We get it — it’s boring being at home when you’re not allowed to go out. It’s a completely different feeling from being able to go anywhere and just not going. But you don’t have to mentally stagnate. You can visit the world, from your laptop, desktop, or smartphone, thanks to Google. Specifically, Google Street View.
There are numerous places you could go, all around the world. The Great Barrier Reef? Yeah, that’s an option. So are the Eiffel Tower, the Grand Canyon, the Tardis (yeah, really), the Blue Mosque in Turkey, or the Madrid Zoo Aquarium. All amazing places, all places you really can’t get to at the moment. We could continue listing places you can go from your own smart devices but we’ll just stick with the eight below. The rest of your adventure is up to you.
Antarctica is one of the most isolated places on the planet right now, except for the rest of it. The catch? People volunteer to go to Antarctica. Heck, folks were travelling there even when it was a really, really bad idea to do so. You’d think there’s not a whole lot to see in an Antarctic Street View presentation. You’d be wrong. Part of the exploration is Robert Falcon Scott’s cabin on Ross Island, Ernest Shackleton’s hut, and the actual South Pole (seen above). This ‘outing’ is handy to help you remember that while isolation might be tough, you can still drive to the shops at least.
From one isolated place to the means to get to another. Kennedy Space Center is the home of NASA and the space shuttle, the most iconic space vehicle of the last century. History was made and continues to be made in this place and you can go on a tour without leaving home. Check out the space shuttle launch pad, the famous control room, the Vehicle Assembly Building and — if you’re keen on poking around enough — Google Street View also has tours of space shuttles Atlantis and Endeavour. It’s a little weird to think that the future of space travel is now in the hands of the private sector but this is how it really got rolling.
Google’s out-of-reach Street View tours tend to be similar in that not many folks have been there. Case in point, Everest. Specifically, the Everest base camp — because summiting the world’s highest mountain is tough enough with all the corpses left up there (and future archaeologists are going to have a field day with that). Doing it with Google’s Street View camera tech strapped to your back is an absolutely terrible idea. Still, you get to see the base camp, as well as many of the sights along the way. It’s not all mountain climbers and shades of neon, there’s a fair bit of sight-seeing to er… see, too.
South Africans have some of the most beautiful locations in the world at their fingertips, so to speak. So, of course, a lot of us have never been to any of them. The Kruger National Park is one location that everyone should see but that’s not possible right now. You can take a virtual tour of one of SA’s best parks right from your couch, though the thrill of driving through the park and not knowing what it is you’ll see is a little lost. But since you’ve been putting this off anyway, you might as well check out the static Kruger while the actual animals take back the land.
This one’s a little depressing. In 2011 a tsunami hit the prefecture of Fukushima in Japan. Which would have been a human tragedy no matter what but Fukushima is also the site of a nuclear reactor which melted down as the result of the earthquake+tsunami combo — giving us a trifecta of human misery. So, of course, Google went there and took photographs. You can explore some of the outlying regions of the disaster, including one of the deserted towns, but don’t expect to get a good look at the reactor. Not until Google gets really good robots to do its photography, at any rate.
You’ve been here before. It looks a little different when the special effects are turned off but this is Harry Potter‘s Diagon Alley. It’s a real place, by which we mean it is a real move set that hasn’t been taken down. You’ll perhaps never walk there in person but that’s not the point of this little exercise. You’re on a mental journey right now and those always come with a magic of their own. Unfortunately you won’t get to explore the interiors of the various shopfronts but you’re wandering around the wizarding world’s finest shopping area. Isn’t that enough for you?
You’re probably at least vaguely familiar with the Colosseum, the famous Roman location dedicated to two things: blood and sand. And entertainment. Okay, three things. It’s seen better days and the presence of tourists looking at this remnant of a mighty empire’s decline haven’t improved matters. Only, the Colosseum is closed at the moment. The only way to visit, aside from having a home that overlooks the site, is on the internet. And Google’s mapped the place out, because of course it has.
There are a few ways to get to CERN. One is to be a super-smart physicist, intent on changing the world with your groundbreaking work figuring out the building blocks of the universe. You can also access the location while following a Dan Brown-created character around in search of the Illuminati, or by… taking a physical tour, we guess. Except you can’t, right now. Never mind, you can check out the location of the world’s largest machine (which is what the Large Hadron Collider is) from your house.