Exploring cultures and communities – the slow way

Welcome to hidden europe 21. This issue of the travel magazine features Russia's Kaliningrad exclave, Atarazanas market in Málaga, camps of migrants from Africa in Malta, Moldova, the River Thames and more.

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Memories are the angels of history. Take a look at the image on the front cover of this hidden europe. One woman, alone with her memories, standing on the beach at the Russian Baltic seaside town of Svetlogorsk - not far from Kaliningrad.

We visit Russia's Kaliningrad region in this issue of hidden europe, and find communities which are exploring their German past in a way that might not have been possible in the days of the Soviet Union. And we look at other areas that have redefined their Soviet past. We visit the Dniester valley in Moldova and report from the border between Latvia and Estonia. We explore a border area in central Europe too, with an article on the religious heritage of eastern Saxony, Bohemia and Silesia. The Via Sacra showcases some of the best churches in this region.

There is a fluvial theme to this hidden europe. Not just the Dniester, but the Thames too with an account of how Londoners have rediscovered their river in recent years. We also welcome a new edition of a book devoted to the Lot region of southwest France, an area so heavily defined by its rivers.

In the last issue of hidden europe, we looked at the demise of local markets in a Hungarian town. Now we have a more optimistic market story, this time from Andalucía. Markets help define the texture of everyday life in Europe. So too do the beverages that we drink. In this issue we taste a few drinks that are firm local favourites: from Irn-Bru to kvass, from red lemonade to Vov.

Our special thanks to all who helped bring this issue of hidden europe to fruition. First and foremost to those we met on our travels. Most particularly the migrants from Africa whom we visited at refugee settlements on Malta's south coast. And to the writers whose work features in this issue. Theresa O'Shea joins us as a first time contributor. Laurence Mitchell and Neil Taylor have both written for us before. Thanks to all three. And we are grateful to Helen Martin, and her publisher Jan Dodd, for allowing us to include extracts from Helen's book on the Lot region. Our thanks also to Anna Johansson, a young Swedish documentary photographer, for generously providing our front cover image. Further credits appear on the inside back cover. All unattributed texts and images are our own work.

Nicky SC Gardner & Susanne Kries

Jawor, Poland
June 2008

About the authors

hidden europe

and Susanne Kries manage hidden europe, a Berlin-based editorial bureau that supplies text and images to media across Europe. Together they edit hidden europe magazine. Nicky and Susanne are dedicated slow travellers. They delight in discovering the exotic in the everyday.

This article was published in hidden europe 21.