hidden europe

Exploring cultures and communities – the slow way

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Strasbourg's trams are going international: from April 2017 one of the city's tram lines is being extended across the border into Germany (photo © Sergij Kolesnyk / dreamstime.com).
Magazine article

Taking the Tram

With the success of the Schengen region, local transport links are being extended over international borders. In the coming months, new international tram routes from France to both Germany and Switzerland are due to ...
A classic piece of communist architecture: on its completion in 1952, the Kotelnicheskaya Embankment building on the Moskva River in Moscow was the tallest building in Europe (photo © Leonid Andronov / dreamstime.com).
Letter from Europe

Welcome to hidden europe 48

  • 13 Mar 2016
Today's Letter from Europe reviews the contents of hidden europe 48. Publication of this new issue of the travel magazine is 15 March 2016. Copies are already available for ...
From great novels to vintage romance, the whole world of the printed word is traded in Redu, a book town in Belgium (photo © Katrin Schönig).
Magazine article

Redu: that novel idea
  

Tucked away in the hill country of southern Belgium is the town of Redu. On the face of it, Redu is much the same as other towns in the Ardennes region. Except that, in Redu, the printed word is especially cherished and valued. Paul Scraton invites ...
Letter from Europe

The Seven Sleepers

  • 28 Jun 2015
In some parts of Europe, 27 June is marked as the day of the Seven Sleepers. In Germany, the weather on Siebenschläfer is seen as indicative of what sort of summer we can expect. Stable weather on 27 June bodes well for the weeks ahead. But wild ...
Eurostar trains waiting at the platforms at St Pancras station in London (photo © MorganOliver / dreamstime.com).
Letter from Europe

Europe by rail: spring news

  • 1 Apr 2015
It is that time of year when rail companies across Europe tweak their schedules for the upcoming summer season. Here's an overview of some of the noteworthy changes for this ...
Letter from Europe

New rail services across Europe

  • 16 Nov 2014
Four weeks from today much of Europe will awaken to new train timetables. Each year in December, new schedules come into effect across the continent. The big day this year is Sunday 14 December. We take look at a dozen positive developments worth ...
Letter from Europe

Hemingway in Hemmeres

  • 13 Dec 2013
Folk in Hemmeres make the point that theirs was the first village east of the River Our in which the Americans set foot. The truth is that several patrols made forays over the river on the evening of 11 September 1944. And it was on the railway ...
Letter from Europe

One journey, one Europe, one book

  • 4 Aug 2013
We sped from London to Brussels at lunchtime on Friday, swapping a pleasant English summer day for sultry Belgium — pausing along the way at Calais. There is always a little frisson of excitement on those rare Eurostars which stop at Calais. ...
Magazine article

Rites of penance
  

Prompted by Diego Vivanco's report from San Vicente de la Sonsierra, hidden europe sets out to detect the origins of the religious practice of self-flagellation in ...
Letter from Europe

Diverted via Paris

  • 5 Feb 2012
Remember the ash cloud in 2010? It had a silver lining in making stranded travellers think creatively about the journeys they wanted or needed to make. And similarly with the seasonal doses of wintry weather that play havoc with rail schedules ...
Letter from Europe

Brussels: the past is another country

  • 28 Dec 2011
In most European capitals these young migrants make little imprint on the cultural life of the city. But as we said last week, when we wrote on the matter of Christmas markets, Brussels does thing differently. The Belgian capital has a radical ...
Letter from Europe

Less bratwurst, more Brussels

  • 24 Dec 2011
It is the season for good cheer. Or so they say. And this Advent we have caught a dash of Christmas spirit in several different countries across Europe. Mulled wine comes with a variety of accents, sometimes with hints of cinnamon and citrus, ...
Letter from Europe

Border markers

  • 11 Nov 2010
We sensed we were crossing into another world as the Moscow-bound train rumbled over the long bridge that spans the River Bug. The reed beds are full of wildfowl which are not troubled by the frequent trains that rattle overhead. This is the border ...
hidden europe note

A matter of class: changes at Eurostar

  • 29 Aug 2010
There are a few changes on Eurostar this week with the introduction of a new Standard Premier class on services linking London with Brussels and Paris. Standard Premier replaces Leisure Select as the middle tier of the three class service on ...
Letter from Europe

