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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Taj Mahal Detail

Taj Mahal Detail

A detail of the Taj Mahal that not everyone sees.

When pointing a camera at tourist attractions that millions of people have captured, especially with all the mobile phones and selfie sticks being waved around today, it pays to look for something a little more original.

If anyone can get there, anyone can take a picture, but not everyone can see something a little more artistic.

Moving away from the crowds allows us to compose a detail of the place that has an unique angle to it.

Strong colour, lines, shadow and even a slight reflection all help to give an architectural detail a whole new life of its own.

Is that really the Taj Mahal? Well, it’s one of the four 40m high minarets that surround the mausoleum

Montebello – Bellinzona, Switzerland

Montebello - Bellinzona, Switzerland

Bellinzona is home to three of the best-preserved medieval castles in Switzerland (Castelgrande, Montebello, and Sasso Corbaro); UNESCO World Heritage Sites since the year 2000.

The Ramparts of Bellinzona connect Castelgrande to Castello di Montebello.

I was lucky with the early March weather when I climbed up on to the ramparts, just as the golden glow of the setting sun painted a beautiful picture for the handful of photographers gathered to capture the image; while a young couple gazed lovingly the other way.

The Three Castles, Defensive Wall and Ramparts make a visit to the Italian canton of Ticino’s capital one of the highlights on The Grand Tour of Switzerland; a city that many tourists on their way to the towns of Locarno and Ascona, on the shores of Lago Maggiore, tend to overlook.

Modena, Italy

Modena, Italy

While it’s the Cathedral (Duomo), Torre Civica and Piazza Grande that interest UNESCO a visit to Modena wouldn’t be complete without purchasing some Aceto Balsamico Tradizionale and other regional products.

Modena is located on the south side of the Po Valley, in the Province of Modena and the Emilia-Romagna region of Italy.

Peter and Paul Cathedral

Peter and Paul Cathedral

Commissioned by Peter the Great, the Cathedral of Saints Peter and Paul is located inside the Peter and Paul Fortress in Saint Petersburg, Russia.

Built on Zayachy Island, between 1712 and 1733, the cathedral’s bell tower is the world’s tallest Orthodox bell tower. It also acts as a lightning rod protecting the cathedral.

The cathedral houses the remains of most of the Russian emperors and empresses from Peter the Great to Nicholas II; including Catherine the Great, Empress of Russia for 34 years.

The Historic Centre of Saint Petersburg and Related Groups of Monuments was declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1991.

Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe

Victoria Falls

Victoria Falls in full flow; as seen from the Zimbabwean side of the Zambezi River, in southern Africa.

With a width of 1,708 metres and height of 108 metres Victoria Falls is the world’s largest sheet of falling water and forms the natural border between Zambia and Zimbabwe.

The spray from the falls can be seen for miles around and the constant roar of water crashing down a series of basalt gorges is truly thunderous; so much so that the Kololo tribe living in the area referred to this natural wonder as ‘Mosi-oa-Tunya’, or ‘Smoke that Thunders’.

When David Livingstone explored this part of Africa on 16th November, 1855, he chose to name the majestic falls in honour of the British Queen, Victoria.

Both names are inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage List although there have been some concerns in UN corridors about the rapid rise of tourist development in a national park area near the Zambian town of Livingstone.

Most Western tourists used to visit from the Zimbabwean side, while staying as guests at the Victoria Falls and Elephant Hills hotels.

The falls can be reached from Livingstone in Zambia, or Victoria Falls in Zimbabwe.

Hermitage Staircase

Hermitage Staircase

One of the largest and oldest museums in the world, the State Hermitage in Saint Petersburg was founded by Catherine the Great, in 1764, and has been open to the public since 1852.

The Jordan Staircase of the Winter Palace leads up to the exhibition rooms.

Although badly damaged by fire in 1837, the original plans from architect Francesco Bartolomeo Rastrelli were used for the reconstruction of this grand state entrance.

I waited for the small child to move up the marble stairs to help illustrate the grand scale of the elaborate detail before our eyes.