PHOTO GALLERY: Hiking Ukkusissat: Good enough to do 2x in 24 hours!

MadsPihl_Ukusissaq01The beauty of Nuuk is that one minute you can be in the city and the next minute you are in the great outdoors! Shot by Mads Pihl, Visit Greenland, on 20 June 2014.

If there was an official “Top 10 Things To Do in Nuuk, Greenland” list, hiking Ukkusissat (a.k.a. Store Malene) would be at the top for you Nature Lovers who crave an afternoon in the mountains and who will work a bit for a good panoramic view!

Ukkusissat has a strong presence in Nuuk as its snowy top can be seen from every corner of town. Whether you are sitting on the terrace of your AirBnB in Qinngorput neighborhood or are strolling along the pedestrian walkway in city center, Ukkusissat screams, ‘Get up here already! Come look out at all of Nuuk and Nuuk Fjord and pinch yourself because you are nearly at the top of the world!’ And for those whose eyes are always like magnets to the highest point wherever you go, well, you will probably set your sights toward Ukkusissat long before the Dash-8 even hits the runway.

For more hiking inspiration and information, ready my Ultimate Greenland Hiking Guide on visitgreenland.com.

Ukkusissat beckoned to me in this way for a looong time. In fact, one could joke it was like a 5th family member at the breakfast table because every morning over a bowl of müsli and a cup of coffee, I would stare out the window to its rocky slopes and promise myself that I would get there one day…

cropped-img_5392.jpgGreenlanders live a life close to nature, so we are lucky to have views like this even at the breakfast table. Ukkusissat shot from Qinngorput on 18 September 2013.

It took a full two years but I finally hiked Ukkusissat, and how glad I was for that! In fact, I was so glad that I did the hike twice in 24 hours! Someone asked me if I did that to represent each year I missed… that’s a good idea, but no, it was just a coincidence 🙂

MadsPihl_Ukkusissaq03Being in the Greenland nature with good company makes my heart happy. Shot by Mads Pihl, Visit Greenland, on 20 June 2014.

MadsPihl_Ukkusissaq06The water in Greenland is pure and delicious! Shot by Mads Pihl, Visit Greenland, on 20 June 2014.

MadsPihl_Ukkusissaq05Snow at higher altitudes provides a welcome cooling effect (and hydration source) while hiking Ukkusissat. Shot by Mads Pihl, Visit Greenland, on 20 June 2014.

Here’s the thing with having a professional photographer in your hiking group – he gives you great photos from the night, but he’s always working! Which means you, an unsuspecting model, are also working!

IMG_9344The talented (former) Visit Greenland photographer himself, Mads Pihl, still working at 760 m / 2493 ft, on top of Ukkusissat.

MadsPihl_Ukkusissaq04The sense of awe and accomplishment one feels at the top of Ukkusissat is enough to make one want to do it all over again the next day! Shot by Mads Pihl, Visit Greenland, on 20 June 2014.

MadsPihl_Ukkusissaq02One can easily find pleasure in solitude in this wide and untouched land. Shot by Mads Pihl, Visit Greenland, on 20 June 2014. 

Perhaps the neatest thing about hiking the very same route the following morning was seeing the stark differences in light. In the late evening, when the sun is quite low, the sky and mountains and sea are cloaked in a beautiful warm glow. In the daytime, when the sun is high overhead, everything is blue and bright! Both times of day are nice, but I think the evening light is the most magical!

IMG_9382When you are so high on Ukkusissat, you can scan the surrounding fjords for your next adventure! For instance, Sermitsiaq is another hiking dream of mine. Shot on 20 June 2014 at 22:40.IMG_9384Toward Sermitsiaq. Shot on 21 June 2014 at 12:00. 

IMG_9337Toward Kingittorsuaq, a delightful mountain to hike 🙂 Shot on 20 June 2014 at 22:40.

IMG_9380Toward Nuuk city. Shot on 20 June 2014 at 22:40.IMG_9388

Toward Nuuk city. Shot on 21 June 2014 at 12:00.

