters are coupled with personal anecdotes and an indomitable spirit.
With Walking the Woods and the Water, Hunt succeeds in honoring his predecessor. With elegant language, he describes the landscape, the people and culture, and his own perspective, offering an exquisite picture of his walk. Travelers and hikers will feel the itch to move when reading his gorgeous prose.
Deliciously lyrical. A very enjoyable read.
Delightful, balanced and extremely well-written...an impressive and timely effort. A worthy literary tribute to the classic of British travel writing.
Although I've read both Nick's book and Leigh Fermor's I have to say, I enjoyed Nick's much more. Nick writes more like a contemporary travel-writer where personal experience and anecdotes take priority. Nick's book is much more accessible, while also inspiring a sense of wonder in his readers at his fantastic feat of walking such a great distance with so little in the way of resources. While the style of writing may be different, the adventurous and resourceful spirit is the same, and for modern readers, Nick's book will I think be more enjoyable than Leigh Fermor's.
A most enjoyable read and a worthy tribute to the originals.
Walking in the footsteps of Patrick Leigh Fermor from Rotterdam to Constantinople, Nick Hunt found that, 78 years later, everything and nothing has changed.
A brave achievement. Hunt's admiration for his celebrated predecessor is clear, and his curiosity is compelling.