Stunning photos help us visualize our travel plans. I usually purchase a few travel-guide-books, sometimes even used-travel-guide-books to save money. (The landmarks won’t change much year to year, and I use the internet to get updated visitor info.) Often those books have plain pages, or perhaps black and white photos.
To help us (especially our kids!) really “see” where we’re going, or more often, where we’re dreaming of going, I always buy a DK Eyewitness book. The photography and graphics are gorgeous!
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Here are Eyewitness books for Venice, a city my husband and I went to for a couple days on our honeymoon, but that we have not yet visited with our kids:
DK Eyewitness Travel Guides:
1. DK Eyewitness Travel Guide
2. A DK Eyewitness Top 10 book is essential for showing kids fabulous photos of what they’ll see and do, which helps to get them eager to go:
Google Street View Treks:
There are also lush photos to be found online on blogs and travel sites. Google Treks is one new source that combines maps, imagery, landmark highlights, sounds, and interactivity. Google is adding new locations, and one of the first available is Venice.
I am not an expert Google Earth user, and it took me a while to figure out how to navigate my way through the pages. (*note regarding browsers: I had the best Google Treks results in Firefox. Chrome didn’t work for me today, neither did Internet Explorer.) What follows is my ‘journey’ through the 8 Venice sections. To try it yourself, start with the Venice link above, or click any of the large images below.
1. Main page:
From here, scroll down, or use the nearly-invisible menus dots at the lower right side of the page to navigate.
2. The next page is “Take a journey” which reads: “Welcome to Venice, Italy, the city built on water. Travel the canals, walk the streets, ride boats, cross bridges and plan your own adventure in one of the world’s most unique cities.”
Click on the globe and you’ll zoom to a bird’s eye view of Venice. Keep clicking anywhere on the city and you’ll get closer. Click and drag to move around the city. Use the plus or minus buttons at the upper right of the page to zoom in or out. (*note: if this powerful application crashes your computer, reopen the Treks and just skip this ‘globe’ section.)
3. Next, scroll down for “Step back in time”, which reads: “See how the city has changed over the centuries as you walk through major moments in Venetian history.”
There are three interactive maps of the city. Click on the images at the lower right to select either an 1838 Venice map, a current map, or a satellite version of Venice. Click the preset markers, the same on each view, for descriptions of landmarks. Click between maps to see the changes at a particular area.
4. Next, scroll down for “Roam the city”, which reads: “How do you get around a city with no cars? Check out different modes of transportation in the Venitian archipelago.”
To move around the canals, click either Explore by Gondola or Explore by Vaporetto. To move around the walkways, click Explore on Foot. At any point, click and drag up or down to see more of the view, double click to get closer to any image, and click further along your route or click an arrow at the lower center of the page to move in any direction down the waterway or pathway.
To hear recorded and looped sounds, click the speaker symbol at the upper right. Depending on your mode of transportation, you’ll hear paddling, a motor, or pedestrian voices and a distant bell. When you feel the sounds are too repetitious, click on the speaker symbol to turn it off and continue exploring in silence.
5. Next, scroll down to “Take a tour”, which reads: “See Venice through the eyes of artists by exploring locations that inspired famous works of art, available through the Google Cultural Institute.”
Click on markers on the satellite image to see a popup about that location.
Here is the first resulting popup:
Click on the that popup art image to see side by side images in a second popup:
The left image is an artist’s depiction of the location, and below it is a link to the museum housing the art piece, and a link to the Google Cultural Center for more info. The right is the current street view, which is interactive, click within it to move around. Or, click on the Street View link beneath the map, which opens a new browser window with Google Maps positioned at that location for further exploration.
For each location, click the right or left arrow to see the other marked locations. Or, click the X in the upper right of the popup to return to the satellite Venice image and select another location marker. Use the plus or minus symbols to zoom in or out.
6. Next, scroll down to “Get lost”, which reads: “Wander the streets and canals of Venice with Street View and see what you stumble upon.”
Click the large ‘play video’ triangle to start a one minute video of Venice scenes, with lively accordion music and a few happy voices as background sounds. Toward the end, even catch a glimpse of a Google photographer with a giant Google camera strapped to his back and looming over his head.
To exit the video, click anywhere on the screen outside of the video.
7. Next, scroll down to see three Theme panels.
Click the center of either one to view a locations by theme: I LIKE Adventure, I LIKE History, or I LIKE Romance.
An image presents, with a short description at the bottom. Click Next at the lower right to see the next location, and the Next. At any time, click in the image to move within the scene.
Finally, click “See my map” at the lower right for a map with markers indicating the three theme locations (below). From the map view, click TRY ANOTHER ADVENTURE at the lower right to return to the three choices.
8. Lastly, scroll down to “Explore” more Views of Venice:
Click the blue button to see a page layout with an interactive street and canal view, an interactive map view, and seven landmarks to click and explore further.
I loved my journey through this Google Street View Trek, and can’t wait for more cities to be included!
If you want to try it, here’s the starting link again: Venice : The City Built on Water
Happy travel dreaming,
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