THE FACTS

  • Name: Ukkusissat means “soapstones” in Greenlandic. Sometimes it is also written as Ukkusissaq which is just the singular form. The Danish name (more commonly used) is “Store Malene”, meaning “Big Malene”.
  • Height: Ukkusissat is 760 m / 2493 ft tall.
  • Location: Ukkusissat stands behind the Qinngorput neighborhood, approximately 4.8 km / 3 mi from Nuuk city center.
  • Ukkusissat is the taller of two mountains in the immediate Nuuk area (Quassussuaq, a.k.a. Lille Malene, is the other at 443 m / 1453 ft).
  • Access: Ukkusissat can be reached using Nuup Bussii public transportation toward Stop 41 Qarsoq/Asiarpak (15 DKK / 2.75 USD per ride). Always consult a bus schedule first. The best bus to catch is the #1, because it runs directly between city center and Qinngorput, 7 days a week. The #1A is another direct bus between city center and Qinngorput, and it runs every day but Sunday. There are 3 other buses (#3, #X1, #X3) that reach Qinngorput, but they are either less-direct, only run on weekdays, or do not go all the way to city center.
  • Hiking Time: Hiking time always depends on one’s physical fitness/hiking experience, weather conditions, and ground conditions. From personal experience only, it takes approx. 1 hour 40 minutes to reach the top of Ukkusissat. The conditions were near-perfect, and I consider my hiking level to be Experienced on a scale from Novice to Experienced to Expert. For Novice hikers or for those who wish to stop and thoroughly enjoy the views, it could take nearly 3 hours to reach the top.
  • Difficulty: Difficulty depends on one’s physical fitness/hiking experience, weather conditions, and ground conditions. There are areas on Ukkusissat where one must use his hands for support to make large steps up (bouldering) and where one must walk in snow. From personal experience only, Ukkusissat has Medium difficulty on a scale from Easy to Medium to Hard (and again, I consider my hiking level to be Experienced on a scale from Novice to Experienced to Expert).
  • Route: Follow the route marked by Orange dots painted on rock or cairns. One can also buy detailed hiking maps for Nuuk (and other towns) in Atuagkat Bookstore.
  • Seasonality: The best season to hike Ukkusissat is summer / early autumn, when there is the least snow present. One should take the utmost caution when hiking in snow because rock crevasses may be present and the snow might not be thick enough to hold body weight. Snow also limits visibility of the marked route.

WHAT TO BRING

The weather can change quickly in Greenland, and one should be prepared for many conditions! Always check the weather before you start a hiking tour.

A really nice thing about being in the nature in Greenland is that you can usually find a natural water source to drink from directly! And if there is snow, you can just eat the snow 🙂

  • Water bottle
  • Windproof / Waterproof layers (pants, jacket)
  • Sunglasses
  • Suncream
  • Mosquito head net (If there is little wind, the mosquitos could be quite pesky)
  • Hat
  • Gloves (even if it is not cold, they can provide hand protection if you need it)
  • Extra quick-dry layer
  • Extra socks
  • Lunch (small sandwich, fruit, chocolate bar, etc.)
  • Camera

Last but not least… Don’t forget your adrenaline and sense of adventure !!!

Follow my Instagram photos of Nuuk, Greenland!

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Follow me as I share snapshots of my @polarphile adventures over on Instagram!

A summer full of drinking French Press, long dog walks, whale watching, hiking, sailing, and general galavanting around Nuuk, Greenland has just begun! That means you have an eyeful of panoramic vistas, cozy corners, and all-around cool things in this Arctic metropolis to look forward to. Just look for the hashtag:

#NuukNooks

WATCH TONIGHT! House Hunters International – Greenland

After a few years in the pipeline, this day has finally come!

