Notes from Iceland

Justin Erik Halldór Smith in his blog:

ScreenHunter_10 May. 19 23.16I am in Iceland for the first time in many years, for no better reason than that Icelandair offers extended stopovers on transatlantic flights at no additional cost. I cross the Atlantic as casually as one might take the subway from borough to borough, but now that I am here, again, in Reykjavik, it seems to me that, if we have to fly at all, stopovers in Iceland should not just be possible, but mandatory. They make it all make sense.

This basalt island, really only a side-effect of the volcanic eruptions of only one segment of the vast Mid-Atlantic Range (which also includes something called the 'Charlie Gibbs Fracture Zone', where by contrast I hope never to find myself): this island, I say, is not all that far from the Faeroes, which are in turn a short hop to the Hebrides, and from there another shorter one to mainland Scotland. In the other direction, there is really only a channel, and not open ocean, separating Iceland from Greenland, and again a smaller one separating Greenland from Baffin, and Baffin from Labrador.

A series of small hops then, brings one from Europe to North America, and even in the absence of archaeological evidence it is not hard to understand why, when Jacques Cartier sailed up the St. Lawrence in the 1530s, local Iroquois ran out to greet the ship with furs in hand, ready, to all appearances, to resume a well established trade.

More here.