Exploring cultures and communities – the slow way

The Ethnographic Museum in Kalevala, Russian Karelia, showcases the local Karelian culture and the region's links with the Kalevala epic (photo © Alexander Mychko / dreamstime.com).
Letter from Europe

We are in search of the one-time capital city of a forgotten republic. From the turn-off on the Murmansk highway, it is 150 km of easy driving, skirting dozens of lakes, to reach the small community which in 1919 proclaimed its status as the ...
The centre of Vatican City: St Peter's Square (photo © Ivan Kurmyshov / dreamstime.com).
Letter from Europe

The emergence in the eighth century of the papal states in parts of Italy and beyond heralded a geopolitical oddity which survived for over 1000 years, and of which there is the faintest echo in the current status of Vatican City - the world's ...
Penedo, a former Finnish vegetarian commune in Brasil, now attracts tourists with a dose of commerce (photo Brasilnut / dreamstime.com).
Letter from Europe

When it was founded in 1929, the Finnish commune of Penedo in Brazil was full of idealism and hope. But with tough financial times in the late 1930s and thereafter, this one-time utopian experiment had to make compromises. Today, Penedo is a ...
Berlin's Tegel Airport from the air in summer 2020. The classic open hexagon terminal is at the top left of the airport complex. Note the taxiway which runs over the top of the main approach road (photo © Mariohagen / dreamstime.com).
Letter from Europe

Few airports have quite that cool retro feel of the original hexagonal terminal at Berlin’s Tegel airport. The airport opened in 1960 and was an iconic piece of design in "the new Berlin" - that part of the city, occupied by the Western Allies, ...
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 ...