Exploring cultures and communities – the slow way

We never planned to write about trains. But it just sort of happened and then we developed a curious niche writing about railway journeys. Nicky Gardner and Susanne Kries reflect on a serendipitous opportunity.

article summary —

In recent years we have been ever more associated with writing about rail travel. “Ah, yes,” said a railway company executive whom we met at a rail industry conference in Amsterdam last November. “You’re the two women who write about train journeys.”

Believe us, it was not always so. In the very first issue of hidden europe, we carried an article about a train journey through the Bohemian hills. The focus was on a mushroom collector called Jiri who rides the train from Zdislava to Žandov. The article played with the intertwined themes of Jiri’s life and the stop-go progress of the ageing Czech railcar. We were genuinely uncertain whether this piece deserved space in hidden europe, but in the end we ran it as a threepager under the title ‘The Slow Train’. It was the article on which readers commented most and it was quickly syndicated for republication elsewhere. Our diffidence about publishing that piece was rooted in doubts over its literary effectiveness and a nagging worry that neither of us really knew much about trains.

This is just an excerpt. If you are a subscriber to hidden europe magazine, you can log in to read the full text online. Of course you can also read the full article in the print edition of hidden europe 70.

About the authors

hidden europe

and manage hidden europe, a Berlin-based editorial bureau that supplies text and images to media across Europe. Together they edit hidden europe magazine. Nicky and Susanne are dedicated slow travellers. They delight in discovering the exotic in the everyday.

This article was published in hidden europe 70.