Exploring cultures and communities – the slow way

Celebrating the Feast of the Theophany in Russia (photo © Tsargvidon / dreamstime . com)
Letter from Europe

This weekend sees the annual ritual of the opening of the ice in anticipation of the Orthodox Feast of the Theophany on Tuesday. Often this is done by creating a hole in the shape of a cross, allowing the faithful to totally immerse themselves in ...
photo © Rinus Baak / dreamstime.com
Letter from Europe

It hasn’t been an easy year. Not for us - and probably not for you. But spare a thought for bats who have endured some pretty hefty reputational damage in 2020. Bats are the only flying mammals - and among the few creatures that seem to have a ...
The Piave Valley in the Dolomites, eastern Alps (photo © Rechitan Sorin / dreamstime.com).
Letter from Europe

The English, like travellers from other countries, were enthralled by the scenery of the western Alps. But it wasn't until well after the Golden Age of Alpinism that mountaineers and travellers began to explore areas further east in the great ...
Train on the classic Gotthard route in 2016, prior to the opening of the Gotthard Base Tunnel later that same year (photo Leonid Andronov / dreamstime.com)
Letter from Europe

The new Treno Gottardo rail service starts in mid-December 2020. It offers the chance to travel from Basel to Switzerland's southernmost canton of Ticino via the classic Gotthard railway. Climb aboard a panorama carriage, sit back and enjoy the ...
The rocks at Teplice in the Czech Republic feature on the front cover of issue 62 of hidden europe magazine (photo © hidden europe).
Letter from Europe

Two events: the centenary of the first-ever General Assembly of the League of Nations (held in Geneva on 15 November 1920) and the publication this week of Issue 62 of hidden europe magazine. Yes, there is a link! We look at this new issue of the ...
The Ethnographic Museum in Kalevala, Russian Karelia, showcases the local Karelian culture and the region's links with the Kalevala epic (photo © Alexander Mychko / dreamstime.com).
Letter from Europe

We are in search of the one-time capital city of a forgotten republic. From the turn-off on the Murmansk highway, it is 150 km of easy driving, skirting dozens of lakes, to reach the small community which in 1919 proclaimed its status as the ...
The centre of Vatican City: St Peter's Square (photo © Ivan Kurmyshov / dreamstime.com).
Letter from Europe

The emergence in the eighth century of the papal states in parts of Italy and beyond heralded a geopolitical oddity which survived for over 1000 years, and of which there is the faintest echo in the current status of Vatican City - the world's ...
Penedo, a former Finnish vegetarian commune in Brasil, now attracts tourists with a dose of commerce (photo Brasilnut / dreamstime.com).
Letter from Europe

When it was founded in 1929, the Finnish commune of Penedo in Brazil was full of idealism and hope. But with tough financial times in the late 1930s and thereafter, this one-time utopian experiment had to make compromises. Today, Penedo is a ...
Berlin's Tegel Airport from the air in summer 2020. The classic open hexagon terminal is at the top left of the airport complex. Note the taxiway which runs over the top of the main approach road (photo © Mariohagen / dreamstime.com).
Letter from Europe

Few airports have quite that cool retro feel of the original hexagonal terminal at Berlin’s Tegel airport. The airport opened in 1960 and was an iconic piece of design in "the new Berlin" - that part of the city, occupied by the Western Allies, ...
Sagliains station in Switzerland (photo © hidden europe).
Letter from Europe

Railway stations where passengers were able to change trains, but which could not be used to start or end a journey, were common in the past. They were often called exchange platforms or exchange stations. Few exist today, but we track down working ...