Black Isle, Ross and Cromarty, Scotland
The Black Isle is neither black nor an island. The A9 north from Inverness passes along it and there are a few parking places where a traveler can stop and admire the view down over the Cromarty Firth and the hills beyond.
Looking out from a small jetty by Clachnaharry Sea Lock, at the eastern end of the Caledonian Canal, ...
Carnac Point, in South Kessock, Inverness, Scotland. A small navigation light tower is situated on th...
The Works Lock at Clachnaharry, in Inverness, Scotland. The Works Lock is the second lock on the Inve...
View from outside the Old Priory historic building in Beauly near Inverness.
View from Falcon Square in Inverness showing Eastgate Shopping Centre.
Europe is generally agreed to be the birthplace of western culture, including such legendary innovations as the democratic nation-state, football and tomato sauce.
The word Europe comes from the Greek goddess Europa, who was kidnapped by Zeus and plunked down on the island of Crete. Europa gradually changed from referring to mainland Greece until it extended finally to include Norway and Russia.
Don't be confused that Europe is called a continent without looking like an island, the way the other continents do. It's okay. The Ural mountains have steadily been there to divide Europe from Asia for the last 250 million years. Russia technically inhabits "Eurasia".
Europe is presently uniting into one political and economic zone with a common currency called the Euro. The European Union originated in 1993 and is now composed of 27 member states. Its headquarters is in Brussels, Belgium.
Do not confuse the EU with the Council of Europe, which has 47 member states and dates to 1949. These two bodies share the same flag, national anthem, and mission of integrating Europe. The headquarters of the Council are located in Strasbourg, France, and it is most famous for its European Court of Human Rights.
In spite of these two bodies, there is still no single Constitution or set of laws applying to all the countries of Europe. Debate rages over the role of the EU in regards to national sovereignty. As of January 2009, the Lisbon Treaty is the closest thing to a European Constitution, yet it has not been approved by all the EU states.
Text by Steve Smith.