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TONIGHT (Monday 12 May) – Watch House Hunters International Greenland on HGTV at 10:30 PM (USA Eastern Time). On international television, virtually meet my friend over at The Fourth Continent and her husband, and get a lovely introduction to the vibrant city (and not to mention the killer real estate) of Nuuk, Greenland!

Did you ever ask yourself, What is it like living in Greenland? or What is everyday life in Greenland like? Tune in to House Hunters International Greenland tonight to get the 30 minute tour of Nuuk, one of the northernmost capitals in the world!

~

House Hunters International is a reality television show that follows expats around the world as they move from one country to another. The real estate bit is, of course, central to House Hunters International, but the show is also a great showcase of the expat couple’s personality and the culture of their new home.

PHOTO GALLERY: Polar Darkness in Greenland

I ventured north to Ilulissat (69*N, or 297 km/185 mi above the Arctic Circle) in late November in search of the Greenlandic environment most people probably think exists year-round – namely, lots of snow, bone-chilling temperatures, and 24-hour darkness. It was not exactly as I expected, but regardless, what I found was a MOST enchanting winter wonderland!

Photo taken at 12:00 noon on 2 December 2013IMG_6302

Photo taken at 12:15 PM on 2 December 2013IMG_6306

Do you think you know the smell of Ice and Snow? Well, you have not lived until you try it in Ilulissat in wintertime! The combination of the mammoth icebergs in Ilulissat Ice Fjord and Disko Bay with the gossamer snowfall that floats effortlessly in the air is just intoxicating! It is also a feast for your other senses. The blanket of powdery snow on the ground is a bright complement to the colorful houses, and it makes an unmistakable crunch beneath your boots! Blow into a handful and watch how it glitters in the air like weightless diamonds. And your taste buds will thank you if you just go ahead and take a bite!

The temperature was between -8*C and 0*C (18-32*F) during the day, but with the deceivingly low humidity in Greenland, it never feels as cold as the mercury would have you fear! Let’s just say that my body has felt colder in Kangerlussuaq in March than in Ilulissat in November. However, when the wind blows – you do feel that!

The low-hanging sun was soft and quiet and romantic for a few hours a day – between approximately 11:30 AM and 2:00 PM. Its fleeting presence definitely gives a natural feeling that something is coming to an end, that it is time to slow a bit and hibernate a bit. In summertime, my body reacted very strongly to the long days. I always felt completely energized, and 3-4 hours of sleep was plenty for me to feel refreshed. So I fully expected the opposite reaction to the long nights – that I would struggle to stay away at 5:00 PM. But it was not the case!

Photo taken at 11:40 AM on 28 November 2013P1020668

Experiencing the darkness was truly my main target for this trip. Having experienced the electrifying Midnight Sun for a few weeks in summertime, now I wished to see the other side of the astronomical coin. My rookie expectation was that if the sun did not cross the horizon, then the sky would be dark. So on 1 December, I expected 24-hour darkness that would not end until mid-January.

It turns out “polar darkness” is a bit of a misnomer, at least in Ilulissat. Even when the sun does not cross the horizon, its presence is still noticeable enough to consider it light out for a few hours a day. During my trip (25 November – 2 December 2013), it was dark between approximately 3:30 PM and 10:00 AM. For example, the pictures above are taken after the last day with sunrise, at the lightest part of the day. The picture below is also taken after the last day with sunrise. Give it another 40 minutes, and the sky will be completely dark.

If you want to follow the ebb and flow of light above the Arctic Circle from the comfort of your own home, check out the IceCam, a 24-hour time-lapse camera located in Ilulissat.

Photo taken at 3:50 PM on 2 December 2013IMG_6322

In order to experience true 24-hour darkness, one must travel another 438 km/272 mi north to Upernavik (72*N, or 695 km/432 mi above the Arctic Circle). I have never been this far north, so my interest is certainly piqued! (The farthest north I have been is Uummannaq – 70*N, or 459 km/285 mi above the Arctic Circle).

