My Great Walk

My Great Walk

From the Hook of Holland to the Golden Horn of Istanbul

During my gap year, I plan to follow in the footsteps of the travel writer Patrick Leigh Fermor and walk the some 2,500 miles from the Hook of Holland to the Golden Horn of Istanbul over the course of around five or six months. Following a similar course to the route that Leigh Fermor – always known as Paddy – took as an 18 year old in the 1930s, I will no doubt note the similarities and stark differences between two very different portraits of Europe – on the page, a Europe on the eve of war, and in person one in a hyper-interconnected global landscape. However – more importantly – I will meet new people, see new places and explore unencumbered by the restraints of work and home.
It is here that I will write.

Latest stories

Crossing the Great Plain – Part 1: Into the Steppe

My eastern exodus from Budapest was not all that dissimilar to departing Bratislava, a few weeks prior, albeit on a grander, busier scale; the charming backstreets of the old town fell away to the city’s perimeter transport hubs, which soon gave way to clusters of commuting urban centres, complete with brightly coloured communist-era blocks lent new life by the parks, greenery, and the odd...

The Land of the Magyars: Easter in Esztergom and Budapest

By pure happenstance, I arrived in Hungary on the eve of Easter weekend just as Paddy did 90 years ago. Dropping my gear off at the hotel, I headed into town to grab some pulled pork as my celebratory supper. (This was one of the many cravings of the trip thus far. Most of these were frankly ridiculous, such as fish and chips, or American diner food – both of which I was hardly accustomed to back...

Into the Slavic realm: A march across Slovakia

In the small hours, I awoke in the middle of a wind storm: entirely predictable. I had tried my best to keep warm, dry and comfortable, readjusting my prone position on the small bench every 10 minutes or so. After only a few hours of restless sleep, the winds picked up, and I took shelter under the bench itself. I woke at 2:30am to howling winds. I was cold (due in part to sodden clothes) and...

Upper Austria: Returning to the Danube via Salzburg and Linz

On a bridge over the river Saalach I crossed into Austria. I stopped two elderly Austrian ladies in the middle of the bridge who were headed the opposite direction, and they very enthusiastically agreed to photograph the event. Having told them where I had started and where I was headed, they shook their heads in disbelief and began stopping other passersby, relaying the tale.

The Bavarian Heartlands: From Munich into Austria

On the steps of the palace Leaving the minute village of Einsbach the next morning, I wandered around the countryside outside Munich and Dachau for a good few hours. I likely took the least direct route possible, looping around the grassy meadows, slowly zeroing in on the centre of Munich. But the weather was good, and I was approaching the heart of Bavaria: I didn’t care. A rare selfie...

Across the Watershed: From Stuttgart to Munich

Arriving in my hostel in the late afternoon, I set down my bags and headed off into the city. Wandering around for a couple of hours, I found a bench in the centre of town, where I ate my supermarket supper. After a long call with a friend – as was my wont for these next few weeks – I set off back to my hostel. Returning to my dormitory, on the second floor of a block on the edge of the main...

Into High Germany: From Mainz to Stuttgart

Universitätsstadt In the city of Mainz, I reached the central station where I rendezvoused with Ryunosuke, my host for the night. Together, we caught a tram to the outskirts of the city where he lived. After unloading my gear in his room and a much-needed shower, we headed back into town to find some supper and to explore. As the night set in, we ducked into a traditional German Keller restaurant...

Upstream: Koblenz and the Upper-Middle Rhine

My time in Bad Godesberg was largely uneventful. What once was a small town with its own castle on a hill had since been subsumed by the urban expansion of Bonn. The sleeping arrangement that I had procured was certainly the most interesting part; I found myself making camp in a house in the middle of town, the walls of which were filled with Arabic writings and middle-eastern wall ornaments...