Category Archives: Romania

Wild Carpathia 4 fundraising a success!

CaptureFilming is to start immediately on Wild Carpathia 4. The target of £50,000 has been reached. A big donation of over Euro 20,000 was made by a Romanian country club and its members over the weekend which accelerated the funds towards the goal.

Thank you to all of you who follow the blog for your contributions. I am sure Paddy would have been pleased.

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Please consider supporting Wild Carpathia 4

Over seventy people have now backed the funding of the next Wild Carpathia film, White Carpathia, and many came from this site. They have pledged over £9,000, but much more is needed to meet the target of £50,000 over the 25 days left for fundraising.

As we saw with the shooting of Cecil the Lion in Zimbabwe in July, wildlife and habitats all over the world are in danger from thieves, poachers, corrupt officials, and frankly the rich trying to enrich themselves even further or taking what they think they can buy. This is our collective heritage and no-one has the right to take it away from us. The countryside of Romania, and the Carpathians in particular which are rich in native trees and wildlife including wolves, European bear, lynx and deer, are true gems with a complex eco-system which need to be preserved and managed to provide income for local people. What is happening there now with the illegal destruction of the pristine forest is not management but rape.  It is theft, aided and abetted by corrupt officials and locals who just need a job.

Please consider giving something to this cause to ensure that the film is made, which can only add to the common understanding of the the beauty and value of this land that Paddy loved possibly even more than Greece. Raising awareness leads to raised pressure on politicians and authorities to do more. A small donation now may make a big difference.

You can pledge anything from a few pounds to as much as you like at the Kickstarter site here. Thank you.

Read more here.

Help to fund Wild Carpathia 4

After a glorious few weeks enjoying Italy, its food, landscape and sites, I am returned and will get some interesting posts up on the blog. First up is an appeal to help fund the fourth in the wonderful series Wild Carpathia which will be set in winter and called White Carpathia. Charlie Ottley and the crew are looking for £50,000 to produce the film expected to be released in summer 2016. If you love Romania as much as Paddy did (and I do) then please consider helping via the Kickstarter page where Charlie makes a very impassioned plea for your support surrounded by beautiful images of Romania. Together, let’s make this happen!

Here’s what Charlie says on Facebook:

Hello everyone and……help!. We need to make another Wild Carpathia urgently – to promote the beauty of Romania through the winter, and show the world what an amazing country this is, any time of the year, especially given recent bad press like The Romanians Are Coming on UK’s Channel Four. In light of further illegal logging and the recent scandal involving Schweighofer we must again highlight the plight of Europe’s last great forest.

We also need to protect the cultural heritage of Romania’s rural areas, by encouraging, Eco-tourism, sensitive development and modernisation. The film we must make to help do this, will be seen by millions of people across the world (the previous episodes had over 3 million hits online) and screened first on Romanian national television. We have half the money from foreign donors. Help us raise the other half so this can be a film for Romania by Romania, something we can all be proud of. Even a few euros each will make a big difference. And please forward this post. if you and your friends all contribute, we can make this happen – together. Click on the following link and go to our Kickstarter Campaign.

Enjoy the previous films here on You Tube.

Episode One: Wild Carpathia

Episode Two: From the Mountains to the Sea

Episode Three: Wild Forever

Preserving the best of Romania: Charlie Ottley and Jessica Douglas-Home on Pro TV

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Watch this inspiring interview with Charlie Ottley, presenter of the Wild Carpathia series, and Jessica Douglas-Home, President of The Mihai Eminescu Trust, to find out why Romania’s heritage, natural landscape and areas of wilderness are so special and need protecting.

An interview on Romanian TV in English where Charlie and Jessica discuss the importance of preserving Romania’s wilderness and cultural heritage.

In one generation all the forests of Romania may be gone.

Watch the interview here

Jessica Douglas-Home la ProTV from Mihai Eminescu Trust on Vimeo.

Salmagundi Magazine special feature on Patrick Leigh Fermor

Paddy at BaleniI am grateful to Marc Woodworth for sending me this feature about Paddy posted in Salmagundi Magazine.

It includes excerpts from three essays:

  • Joanna Kavenna on memory and the past in A Time of Gifts
  • George Prochnik on Byzantium and style in Mani
  • Bina Gogineni on exoticism in The Traveller’s Tree

Plus exclusive online contributions from Nick Delbanco, Nick Delbanco, our very own Nick Hunt (Following Fermor in Romania)
and a Micro-Anthology selected by Michael Ondaatje, Thomas de Waal, Michael Gorra, Andrew Eames and photographs of Kövecses by Andrew Hillard.

Download the pdf here … salmagundi magazine

Go east – the people get nicer, even if their dogs get nastier

Artemis Cooper’s review of Nick Hunt’s ‘Walking the Woods and the Water’. Hunt retraces the footsteps of Patrick Leigh Fermor across the suburban wastelands of Holland to the woods of Transylvania.

by Artemis Cooper

First published in The Spectator 10 April 2014.