By contrast, go to the capital city, Nuuk (64*N, or 266 km/165 mi below the Arctic Circle) and the sun will rise above the horizon every day of the year, though there will still be many hours of darkness. While I was in Nuuk (21-25 November 2013 & 2 December 2013) it was dark between approximately 5:00 PM and 9:00 AM. Here are some shots from Nuuk.

Photo taken at 8:00 AM on 22 November 2013IMG_6212

Photo taken at 9:30 AM on 3 December 2013IMG_6367

Photo taken at 10:30 AM on 3 December 2013P1020677

Photo taken at 11:00 AM on 3 December 2013P1020683

PHOTO GALLERY: Signs, Menus, and More Around Towns

A picture lasts forever! That is why I started snapping photos of signs around town, tourist information boards, restaurant menus, etc. Originally I did this for my own personal use, but I think it can be very helpful to anyone dreaming of or planning a trip to Greenland. It is hit or miss whether you can find this same information on the Internet, so I decided to share it here in one single place.

The menus can give you a great idea about average food pricing (all prices listed in Danish Kroner). And I think the photos give an accurate picture of what you can expect to find in terms of posted information when you arrive to Greenland, and in what language(s). Sometimes signs are posted in English, but oftentimes they are only written in Greenlandic and Danish.

DISCLAIMER 1: This is not a comprehensive gallery of every sign, menu, etc. in the given town. Nor is it a comprehensive gallery of every town.

DISCLAIMER 2: There is no guarantee that the information in the photograph will be valid forever. I indicate the season I took the photo so you will know if it is very recent or a bit older. By default, no picture is older than summer 2012.

DISCLAIMER 3: Sorry for the poor quality of some of the photos. As I said, I originally took the photos for my own personal use!

Signs in Ilulissat

Signs in Kangerlussuaq

Signs in Nuuk

Signs in Sisimiut

Signs in Tasiilaq

Signs in Uummannaq

PHOTO GALLERY: Signs/Menus Around Nuuk

Opening Hours at Katuaq (Culture House) (Taken Spring 2013)IMG_2800

Opening Hours at the Qiviut store (same ownership as the Sisimiut location) (Taken Summer 2014)IMG_9629

Menu at Cafétuaq in Katuaq (Culture House) (Taken Spring 2013)IMG_2772

Nuup Bussii Bus Route Information between Qinngorput and City Center (There is also the 1A Bus that goes directly to Nuuk Center) (Taken Spring 2013)IMG_2776

Bar Menu at Daddy’s Restaurant & Bar (Taken Spring 2013)IMG_2856

Flyer about the opening of Inuk Hostels, a new accommodation in Nuuk (Taken Summer 2014)IMG_9291

Greenlandic Flyer about Greenland National Day festivities (21 June) (Taken Summer 2014)IMG_9289

Danish Flyer about Greenland National Day festivities (21 June) (Taken Summer 2014)IMG_9290

Flyer about a photography exhibit in Katuaq Culture House (Taken Summer 2014)IMG_9628

Flyer about the opening of a soup kitchen for children (Taken Summer 2014)IMG_0322

PHOTO GALLERY: Greenland Towns & Settlements

Here is a one stop shop for town photos of every town and settlement I have visited, plus some quick facts! The order is clockwise, starting with East Greenland and finishing with North Greenland.

Sources: Wikipedia for coordinates… bank.stat.gl for population statistics 

Greenland // 2012 Population: 56,749 (Combined Greenland-born and other)

Greenland // 2022 Projected Population: 56,755 (Combined Greenland-born and other) // 2032 Projected Population: 56,184 (” “) // 2040 Projected Population: 55,386 (” “)

Tasiilaq // 65*N 37*W // 2012 Population: 2,004 (Town) // Photos date: 24-26 April 2013

IMG_2946P1000581IMG_3057

Kulusuk // 65*N 37*W // 2012 Population: 280 (Settlement) // Photo date: 28 April 2013

