I am flying high over north-left Turkey.
We took off about half-an-hour ago and we’re still over land, I’d expected to be over the sea by now. Countries are rarely the size you expect them to be, they’re almost always much bigger.
Istanbul was bigger than I’d expected too.
Hang on, the pilot has just spelt out the route: Turkey, Bulgaria, Serbia, Slovenia, Italy, France, then Spain.
No self-respecting crow would fly such a circuitous route, but then routes on flat maps always look absurdly circular until you map them to a globe.
This is why ships from Southampton to New York bump into icebergs. On the flat page of an atlas, you’d expect them to be much further south, but the great circle from northern Europe has ships (and now planes) approaching the Big Apple from the north – down the Newfoundland coast. I once flew into New York from behind, we flew down the Hudson with Manhattan on the left. I longed to see a map to understand how this could be, but I was stuck on a plane and not even I am so geeky as to travel with a globe.