Exploring cultures and communities – the slow way

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 ...
Huesos de Santo (photo © Juan Moyano / dreamstime.com).
Letter from Europe

Christianity is not especially sweet-toothed, though the Old Testament psalms do drip generously with honey. Shift to the New Testament and there are loaves, fishes, but not much by way of dessert. Yet by the 16th century, convents in Sicily and ...
The arrivals and departures boards at French stations are augmented by very clear announcements - and by far the most celebrated voice is that of Simone Hérault (photo © Hansenn / dreamstime.com).
Letter from Europe

Across hundreds of French railway stations, millions of travellers every day would in normal times encounter Simone Hérault, for hers is the disembodied voice which proclaims the imminent departure of the TGV to Aix-les-Bains or the regional train ...
One of Loganair's two ATR-42 aircraft on the tarmac at Sumburgh Airport in Shetland (photo © Loganair).
Letter from Europe

Turboprops are back at London's Heathrow airport. An ATR-42 belonging to Scottish airline Loganair is flying a once-daily scheduled service to the Isle of Man on behalf of British Airways. We take a look at previous occasions when airport staff at ...
A glimps of Jung's tower on the shores of the upper part of Lake Zurich near Bollingen (photo © Davide Mauro licensed under CC BY-SA 4.0).
Letter from Europe

The lakeshore trail from Schmerikon along the upper part of Lake Zürich leads to a house once owned by the analytical psychologist Carl Gustav Jung, who was a master of self-isolation. Join us as we ponder on Jung's famous Tower and his thoughts on ...