hidden europe 7

Through foreign eyes: Fürst Pückler in England

by Nicky Gardner


a German aristocrat in search of a bride finds that London offers some of best value accommodation in Britain! Nineteenth century England through the eyes of a foreign traveller.

Images of places are often sculpted by foreign travellers. Can we think of Ravenna without seeing it through Byron's eyes? And is not the Andalucía of the mind as much shaped by writers like Gerald Brenan and Laurie Lee as it is by the everyday reality of the place. Both Lee and Brenan unwittingly constructed a heady mythology of gypsies, flamenco, brigands and orange groves that captured the imagination of English speakers and remains even today a potent and positive image for modern Andalucía.

Of course, these things are not all about mythology. The mid nineteenth century French poet, essayist and travel writer, Théophile Gautier, who wrote splendid accounts of his travels to Russia, Spain and elsewhere, has a knack of really capturing the essence of a place, whether it be the "serene melancholy" of the Alhambra in Granada, or coming "face to face with the spectre of civilisation" in Gibraltar.

But what of England?

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The hidden europe award for ingenuity in creating new European rail travel opportunities is awarded to Austria's state rail operator, Österreichische Bundesbahnen (ÖBB). We look at what ÖBB will offer anew for 2020, and examine too what's new on the rails in Russia, Germany and elsewhere across Europe.

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Making Tracks for Sweden

As winter slipped slowly into spring in 1917, Lenin passed through Berlin on his journey back to Russia from Switzerland. His onward route from Berlin took him by train to Sassnitz, then on by ferry to Trelleborg in Sweden. These days it's still possible to follow the route taken by Lenin, using the occasional direct trains from Berlin to Sweden.

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At the water's edge: Germany's Wadden Sea

Within just a few centuries, the geography of the Frisian region has been reshaped by storms and tides. Paul Scraton is a regular writer for hidden europe; here he explores Germany’s Wadden Sea coastline. It’s a tale that shows the power of the sea.