Exploring cultures and communities – the slow way

Letter from Europe

  • — Issue 2005/2 posted by hidden europe on

In Moldova there was much talk of the country being 'one of the family of Danube nations', which is sort of interesting, as Moldova's entire frontage on the Danube is only 570 metres long. You could easily stroll along the bank of the whole length of the Moldovan Danube in less than ten minutes. Pleasant it would not be, it has to be said, for the river frontage is at a premium for heavy industry.

article summary —

Dear fellow travellers

Here at hidden europe, where there's little to do in the long winter evenings other than pore over maps, we've been exploring the Danube. No less than ten countries border onto Europe's great river, but one of them, Moldova, has a Danube frontage that is truly diminutive. Interesting, therefore, to hear the election coverage from Moldova these past days, where, as in Ukraine last autumn, a key element of the political debate has been between those who look to Russia for economic and political support and those whose eyes are focused westward.

In Moldova there was much talk of the country being 'one of the family of Danube nations', which is sort of interesting, as Moldova's entire frontage on the Danube is only 570 metres long. You could easily stroll along the bank of the whole length of the Moldovan Danube in less than ten minutes. Pleasant it would not be, it has to be said, for the river frontage is at a premium for heavy industry. So much so, in fact, that in 1999 Moldova signed a treaty with Ukraine that provided for a land swap between the two countries, massively increasing Moldova's access to the Danube, upping it from 340 metres to the present 570 metres. Moldova is now busy constructing an oil terminal along the full stretch of its Danube river bank, so it's scarcely the spot for a Sunday picnic.

More international politics this week, as a militant group of hidden europe readers contacted us, asking us to throw our weight behind their campaign for regime change in the tiny Principality of Sealand (cf. hidden europe 1, pp 24-27). If you missed our article on Europe's small states in he 1, see the table of contents from that issue, and, at least for the next week or two, the article is there as a pdf file to be downloaded. Actually we are rather fans of Prince Roy of Sealand, even if we weren't able to get visas to visit the curious statelet on an old military fort in the North Sea. But we'd be sorry to see Sealand's upcoming soccer tie with Tibet disrupted by any military adventures. Heavens, there's no evidence at all that Sealand is hiding weapons of mass destruction. Hands off Sealand, we say!

Even hidden europe editors need the occasional break, so later this month we're heading off on the Orient Express. Not the posh tourist train, but another Orient Express. Look out for our reports on that in the May issue of hidden europe.

e-news archive online

For those who have missed an issue of our e-news, we have now set up an e-news archive that allows you to browse through past issues (well, just the one past issue so far!). Since we want our e-news subscribers to be the first to receive news from the world of hidden europe, we shall display each issue of our e-newsletter only four days after it has been sent out to you.

purchasing hidden europe online

You might have seen that our online shop is now up and running. It handles the online subscriptions to our magazine as well as the purchase of single issues of hidden europe. Of course it is also possible to call us or send us an order by fax or mail. Moreover, we are now able to process credit card payments.

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.