hidden europe

Exploring cultures and communities – the slow way

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 ...
image © Khunaspix / dreamstime.com
Letter from Europe

We thought that the concept of the air corridor had been relegated to history until it popped up again this past spring, with the plucky English reviving the idea and giving it a new twist. We look at some of the privileged places that enjoy a ...
The Provençal town of Vence, where DH Lawrence died in March 1930 (photo © Myrabella licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0).
Letter from Europe

Vence is a delightful small town in the hills behind the French Riviera, and it was here in Vence that DH Lawrence eventually succumbed in early March 1930 to tuberculosis.But where is he buried? Join us on a journey that takes us from Provence to ...
Sorrowful associations at Beachy Head (photo © Alberto Dubini / dreamstime.com).
Letter from Europe

Poets and painters have travelled to Beachy Head, among them William Turner and Edward Lear. So there is barely a soul in England who doesn’t have a mental image of the cliffs which drop sheer down to the beach. It is also the site of many ...
Remains of a former monastic church on Inishmurray, Ireland (photo © Andreas F Borchert licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 DE).
Letter from Europe

Inishmurray lies squat and low half a dozen kilometers off Streedagh Point in County Sligo. No one sleeps on Inishmurray these days. The island’s entire population, then numbering just a few dozen, left in 1948. Since then the buildings have ...
The Norwegian stave church at Karpacz, Poland (photo © hidden europe).
Letter from Europe

There are only about two dozen surviving Norwegian stave churches. Most of them, unsurprisingly, are in Norway. But curiously there's a fine example of a Norwegian stave church on the northern slopes of the Giant Mountains in south-west Poland. The ...
Brownfield reevelopent at Belval, Luxembourg (photo © hidden europe).
Letter from Europe

The experience of staying close to home during the Coronavirus pandemic prompted us to choose two key themes for this latest issue of hidden europe magazine: journeys and isolation. We kick off with a leisurely account of a wonderful Swiss rail ...
On the left, the distinctive lozenge-shaped Cipolla Rossa onions from Tropea in Calabria. On the right, the rose-tinted onions from Roscoff in Brittany (photo © hidden europe).
Letter from Europe

Breton onion sellers set out from Roscoff to sell their harvest across Europe. But the preferred market was Britain where customers were prepared to pay well over the odds for the beautiful rose-tinged onions from Finistère. The Onion Johnnies, ...
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 ...
photo © Mille19 / dreamstime.com
Letter from Europe

We have all changed in these past weeks. We have new and different eyes. Our view of the world, our perception of our immediate surroundings, and the value we place on space and horizons have all been reengineered within the compass of a ...
The city of Dubrovnik in Croatia was the capital of the former Ragusan Republic (photo © Branex / dreamstime.com).
Letter from Europe

A powerful earthquake in 1667 destroyed most of Dubrovnik's buildings. The city was at that time the capital of the Ragusan Republic. The city was rebuilt and these days is a strong tourist magnet on the Croatian ...
photo © Macrolink / dreamstime.com
Letter from Europe

You are most likely, as we are, staying close to home. We have time to ponder. And that itself can be a very positive thing. Rest assured that we'll continue to reflect European lives and landscapes with our regular Letter from Europe, ever aware ...
The deep valleys which bisect Luxembourg City were focal points for early industrialisation, making the most of fast-flowing rivers and local iron ore deposits (photo © hidden europe).
Letter from Europe

Deep in a valley just a short hike north from Luxembourg's ville haute, in villages which once echoed to the clamour of forges and foundries, the might of industry has been replaced by the soft power of ...
A train of Luxembourg's national railway operator CFL at Luxembourg City's main railway station (photo © Himeiji / dreamstime.com).
Letter from Europe

There is much ado in Luxembourg - a country which is getting some good press these days as it gears up to introduce free public transport. We shall be in Luxembourg next week to witness the introduction of free public transport on 1 March. And we ...
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 ...