We stand by the fjord and listen to the silence. The wind pushed the icebergs into the fjord, but hunter Tobias managed to get through to us with his boat anyway. We climb and drive in the fog through the mystical labyrinth of ice.
In reality, we are all sitting in front of our computers at home. But in our thoughts we are in Greenland’s wild East and follow Ruth Zeller’s stories. Real journeys are far away at the moment, but we can still dream.
The organiser Hauser Excursions, which specialises in trekking tours, for example, sends outdoor fans on virtual journeys in the Corona Crisis. On his online platform, he offers several live lectures per week and is currently arguably leading the way. Tickets are available for 9.99 euros, the link to the 60-minute event by e-mail, the required software is free of charge. The proceeds will benefit 100 percent of the speakers or the charitable projects they support.
The little adventures in your head arrive, most of the lectures are fully booked. “We have already transported about 1,100 guests virtually, which is more than we sent on a real journey throughout April 2019,” says Hauser sales manager Rafael Pohle.
“We stay here with our tents, three nights”
Now we fly by helicopter across the polar current, leave the houses of Kulusuk below us and reach Tasiilaq in a quarter of an hour – with 2000 inhabitants the largest city in East Greenland. In total, only about 3,000 people live in the mountainous east of the country, or five percent of the total population. “This corner of Greenland was first travelled by Europeans 130 years ago,” says tour guide Zeller.
And as she says, the feeling of being there with a backpack on her back and a camera in her hand creeps in: “We’ll explore the village first.” “We’re in a T-shirt at 15 to 20 degrees.” “We stay here with our tents, three nights.” “We play with the icebergs on the beach.”
And then there are the many detailed photos: from the baggage belt at the airport to the mosquito nets of the hikers to the view of glaciers.
“Turn off, see something else. And relive travel experiences”
Of course, such a lecture cannot replace a real trip, says Pohle. But it is about more than just information. “People just want to switch off and see something different. Many regular customers also look at the lectures, they want to relive their experiences.” The question-and-answer session at the end almost raises a sense of normality when the audience asks about the temperatures at night, inquires about the danger posed by polar bears and wants to know how heavy the luggage can be.
Shortly after Down Under
Other organizers are also increasingly relying on virtual alternatives. Travel Essence, for example, as a specialist for tailor-made trips to Australia and New Zealand, usually hosts lectures in its offices throughout Germany. “This is an important tool for us to bring prospective customers closer not only to Australia and New Zealand, but also to show our way of travelling,” says marketing and event manager Anina Mörgenthaler. Since the beginning of the month, the company has been offering the events online, so far there have been about 150 registrations. The lectures provide information on sights, possible flight routes and owner-managed accommodation. They are accessible and free of charge to everyone, you just have to register.
Globetrotter Reisen has so far conducted six virtual trips with the opera director Michael Sturm, with more in the planning stage. Most recently we went to Vienna and Egypt. On average, 30 to 45 people take part, according to the organizer. The invitation with link comes via newsletter, for which you can register online. Interested parties will then automatically receive an e-mail two days before the virtual trip. According to Globetrotter, this may be forwarded to other travellers. “It is not a closed society, but open to all.”
Frankfurt, Erfurt, Stuttgart – just get started
However, it does not always have to be the wide world. Some German cities can also be explored from the sofa. The local provider of Frankfurt city events, for example, has recorded virtual tours under the motto “Gugge and doing good”. The 25-minute videos take interested parties on a visit to the Kleinmarkthalle, on a tour of the New Old Town or let them through the dark with a night watchman. Frankfurt Walk. The offer is free of charge, donations are possible.
Stuttgart offers videos in a 360-degree angle. City guides show people at home “trendy places” of the city centre or the more than 400 stairways known as Stuttgarter Stäffele. The clips, which last up to 15 minutes, are available free of charge on YouTube.
Without any comments, the Sunday walks in Thuringia From. Every week, the focus is on a different city. On the Facebook channel “Discover Thuringia” visitors can follow the 30-minute walk live – or just join in. So far, walks through Erfurt, Weimar and Gotha have been published. They are also available.
Streaming to the Rhine and Great Barrier Reef
Travel reports are also lurking in the oversupply of streaming providers, which help you dream away. The online portal Featvre offers an overview and a selection of the best documentaries and reports from more than 40 media libraries – recommended and reviewed by the independent editorial board. Current recommendations include the “Interactive Journey” on the Great Barrier Reef with the British wildlife filmmaker and naturalist David Attenborough or the cinema documentary “Rheingold – Faces of a River”.
In the next few days, Hauser will cross the Alps and travel to Bulgaria. Patagonia, too, is still “in the drawer”. There are enough topics: “If we want to, we can do it until June,” says Pohl. But first the organizer wants to wait and see if further easing of the initial restrictions can be foreseen at the beginning of May. However, some customers have already signalled that they want to travel virtually after the Corona crisis – then as an ideal preparation for the real journey.