Patrick Leigh Fermor!!/Ο Βρετανός Ελληνας

Envy is not a proper sentiment when one reads an obituary!
But this is exactly how I felt when I finished reading dozens of posts about Sir Patrick Leigh Fermor. I confess I envied him his full and interesting life,his daring,his charm,his books,his adventures and his travels.
 I felt like standing up and saluting this extraordinary British,who fell in love with Greece and had been described as a cross of James Bond, Indiana Jones and Graham Green!!

Σχετικά απαρατήρητη πέρασε η "αναχώρηση" του Πάτρικ Λή Φέρμορ,του τελευταίου μιας γενιάς ιδιόρρυθμων Βρετανών που ταξίδεψαν,πολέμησαν,αγάπησαν,έμαθαν,κινδύνεψαν και έγραψαν με απαράμιλλη τέχνη.
Πέθανε πριν απο λίγες μέρες στην Αγγλία πλήρης ημερών,εμπειριών και αγάπης. Ηταν 96 ετών!

I was just 17 when I read his book "Mani". Despite being Greek ,it took an Englishman to teach me what an amazingly magical region Mani was/is. I owe him a huge "thank you" for this and another one for showing me that a travel book can be a masterpiece.
So let me tell you about PLF.
Born in England, he had been send to a school for "difficult children".He never made it to a college or University,allegedly for liking girls too much ;) One of his teachers-probably in a prophetic trance-stated in his report that this boy was "a dangerous mixture of sophistication and recklessness"...an interesting and charming combination if you ask me!  In 1933,  Patrick, 18 years old, took a small bag with some clothes  and two books of poetry and walked the entire length of Europe,
 from Holland to Constantinople/Istanbul!!! It took him 18 months!
In Athens he fell in love with a Romanian princess/painter and lived with her until the outbreak of WWII.Meanwhile he had been recruited by the British secret services. He was the ideal candidate: He spoke many languages perfectly, including German, Greek and Latin, he was charming, a true Renaissance man, daring, devil-may-care and clever.

Στα 18 του, το 1933,διωγμένος απο το σχολείο λόγω ερωτικών περιπετειών με την κόρη του τοπικού μανάβη,πήρε ενα σακίδιο και δύο βιβλία ποίησης και περπάτησε από την Ολλανδία ως την Κωνσταντινούπολη (πού επίμονα αρνήθηκε όλη του τη ζωή αποκαλέσει Ιστανμπούλ). Λάτρεψε την Ελλάδα-αρχαία και νεώτερη-και κάθε τι Βυζαντινό.
Στην κατεχόμενη Κρήτη έζησε δύο χρόνια με τους αντάρτες στα βουνά,με το ψευδώνυμο Φιλεντέμ,από το παραδοσιακό τραγούδι πού τόσο αγαπούσε. Οργάνωσε και εκτέλεσε την απαγωγή του Γερμανού στρατηγού Κράιπε, με τον οποίο μάλιστα,κάποια στιγμή στα χιονισμένα βουνά όπου κρύφτηκαν, αντάλλασσαν στα Λατινικά στίχους του Οράτιου
Τον περιέγραψαν σαν ενα μίγμα Τζέημς Μπόντ,Ιντιάνα Τζόουνς και Γκράχαμ Γκρήν!!

During WWII he parachuted in Nazi occupied Crete, where he lived for 2 years in the mountains with the Greek resistance army. His nick name was "Filedem" from a Cretan love song he liked to sing. In Crete he organized and executed the abduction of the German commander of the island, General Kreipe.
After many hardships, Patric ,the General and a group of rebels found themselves hiding in the snow caped mountains of Crete,while the Germans were looking for them. Kreipe whispered some verses from Horace in Latin. Patric heard and answered with the next five stances of the same poem. What a guy!!!
Patric Leigh Fermor and General Kreipe met 28 years after the abduction in a Greek TV show and started a lively conversation in Greek/German/English. Operation General Kreipe was made into a book and a Hollywood film in 1957 with the same title
"Ill met by moonlight".

The song he took his nomme de querre from, Filedem.

After the war he settled down and his literary talent bloomed. He became one of the best travel writers of the 20th century.
"To him an acre of land in almost any corner of Europe was fertile ground for the study of language, history, song, dress, heraldry,military custom-anything to stimulate his mometous urge to speculate and extrapolate.If there is ever room for a patron saint of autodidacts,it has to be Paddy Leigh Fermor",
wrote The Guardian.

Τα ταξιδιωτικά του βιβλία τον καθιέρωσαν ως εναν απο τους σημαντικότερους συγγραφείς του είδους. Τού χρωσταω το πολιτιστικό σόκ πού έπαθα όταν πρωτοδιάβασα, εφηβη,την υπέροχη "Μάνη", Ενας Εγγλέζος μου έδειξε ενα κομμάτι της πατρίδας μου που έως τότε αγνοούσα!!!
Ο Πάτρικ Λή Φέρμορ άφησε το σπίτι πού έχτισε στην Καρδαμύλη στο Μουσείο Μπενάκη και στην Ελλάδα μιά ακριβή κληρονομιά: Τη "Μάνη" και την "Ρούμελη".
Διαβάστέ τα.

In war time Cairo he met Joan and with her support and love he made his dream come true: They built a house in Kardamyli-Mani and settled there in 1964. He was described as the perfect host, the best conversationalist of his time and a really warm hearted person.
He loved Greece with a quite passion and Greece loved him in return!
He died peacefully in England a few days ago, aged 96!!
For more information about PLF and his marvellous books in this


  1. And once again, ladies and gentlemen, Desi hits one out of the ballpark! *jumps up and down cheering*

    This was a great read. I think you can figure out by the books that I have been reading lately, that I love biographies. What you may not know is that I am crazy about travelogues as well, so you have just introduced me to another author to investigate. This handsome man certainly had a full, rich life, and I would like to read the story of his life now. Also, thank you for the link! I took a quick peek and when I have time to read it, I will certainly enjoy it.

    BTW, great images (the bottom one...OMG!!) and I loved the music and the YouTube show! :)

  2. I just read a report of his funeral in the patrickleighfermor-wordpress blog. I love the title: In constant celebration of being alive!!!
    I'm so glad you liked the post! :) It is so difficult to find travelogues that have the magic power to "take" you there...

    PS The British have an uncanny flair in writting obituaries and describing funerals! Hats off!!