Exploring cultures and communities – the slow way

Fountains and flowers, neatly swept alleys, French sentences flowing into Alsatian German and back again, plus the inevitable choucroute, all combine to make Wissembourg one of Europe's most appealing small towns.

article summary —

The perfect September day in Wissembourg might start with a coffee or two sitting at one of the little tables outside La Vignette and end with a glass of wine at L’Espérance — best enjoyed on the lawn by the stream that runs in front of the café. The hours in between might profitably be occupied by doing nothing more demanding than strolling the streets of Wissembourg, exploring the town’s ramparts and the vineyards, meadows and forests beyond. The small town in the French département of Bas-Rhin is Alsace pure and simple. Choucroute and flammekueche come as standard fare, Wissembourg’s cafés are awash with tempting Alsace wines, and you are never more than a minute’s walk from running water.

Wissembourg is a place over which armies once fought.


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About

Nicky Gardner is editor of hidden europe and also the principal author of the magazine. Where a text is not specifically attributed to an author, it is the work of Nicky. Below, you’ll find a small selection of her articles in hidden europe magazine.

Nicky Gardner was liberated from a life enslaved to performance indicators and business plans to become a travel writer. In fairness, travel has always been a major element of her career. Having experienced Germany as a Gastarbeiterin (guest worker) after leaving school, Nicky subsequently studied geography in Wales, and went to work in oddball corners of the globe: in the Canadian Rockies, on the fringes of the Sahara in North Africa and in a community on the edge of things in Ireland. These adventures, and a spell of consultancy in eastern Europe, paved the way for the journey that is hidden europe.

Nicky reads geography books, railway timetables and maps entirely for pleasure - and lots of real books too! She claims to have visited every inhabited island in the Hebrides, and loves nothing more than a slow meander by public transport around some unsung part of Europe. Nicky is particularly interested in issues of identity and culture in eastern Europe and the Balkans, in linguistic minorities and in island communities. Her pet loves are public libraries, Armenian food and anything coloured purple. Nicky cannot abide suburban sprawl, supermarkets and fast trains. In March 2007, Nicky was rewarded for her scribblings about Europe's lesser known communities by being made a member of the British Guild of Travel Writers. Her favourite contemporary travel writers are Jan Morris, Dervla Murphy and Philip Marsden. Nicky is especially keen on historical travel writing: Edith Durham, Gertrude Bell and Isabelle Eberhardt are among her favourites. Nicky can be contacted at editors [at] hiddeneurope.co.uk.

This article was published in hidden europe 28.