What To Do: Stuck at home? See the world from your computer

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By Denny Dyroff, Entertainment Editor, The Times


For many, Israel is a magic land — a place where many of the world’s most significant historical events took place.

As long as it is a peaceful mode, Israel is a wonderful place to visit – unless there is a pandemic going on.

Obviously, now is not a good time as COVID-19 is forcing the world to pull its head back in its shell like a frightened turtle.

Israel is still a great place to visit right now – virtually.

A good starting point is The Israel Museum (https://www.imj.org.il/en/events/museum-closed-come).

The museum is offering a virtual tour of many exhibits, as well as virtual children’s activities, to keep everyone entertained. Its children’s offerings include printable coloring sheets of some of the museum’s famous masterpieces so kids can take the tour offline too.

The Museum’s website posted this message:

“The Museum is closed, Come in!

Even at such times – in fact, especially at such times – art and culture are more important than ever as nourishment for the soul.

We are now working to provide you with all of the Israel Museum’s diverse exhibitions online so that you can visit us at the push of a button and from any location.

We invite you, already now, to enjoy a virtual tour of our museum in Google Art and creative art tours for children.

Please continue to follow us on our website and through social media as we will be uploading more tours and programs in the coming days.”

Another interesting site is the Tel Aviv Museum of Art (https://www.tamuseum.org.il/he/).

The Tel Aviv Museum of Art wants to keep fans fully entertained while social distancing. To help, the museum now hosts a number of virtual tours and released video footage of some of its coolest exhibits. It also has online voice guides, live broadcast tours of the museum, and more.

For an all-around tour experience, Virtually Israel (https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCaaWhibc807D29bTchOwqjA) created an entire suite of 360-degree videos to “cater to a variety of interests.” That includes virtual tours of some of Tel Aviv’s best beaches, as well as a bird’s eye view of the city on a hot air balloon ride. There are also tours of the Dead Sea, the Tower of David in Jerusalem, Independence hall, and more.

Three other virtual tours worth investigating are The Western Wall Tunnels 360 LIVE (https://youtu.be/MccQtsHDWvY); Via Dolorosa VR Tour (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GTshKXeBdHs); and Virtual Tour of Sea of Galilee (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jJgULbxcLlk).

Your trip to the Holy Land would not be complete without experiencing “One day in Jerusalem” (https://samsungvr.com/view/Wv_0tcndBOG). Sygic Travel VR created a 360-degree virtual tour of Jerusalem’s Old City.

According to Sygic Travel’s website, “Holy to Jews, Christians, and Muslims, Jerusalem is one of the world’s foremost pilgrimage destinations. You may feel moved, energized, or swept into the maelstrom of contemporary issues — but the city will not leave you unaffected.”

More views of the Israeli world can be found at “One day in Bethlehem” (https://samsungvr.com/view/0MlzSlcbi0G) and “One day in Tel Aviv” (https://samsungvr.com/view/XZCJObVww2y).

When visiting Sygic Travel VR’s website, you don’t have to limit yourself to visiting Israel.

With the help of Sygic Travel VR, you can enjoy visits to many of the world’s greatest cities — “One day in Amsterdam” (https://samsungvr.com/view/EkNb6ayzXQG?referralId=590c6f1ab0a8c2001a4aaaf2), “One day in Moscow” (https://samsungvr.com/view/BGHgltBdlDf?referralId=590c6f1ab0a8c2001a4aaaf2), “One day in Copenhagen” (https://samsungvr.com/view/WyRsOHXrl3g?referralId=590c6f1ab0a8c2001a4aaaf2), “One day in Bangkok (https://samsungvr.com/view/m4PliwA5LUl), “One day in Agra” (https://samsungvr.com/view/_f9N5usCmnK?referralId=590c6f1ab0a8c2001a4aaaf2) and “One day in Gran Canaria” (https://samsungvr.com/view/Kh7zsjuGclj?referralId=590c6f1ab0a8c2001a4aaaf2), “One day in Budapest” (https://samsungvr.com/view/qgh3apRZNHN?referralId=590c6f1ab0a8c2001a4aaaf2).

The list of the site’s virtual travel options also includes “One day in New Delhi” (https://samsungvr.com/view/DmzUyv4V_x4?referralId=590c6f1ab0a8c2001a4aaaf2), “One day in Berlin” (https://samsungvr.com/view/5HsbUAFhbtP), “One day in Porto” (https://samsungvr.com/view/V1Ul_9kMcGQ), “One day in Athens” (https://samsungvr.com/view/CfhrlKdsAZc?referralId=590c6f1ab0a8c2001a4aaaf2), “One day in Istanbul” (https://samsungvr.com/view/24LddCidjNc?referralId=590c6f1ab0a8c2001a4aaaf2), and “One day in Singapore” (https://samsungvr.com/view/k3Ne4tZiufg?referralId=590c6f1ab0a8c2001a4aaaf2).

