Exploring cultures and communities – the slow way

Remains of a former monastic church on Inishmurray, Ireland (photo © Andreas F Borchert licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 DE).
Letter from Europe

Inishmurray lies squat and low half a dozen kilometers off Streedagh Point in County Sligo. No one sleeps on Inishmurray these days. The island’s entire population, then numbering just a few dozen, left in 1948. Since then the buildings have ...
The Norwegian stave church at Karpacz, Poland (photo © hidden europe).
Letter from Europe

There are only about two dozen surviving Norwegian stave churches. Most of them, unsurprisingly, are in Norway. But curiously there's a fine example of a Norwegian stave church on the northern slopes of the Giant Mountains in south-west Poland. The ...
Brownfield reevelopent at Belval, Luxembourg (photo © hidden europe).
Letter from Europe

The experience of staying close to home during the Coronavirus pandemic prompted us to choose two key themes for this latest issue of hidden europe magazine: journeys and isolation. We kick off with a leisurely account of a wonderful Swiss rail ...
On the left, the distinctive lozenge-shaped Cipolla Rossa onions from Tropea in Calabria. On the right, the rose-tinted onions from Roscoff in Brittany (photo © hidden europe).
Letter from Europe

Breton onion sellers set out from Roscoff to sell their harvest across Europe. But the preferred market was Britain where customers were prepared to pay well over the odds for the beautiful rose-tinged onions from Finistère. The Onion Johnnies, ...
photo © Ivanmattioli /dreamstime.com
Letter from Europe

160 years ago this week, on Saturday 30 June 1860, the intelligentsia gathered in Oxford to hear churchmen and scientists discuss the pros and cons of Darwin’s ideas on the origin of species. Charles Darwin celebrated book had been published in ...
The railway station in Portbou, Spain (photo © Marcopachiega / dreamstime.com).
Letter from Europe

Over the years we’ve tracked down many great-value international rail fares. We once wrote about the City Star tariff which offered extraordinarily cheap fares from Slovakia to Russia. But there is one cross-border fare in western Europe that even ...
Statue of Chagall in Vitebsk, Belarus (photo © hidden europe).
Letter from Europe

Vitebsk is a provincial city. St Petersburg is about 500 km away to the north. Moscow, just slighter closer, is due east of Vitebsk. It lies today in the territory of the Republic of Belarus. In the run up to and after the Russian Revolution, ...
The spot where Austria, Slovakia and Hungary meet near Deutsch Jahrndorf (photo © Ed Francissen / dreamstime.com).
Letter from Europe

The tripoint where Hungary, Czechoslovakia and Austria converged was for years a no-go area. These days, you can enjoy a cross-border picnic at the very spot where the frontiers of Austria, Slovakia and Hungary meet. It’s across the fields to the ...
Spot near Filippoi where Paul baptised Lydia (photo © Kisamarkiza / dreamstime.com).
Letter from Europe

Even if you don’t have a thread of religious fibre in your body, try reading the Acts of the Apostles, and see what you make of it as a travel narrative. You may want to have a good atlas of the ancient world to hand as you follow Paul on his ...
The Castello del Catajo near Battaglia Terme in the Veneto region of Italy (photo © Fabio Lotti / dreamstime.com).
Letter from Europe

The area where the volcanic Euganean Hills meet the plain has more than its fair share of pleasing Renaissance villas, almost all of them oozing that Palladian style which is a real feature of the Veneto. But to the left of the railway, just north ...