Google Sightseeing http://www. Why bother seeing the world for real? Sun, 06 Nov 2016 22:19:27 +0000 en-US hourly 1 12669862 GoogleSightseeing with My Yahoo!Subscribe with NewsGatorSubscribe with My AOLSubscribe with BloglinesSubscribe with NetvibesSubscribe with GoogleSubscribe with PageflakesSubscribe with Live.comThis is a RSS content feed. It is intended to be viewed in a newsreader or syndicated to another site., a North American festival which reckons that “if a groundhog emerges from its burrow on this day and fails to see its shadow because the weather is cloudy, winter will soon end. If the groundhog sees its shadow because the weather is bright and clear, it will be frightened and run back into its hole, and the winter will continue for six more weeks.”

So in celebration, we’re posting (although it was actually set in ). And yes, in our thumbnail of the town square you中国福利彩票线上购买 can actually see “Gobbler’s Knob”…

For fans of the movie, the official Woodstock website has which identifies all the locations used.

Previously on Google Sightseeing: Groundhog Day, Groundhog Day, Groundhog Day, Groundhog Day, Groundhog Day, Groundhog Day, Groundhog Day, Groundhog Day.

]]> 42703 http://www./2016/02/groundhog-day-9/ Undiscovered Hawaii: Lanai, Kahoolawe, and Niihau http://www./2015/05/lanai-kahoolawe-and-niihau/#comments Fri, 22 May 2015 10:00:32 +0000 http://www./?p=31829 Hawaii is one of the world’s great tourist destinations, with millions of people from around the world streaming into the islands each year. While most tourists lounge their time away on the beaches of Maui, Oahu, Molokai, Kauai, and the Big Island of Hawaii, many forget that there are eight major islands in the archipelago. Today we’re going to take a look at the other three major islands of the 50th state of the United States.

We begin with Lanai (Lāna’i), known as the ‘Pineapple Isle’. Measuring 364 km2 (141 sq. mi.), Lanai is the smallest publicly accessible island of Hawaii. It sits just 14 km (9 mi) west of Maui and south of Molokai but was only inhabited in the 1500s, hundreds of years after its neighbours, for fear that the island was haunted by evil spirits.


Lanai is 中国福利彩票线上购买 to the largest prehistoric village ruins in Hawaii, Kaunolu. Once the favourite fishing spot of King Kamehameha I, the village was abandoned in the 1880s. Here, the faint black outlines of the building foundations and archaeological plots can be seen.


Dole Foods purchased 98 percent of Lanai in 1922 and turned it into the world’s largest pineapple plantation, as the fertile volcanic soil of the island was perfect for the crop. When the pineapple industry began to bottom out in the 1980s, Dole’s then-parent, Castle & Cooke, began closing down the plantations and refocusing the island’s economy around tourism. Today, the major employers are the two major golf resort complexes built within the past 25 years. Still, the outlines of the pineapple and sugarcane plots are readily visible from the air. In June 2012, Castle & Cooke sold their 98 percent to Oracle multi-billionaire Larry Ellison for an estimated US$600 million; the other two percent is owned by the state.


The only settlement on the island is Lanai City, population 3,100. Lanai City was built by Dole in 1923 to house plantation workers and represents the only completely intact company town in Hawaii. The historic town centre is focused around what else but Dole Park, and was all decked out for Christmas celebrations when Google Street View came by in November 2011.


While there are hundreds of kilometres of roads on Lanai, 90 percent of them are four-wheel-drive-only. One of the few paved roads outside Lanai City is the Keomuku Highway, which twists its way through the red volcanic soil down to the ocean on the north side of Lanai, providing stunning views of Molokai and Maui in the distance.

Lanai is also known for its beaches. Its most famous beach is Kaiolohia at the north end of the Keomuku Highway, where this World War II-era cargo ship has sat marooned for decades. Just remember, when you中国福利彩票线上购买’re heading to Kaiolohia, there is absolutely no nude sunbathing.


