Like many an adventurer, I have picked an unnecessarily complicated route to follow.
Paddy Leigh Fermor hopped on a small ferry from Tower Bridge (yes, directly down the steps from Tower Bridge) all the way to the Hook of Holland in December 1933, and then walked, rode a horse and sailed a little, from there to Istanbul. He took just over a year to complete it (8 December 1933-1 January 1935). I plan to walk his entire route over the next years, a little bit at a time.
His journey, as laid out in A Time of Gifts, follows three major rivers: the Waal, the Rhine and the Danube.
2017 & 2018: Holland to Hungary
The first stage of my adventure, in May 2017, took me from Rotterdam to Budapest, with a couple of train journeys to help me along the way. I joined the ferry at Harwich and disembarked at the Hook of Holland, just as Paddy did all those years before. In September 2017, I returned to Esztergom to walk across the Pilis Hills to Budapest and, in October 2018, travelled between Albertirsa, Cegled, Debrecen and Budapest - having learnt to ride in order to experience a little of the Great Hungarian Plain on horseback.
I walked along the Waal from Rotterdam to Tiel over four days, before hopping on a train to Cologne.
From Cologne, I travelled down the Rhine to Coblenz, before walking for four further days to Bingen, where Paddy spent Christmas Day in 1933.
From Vienna, I walked along the Danube to Bratislava over two days, before travelling by car to Nové Zámky and then walking towards Esztergom. I then travelled by boat for my final stretch, ending my journey in Budapest.
I returned to Esztergom and walked for two days across the Pilis and Visegrád Hills, ending in Csobánka.
Weeks Five and Six
I flew to Budapest and then travelled by train, horse, carriage and tram between Albertirsa - Cegled - Szolnok - Debrecen - Budapest.
2017 route, including DATES AND stops
Sunday 30 April: Ferry from Harwich , UK to The Hook of Holland, The Netherlands
Monday 1 May: Dordrecht, The Netherlands
Tuesday 2 May: Gorinchem, The Netherlands
Wednesday 3 May: Zaltbommel, The Netherlands
Thursday 4 May: Tiel, The Netherlands
Friday 5 May: Cologne, Germany
Saturday 6 May: ALFTER, Germany
Sunday 7 May: Coblenz, Germany
Monday 8 May: Boppard, Germany
Tuesday 9 May: St Goar, Germany
Wednesday 10 May: Bacharach, Germany
Thursday 11 May: Frankfurt, Germany
Friday 12 May: Vienna, Austria
Saturday 13 May: Vienna, Austria
Sunday 14 May: Bad Deutsch-Altenburg, Austria
Monday 15 May: Bratislava, Slovakia
Tuesday 16 May: Nové Zámky, Slovakia
Wednesday 17 May: Esztergom, Hungary
Thursday 18 May: Budapest, Hungary
Friday 19 May: Budapest, Hungary
Saturday 20 May: Return to London, UK
Thursday 7 September 2017: Esztergom, Hungary
Friday 8 September 2017: Dobogóko, Hungary
Saturday 9 September 2017: Budapest, Hungary
2018 route, including DATES AND stops
Saturday 27th October 2018: Albertirsa/Cegled, Hungary
Sunday 28th October 2018: Cegled, Hungary
Monday 29th October 2018: Lajosmisze, Hungary
Tuesday 30th October 2018: Cegled/Debrecen, Hungary
Wednesday 31st October 2018: Hortobagy, Debrecen, Hungary
Thursday 1st November 2018: Debrecen, Hungary
Friday 2nd November 2018: Budapest, Hungary
Saturday 3rd November 2018: Budapest, Hungary
Sunday 4th November 2018: Budapest, Hungary
Monday 5th November 2018: Budapest, Hungary