Some time ago I posted an article on my liking for random walks, in which I outlined an insanely complicated method to get to places you weren’t planning to see. Recently I found another way to go to randomly explore the world, without getting up from my chair.
A few days ago, as I was preparing to leave for Prague, I tried to find some information on the city’s railway station. I can’t remember why, I have been to so many places (at least virtually) since then. I happened on a page with a 360 degree spherical picture of Fantova kavárna or Fanta’s Café, originally the main hall of the station as it was built in 1871 by the architect Josef Fanta. The picture was on a website called 360cities.net which, I have discovered, is a wonderful tool for random travelling.
I soon ended up in other places in Prague, my favourites I think being the Bethlehem Chapel, a medieval crane and the wonderful Strahov library, where the picture is so detailed that I am quite confident that I will one day spot a bookworm about to take a bite out of one of the ancient volumes.
I have found it very difficult to stop travelling on 360 cities and have discovered a lot of places I had never heard of. My suggestion is to start from a city you went to a long time ago or one which you have always dreamed of visiting. Take your time with the pictures, look around and up and also down (count the cigarette butts or see if someone’s dropped a coin) and when you have finished go somewhere else in the vicinity by clicking on one of the white arrows you will see. There may be other photos in the vicinity which aren’t linked, though. For example, I spent a long time on the square outside the Hermitage Museum in St. Petersburg without finding an arrow which would take me in, so I had to search for the museum to find pictures of the interior.
When you have seen enough of a place and if, like me, you like random travelling and walking, click on the green globe icon you’ll see among the white arrows which will take you somewhere “far far away” and start looking around the new place it lands you at.
Here are a few of the places and situations I wasn’t looking for but ended up looking up and liking:
A lovely tree in France,
Casa de los Azulejos – Mexico City
Monterosso in the Cinque Terre – Italy
A dog watching a goose cooking somewhere in Germany
A bay with fishing boats in Vietnam
The night sky in Chilean Patagonia
The forest of ten thousand peaks, Guizhou, China
Someone’s greenhouse in Texas
A storm brewing over the Himalayas in Nepal
Something entitled “Hotel Ship Wreck Dance Hall” in Szeged, Hungary – (not quite sure what happened here)
Coral reef fish in New Caledonia
This reminds me of using Google Maps’ street view the French village where our daughter was spending her exchange year. We kept returning throughout the year and wondering whether she had met the lady walking down the road, and we would laugh with recognition when she mentioned a particularly noticeable auto that was parked at the same place every day. Thanks for sharing, and thanks for the memories.