When Nick Hunt first read Patrick Leigh Fermor’s account of his youthful trudge across Europe in A Time of Gifts and Between the Woods and the Water, he knew ‘with absolute certainty’ that one day he would make that journey himself. When I embarked on Patrick Leigh Fermor’s biography, I made an equally firm resolve that I wouldn’t walk a step of it. Paddy’s books had left me with a vision of a timeless Europe suspended somewhere between memory and imagination, and I didn’t want that vision distorted by layers of personal impressions.

But to Hunt the books posed a question. Eighty years on, was there anything left of the ‘gifts’ Paddy had enjoyed in prewar Europe? Was there still room enough for wildness, freedom and spontaneous hospitality? In this moving and profoundly honest book, the answer is ‘yes’.

Hunt was in his late twenties when he set out from London, and he got off to a bad start. In Holland and Germany he was obliged to walk for miles on tarmac, under motorways and across industrial and suburban wastelands. He had done no prior training — after all Paddy hadn’t, and what was more natural than walking? The result was tendonitis so severe that he was laid up for a week in Ulm, cursing his stupidity and looked after by a couple called Dierk and Dora.

He found that the kindness of strangers — who included musicians, caretakers, house-painters and Buddhist soap-makers —  was an ever recurring miracle. And like the grandees Paddy met, Hunt’s benefactors contacted their friends and relatives, urging them to help the traveller too. He found these guardian angels online, through the Couch Surfing network. Their website is designed to weed out loonies, but it still requires a high level of trust — a trust that was never misplaced. His hosts gave him food and drink, took him to the pub, lent him their laptops — and not once did he feel uncomfortable or threatened by them. At the same time, Hunt was more willing than Paddy to brave the elements. He often slept in the open, twice in sub-zero temperatures; and he became expert at ‘castle-squatting’ — finding snug holes in ancient walls.

As he walked on, the industrial sprawl gave way to landscapes that Paddy would have recognised. Hunt is often haunted by the ‘unimaginable inhumanity that lay between his walk and mine’, but at the same time many things remained startlingly similar. Swapping cigarettes is still a great ice-breaker; the sheepskin coats and cross-gartered moccasins were gone, but in a bar one morning Hunt could see that all the men there had known each other since childhood, and worked in adjoining
fields. Hungary still mourned the loss of Transylvania like an amputation, and still hated the Romanians. Just like Paddy, Hunt was told that the moment he entered Romania he would be attacked by bears, gypsies, wolves and thieves. But as the author observes, people became nicer as he travelled eastwards, although their dogs got nastier.

Hunt is not Paddy, and never pretends to be. Baroque architecture and princely lineage leave him cold, and he never plunges into historical speculation or conjures fantasies out of thin air. But one of the most moving passages in the book tells of his meeting with Ileana Teleki, the great-granddaughter of Count Jeno Teleki, one of Paddy’s hosts in Transylvania. With her, he visits a number of the country houses described in Between the Woods; but now they are gutted, abandoned or used to shelter those who would never recover from the experience of being a Romanian orphan: ‘Traumatised children,’ writes Hunt, ‘housed in the ruins of a traumatised culture.’

The reader familiar with Paddy’s oeuvre will find that something of him has rubbed off on Hunt, which is hardly surprising: he took no other books on the journey, and he feels intimately connected to his predecessor. So in walking through the wooded Pilis Hills, or in watching for changes in physiognomy as he crosses from one territory to another, he is — consciously or unsconsciously — paying homage to Paddy by absorbing his way of looking at things.

At the same time, I’ve learnt so much from the vivid way Hunt describes the physiological effects of trudging on for month after month. Sometimes it brings a sense of unlimited freedom, sometimes joy, sometimes an extraordinary, dreamlike 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 embarking on his journey, 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.

Walking the Woods and the Water by Nick Hunt

Nicholas Brearley, pp.336, £10.99, ISBN: 9781857886177

Walking the Woods and the Water – Nick’s book cover revealed

Walking the Woods and the Water

Walking the Woods and the Water

After a lot of labour, a change of publisher and book title, Nick’s book is finally to be published by Nicholas Brealey Publishing in March. Many of you will remember that two years ago Nick walked Paddy’s great trans-European walk, taking about the same time, using only Paddy’s books as a guide, and visiting many of the houses he stayed in en route.

Nick wrote to me saying “The cover has been designed and I’m very pleased to tell you it’s by Ed Kluz, the same artist who did The Broken Road. Looks very different of course, and not (as I was worried it might) overly derivative of the style of Paddy’s books. But a nice continuity.”

It will be interesting to see what you all think about that. As soon as I have further news I will update you. I do know that Nick will be giving some talks to support the publication and I will pass on these details as soon as I have them.