Exploring cultures and communities – the slow way

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The Aeolian island of Lipari (photo © DiegoFiore / dreamstime.com).
Magazine article

Landscapes of immunity

There are some small populated islands off the coast of Sicily which have never recorded a single COVID infection. And, by comparison with many European countries, Iceland has consistently shown low incidence ...
The political power of the frying pan has never been greater (photo © Marcelo Vildosola Garrigo).
hidden europe note

The Power of Pots and Pans

  • 26 Mar 2020
Last night the government of Prime Minister Albin Kurti was forced to resign, making it the first government in Europe to be toppled by Coronavirus - aided by saucepans. The protest of the angry citizens of Kosovo was expressed by the noisy ...
The hill community of Zakopane, in the shadow of the Tatra Mountains, hardly seems the sort of spot for revolution. But 100 years ago it was a self-styled independent republic (photo © hidden europe).
Letter from Europe

When Empires Crumbled

  • 13 Nov 2018
The dignified commemorations marking one hundred years since the end of the First World War masked the details of what actually happened in November 1918. The aftermath of the Great War was a messy business, with conflict continuing in some areas ...
Image © Alain Lacroix / dreamstime.com
Letter from Europe

Election thoughts

  • 6 Nov 2016
We watched the run-up, the live TV debates and the tough exchanges veering at times towards acrimony. We've followed the arguments on national security, foreign policy and the question of who has the personal authority and good judgement to lead ...
The coast of Heimaey, the largest island in Iceland’s Vestmannaeyjar archipelago (photo © Milan_tesar / dreamstime.com).
Magazine article

Amid the waves: Heimaey

The Vestmann archipelago lies off the south coast of Iceland. A ribbon of islands, all of volcanic origin, remind us that here is a part of Europe where landscapes are still rapidly evolving. Surtsey appeared almost overnight in 1963. Phil Dunshea ...
Letter from Europe

The North begins inside

  • 17 Jun 2013
"There is not much to be said for Reykjavik." That, at least, was the opinion of WH Auden when he arrived in Iceland in June 1936. A few weeks later, Irish poet Louis MacNeice joined Auden and the two men took to the hills of Iceland's wild ...
hidden europe note

Iceland update

  • 27 Apr 2010
While flights across much of Europe are getting back to normal after the delays of last week, we should not forget that over parts of the North Atlantic air travel still depends very much on the whim of that Icelandic ...
Letter from Europe

East of Trieste

  • 1 Apr 2010
Europe's Cold War borders were by no means ubiquitously impervious. Trieste on the Adriatic coast of Italy always had rather good links to neighbouring Yugoslavia. Earlier this week, we decided to travel east from Trieste, and found that the modern ...
The former French hospital on the shore of Fáskrúðsfjörður in eastern Iceland (photo © hidden europe).
Magazine article

Frozen assets: Iceland's eastern fjords

The landscape around Egilsstaðir is as desolate as the economy of much of this region. We take time out in Nielsen's, easily the cosiest café in Egilstaðir, to try and understand why folk in some of the townships of eastern Iceland are none too ...
Letter from Europe

Polling day in Iceland

  • 6 Mar 2010
Today is referendum day in Breiðdalsví­k. The town is a ramshackle sort of place on the edge of a bay of the same name. Breiðdalsvík does not really have a lot going for it. It is raw, untamed, an outback town that has something of the feel of the ...
hidden europe note

Lamb soup galore

  • 6 Mar 2010
Lamb soup is a staple in some parts of Europe, but utterly unknown elsewhere. In Iceland, lamb soup has the status of a national dish. That lamb soup was once judged to be the perfect remedy for dysentery was new to ...
hidden europe note

Bananas in Iceland

  • 4 Dec 2009
Bananas are big business in Iceland. There are few more popular snacks in the tundra than a nice ripe banana - which may go some way to explaining why McDonalds cut no ice in Iceland and announced in October that they will quit the ...
The Norröna at the Icelandic port of Seyðisfjörður (photo © hidden europe).
Magazine article

Northern waters: Iceland by boat

It is surprising how quickly Denmark recedes into nothingness, and then the Norröna is alone among the waves. We travel on Smyril Line's flagship as she sails from Denmark via the Faroe Islands to the eastern fjords of ...
Letter from Europe

Landsendi (Iceland)

  • 7 Sep 2009
It snowed last Tuesday night. Yes, we know you will think we are joking, but it really snowed. We were in eastern Iceland, and snow at the very start of September is a reminder of just how early winter comes to some parts of northern Europe. But a ...
Magazine article

Landfall in Iceland

It is difficult to go to Reykjavík without getting a big dose of Icelandic history. Icelanders will proudly tell you the tale of Ingólfur Arnarson who gets a lot of credit all over Iceland for putting the country on the map in the late ninth ...
Magazine article

Election special

Tired of McCain and Obama? Fed up with Sarah Palin's take on foreign policy? We have the perfect antidote with a hidden eruope round up of elections from Iceland to Malta, the Czech Republic to ...
Goðafoss — the 'waterfall of the Gods' in northern Iceland (photo © Bluesunphoto / dreamstime.com).
Magazine article

Keeping faith with the past: Iceland

Yes, you can go to Iceland in search of glaciers and geysers, but you can also travel north, just as William Morris did, in search of heroes and gods. These are landscapes full of eddic myth and powerful sagas. Iceland is a country that has kept ...
Letter from Europe

Icelandic beer

  • 28 Feb 2009
This weekend a little more beer than usual will be downed at the Café Nielsen in Egilsstaðir. For Sunday 1 March marks the twentieth anniversary of the legalisation of beer in Iceland. Until then, Icelanders had to make do with very low-alcohol ...
Letter from Europe

Across Iceland's interior

  • 3 Jun 2008
Iceland's central highlands are no cakewalk. At least that's the way Andrew Evans puts it in the Bradt Guide to the country. "Iceland's interior feels more a cross between the Gobi desert and Antarctica," writes Andrew. It is that time of year when ...
Letter from Europe

Europe's nerve ends

  • 21 Aug 2007
The places at the end of Europe are always interesting. Driving through Iceland's northeast corner, you really have a sense of touching the nerve ends of the continent. The most northerly point on the Icelandic mainland, called Hraunhafnartangi, ...
Letter from Europe

Cabris (France) - Shetland links

  • 23 Jun 2006
The small hilltop town of Cabris in Alpes-Maritimes is not, we would concede, normal hidden europe territory. Cabris is the archetypal French holiday town, beautiful in the winter season, but a little too crowded on these summer days. That is not ...
Letter from Europe

New hidden europe issue - Iceland colour

  • 20 Oct 2005
Some places make their mark through colour. Picture the urban landscapes of Hungarian artist Csontváry: assertive shades of crimson in his depictions of Mostar in Bosnia, vivid turquoises in his scenes of Castellammara di Stabia on the Bay of ...