Exploring cultures and communities – the slow way

Many visitors to St Petersburg can already take advantage of an e-visa scheme. From Jan 2021, the e-visa scheme will cover the entire Russian Federation (photo © Dmitry Erokhin/ dreamstime.com).
Letter from Europe

As the United Kingdom tightens its entrance requirements, the progressive relaxation of visa regimes elsewhere in Europe is of course very welcome. In this Letter from Europe, we look at changes in visa regulations relating to Russia and ...
Reduced by stormy weather: empty shelves at the Castlebay co-op on the island of Barra (photo © hidden europe).
Letter from Europe

Brendan’s arrival had been much touted. He didn’t come as a surprise. Days prior to his arrival there was talk of Brendan. There was a run on lettuces and toilet rolls here on the island of Barra in the Outer Hebrides. People like to stock up on ...
A Loganair plane at the airport on the Scottish island of Tiree (photo © Nigel Hoy / dreamstime.com).
Letter from Europe

It will already be dark today long before Loganair's flight LM247 takes off from Stornoway around 17.30. Sunday's flight marks the last direct service from any of the Scottish islands to London. Those direct flights to London represented a much ...
Geneva Cornavin railway station has a direct link to Paris operated by Lyria - that operator's routes from Paris to some other Swiss cities have been axed (photo © hidden europe).
Letter from Europe

The Franco-Swiss rail operator Lyria runs fast trains between Paris and a number of Swiss cities. It also offers the last remaining year-round direct train from Switzerland to the south of France - which is about to be axed. We take a look at ...
The caldera of Sete Cidades on the Azorean island of São Miguel (photo © Lukasz Janyst).
Letter from Europe

Last year, the Azorean authorities reminded residents of the hazards of living in an archipelago where three great tectonic plates meet. This is where Eurasia meets Africa and the Americas. We recall a royal visit to the volcanic caldera of Sete ...
Side by side: an ICE train and a truck on the Scandlines ferry from Puttgarden (in Germany) to Rødby (Denmark) (photo © Oliver Foerstner / dreamstime.com).
Letter from Europe

There are three places in Europe where passenger trains are still regularly conveyed on ferries. One of them is the Scandlines ferry that carries the regular daytime Eurocity trains from Hamburg to Copenhagen. But the days of that rail-ferry link ...
The main square in Sopron's Old Town (photo © Vrabelpeter1 / dreamstime.com).
Letter from Europe

Sopron is one of those places with a sense of being in the heart of Europe. One hundred years ago, this small town in western Hungary was much in the news. Few places were so shaken by the dissolution of the Austro-Hungarian Empire. It's a thought ...
Shunmyo Masuno's Japanese garden, based on Zen principles, in the Berlin suburb of Marzahn (photo © hidden europe).
Letter from Europe

Berlin's suburb of Marzahn is uncompromising. Its powerful and authoritarian architecture is definitely interesting, but does not find favour with all. Not everyone likes the relentless spread of apartment blocks which sprung up in the ten years ...
A fine black-and-white shot of the town of Clifden with the Twelve Bens in the background. Few writers capture the spirit of these Connemara landscapes as well as Tim Robinson (photo © Michael Walsh / dreamstime.com).
Letter from Europe

Clifden is an interesting example of a purposefully planned community in the outback. The town was founded just over 200 years ago in what was then one of the remotest corners of Ireland. Recently, we travelled to Clifden by ...
A road in the Lusatian town of Forst. The derelict mill building serves as a reminder that this area once had a thriving textile industry (photo © hidden europe).
Letter from Europe

This week we travelled slowly through Lusatia, exploring communities once sustained by extensive vineyards and a thriving textile industry. The modestly sized town of Forst on the west bank of the River Neisse once styled itself as the German ...