Music in Potsdam

  • 12 Jun 2010
Fernweh is a marvellous German word that is not easily translated into English. It hints of the unbearable pain of being stuck at home when in truth you would far rather be exploring a desert island on the other side of the ...
Countdown to a news bulletin at Roj TV, the Flanders-based television station that broadcasts to Mesopotamia and beyond (photo © Karlos Zurutuza).
Magazine article

Flanders: good evening Denderleeuw
  

The homeland of the Kurdish people is bisected by many international frontiers. But Kurds in Syria, Iraq, Turkey and beyond are united by their affection for a TV station that broadcasts news and entertainment to the Kurdish people. Karlos ...
hidden europe note

Code-sharing between DB and Eurostar

  • 26 Jan 2010
Today saw an interesting new development on the Deutsche Bahn (DB) website. Suddenly a handful of new trains have appeared - they all bear the prefix EST, suggesting a Eurostar ...
hidden europe note

A question of words: Malta

  • 8 Jan 2010
This weekend Valletta hosts the big street festival that regularly marks the end of the Christmas season. Under the banner Citta Magica, there will be music and performances aplenty, and the streets of Valletta will be full of visitors from across ...
hidden europe note

New 2010 train timetables

  • 13 Dec 2009
Europe's new 2010 train schedules take effect today, opening up lots of glorious new travel opportunities. Faster trains from the Kent coast to London are the highlight in England, while in Italy there is a veritable revolution as the 'missing ...
hidden europe note

European rail fares: best prices

  • 23 Nov 2009
This piece is one we researched and first published in June 2009. But its message is still as valid today, which we why we think it deserves a place here. Some travellers, especially when they purchase rail tickets in North America for European ...
Magazine article

Unsung Brussels
  

Les Marolles is a place of smoky bars, tiny shops and rich dialects. hidden europe alights from the train at Brussels' Gare La Chapelle to explore the city's most intriguing ...
Magazine article

Communal living: béguinages
  

In Belgium, as elsewhere in northern Europe, there are some remarkable béguinages - reminders of an important social movement dating back to the 13th century. Today, these courtyards are havens of quiet that attest to the capacity of women in the ...
Magazine article

Dice to Europanto?
  

Do you speak Europanto? It's not so hard to learn. To speakare Europanto, tu basta mixare alles wat tu know in extranges linguas. We take a look at one of Europe's lesser known ...
Magazine article

Rest-stops for the soul
  

There is little that is religious about modern mass travel. But seaports, railway stations, airports and even motorway service areas have chapels and churches that address the needs of ...
Magazine article

Alchemy in Brussels
  

The Grand Place in Brussels seem the epitome of peace. But does it house some hidden messages? Some say that a great cosmic tussle finds expression in the architecture. A Masonic tale from the Belgian ...
Magazine article

Belgian border business: Moresnet

The easternmost parts of Belgium are home to a linguistic minority that rarely gets a mention in the Flemish-Walloon debate. For here the lingua franca is German. The border region is full of curiosities as we find when we visit Moresnet and the ...
Magazine article

Temples of pleasure
  

Many modern shopping centres are parodies of the elegant glazed arcades that were, in many nineteenth-century European cities, focal points for shopping and relaxation. From Brussels to Milan, Cardiff to Genoa the arcaded gallery became a byword ...
Magazine article

Expo architecture
  

Expo is back in the news with Milan having just been selected to host the 2015 World Fair. At their best, Expos have served as a boost to imaginative urban regeneration. We look at the Expo legacy in various European ...
Magazine article

Rotor heaven: Europe's helicopter links
  

We take a look at commercial helicopter routes around Europe, both past and present. There are areas in Europe where helicopter services are still very much a part of the regular transport network. Examples include the Faroe Islands, the Scilly ...
Magazine article

Eurostar: connecting the continent
  

Had you realised that you can leave London by train this afternoon, and with just a single change of train in Paris, be in Berlin, Barcelona, Venice or Munich by tomorrow morning? Crossing the English Channel today is a whole lot easier than it was ...
Letter from Europe

Landswaps: Czech Republic and Slovakia

  • 25 Jul 2007
Sidonie was not the only place to change hands on that July day. Fifty kilometres away to the southwest, the hamlet of U Sabotu was ceded to Slovakia by the Czech Republic. Most of the population secured a handsome financial windfall from the ...
Letter from Europe

Brussels' suburbs

  • 20 May 2007
Belgium's cities brim with evident charm. Be it Bruges, Antwerp or Brussels, cityscapes bubble with multicultural vitality. Few European countries have so consummately mastered the art of café life, with Brussels in particular having fabulous cafés ...