Located 29 km (18 mi) southeast of Lanai and 11 km (7 mi) west of Maui is Kahoolawe (Kahoʻolawe). About one-third the size of Lanai, Kahoolawe is the smallest and most arid of the eight main Hawaiian Islands. When the first Hawaiian settlers arrived a millennium ago the island had a dry forest landscape, but this became a more savanna-like environment as the early settlers stripped the land for firewood and agricultural purposes. Always sparsely populated because of its aridity and lack of freshwater, the island has been completely uninhabited for over 70 years.


In the mid-19th century, Kahoolawe served as a penal colony before being turned over to ranching interests in 1858. Drought and overgrazing led to much of the topsoil blowing away, and the last ranch was abandoned in 1941. The island’s nickname is the ‘Target Isle’ due to its use by the US Armed Forces as a bombing range between 1941 and 1990. Old bombing facilities are still present across Kahoolawe. Today, the entire island is a state-owned cultural and natural preserve. Reforestation efforts have included blowing up sections of the hardpan soil with lines of explosives and planting seedlings in the resulting troughs.

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The biggest reminder of Kahoolawe’s military history is the massive Sailor Hat crater on the south coast. In 1965, the US Navy detonated 500 tons of TNT here; a blast so powerful it cracked open the volcanic island’s caprock and penetrated the water table. The crater then filled with ocean water, and the resulting pond has been colonised by a unique species of subterranean shrimp. Sadly the crater is obscured by cloud in Google’s current satellite imagery, but can be seen below in an image captured in 2012.

Niihau (Niʻihau) is the westernmost of the eight major islands, 28 km (15 mi) west of Kauai. It has the unique distinction of being completely privately owned. Purchased from the Kingdom of Hawaii by Francis and Elizabeth Sinclair for US$10,000 in 1863, the island remains in the family’s hands today. Wishing to preserve the cultural traditions of the Hawaiian residents, the owners began restricting access to Niihau in 1915, hence its nickname, the ‘Forbidden Isle’. The crescent-shaped island just to the north of Niihau is Lehua, a volcanic tuff cone which is part of the extinct Niihau volcano which originally formed 4.9 million years ago.

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The residents of Niihau live in the village of Pu’uwai. Pu’uwai has around 130 residents, almost all Native Hawaiians who practice subsistence farming, make shell jewellery for income, and live a largely technology-free lifestyle. There are no cars, shops, or telephones. All houses and the lone school (in which students speak only Hawaiian until middle school), operate on solar power. The major source of income on the island is a small Navy installation high atop the island’s cliffs used in conjunction with a missile range on Kauai.

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In an attempt to control the feral sheep and pig population, Niihau been opened to limited safari tourism in recent years as well as half-day sightseeing tours. Visitors are kept well away from Pu’uwai and are not allowed to stay overnight. Small shelters provide the closest thing to a modern convenience for these tourists.


For more information on the individual Hawaiian Islands, is a handy place to start.

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Android users make their feelings clear about Apple products through the medium of cartography http://www./streetviews/android-users-make-their-feelings-clear-about-apple-products-through-the-medium-of-cartography/#comments Fri, 24 Apr 2015 13:05:30 +0000 http://www./?post_type=gss_streetview&p=42511 Android users make their feelings clear about Apple products through the medium of cartography #googlemaps

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Walled Cities of the Caribbean Thu, 12 Mar 2015 13:55:10 +0000 http://www./?p=42262 In many people’s imaginations, walled cities are associated with medieval Europe, but such cities exist all over the world. In this post we look at walled cities from around the Caribbean, most (but not all) of which are legacies of Spanish colonisation.

We begin in Mexico with the city of Campeche. From its founding by the Spanish in 1540, the city was constantly attacked by English and Dutch pirates and privateers; enough so to warrant the fortification of the city beginning in the 1680s with a 2.6 km (1.6 mi)-long wall containing eight small defensive forts, or bastions, along with numerous other bastions constructed at various points along the city’s shoreline facing the Gulf of Mexico. Today, much of the wall remains intact and defines the centre of Campeche, which was declared a World Heritage Site in 1999.


