Introduction: Google Maps is one of the coolest tools I've seen. For anyone that doesn't know (perhaps there are a few left), it appears to be collection of satellite photographs sewn together and combined with maps to provide an awesome multi-use information tool. Most often I've seen it used specifically as a map, but we've found a use that we love it for just as much.
Being devoutly bent when it comes to romance, I somehow convinced my wife (for now), to surf the web instead of trudging out into the cold one rainy date night. Instead of dinner and a movie I sold her on visiting the world's monuments. (Oy vey, somebody stop me.) We traversed the globe visiting the Eiffel Tower, the Grand Canyon, the Pyramids of Egypt. Moscow, Venice, and Nepal over the next hour or so.
I don't remember if the evening culminating as date night should, so I don't necessarily recommend this as a date night alternative. However, it was fun ...er, well, ok, it was educational, and decidedly "not" windy and cold.
This has since actually become a game for us. The rules of the game: A virtual vacation consists of a category. The category can guide your choices, which must translate to a physical place. Here are some categories we've started. If you'd like to suggest additional categories, or places within the category, I'll try to maintain a form for doing so. I can't promise anything, but I'd love your input.
Special thanks to Google and anyone else who expands on Google's efforts now that it's less risky as a known commodity ;-) (...forgive me, I'm jaded.)