This weekend is the start of the unofficial summer season across Canada when individuals and families begin their summer season travels, lasting until Labor Day, the first weekend in September. Maps will be with many travellers.
For me, travel and maps go hand in hand. When I first visited Denmark in 2012, I always had a map of the city or Danish countryside I was visiting.
Get out a map of Denmark. Or find one on the Internet with its latitude and longitude.
The lines that run east and west across Denmark are the latitude lines; the lines that run north and south are the longitude.
Skagen, the far northern tip of Denmark shares with Aberdeen, Scotland, the same latitude, roughly 57 degrees north. Denmark’s southern most community, Gedser, is roughly at 54 degrees north. Still north of where I live, outside of Vancouver, BC, Canada, with its latitude at around 49 degrees north.
Map reading also helps you understand the news better. The massive and destructive fires in Fort McMurray, Alberta, Canada is around 56 degrees north. The same as Aarhus.
I learned that Aalborg in Nordjylland (North Jutland) at 57 degrees north is at the same position as Edinburgh, Scotland.
If I drew an imaginary line from Denmark’s capital city to western Canada, I found it would be just south of the southern tip of Alaska. Which explains a lot, seasonally and weather-wise.
Being this far north, it told me why København – and for that matter most of Denmark – has long, dark winters just like Alaska. Like the old saying about real estate (location, location, location…), this Nordic country’s position on Mother Earth along with the wind, rain, time of year, etc. from the North Sea helps dictate the country’s weather. That is why I chose to visit Denmark twice in September (Not too hot and not too cold as that nursing rhythm tells us).
It’s too bad they don’t teach students in the primary grades of North America how to read global maps in school (Maybe they do in Denmark). Curiosity and coming from a family where maps were valued made me only want to learn more, not less, about maps and the larger world.
Remember this when the upcoming summer solstice come ‘round next month. Or come December. When the winter solstice brings darkness when you are having a hot coffee or tea. Or a pint of Carlsberg beer.