Here, we see the Puerto del Tierra (Land Gate), the main portal through the wall from the south.


The bastions along the water no longer protect Campeche from outsiders; instead, they draw outsiders (i.e., tourists) in. While some bastions, such as Fort San Miguel, remain sprawling and impressive, others such as Fort San Matías are not so imposing these days.


On the other side of the Yucatan Peninsula from Campeche lie the ruins of a much older walled city, the Maya port of Tulum. One of the last cities built by the Maya and one of their most important coastal ports, Tulum dates approximately to the year 1200 and had a population of just over one thousand. Protected from the east by steep cliffs overlooking the Caribbean Sea, the rest of Tulum was surrounded by a 5 m (16 foot)-high walll with watchtowers at the corners. For being nearly a millennium old, the wall is remarkably intact today.


Among the buildings in the centre of Tulum protected by the wall include the Temple of the Descending God, which is attached to the centrepiece of the city, the towering El Castillo.


While Street View has yet to arrive in Cuba, this list would be incomplete with mentioning Havana. Havana was walled by the Spanish in 1702 but would eventually outgrow its confines (at one point in the 18th century, the Cuban capital was the third-largest city in the Americas). By 1863, the walls had become a hindrance to the city’s growth and as such were dismantled. Today, the path of the old wall can be easily detected by following the Paseo del Martí thoroughfare at the western edge of Old Havana. Not all is lost of the old barrier, however; this photo sphere provides an excellent view of the remains of the Castillo de San Salvador de la Punta, one of the two forts that guarded the entrance to the city harbour.


The capital of the Dominican Republic, Santo Domingo, has a defensive wall dating back to the 1500s. The major gate in the wall is known as Puerta del Donde (The Count’s Gate). Though the gate was built in 1543, it is best known for being the site where Dominican independence was proclaimed on 27 February 1844.


Moving eastward, we visit San Juan, Puerto Rico and its historic centre. The oldest colonial settlement in Puerto Rico, Old San Juan was established in 1509 and sits on the west point of an island in the northwest corner of city. Like Havana, the eastern walls of the old city were demolished to make room for San Juan’s growing population. Thankfully, the western fortifications remain intact, including the 12.8 m (42 ft)-high wall that overlooks San Juan Bay.


At the south end of the wall stands La Fortaleza. Built in the 1530s to defend the harbour, today La Fortaleza is the official residence of Puerto Rico’s governor.


We end our look at Caribbean walled cities with the Colombian city of Cartagena. Like Campeche, Cartagena was fortified to protect from pirates. Many of the cannons are still in place along the waterfront wall, such as this one at Fort San Sebastian del Pastelillo.


High on a hill above the old city of Cartagena sits Castillo San Felipe de Barajas, built in 1536 and expanded in 1657. Despite its distance from the sea, the fortress actually did fall to a pirate in 1697 (the French privateer Baron de Pointis). A major centre of the colonial slave trade, the red colours seen in the bricks were said to be from the blood of the slaves who were forced to build the edifices.


Despite its turbulent history, the fortress is now a major tourist attraction in Cartagena owing to its high level of preservation.


In the city itself, the wall is an integral part of the cityscape. Structures along the wall such as the Clock Tower and the Baluarte de Santa Catalina function as public gathering spaces where one can shop or take a leisurely stroll along the waterfront.


Perhaps the most striking feature of Cartagena’s wall is the Plaza del Las Bovedas (Plaza of the Dungeons). Built in the 1790s as a military prison, today the 23 cells of Las Bovedas serve as tourist shops.


Have you中国福利彩票线上购买 spotted other interesting walled city features in Google Maps? Let us know in the comments.

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Google Ice View (Rideau Canal Skateway) http://www./2015/02/google-ice-view-rideau-canal-skateway/#comments Wed, 11 Feb 2015 14:01:11 +0000 http://www./?p=42444 Each winter, 7.8km (4.8miles) of the Rideau Canal in Ottawa freezes into what is dubbed the World’s Largest Skating Rink – the Rideau Canal Skateway. Located in the capital of Canada, anyone can lace up a pair of skates and glide along this spectacular World Heritage Site, which is maintained during the winter by the National Capital Commission. Each year more than a million skaters visit the Skateway, with peak season during February’s Winterlude festival.