If you’re feeling really adventurous, you could immerse yourself in “One day in Siem Reap” (https://youtu.be/0KRqA_Xv7i8).

Siem Reap

Siem Reap is the capital city of Siem Reap Province in northwestern Cambodia. Siem Reap has colonial and Chinese-style architecture in the Old French Quarter and around the Old Market. In the city, there are museums, traditional Apsara dance performances, a Cambodian cultural village, souvenir and handicraft shops, silk farms, rice paddies in the countryside, fishing villages and a bird sanctuary near the Tonle Sap Lake, and a vibrant, cosmopolitan drinking and dining scene.

Italy may be still in lockdown because of the COVID-19 pandemic by Sygic Travel VR gives you the opportunity to travel all over Italy with these links — “One day in Italy” (https://samsungvr.com/view/o64VZpylurp), “One day in Siena” (https://samsungvr.com/view/dIhu6cyWgxs?referralId=590c6f1ab0a8c2001a4aaaf2), “One day in Venice” (https://samsungvr.com/view/EbYdk9AyPR4?referralId=590c6f1ab0a8c2001a4aaaf2), “One day in Rome” (https://samsungvr.com/view/ZfNgr6DhXwq?referralId=590c6f1ab0a8c2001a4aaaf2), “One day in Milan” (https://samsungvr.com/view/ju9ky5AzJYv?referralId=590c6f1ab0a8c2001a4aaaf2), “One day in Florence” (https://samsungvr.com/view/_mnrHJ5GQG9?referralId=590c6f1ab0a8c2001a4aaaf2), “One day in Pisa” (https://samsungvr.com/view/EIwPGY6yC2o), and “One day in Verona” (https://samsungvr.com/view/EkNb6ayzXQG?referralId=590c6f1ab0a8c2001a4aaaf2).

Other good sites for virtual visits to Italy are https://www.italyguides.it/en/, https://www.touritalynow.com/virtual-italy-tours, and https://thatanxioustraveller.com/virtual-tour-of-italy-visiting-italy/.

As long as you’re making a trip to Italy, you can visit a country-within-a-country – San Marino.

San Marino

San Marino is an enclave microstate on the northeastern side of the Apennine Mountains – a tiny country located inside of Italy.

San Marino covers a land area of just over 24 square miles and is one of only three countries in the world to be completely surrounded by another country (the others being Vatican City, also surrounded by Italy, and Lesotho, which is surrounded by South Africa). It is the fifth smallest country in the world.

Impressive virtual tours of the small enclave country can be found here — https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-6oEoZJZRIs or https://youtu.be/eSqoEhWd9cM.

Another small country that would be a good addition to any trip to Italy is Malta.


Malta is an archipelago in the central Mediterranean between Sicily and the North African coast. It is a nation known for historic sites related to a succession of rulers including the Romans, Moors, Knights of Saint John, French and British. It has numerous fortresses, megalithic temples and the Ħal Saflieni Hypogeum, a subterranean complex of halls and burial chambers dating to circa 4000 B.C.

The Maltese archipelago lies virtually at the center of the Mediterranean, 93 km south of Sicily and 288 km north of Africa. The archipelago consists of three islands: Malta, Gozo and Comino with a total population of over 400,000 inhabitants occupying an area of 316 square kilometers.

The narrow meandering streets of their towns and villages lead to the main square, which is invariably dominated by the huge baroque church. As the countryside is dotted with medieval towers, wayside chapels and the oldest known human structures in the world, the Islands have rightly been described as an open-air museum.

Video link for Malta — https://youtu.be/LY42C3LqIUo.

There are several good sites to visit to find virtual tours of Malta including http://www.vrmalta.co.uk/malta-virtual-tour/index.html, https://www.visitmalta.com/en/info/gozo-3-sixty, https://maltain360.com/page.aspx?ref=search, and  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wZ1CF_wu8jo.

New Orleans

If you’re looking for a city with culture, cuisine and an intriguing history, you don’t have to leave the states – all you need to do is to go to New Orleans (virtually, that is).

There is no way to get a bowl of spicy gumbo or a plate of beignets online — nor can you break a heavy sweat by walking a block in the humid air along Bourbon Street — but you can soak in the vibe of the city virtually

New Orleans & Company (https://www.neworleans.com/about-us/about-new-orleans-and-company/), a marketers for the New Orleans tourism industry, is offering a variety of places where you can see and enjoy The Crescent City in virtual mode.

New Orleans music, which is the lifeblood of the city, is at your fingertips when you sit at your computer. You can livestream performances by the city’s many talented musicians by going to the  WWOZ Virtual Gig Calendar (https://www.wwoz.org/blog/639666) or watch a livestream by a musician from the Big Easy via the New Orleans tourism website (https://www.neworleans.com/blog/post/live-stream-concerts-in-new-orleans/).

