Exploring cultures and communities – the slow way

Letter from Europe

  • — Issue 2005/26 posted by hidden europe on

The antics that some Europeans get up to as part of their Christmas festivities seemingly know no bounds. In the British Isles, there is a particular tradition of Christmas quizzes. None is more august, or more difficult, than that with which a good percentage of the population of the Isle of Man tussles over the Christmas period.

article summary —

Dear fellow travellers

The antics that some Europeans get up to as part of their Christmas festivities seemingly know no bounds. In the British Isles, there is a particular tradition of Christmas quizzes. None is more august, or more difficult, than that with which a good percentage of the population of the Isle of Man tussles over the Christmas period. Each December, King William's College on the Isle of Man presents its pupils, and nowadays their parents too, with a formidably difficult general knowledge paper. It is a tradition that was started one hundred years ago this month, and even after a century of Christmases blighted by frustration, enthusiasm for the King William challenge seems undiminished. If you want to try your hand at the centenary Christmas quiz, click here. A slightly modified version of the Isle of Man quiz is also published each Christmas in the Guardian newspaper in England.

So, in seasonal spirit, we invite devotees of hidden europe to take an hour or two to tackle our very own Christmas quiz. No prizes, but the chance of untold satisfaction if you get all the answers right. Our own quiz is much easier than the Isle of Man challenge, and devotees of our magazine and website will doubtless romp through without difficulty. So test your knowledge of Europe with the fifteen simple questions below. We shall be delighted to hear from anyone who thinks they know all the answers, or indeed from those who find themselves completely flummoxed.

hidden europe 6 (January 2006) is published on 3 January 2006, and if the planet's various postal administrations all work perfectly, all our European readers can expect delivery by that date. Elsewhere delivery may be a day or two later.

We shall publish the correct answers on our website on Saturday 7 January. Our very best wishes to all for a happy Christmas and New Year break. Nollick Ghennal as Blein Vie Noa.

Susanne Kries & Nicky Gardner

hidden europe Christmas quiz

1. We have a few postage stamps bearing the inscription 'Poste Italiane' but denominated in Swiss Francs. How can that be?
2. A young baby girl was found abandoned on a doorstep in the rue de Belleville in Paris in December 1915. She grew up to achieve worldwide fame. What was her name?
3. In a small town south of Palermo in Sicily, the steep main street is called Via Giorgio Kastriota. Why is this name particularly appropriate for this community?
4. The letters RILEYGOSHAWK form an anagram of the name of a film that describes a set of events on which Scottish island? *
5. Jan Kiepura, Donau-Kurier and Kopernikus are all what?
6. By whose grave and in what European town is there every incentive to recite the Ten Psalms of the Tikkun K'lali?
7. What is the name of Slovenia's largest island?
8. A town in Ireland has a fine street sculpture that is a copy of a similar sculpture in Estonia. Name the two locations, one in each country, and the two figures that are depicted in the sculpture?
9. Where and why did Friedrich Wilhelm III give way to Aleksander Fredro?
10. There are railway stations in Liège, Lyon and Lisbon which have something very striking in common. What is it?
11. It was 130 years this month that the mail steamer Diana set sail from Tórshavn carrying something significant from the church at Kirkjubøur. What was this cargo?
12. A notable European long distance footpath ends at a headland where it is traditional that walkers, upon arrival, then burn their clothes. What is the name of the headland?
13. Cesare Camozzi, Giuseppe Delgrosso and Alfonso Paolozzi all died in similar circumstances in July 1940. What were those circumstances?
14. A famous early twentieth century racing driving and automobile engineer was born in the same town as the man who nowadays figures on Switzerland's ten franc note. Name both men and the town.
15. How far is it as the crow flies between the most northerly point on the European mainland and the most southerly point on the European mainland?

 

*The film alluded to in Question 4 appeared under an alternative title in North America. So, ever anxious to ensure that everyone has a fair chance, North American readers might use the following anagram: TIDALTILLNIGHTSET.

This article was published in Letter from Europe.

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.