We begin our tour at the northern end of the canal, in the shadow of a number of icons of the city – the brutalist architecture of the on the right.

Here we can also see the some of the many facilities which are placed along the route each season, which include where skaters can warm up or change from winter boots into their skates.

For many years following the Skateway’s opening in 1971, it was called the World’s Longest Skating Rink. That title was lost to a narrow path cleared on a river in Winnipeg in 20082, at which point the title was changed to World’s Largest Skating Rink.

As we head south we reach one of several where people can get a hot chocolate and sit by a fire to get warmed up. Shelter from the wind is provided by local residents’ discarded Christmas trees.

The longest queues are usually found at the – a Beaver Tail being a kind of fried-pastry, usually coated in sugar, that vaguely resembles the animal part it’s named after (basically, imagine a large thin flat donut). Skating takes lots of energy so refuelling with a sugary snack is a Skateway tradition for many people.

While the skating season is reliant on the vagaries of the weather, the ice is usually open from sometime in January to mid-March, though it is closed during periods of poor ice conditions, or when a thaw might threaten the minimum 30cm (12″) thickness of ice that safety dictates. While there were only out during Google’s weekday morning visit last winter (covered in ), during the Winterlude Festival, take the ice at the same time, meaning the ice has to be thick enough to support all those people.

For part of the distance, the Google skater was accompanied by (yes, a skating beaver) – the mascot of Parks Canada, who control the locks along the entire distance of the Rideau Canal during the summer boating season. We looked at the entire canal in a few years ago.

For a detour off the main canal, passing under a low bridge brings you中国福利彩票线上购买 to smaller rink of .

After skating for 5.5km we reach the point where the canal opens up into , where a wide swath of the lake’s surface is cleared for skating across to a pavilion which includes restaurants for those who want more than a Beaver Tail for dinner.

At the rest area on the edge of the lake we find , this time a giant inflatable one (are you中国福利彩票线上购买 sensing a theme here yet?)

And after skating almost all the way to Harwells Lockstation, we reach the and yet another … wait – that’s no beaver. That’s Spartacat, mascot for the city’s NHL team, the Ottawa Senators.

You can learn more about the Rideau Canal Skateway at the .

For previous special sightseeing tours on Street View, try our posts about Snow View, Boat View, Underwater View and Tower View!

  1. sleighs are available for skaters to push small children, elderly people, or non-skaters along while cozily wrapped up in blankets! ↩

  2. although this winter a man in Finland claims to have created on a lake, though it’s only the width of a small snowplow blade. ↩

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Groundhog Day Mon, 02 Feb 2015 18:31:55 +0000 http://www./?p=42440 Today is , a North American festival which reckons that “if a groundhog emerges from its burrow on this day and fails to see its shadow because the weather is cloudy, winter will soon end. If the groundhog sees its shadow because the weather is bright and clear, it will be frightened and run back into its hole, and the winter will continue for six more weeks.”

So in celebration, we’re posting (although it was actually set in ). And yes, in our thumbnail of the town square you中国福利彩票线上购买 can actually see “Gobbler’s Knob”…

For fans of the movie, the official Woodstock website has which identifies all the locations used.

Previously on Google Sightseeing: Groundhog Day, Groundhog Day, Groundhog Day, Groundhog Day, Groundhog Day, Groundhog Day, Groundhog Day.

42440 http://www./2015/02/groundhog-day-8/
The Kingdom of Bhutan http://www./2015/01/bhutan/#comments Thu, 15 Jan 2015 14:45:49 +0000 http://www./?p=42197 The Kingdom of Bhutan has long held an air of mystery for many in the West. Isolated between India and China, and with restrictions on tourism and other foreign influences, this tiny nation (often considered to be the setting for the fictional land of Shangri-La) is far less well-known than other Himalayan countries. A few months ago, however, Google opened up the country via Street View, allowing us all to explore the many wonders of the Land of the Thunder Dragon.