P1000682IMG_3184IMG_3225P1000677

Qaqortoq // 60*N 46*W // 2012 Population: 3,297 (Town) // Photo date: No Photo

Narsaq // 60*N 46*W // 2012 Population: 1,581 (Town) // Photo date: 15 August 2012

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Arsuk // 61*N 48*W // 2012 Population: 128 (Settlement) // Photo date: 15-16 August 2012

P1010021IMG_0853IMG_0856

Paamiut // 61*N 49*W // 2012 Population: 1,568 (Town) // Photo date: 16 August 2012

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Qeqertarsuatsiaat // 63*N 50*W // 2012 Population: 196 (Settlement) // Photo date: 14-17 August 2012

P1000926P1000927IMG_0874IMG_0893IMG_0914

Kangeq // 64*N 52*W // 2012 Population: 0 (Ruins) // Photo date: 21 April 2013

See here for summer pictures and a fun story about my friend’s afternoon in Kangeq. Her summer trip there was considerably more pleasant than mine!

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Nuuk // 64*N 51*W // 2012 Population: 16,181 (Town) // Photo date: 1 June-12 August 2012, 11 June 2013

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Qoornoq // 64*N 51*W // 2012 Population: 0 (Summer settlement) // Photo date: 3 July 2012

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Maniitsoq // 65*N 52*W // 2012 Population: 2,715 (Town) // Photo date: 18 August 2012

P1010122P1010123P1010135P1010140P1010152

Kangaamiut // 65*N 53*W // 2012 Population: 351 (Settlement) // Photo date: 20 August 2012

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Sisimiut // 66*N 53*W // 2012 Population: 5,571 (Town) // Photo date: 18 August 2012

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Kangerlussuaq // 67*N 50*W // 2012 Population: 513 (Settlement) // Photo date: 8-13 March 2013

P1000060IMG_2082IMG_2090P1000129P1000139

Aasiaat // 68*N 52*W // 2012 Population: 3,146 (Town) // Photo date: 19 August 2012

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Ilimanaq // 69*N 51*W // 2012 Population: 61 (Settlement) // Photo date: 8 April 2013, 11 June 2013

P1000382 P1000387 P1000388 P1000389

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Ilulissat // 69*N 51*W // 2012 Population: 4,621 (Town) // Photo date: 27 June 2012, 26 March-10 April 2013

P1000441P1000473P1000259P1000293P1000361IMG_2730

Oqaatsut // 69*N 51*W // 2012 Population: 50 (Settlement) // Photo date: 30 June 2012, 11 June 2013

P1000565P1000569P1000573P1000576P1010334  P1010338

Qullissat // 70*N 53*W // 2012 Population: 0 (Abandoned) // Photo date: 24 June 2012

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Qaarsut // 70*N 52*W // 2012 Population: 171 (Settlement) // Photo date: No Photo

Uummannaq // 70*N 52*W // 2012 Population: 1,280 (Town) // Photo date: 22 June 2012, 5-6 June 2013

P1000136P1000269P1000301P1010152P1010166

Rasmus Lyberth & Aviaja Lumholt Concert at Hotel Hans Egede

(From 1 September 2012)

Hotel Hans Egede had a Jubilee event to celebrate its 25th year, and Pia, Sharon, and I got tickets.  They were 349 DKK each.  It started with a nice three course dinner – smoked trout for the appetizer, muskox for the main course, and handmade ice cream for dessert.  Then there was quite a bit of waiting time – two hours, I think! – before the music began. Aviaja Lumholt opened for an hour, and I actually liked her performance much more than Rasmus Lyberth’s!  She has a very cool style, and she is fearless on stage!  She would get so into the music and her dancing it was like she forgot she was being watched!  She finished with an interpretation of traditional mask dancing which was awesome!  By the time Rasmus Lyberth came on stage it was midnight and we had been there since 7 PM! So we did not stay very long, perhaps an hour, because we were tired from waiting but also from the party the night before.

For me, Aviaja Lumholt was the best part of the evening, followed by the meal so I could taste the Sarfalik food, and Rasmus Lyberth was the low point!

