Hub and Spokes

Air Iceland moves lots of people between Europe and North America. Iceland is perfectly placed as the hub of a hub-and-spokes route system joining the two continents

Hell's parking lot

Iceland is a volcanic island: the entire surface is one big lava flow. The lava looks like asphalt, but on a giant scale. It flowed over the ground in sheets 10 to 30 feet thick, then buckled and cracked: fissures 10 feet wide and 20 feet deep; 50 foot ridges and 100 foot valleys. In the good parts, there is some grass hanging on in the cracks; in the bad parts, nothing but moss and lichen. If you ignore the scale, it looks much like the asphalt around a run-down strip mall.

In short, this place is Hell's parking lot. The extraordinary thing about this is that some time in the ninth century, a bunch of Europeans crossed the Atlantic ocean in wooden sailing ships, looked around, and decided that this was a good place to make a home.


There are 280,000 people in Iceland; about half live in or near the capital, Reykjavik. They claim 100% literacy, and they probably come close: with a population base that small, you can just about track down everyone and teach them to read.

Besides the people, there are 2 animals in Iceland: a bird and a cat. We saw them both.


Reykjavik is a beautiful city. Lots of modern architecture and modern sculpture. Everything is very neat and clean.


There appear not to be any homeless people, possibly because you can't survive winter in Iceland without shelter. Daytime highs in mid-August are 50° to 60° F (10° to 15° C).
Steven W. McDougall / resume / / 2001 Sep 05