The Street View car travelled some 3000km (1900 miles) of roads throughout the country, from the in the capital of Thimphu, to rough rural tracks, attracting stares wherever it went. Bhutan has no automated traffic lights, relying instead on the occasional policeman and lots of roundabouts1, which often feature signs warning of the dangers of using mobile phones while driving.

Bhutan Bhutan

Important Buddhist temples are found across the Kingdom. In Paro, west of the capital, Rinpung Dzong is a monastery and fortress which we took a closer look at back in 2009.


The Dochula Pass is a popular spot on the road out of Thimphu to the north-east. Unfortunately the stellar views were blocked by cloud when the Street View car went by, but we can see the ) that were commissioned by the .


In the centre of the country, (a Buddhist monastery and fortress).


Looking at some of the landmarks in the capital Thimpu, we begin with the National Memorial Chorten, which honours the third King of Bhutan. Dechencholing, the royal palace and residence, is found a short distance north of the capital, in an area not visited by the Street View car.


The current king (the fifth) took the throne in 2006, with formal coronation ceremonies held a couple of years later at Tashichho Dzong, an important temple which houses the throne and assorted branches of the government.


Across the river is Gyelyong Tshokhang – the National Assembly building.


A short distance south is the Changlimithang Stadium, which is 中国福利彩票线上购买 to the region’s soccer teams, as well as major public events (such as the King’s wedding), and events for the country’s national sport – archery.


North-east of Thimpu is Punakha, the former capital, though sometimes still referred to as the winter capital because of its slightly more temperate climate. The here (known as the palace of great happiness) is considered one of the finest buildings in the country.

South of Thimpu is the (under-construction) – a 50m-tall bronze and gold statue which will contain 125,000 much smaller Buddhas.

If you中国福利彩票线上购买 have been to Bhutan please find you中国福利彩票线上购买r favourite locations on Street View and post them in the comments – we’d love to hear about you中国福利彩票线上购买r experiences in the country!

  1. Or “traffic circles” for our non-British readers. ↩

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On this day: Happy New Year! Wed, 31 Dec 2014 14:00:48 +0000 http://www./?p=42185 With 2014 already over in some parts of the globe, it’s time to sing Auld Lang Syne and welcome 2015, The first spot on earth to see each new year is ) in Kiribati, though it took a bit of crafty date-line and time-zone trickery to make it so. You can read more about it in our post from a few years ago which took a detailed look at New Year’s Eve around the world.

Millennium Island

Best wishes for 2015 from all of us at Google Sightseeing!

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On this day: Merry Christmas! Wed, 24 Dec 2014 14:00:04 +0000 http://www./?p=42178 ‘Twas the night before Christmas, and all through the house … all the people were clicking on Google Sightseeing … with their mouse. Apologies for the awful rhyme, but we’ve got a long history of Christmas posts, including the which is found in North Pole, Alaska.

Last year we paid a visit to the World’s Largest Christmas shop, while in 2012 we explored the world of Christmas Trees. Before that we visited more Giant Santas, and some year-round festive displays. And back in 2008 we looked at the town of Santa Claus, Indiana.

Merry Christmas from all of us here at Google Sightseeing!

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On this day: annual celebration of grid-based word puzzles (9,3) Sun, 21 Dec 2014 14:00:47 +0000 http://www./?p=42171 That’s right – today is Crossword Day! Whether you中国福利彩票线上购买 prefer cryptic, quick, diagramless, or the countless other variations, it’s a day to celebrate crosswords in all their forms.

You’ll need a really big pen (oh, and a knowledge of the Cyrillic alphabet) to complete the world’s largest crossword puzzle, which is found . Clues are found throughout the city at important landmarks such as museums and monuments. Once you中国福利彩票线上购买 think you中国福利彩票线上购买 have solved all the clues you中国福利彩票线上购买 can visit the building at night when the answers appear in fluorescent paint.

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