Exploring cultures and communities – the slow way

Vardø harbour in the Barents Sea, Norway (photo © hidden europe).
Letter from Europe

Across southern Europe, and most particularly in Portugal, it is the season for bacalhau - the salted, dried cod which is a staple in the Portuguese diet. This much sought after version of cod is a strong Lenten tradition in many Catholic ...
Russia's booming commercial port at Ust-Luga at the head of Luga Bay (photo © Konstik / dreamstime . com).
Letter from Europe

Luga Bay of 50 years ago looked much the same as it would have done in centuries long gone. Fishing, forestry and the extraction of peat were local staples, and the only vessels using the bay would have been those belonging to local fishermen, some ...
Watery polder landscape around the village of Jisp, a community which once played a major role in the Dutch whaling industry (photo © Rudmer Zwerver / dreamstime.com).
Letter from Europe

There’s a village on the polder which we really like. It’s called Jisp. It is one of those long straggly places where you see cloudscapes just like those in the paintings of Jacob van Ruisdael - the Dutch artist who was born in Haarlem, which is ...
The Tuscan city of Livorno thrived as an early example of a free port (photo © Duccio / dreamstime . com).
Letter from Europe

The current plans to create free ports around the shores of the United Kingdom made us delve into the history of the porto franco. This year marks the 600th anniversary of the sale of Livorno - the Tuscan port which Genoa sold to Florence. It paved ...
A key element in the mountaineer's armamentarium: the ice axe (photo © Claudio Baldini / dreamstime . com)
Letter from Europe

Nicky Gardner, one of the editors of hidden europe magazine, reflects on all the good and bad things that can be done with an ice axe. Opening tins of pineapple is just the ...
Celebrating the Feast of the Theophany in Russia (photo © Tsargvidon / dreamstime . com)
Letter from Europe

This weekend sees the annual ritual of the opening of the ice in anticipation of the Orthodox Feast of the Theophany on Tuesday. Often this is done by creating a hole in the shape of a cross, allowing the faithful to totally immerse themselves in ...
photo © Rinus Baak / dreamstime.com
Letter from Europe

It hasn’t been an easy year. Not for us - and probably not for you. But spare a thought for bats who have endured some pretty hefty reputational damage in 2020. Bats are the only flying mammals - and among the few creatures that seem to have a ...
The Piave Valley in the Dolomites, eastern Alps (photo © Rechitan Sorin / dreamstime.com).
Letter from Europe

The English, like travellers from other countries, were enthralled by the scenery of the western Alps. But it wasn't until well after the Golden Age of Alpinism that mountaineers and travellers began to explore areas further east in the great ...
Train on the classic Gotthard route in 2016, prior to the opening of the Gotthard Base Tunnel later that same year (photo Leonid Andronov / dreamstime.com)
Letter from Europe

The new Treno Gottardo rail service starts in mid-December 2020. It offers the chance to travel from Basel to Switzerland's southernmost canton of Ticino via the classic Gotthard railway. Climb aboard a panorama carriage, sit back and enjoy the ...
The rocks at Teplice in the Czech Republic feature on the front cover of issue 62 of hidden europe magazine (photo © hidden europe).
Letter from Europe

Two events: the centenary of the first-ever General Assembly of the League of Nations (held in Geneva on 15 November 1920) and the publication this week of Issue 62 of hidden europe magazine. Yes, there is a link! We look at this new issue of the ...