Moscow Kremlin in Winter

Moscow Kremlin in Winter

Outside the Russian Kremlin in Moscow.

It is a sunny day in late winter. There is no longer snow on the ground but it is still very cold and spring feels a long way off.

The lack of foliage on the trees allows us to see through to the golden onions of the Russian Kremlin Churches – the Assumption and Annunciation Cathedrals (left) and Archangel’s Cathedral (centre).

The Ivan the Great Bell Tower – said to mark the exact centre of Moscow – is the tall golden dome on the right.

In Russia, the word Kremlin implies a medieval, inner-city fortress. In earlier times it would have probably meant a fortified town, or town surrounded by a wall.

There are therefore a number of kremlins in Russia; although when we talk about The Kremlin, we usually mean where the workings of power take place in the Russian capital, Moscow.

As well as being the official working residence of the Russian President, the Moscow Kremlin also houses Russia’s main museum.

The outer red brick wall of the Moscow Kremlin was built at the turn of the 15th and 16th centuries; replacing the earlier fire hazard, made of wood.

The tower on the left is The Secret (Tainitskaya) Tower and to the left of that is The Grand Kremlin Palace.

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Santa Caterina, Lago Maggiore

49 Santa Caterina, Lago Maggiore by Michel (Travel Pics)

The Hermitage of Santa Caterina del Sasso clings to a rock face along Lago Maggiore, Italy, with the Swiss Alps in the background.

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Tower in Lake Reschen

45 Tower in Lake Reschen on 365 Project

Lake Reschen is the largest lake above 1,000 metres in the Alps.

Located south of the Reschen Pass, in South Tyrol, Italy the area is popular with cyclists.

A large car-park near the lake is handy for drivers seeking a quick photo opportunity.

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Hill 60 Cratered Landscape

41 Hill 60 Cratered Landscape on 365 Project

Located on Zwarteleenstraat in Zillebeke, south-east of Ypres, the cratered landscaping of Hill 60 bears the scars of a silent witness to an underground war of mines and counter-mines.

Marked on the map as 60 metres above sea level, the hill was made of the soil from the Ypres to Comines railway cutting.

The Germans captured Hill 60 during the First Battle of Ypres.

The first British ‘deep’ mine exploded on 17th February 1915 but they would have to wait until April 17th before another explosion allowed them to briefly take over the hill.

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Saint Mihiel American Cemetery by Michel (Travel Pics)

On the Western Front, during World War One, much of the war was spent in trenches; long, narrow ditches dug into the earth where soldiers lived together day and night.

Held by infantry, the trenches defined the front lines and death was never far away.

This reconstructed section of original German trench system, including four bunkers and two mine shafts, is located about 2km north of Wijtschate.

Access to the Bayernwald German Trenches is by prior booking from the Heuvelland Tourist Office in Kemmel.

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Dai Girl Cyclists in Xishuangbanna, China

Dai Girl Cyclists in Xishuangbanna, China

White projects purity, cleanliness, and neutrality.

‘Six hours after we left Simao, the muddy Lancangjiang river appeared like a shadow at a lighted window. Another couple of bends and the curtains were flung wide open: Jinghong, the naked lady, lay there on her bed of green’.

That’s pretty much how I introduce the reader to Xishuangbanna, in Nomadic Gatherings.

This area in the deep south of Yunan province, bordering Burma and Laos, is inhabited by a dozen of the minority tribes; namely the Dai, Han, Hanni, Bulang, Lagu, Wa, Yao, Jinuo, Zhuang, Yi, Hui, and Miao. Affected by the monsoon from the Indian Ocean, the region has a climate of high temperature and high rainfall and is mild throughout the year. There are no season distinctions; only wet and dry.

The rich forest is said to be roamed by herds of wild elephants, buffaloes, rhinoceroses, tigers, and gibbons. I only had time for a stroll to Chuan Huan Park and the surrounding Dai minority villages. Chickens and pigs roamed freely around the bamboo fenced territories of the raised wooden cottages.

The Dai are a colourful and friendly people and the region is celebrated for its annual water-splashing festival in April. I had a tourist meal of shredded pork, fried bananas, and sauteed rice at one of the minority guest house restaurants all for 7 Yuan (60p); and that included the Pi Jiu (beer).

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Independence Day USA

Independence Day USA

Independence Day USA

On November 8th, 2016 the American people went to the polls and voted for change; ditching the political elite, for a self-made billionaire who promised to make America great again.

The American people voted for change in large enough numbers to get the required electoral college votes for Donald J. Trump to become the next President of the Divided States of America; with the job of unifying them again, after a tough campaign battle.

Not a campaign, but a movement; Americans from all races, religions, backgrounds and beliefs voted for a government to serve the people and serve the people it would.

As President Elect, the life-long businessman pledged to look at the business of fixing inner cities and rebuild the crumbling U.S infrastructure; putting millions of people to work, while pledging to take good care of the veterans.

On a path of national growth and renewal, Mr Trump, as 45th President of the United States of America, vowed to settle for nothing less than the best; dreaming big, and bold, and daring.

America voted for a change of course without a Bush or Clinton at the helm.

While making it clear that he would put America’s interest first, the newly elected President would continue to seek common ground, not hostility and partnership, not conflict when working with the world community.

Frederic Auguste Bartholdi so admired the United States Constitution that he chose to inscribe JULY IV MDCCLXXVI on the tablet in the left hand of his statue; associating the date of the country’s Declaration of Independence with the concept of liberty.

Millions may be worried but whether you voted for Donald Trump or not, a large print of the Statue of Liberty on your wall will show that you believe in the coming together on the voyage ahead, and in the healing power of the American people.

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