Letter from Europe

The waiting game

Issue no. 2021/7

Picture above: Vineyards at Hunawihr in Alsace, France (photo © hidden europe).


hidden europe 63 is now available, featuring articles about Bulgaria, Alsace, rural Galicia and northern Italy. We also look at the prospects for slow travel in the post-COVID world. Single issues and subscriptions are available in the hidden europe online shop.

Dear fellow travellers

It is a time for waiting. It is Easter Saturday. No other day in the ecclesiastical calendar is so conspicuously marked as a day when normal life is suspended.

But this year, as indeed also in 2020 (when Easter was rather later in April), this day of waiting comes at a time when so many of us are just marking time.

Our e-mail correspondence from readers tells multiple stories. Some are tales of worry and apprehension. “When will this pandemic ever pass?” Others are stories of hope and expectation. “It will be so different once I am a properly vaccinated.”

Waiting is a central feature of the Easter Triduum and for that matter the Jewish Passover. It is of course a tightly defined period of waiting, but these days waiting has become a lifestyle extending over weeks and months.

Meanwhile, we have been doing what we do best, and that is writing. A new issue of hidden europe was published in mid-March. For the first time during the pandemic, we have dared to look ahead – to speculate on how travel might develop once the waiting is over. What sort of journeys will we all be making in a post-COVID Europe. We suspect that slow travel may just be about to have its moment in the sun.

We sense that the COVID interregnum has prompted a rethinking of travel priorities. Away with bucket lists and a culture of consumption. Instead let’s rediscover the appeal of the journey rather than just dashing to the destination. You can read that entire article online on our website. We would be interested in hearing what you think.

We have a real feast of fine writing in hidden europe 63, with features on Alsace vineyards, rural Galicia, the small Italian city of Ferrara and the Strandzha region of southern Bulgaria. Elsewhere within the pages of this new issue we discover a Silesian Jerusalem, three English islands which share a common name, and a fabulous ice cave in the Sylva Valley in Russia. We take time to mark the 150th anniversary of the opening of Switzerland’s first mountain railway and remark on how two bridges, one spanning the Danube and the other the Thames, look remarkably similar.

We are especially grateful to our guest contributors who have really gone beyond the call of duty to provide some wonderful prose. Kirsty Jane Falconer, Laurence Mitchell and Duncan JD Smith have all written for us before, and we are pleased to feature their work again in this issue. We offer a very warm welcome to Welsh writer Amy Aed who, with her personal account of learning how to milk goats on a farm in the Galician hills, is a first-time contributor to hidden europe.

If you’ve really enjoyed our Letter from Europe over the years, but have never seen the printed magazine, why not invest in a copy of this new issue of hidden europe? It costs just €9, which includes airmail delivery to addresses across Europe. For deliveries further afield the cost is just one euro extra.

Nicky Gardner and Susanne Kries
(editors, hidden europe magazine)

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