The website also hosts virtual tours from some of the local institutions (https://www.neworleans.com/blog/post/virtual-visits-to-new-orleans-attractions/) including the New Orleans Museum of Art, National WWII Museum, The Audubon Nature Institute, The Ogden Museum of Southern Art, Lafayette Cemetery No. 1, Steamboat Natchez, Southern Food & Beverage Museum and Mardi Gras World.

If you want a “pot luck” method for choosing virtual visits, here is a list (not by genre and in no particular order) where you can enjoy other interesting and informative virtual journeys from around the area and around the world — The Penn Museum (www.penn.museum), The Museum of the American Revolution (www.amrevmuseum.org), The Delaware Art Museum (delart.org/connectwithartfromhome), The Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam (https://www.rijksmuseum.nl/en), the Van Gogh Museum (https://www.vangoghmuseum.nl/en), The Louvre in Paris (https://www.louvre.fr/en); Musée d’Orsay in Paris (https://m.musee-orsay.fr/en/home.html); The Vatican Museums in Rome (www.museivaticani.va); Uffizi Gallery, Florence (https://www.uffizi.it/en), Faroe Islands (https://www.visitfaroeislands.com/), Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden (http://cincinnatizoo.org/), The National Park Foundation (https://www.nationalparks.org/connect/blog/take-virtual-visit-national-park), Abbey Road (https://www.abbeyroad.com/news/google-presents-inside-abbey-road-1003?AspxAutoDetectCookieSupport=1), York Minster  (https://www.york360.co.uk/movies/york-minster-interior.htm), Appalachian Trail (https://apps.apple.com/us/app/walk-the-distance/id634548793), The National Park Service and The National Cherry Blossom Festival  (https://nationalmall.org/bloomcam), Schönbrunn Palace (https://artsandculture.google.com/partner/schloss-schoenbrunn). The B&O Railroad Museum (http://www.borail.org/jrjunction.aspx), Roman Baths (https://www.romanbaths.co.uk/walkthrough), Hadrian’s Wall (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kGcpiwL3CEg), The National Gallery in London (nationalgallery.org.uk); The British Museum (britishmuseum.org); Guggenheim in Bilbao (www.guggenheim-bilbao.eus/en); Guggenheim Museum in New York (https://www.guggenheim.org); Metropolitan Museum of Art (https://www.metmuseum.org); The National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C. (www.nga.gov); and Giants Causeway (https://www.nationaltrust.org.uk/giants-causeway/features/take-a-virtual-tour-of-the-giants-causeway?awc=3795_1587148311_51431446614873859d363fe54b35b29d&campid=Affiliates_Central_Mem_AWIN_Standard&aff=78888).

You could also consider Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History (https://naturalhistory.si.edu/), Space Center Houston (https://spacecenter.org/app/), Buckingham Palace (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gen0NgJjry4), The Tower of London (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yeLQVare-3k), The National Air and Space Museum of the Smithsonian Institution (https://airandspace.si.edu/), Palace of Versailles (https://artsandculture.google.com/project/versailles), Six Flags Great Adventure (https://www.sixflags.com/greatadventure/attractions/vr2016/experience), Dorney Park (https://www.dorneypark.com/), Walt Disney World (https://disneyworld.disney.go.com/), St. Paul’s Cathedral (https://www.360cities.net/image/inside-st-paul-s-cathedral), Stonehenge (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_RyqU1r1Fmk), LEGOLAND Florida Resort (https://www.legoland.com/florida/), SeaWorld Orlando (https://seaworld.com/orlando/), Universal Orlando Resort (https://www.universalorlando.com/web/en/us), Betsy Ross House (historicphiladelphia.org/betsy-ross-house), Charlotte, Anne, and Emily Brontë residences  (https://artsandculture.google.com/story/FwLyGtC06USyJA), Loch Ness (https://www.google.com/maps/@57.1866913,-4.6170689,2a,90y,179.9h,82.17t/data=!3m6!1e1!3m4!1sFB8R6jT4YbOQd8Kpy4Xg7g!2e0!7i13312!8i6656), Valley Forge National Historical Park (https://www.nps.gov/museum/exhibits/valley_forge), the American Treasure Tour Museum (http://americantreasuretour.com/), The Railroad Museum of Pennsylvania(https://rrmuseumpa.org/about/musviews/), The National Toy Train Museum (www.nttmuseum.org), The Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission (http://www.phmc.state.pa.us/portal/communities/archaeology/resources/virtual-tour.html), the Pennsylvania Lumber Museum (http://lumbermuseum.org/) and Edinburgh Castle (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Zu-KVWSqJlI).

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