Exploring cultures and communities – the slow way

Letter from Europe

  • — Issue 2005/5 posted by hidden europe on

Spring may have eclipsed winter here at hidden europes Berlin home, but elsewhere across our continent conditions are very different. Across a large part of inland southern Spain this afternoon, temperatures topped 30ºC, yet this morning at Ny-Ålesund in Svalbard (Spitsbergen) the mercury dipped to minus 19ºC.

article summary —

Dear fellow travellers

Spring may have eclipsed winter here at hidden europe's Berlin home, but elsewhere across our continent conditions are very different. Across a large part of inland southern Spain this afternoon, temperatures topped 30ºC, yet this morning at Ny-Ålesund in Svalbard (Spitzbergen) the mercury dipped to minus 19ºC. In the upcoming issue of hidden europe, we check out quite how hard or easy it is to get to Ny-Ålesund, a community of some thirty souls and a few polar bears way up in the Arctic. It is probably the world's most northerly permanently inhabited settlement.

hidden europe 2 preview

hidden europe 2 is published on Tuesday 3 May, and subscribers should receive their copies in the mail by Friday 6 May. Apart from Ny-Ålesund, we visit many lesser known spots around Europe. We travel to the Faroe Islands, track down rich threads of Jewish history in Mukaceve (Ukraine) and in Görlitz - Zgorzelec (a city that sits astride the German - Polish border). We visit Cape Finisterre in Spanish Galicia, a spot that mediaeval map makers believed to be the end of the earth, and explore one of Europe's largest street markets at Barcelos in northern Portugal.

We have fish festivals aplenty, from Achill in Ireland to Russian Karelia. And we take a nostalgic look at Britain's old ‘one-inch' Ordnance Survey maps. Out of print for thirty years now, we track down a copy of Sheet 116 Dolgellau which evokes a few memories.

Elsewhere in hidden europe 2 we touch down briefly in Belarus, investigate Attila fever in Hungary and have some difficulty changing currency on the border between Slaka and Molvania!

Sealand update

Our feature on Europe's small states in hidden europe 1 continues to elicit reader responses, and the Principality of Sealand, the concrete platform in the southern North Sea that claims to be a sovereign state, seems to have made its mark as a favourite among hidden europe readers. So good news for all. The English band British Sea Power (BSP), already noted for hosting secret gigs at improbable locations, are due to play Sealand this summer. Given the maritime principality's reticence to grant visitor visas (see hidden europe 1 page 25), it's likely that BSP will play for a select and small audience. At least in Sealand, there's little chance of the neighbours complaining about the noise!

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.