This is the view over Windsor from the top of the Round Tower at Windsor Castle. The round tower was opened to the public in small guided groups for two months while the queen was away for her summer holidays. The last time the round tower was open to the public was in 1974 and it remains to be seen whether it will be opened again next year or ever again. As a result it was quite a privilage to get to go up to the top. Taking this panorama was a challenge. For health and safty reasons we were not allowed to take any bags or tripods/monopods up to the top so I knew I was going to have to shoot handheld. Then there is the issue of the surrounding wall, you can see by looking at the other people in the image that the wall around the top is about 6 foot high so I had to shoot handheld with my arm streched out above my head otherwise I would just end up getting a pano of a wall with a bit of a gap in it. I could have moved back onto the two steps behind me but I wanted to try and retain the ability to look down at the garden below and this would have been lost had I moved up there. To top it off any we were given about 3 mins to take some pics then to get back down again so this was rushed too. I really wanteed to get another shot on the other side of the tower but we were expressly forbidden to take any photos anywhere inside of on top of the tower other than where I took this for security reasons. To be honest, when I left I was not convinced that this shot was going to work out but after a bit of work I think it came out pretty well considering the circumstances.
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.