Reindeer Hunting

Once again I have failed to be as diligent with my blog posts as I was in the very beginning… I do not know why, but sometimes I have this overwhelming desire to document everything, and then other times it is the furthest thing from my mind!

(From 25-25 August 2012)

(FAIR WARNING: FURTHER BELOW THERE ARE PICTURES OF HUNTING AND ITS AFTERMATH. WILL GIVE A FINAL WARNING BELOW.)

By far, the highlight of August after returning from the Sarfaq Ittuk ferry trip was going reindeer hunting with my host family the weekend of 25-26 August!  The five of us (Pia, Ulrik, Aviaja, Kasik, and I) left on that Saturday afternoon and sailed north for a few hours into Godthåbsfjord to a place called Ilulialik Fjord.  It is a nice place to hunt for reindeer, but getting there can pose technical difficulties.  First, the sea floor is a mudflat essentially, so the water is grey and very cloudy.  Many peoples’ boat radars cannot detect the depth due to the thick water, so sailing there could open the risk of running aground.  Second, the area is highly affected by tidal change, so it is important to study the tide schedule or else you may find your boat on high ground when you return to it!  Finally, because the sea floor is mud and not rock, you must use a second anchor as backup.  All of these conditions work in the favor of the hunters because it means the area will not be completely crowded by others.

We arrived to Ilulialik Fjord around dinnertime on Saturday evening and anchored at a spot just at the mouth of the fjord.  It was so wide open and peaceful with only the sound of a few nearby roaring waterfalls cutting the silence.


While Pia and Aviaja started preparing dinner on the stove on board, Ulrik and I rowed the dingy ashore to give Kasik a small evening walk.  Dinner was warm chili over rice – the perfect boat camping food!  We slept on the boat that night, and turned in early in anticipating of waking early to sail the rest of the way into the fjord.

On Sunday morning we awoke early and took the dinghy the remainder of the way into the fjord.  It was low tide which was nice because the deeper water in between the muddy shores made a very clear “yellow brick road” to follow!

When we got almost to shore, we could see another boat and campsite, which meant there were other hunters there.  But they were on the right side of a wide stream and not likely to cross the water, so we decided we would stay on the left side of the stream.  Below is a picture of the stream that ends by spilling into the water as a waterfall.

I really do not have much concept of how much time or distance we spent before we saw the first animal – perhaps two or three hours?  We were almost to a point where we said if we did not see anything, we would just turn back and pick blueberries instead.

But then, we saw an animal!  It was a fair distance ahead, but still we walked toward it.  This hunting trip was for Pia – she was aiming to shoot her first reindeer, so we were not going to leave having seen an animal and not at least trying to get it!  Aviaja, Kasik, and I stayed back a ways while Pia and Ulrik went ahead quietly, so we did not actually see Pia take her shot, but we heard it!

Pia made a successful shot – a female – and then when they saw a little one running afterward, Ulrik shot it, too.  It would be irresponsible to not shoot the calf because without its mother, it would not survive.  It is also considered irresponsible to not follow after an animal that you have shot but not killed, only wounded.  At one point, Ulrik handed me binoculars and told me to keep a look out for other reindeer in the area.  So I went to the top of a small hill and when I looked into the binoculars, I saw many reindeer, and one in particular was heading directly for us!  I kept telling Ulrik it was coming closer, and closer, and closer, and finally he got up and shot it, too.  So that made our count 2 adult females and 1 calf.

FINAL WARNING: THERE ARE PICTURES BELOW DEPICTING HUNTING AND ITS AFTERMATH.

 

 

 

 

 

So after some celebration for Pia’s first reindeer…

… we got to the task of breaking down the animals.  You remove the head, the skin, the inside organs (expect for the liver – you keep that one to make pate (leverpostej)) , and any limbs that have little to no meat on them.

