Letter from Europe

Welcome to hidden europe 48

Issue no. 2016/8

Picture above: A classic piece of communist architecture: on its completion in 1952, the Kotelnicheskaya Embankment building on the Moskva River in Moscow was the tallest building in Europe (photo © Leonid Andronov / dreamstime.com).


Today's Letter from Europe reviews the contents of hidden europe 48. Publication of this new issue of the travel magazine is 15 March 2016. Copies are already available for purchase.

Dear fellow travellers

We would like to introduce the latest issue of hidden europe magazine, which is published on Tuesday 15 March. Copies are already available for purchase.

The extraordinary story of a preacher from a small community in Merioneth who encouraged his Welsh flock to move to Patagonia is one of many migration stories which we touch on in issue 48 of hidden europe. Michael Daniel Jones was most certainly a traveller. As a young man he moved to Ohio, where he was distressed to observe how migrants from Wales were so quickly assimilated into American society that they became estranged from their native Welsh culture. He was soon back in Wales, and a few years later busy promoting Y Wladfa – the new Welsh colony in Patagonia which was founded in 1865.

With last year being the 150th anniversary of the first settlers arriving in Y Wladfa, there was a flood of media coverage on 'Welsh' Patagonia. With a selective gaze the naive visitor might see in the Chubut Valley a little exclave of Wales preserved in aspic. The truth, we suggest in the new issue of hidden europe, is rather different, with many restaurants (and perhaps even the local tourism authorities) staging an affinity with Wales because it's good for business.

That oddball story of the Welsh in Patagonia is an unusual expedition beyond the shores of Europe for the magazine. The rest of this issue is firmly rooted in Europe. We discover why the Ottoman navy brought Sephardic Jews to Thessaloniki and ponder the mysterious origins of the Egyptians of Kosovo.

This new issue of hidden europe visits a chapel at Roscoff which was once an important landmark for Breton onion sellers who took the ferry to and from England. That's part of a longer article on the chapels around the coast of Finistère. There's another coastal exploration in hidden europe 48, with a feature on the extraordinary landscapes of Dungeness Foreland in Kent (England). This is not a pretty landscape. Yet its desert-like qualities have a haunting appeal for its devotees.

We are never deterred by unfashionable themes in hidden europe. Does anyone nowadays go off to tour the showpiece socialist architecture of eastern Europe? We think it is all too easy to dismiss the urban design of the Soviet Union so, in hidden europe 48, we look at some fine examples of the genre. It is a journey inspired in part by Owen Hatherley's thoughtful book Landscapes of Communism (published last year by Allen Lane).

Elsewhere in this new issue of the magazine, we have a report from the town of Redu in Belgium, which followed the example of Hay-on-Wye in Wales in branding itself as a 'book town'. We explore subterranean Valletta (Malta) and find out why everyone packed their bags and left a small village in the Italian Alps.

If you enjoy our regular Letter from Europe, and are not yet a subscriber to the magazine, why not support our work by purchasing a copy of this new issue of hidden europe. The complete table of contents is already online and you can buy single issues, subs and back copies in our online shop.

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

Related note

Lamb soup galore

Lamb soup is a staple in some parts of Europe, but utterly unknown elsewhere. In Iceland, lamb soup has the status of a national dish. That lamb soup was once judged to be the perfect remedy for dysentery was new to us.