“Receive with simplicity everything that happens to you.” That was the philosophy of the mediaeval mystic and Talmud scholar Salomon de Troyes, often known as Rashi. It’s an approach to life and work which seems curiously apposite today for anyone involved in travel publishing. There was a time when we could look a year or more ahead, confident of our publishing plans, with a clear idea of what would feature in this or that upcoming issue of hidden europe.
No longer. And that’s why we are extremely grateful to the four guest contributors to this issue who have really gone beyond the call of duty to provide some wonderful prose. Kirsty Jane Falconer, Laurence Mitchell and Duncan JD Smith have all written for us before, and we are pleased to feature their work again in this issue. We offer a very warm welcome to Welsh writer Amy Aed who, with her account of learning how to milk goats on a farm in the Galician hills, is a first-time contributor to hidden europe.
Is there not a measure of absurdity in all our lives today? We have discovered that it’s hardly possible to plan anything. And yet there is a certain liberation in simply not trying to plan, in just following the prescript of Rashi in receiving with simplicity all that might come our way. This may of course be the secret of enjoying travel, as and when the day comes when we can start exploring Europe again. Has there perhaps been a tendency to plan too much, when the essence of the rewarding journey is uncertainty?
These are issues we explore in the perspective piece in this issue of the magazine. Elsewhere in the pages that follow, we escort you to Russia, Bulgaria, Poland, Italy, France and many other corners of hidden Europe. We discover ice caves, tidal islands, a Silesian penitential trail and a radical Dominican, and taste some wonderful wines.
Most importantly, our thanks go to subscribers of hidden europe who have loyally supported the magazine and our work as independent writers and publishers during a particularly difficult period. We know from generous feedback that many readers have enjoyed the chance to indulge in some vicarious travel. Let’s hope that the upcoming months will once again give us the chance to hop on a train, a bus or a ferry and renew our acquaintance with the varied landscapes and cultures which give texture and meaning to our shared European home.
Nicky Gardner & Susanne Kries