Then when the animal has been reduced to the viable and valuable parts (skeleton with meat on it), you fold it up in a way that makes it as compact as possible – i.e. the legs tuck into the ribcage – and then strap it to a carrying frame backpack to carry back to the boat.

Pia and Ulrik carried the adult, and I carried the small calf.  Since the calf was small enough, it did not need to be folded into a backpack; instead I just carried it around my shoulders.  Actually, I had wanted very much to carry a hunted animal like this! I had seen many other Greenlanders’ pictures on Facebook like this, and I wanted one like it, too! To me, it just looks really badass! The only thing that could have made it more badass was for me to shoot the animal myself 😉

So, after we strapped and hoisted the animals to our backs, we made the walk back to the boat.  Pia and Ulrik’s animals were pretty sizeable, so we took frequent breaks to drink water and refuel.

We had to take two dinghy trips back to the boat this time because of the extra weight of the animals.  So Ulrik took Pia, Aviaja, and Kasik back to the boat first, while I waited on shore with the animals.  Then Ulrik came back for me.  It was a little bit funny looking – the animals packed tightly into backpacks and riding in the dinghy.  Almost like fellow passengers!

It ended up being quite a long day.  By the time we sailed back to Nuuk, unpacked, cleaned things up a bit, and showered it was close to 11 PM.  But it was a fantastic two days, and it was really great to see what everyone in Nuuk talks about come late summer when hunting season begins!

I will just briefly describe the follow up actions of hunting over the three days or so after a hunt.  When we got home, we immediately hung the animals – Ulrik says the meat tastes better if you do this.

 

Then, over the next couple of days, it is important to keep a close eye on the meat and look for any spots that do not look fresh.  While you walk back to your boat or campsite, the meat is exposed for some time before the outer layer dries and flies can land on it.  There is usually a clear indicator that an area of the meat has gone bad based on color and smell.  If this occurs, then you just cut out the bad meat.  Fortunately, we only had to cut away a small portion.

After a few days, the meat has hung long enough and is ready to be used or packed for storage.  This is also the time when you completely clean the meat of grasses and such that stick to it during butchering and carrying phase.  Pia and Ulrik have their own meat grinder, so we ground all of the tougher and sinewy meat and bagged it in 400 g portions and then bagged the muscle meats, as well.  They also kept one entire leg in tact to smoke.

 

Kaffemik William

I can now say that I have been to two Kaffemiks so far in Greenland!  It was a coworker, Mads, and his wife, Lisbeth, hosting Kaffemik to celebrate the Konfirmation of their son, William.  They live just across the street from where I am staying in Qinngorput, so it was nice and convenient to get there!  Sharon rode the bus from her place and I met her so we could walk over together.  There were a few other coworkers there, so we had people to talk to.  Also, Sharon met and talked to a nice man and his Nigerian wife who told us stories about hunting trips, food, and the rise of Type II Diabetes in Greenland with the decline of a diet rich in fish, seal, and whale.  He was very well spoken and very interesting to listen to.

We stayed for a couple cups of coffee, some food (roasted potatoes, sushi, green been and tomato salad, shrimp), and sweets, of which there were at least seven different cakes, pies, and cookies!  As with the first Kaffemik I went to, the sweets are laid out on the tables, and newcomers simply pick up a coffee cup and plate set, walk around and serve themselves the food and sweets that they want, and then find an open seat to enjoy!

There was one new thing that I encountered – a small cup of slices of rendered fat on the table.  Mads said that people use it in coffee as a substitute for cream!  The man Sharon was talking to backed this up with a story of eating raw fat and reindeer meat while on a hunting trip.  However far the hunters have to walk to find the reindeer is how far they have to walk back with the animal in tow once they have shot it – this is often many, many miles and an extreme physical challenge.  Eating the fat and meat from the very animal they are carrying gives hunters a strength and energy that rugbrød cannot.

After our share of coffee and sweets (about 30-40 minutes), we got up so to make room for the next round of newcomers!  All in all, a most relaxing Sunday!

Read more about Kaffemik in Greenland here!