1. We’re still working our way through some back issues of the remarkable hidden europe. On our commute this morning we had our nose in issue 12, which came out in January of this year. The long feature on night trains made us wistful; the shorter article on Flemish béguinages and their contemporary inheritance (in which we learned that the Brugge béguinage accommodates four dozen single women today) was fabulously suggestive. The piece that almost made us miss our stop, however, was a short, enticing little “snippet” on the diverse and lively Brussels ‘hood of les Marolles.
2. The EU is full of smaller regional groupings; our favorite among these is the Visegrád Four, which encompasses Poland, the Czech Republic, Slovakia, and Hungary. The Czech Republic took over the Visegrád presidency in June, and will hold it through mid-2008. Among other things, the Visegrád group has the potential to serve as a bridge between Ukraine and the EU, should that direction be eventually pursued.
3. Today, Ryanair announced a massive six million seat sale. Fares are technically free—passengers pay taxes and charges only. Tickets are on sale through September 10 for travel from October 1 through February 7. Blackout periods include October 19-November 4 (for flights in and out of the UK and Ireland only) and December 18 through January 8.