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Armchair travel

While no match for the real deal, a virtual Google globetrek makes for some inspiring discoveries.

American writer Henry Miller once said, “One’s destination is never a place, but a new way of seeing things.” While nothing can surpass the thrill of discovery afforded by travel, Google Street View has certainly offered a new way of seeing the world.

The game-changing Street View technology was launched in 2007 and has grown over time to provide access to panoramas as far and wide as the Amazon rainforest, the peaks of Whistler and the craggy trails of the Grand Canyon. Snapped from Google cars, tricycles, snowmobiles and on foot, these images are stitched together to recreate the experience of being present at a destination. While they don’t compete with a flesh and blood experience, they are an inspiring way to explore, plan or re-live your travel adventures. Here are a few we’ve discovered.

Galapagos Islands

Frolic with sea lions, spot a tortoise in the wild and cast your eyes over the magnificent landscape from the Wetlands lookout of Galapagos Islands. This natural paradise is home to magnificent wildlife, coastal views and vast stretches of rippled lava rock.

Everest Base Camp

You can almost feel the wind rushing past your ears when you take a 360° spin around Everest base camp. The fluttering prayer flags resonate the peace, strength and wisdom of the magnificent Himalayas and the low clouds are an epic reminder of its great height.

Grand Canyon 

The awe-inspiring trip into Arizona’s Grand Canyon has been so perfectly captured you can almost feel the path underfoot. Choose to explore the canyon from several aspects and plunge deep into the rocky heart of this world famous attraction. The colours, the crumbling rocks and the fellow trekkers all make the experience feel eerily real.

Van Gogh museum, Amsterdam

As part of its ‘Art Project’ series, Google has documented travels through some of the most famous art galleries and museums around the world, including Amsterdam’s Van Gogh museum. Skip past his famous iris flowers, glide by works depicting the influential role Japanese art played on his art and take in the movement and rustling of the honey coloured wheat fields.

Lago Bianco, Switzerland

This magnificent expanse of milky white water is at the Bernina pass in the Grisons, Switzerland. Italian for ‘white lake’, a flow of sand and glacial waters contributes to its mystical colour. The tracks running along the lake’s shore hint at the Bernina railway, the highest railway crossing in Europe, connecting the luxury spa town of St Moritz with the northern Italian town of Tirano.

 

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