There is often a debate about Paddy’s ability to recall so much of his journey with accuracy so long after the event and often without his precious notebooks. Benedict Allen put him to the test at the Red Ox Inn in Heidelberg and the Romanian spa resort of Baia Herculene: Paddy passed that test with flying colours.
During one of my recent trips to Cluj I was able to enter the famous Hotel New York (now the Continental) during a small exhibition as part of the Transylvanian Film Festival. Immediately I reached for my copy of Between the Woods and the Water and turned to page 144 …
“An hotel at the end of the main square, called the New York – a great meeting place in the winter season – drew my companions like a magnet. István said the barman had invented an amazing cocktail – only surpassed by the one called ‘Flying’ in the Vier Jahreszeiten bar in Munich – which would be criminal to miss. He stalked in, waved the all clear from the top of some steps, and we settled in a strategic corner while the demon-barman went mad with his shaker. There was nobody else in the bar; it was getting late and the muffled lilt of the waltz from Die Fledermaus hinted that everyone was in the dining room. We sipped with misgiving and delight among a Regency neo-Roman décor of cream and ox-blood and gilding: Corinthian capitals spread their acanthus leaves and trophies of quivers, and hunting horns, lyres and violins were caught up with festoons between the pilasters.”
… and given the costume display, this next paragraph came to life for me as Angéla tries to disguise herself with a scarf Paddy and István suggested it might be better to turn into someone else:
“King Carol, Greta Garbo, Horthy, .. Groucho Marx … Queen Marie, and Charlie Chaplin; Laurel and Hardy, perhaps; one of the two; she would have to choose, but she insisted on both.”