Monday, March 08, 2010

Virtual Trans-Siberian rivals the real thing

My love for the great Trans-Siberian rail journey across Russia is no secret, so you can imagine my excitement when I read recently that Google and the Russian Railways have joined forces to create the virtual Trans-Siberian.

It's just like it sounds - go to their website, and you'll be taken on a virtual journey across Russia, with decent quality video footage of every bit of the trip. Unlike me, they started in Moscow and finished up in Vladivostok (I did that backwards). One idea on the website is especially cute - you can choose the soundtrack for the journey, including just the click-clack of the train, or Russian radio, or a reading of some great Russian literature.

You probably won't want to watch the whole trip - it's 150 hours long, although they did adjust things so that unlike the real trip, this one takes place entirely during daylight - but you can click on the map or a list to skip to particular destinations. I highly recommend "riding" along Lake Baikal, one of the most beautiful parts of the trip for sure.

Although it's still a million times better to go there and do the real Trans-Siberian, I'm surprised at how cool this site is. And it helps me quench just a little of my ever-present thirst for travel.

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