hidden europe

Exploring cultures and communities – the slow way

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Eurostar trains in London
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 ...
Titovka roadside café
Letter from Europe

Tales from Titovka

  • 5 Sep 2014
Everyone stops at Titovka sooner or later. That's the way things are up here in the far north-west corner of Russia. The Titovka roadside café is on the highway that runs west from Murmansk towards the mining towns of Zapolyarny and ...
Magazine article

Brand power
  

The number of Russians making cross-border journeys into northern Scandinavia to go shopping leapt by over a third last year. They head for small towns in northern Finland and some even continue into Sweden to visit the world's northernmost branch ...
Tammerkoski River Tampere
Magazine article

Shaping socialist history: Tampere
  

Lenin's promise that Finland would be granted her independence after the Bolshevik Revolution was first made in Tampere. This Finnish city has a fine industrial and political heritage, as we discover when we visit a museum devoted to the life and ...
Karelian lake
Magazine article

Songlands: a Karelian journey
  

Karelia is the land of the Kalevala, the great epic poem that so powerfully influenced the development of the Finnish national movement in the nineteenth century. We travel through the songlands of the Kalevala and look in particular at the role of ...
Valamo Monastery
Magazine article

The past is another country
  

To accompany our feature on Karelia in this issue of hidden europe magazine, we look at how Finland’s ceded eastern territories, now part of the Russian Federation, remain a potent symbol in the Finnish ...
Letter from Europe

The spiritual geography of Karelia

  • 24 May 2011
Are not some landscapes genuinely therapeutic? We crested wave after wave of rolling forests as we drove through Karelia last week. Writers looking to plot the spiritual geography of Europe might do well to start here, for Finnish Karelia is a ...
Magazine article

By ferry to Russia
  

There is one very good reason for travelling by ferry to the Russian city of St Petersburg. For a short stay, ferry travellers are generally exempt from Russia's otherwise strict visa rules. So no surprise perhaps that St Peter Line, which already ...
Magazine article

Cruise ferry update
  

Catamarans compete for space with whales and dolphins in the crowded sea lanes off the south coast of Spain. Space is tight in some European waters as more travellers embrace ferry travel and an efficient and relaxing way of getting ...
Letter from Europe

Kvarken life

  • 15 Jul 2010
While much of the world worries about the possible impact of rising sea levels on coastal communities, the Kvarken islands have the opposite problem. This archipelago in the Gulf of Bothnia between Sweden and Finland is still on the rebound - as it ...
Magazine article

A Finnish outpost: Valsörarna
  

Valsörarna is a sea of mauve heather, a landscape laced with juniper and full of ripe and juicy blueberries. This tiny Finnish outpost in the Gulf of Bothnia is one of the Kvarken islands. Erik Schaffer and Silvia Stock report on a summer visit to ...
hidden europe note

Polar dawns (Polyarnye Zori)

  • 30 Apr 2010
Polar dawns come in different shades, often with streaks of rare beauty lacing the skies. Not so in Polyarnye Zori, a town in northern Russia whose very name means 'polar dawns'. Most of the time a giant cloud hangs over Polyarnye Zori, while kids ...
Magazine article

A Russian diversion
  

The Imperial Russian Standard, with the double-headed eagle so intimately associated with the Romanovs, still hangs in the living room of a wooden lodge on the bank of a river in southern Finland. We visit the former holiday home of the Russian ...
hidden europe note

New flights to northern Europe

  • 17 Feb 2010
A look at two carriers and their new routes to northern European destinations: Atlantic Airways and Norwegian Air Shuttle. Atlantic offers links to the Faroe Islands and Norwegian is launching new routes to ...
Magazine article

Russia: the Kola Sámi
  

There is a Sámi proverb that says: "Don't try to predict today that which we shall know for sure tomorrow." So the local Sámi in Russia's Kola Peninsula will not venture any opinion on whether Sámi life has any credible future in their home ...
Magazine article

Helsinki by tram
  

Public transport is often a fine way to get a feel for a foreign city. We take a look at a circular tram route in Helsinki that takes in most of the city's main ...
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

Focus on fish

Many a coastal community, and even one or two inland spots, have realised that there's no better way to promote trade and tourism than through a colourful display of freshly landed fish and other ...
Letter from Europe

Traces of Europe in the Caribbean

  • 31 Mar 2008
On 31 March each year the most American of Caribbean islands recalls its Danish past. Until 1917, St Thomas was part of the Danish West Indies. There were three main islands in the Danish West Indies: St Thomas, St John and St Croix. The capital of ...
Letter from Europe

The road to Petsamo

  • 19 Sep 2006
Early European travel was hugely driven by Christian virtue. Those of the truly devout who had the resources would try to visit Rome, Jerusalem or Santiago de Compostela. The fifteenth century English mystic, Margery Kempe, managed all three, and ...
Letter from Europe

European lazarets

  • 19 Jun 2006
In more recent centuries, the island of Comino, off the coast of Malta, served as an isolation hospital. The great archipelago off Finland's southwest coast includes the tiny island of Seili, which for over three centuries was a hospital, initially ...
Letter from Europe

Corpus Christi - Karelian babushkas

  • 26 May 2005
Across much of Europe, today is a public holiday on account of the Catholic solemnity of Corpus Christi. It is a feast that comes with a heavy helping of curious cultural customs. Wander through many small towns in central Europe this afternoon, ...