Oh, the things you'll learn when you go down a rabbit hole of the internet!

Haven't we all been guilty of spending way more time than we should have tapping from page to page, exploring topics, information and disinformation? It's addicting, especially on a lazy weekend. I remember a rabbit hole that eventually had me reading several synopses of Immanual Kant's "A Critique Of Pure Reason" (which at the time I grasped but have long since forgotten.)

But one such scrolling session led me to an Easter egg involving Google Maps, the City of Missoula, and a partnership we've maintained since the 1980s. Want to know what it is?

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Sister Cities

Thanks to Sister Cities International, we know that Missoula has two official "sister cities" which share open dialogue and community involvement, which occasionally involves exchanges including travel. Arts Missoula confirms that Missoula's two sister cities are Neckargemünd, Germany and Palmerston North, New Zealand (affectionately nicknamed "Palmy" by locals.)

According to Arts Missoula, the mayors of Neckargmemünd and Palmerston North both sent heartfelt letters of condolence when longtime Missoula Mayor John Engen passed away earlier this year. Palmerston North also has a page on its city council website about Missoula for their locals to learn about us.

The Easter Egg

Missoula and Palmerston North are separated by about 7,400 miles, most of which is over the Pacific Ocean. While I'm not a geography expert, it looks to me like the route you'd take from one city to the other is northeast-to-southwest.

Credit: Google Maps
Credit: Google Maps
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Now let's zoom in and have some fun.

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Credit: Google Maps / Canva
Credit: Google Maps / Canva
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Looking at the outline of the city of Missoula, it kind of looks like a triangle, doesn't it? I loosely drew one over it and came up with this:

Credit: Google Maps / Canva
Credit: Google Maps / Canva
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Similarly, when you look at our sister city of Palmerston North you can make out a kind of arrow along the borders of its city limits:

Credit: Google Maps / Canva
Credit: Google Maps / Canva
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Missoula's triangle points southwest, and Palmy's arrow points northeast. Wait, do these two sister cities point to each other? In a surprising and quite possibly unintended display of literal sisterhood, they do!

There you have it, the fun Easter egg that celebrates the partnership of two similar cities. May it last for many years to come.

Credit: Google Maps / Canva
Credit: Google Maps / Canva
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