What do you do when bitten by the travel bug? Hard to conjure up the thought of travelling? As cabin fever rises to city fever and thereon to country fever, it’s time to stop raising the temperature and doing something to pin down the itchy feet.
As for me, stumped for lack of travel scope during the lockdown, I tried reliving my early travel sojourns through old trip photos. However, old being old, I was dying to see some place new. It wasn’t long before I’d fired up my co-traveller – Google – and started looked for gratifying virtual tours.
I surveyed the seven wonders of the world, spending a morning in Machu Pichu and an evening in Galapagos Island. In a single day, I’d scouted the ruins of Pompeii in Italy, the catacombs in France, and then made it to the Buckingham Palace in England. Time travel this is, quite literally connecting us to different points in time and space.
While my wanderlust was not wholly satiated with the virtual travel tours, the meanderings did help somewhat in letting the mind’s eye travel over snow-capped peaks and glide down green carpeted slopes. It helped me sky dive from planes and stare intensely at prismatic oceanic life from inside a submarine.
As travel overseas is near impossible in the foreseeable future, I guess one of the sane ways to keep the pace is to embark on short virtual tours. Don’t miss this “travel wonder list” of mine, which is my “go to” when the travel bug bites and is an absolute tour de force. One of the virtual travel sites on the “wonder list” will take you to places where no man has been, at least not yet. Curious eh? Wait until the end to find out.
7 WONDERS OF THE WORLD
According to Britannica, the new 7 wonders of the world comprise,
The Great Wall of China
Chichén Itzá ruins
Petra stone city
Machu Picchu citadel
Christ the Redeemer statue
Colosseum amphitheatre, and
Taj Mahal mausoleum
These 7 marvels have been on my bucket list since time immemorial, but tend to get relegated to the “to see later” category owing to lack of readiness on the pecuniary and work front.
There is one thing that I can say with alarming alacrity and that is to trust good old Google maps with Google street view to accurately lead you to each of these destinations.
3D virtual models of sights like Chichén Itzá …
Petra is a renowned archaeological site in Jordan. The Cyark website – which showcases the Petra among others – may be accessed for travel to other places of historical significance as well. The models allow for traipsing around the site, offering clickable spots to delve into its historical archives.
Christ the Redeemer is one of the most iconic stops in Rio Di Janeiro. As you reach the footsteps of this statue, you’d be blown away by the bird’s eye view of the city from atop.
Rome is one of those cities that lives in the past and the present at the same time. When you enter the gates of the Colosseum, you are transported to an era altogether different. If you truly visualise the spectacles of the ancient period, you will be transported to the Flavian dynasty of the Roman emperors.
Taj Mahal is India’s contribution to the world’s wonders is a mausoleum that has become synonymous with the symbol of love. You must make it a point to catch sight of the river Yamuna flowing alongside.
We all love enchanting backdrops that showcase the grandeur of Earth. There is a yearning in the heart to explore its wilderness, but the dangers associated with it may hold us back in reality. Not anymore, not at least on a virtual escapade. I have dived into the ocean and explored a shipwreck on its oceanic floor scouring through the Red Sea (see video below).
I have stared at the fireflies dance, a visual representation of which is seen in the video below.
Not only that, I have even scaled the top of Mount Everest while zooming in on a helicopter ride – through the Himalayas towards the Everest. I have left no room for further visualisation for you, hence placed it in video form below.
No natural earth wonders would be complete without catching the Northern Lights. There’s nothing like spending a virtual day in Abisko National Park, Sweden, using the video below to glide on sled rides to catch sight of the dancing lights.
Even Fairbanks, Alaska, lets you witness the Midnight Sun and the “Lights” in a sweeping 360 degree experience as can be seen in the video below. If this should inspire you to go Aurora Borealis hunting, then you mustn’t fail to stop at the following places which I have narrowed down for you in my article hyperlinked here.
Don’t miss the guided tours of the Alaskan Fjords and the Hawaiian Volcanoes with Google’s Arts and Culture branch. It will throw you into breathtaking glacial regions, directing you inland into narrow valleys lined by steep rock walls. The video below will allow you to easy access to the Volcanoes.
UNDISCOVERED SECRETS OF EARTH
Even if you manage to catch all the Planet Earth episodes and virtual tours mentioned earlier, you still will have explored just a mite of the marvels of the earth. If you think we’re done, oh but no, the virtual tours don’t end there. Go on to gape at the yet undiscovered secrets of the Galapagos Islands (in this video below).
Or even get a crown view of the Great Barrier Reef (see video below)
Even spots like the Yosemite National Park (in the video here) …
… and thereon to the coasts of Northern Ireland.(don’t miss checking out the video below).
DISNEY VIRTUAL TOURS
While the natural splendours of virtual travel have more or less been covered, I’d suggest you do the Disney World tour as well. It is not just for children, as anyone (including adults and seniors) who have been there will testify. They’d urge you to enjoy an experience at Disney at least once in a travel lifetime. To feel the exhilaration from adventurous rides and to enjoy the full Disney experience without getting off the couch. You could end up spending an entire day there, but without having to walk in the blistering heat and standing in serpentine queues to get to the favourite spots. A pass to the Disney Land virtual attractions will make your kids grateful for having introduced them to the Disney affair. Do click on this button below, to let the Disney magical rides begin.Disney Virtual Tour
MUSEUMS ARE VIRTUAL NOW
From Louvre in Paris (see video below) …
and the Musée d’Orsay herebelow …
to the Van Gogh Museum and Anne Frank Museum in Amsterdam, all museums are open for virtual tours If you are a museum enthusiast your feet would urge you to visit the Metropolitan Museum in New York (see museum video below) …
… and the National Gallery in London to take in its extensive detail.
SPACE CENTRES AND BEYOND
If you recall, I’d indicated in my introductory paragraphs that the virtual tours could take you to places where no man has gone before. Well, if you’re agog, I’m ready to let out all about it.
The first step will land you in a space center and experience what it means to be an astronaut. The second stop will be at the imposing NASA offices, one that will have you witness how a rocket launch happens.
The third step takes you faraway, to a distant Mars which concludes your expedition into virtual space. With a full circle view of the red planet, you could boast about having made an interplanetary expedition.
BONUS: EXPERIENCE AN ENTIRE COUNTRY
What better than covering the prime regions of Spain in a single day! Spain’s website features all its top tourist cities that offer 360 degree views of its principal attractions.
If you don’t wish to traverse the length of a country but prefer to merely take walking tours or train rides through your favourite cities, that’s on the charts too.
You may also hop on a train as you pass through picturesque Switzerland.
REAL VS. VIRTUAL
Well, nothing beats the preparatory packing for an adventure as we hasten to catch a flight to a new destination. All the same, you can still make the most of the current lockdown state and know more about the world than ever before in the form of virtual travel.
Not even travelling in real time could afford you a visibly thrilling experience.