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: Midnight Sun in Greenland

Photo taken at 10:15 PM on 28 June 2012 in Ilulissat, Greenland (69*N)P1000512

Photo taken at 11:00 PM on 22 June 2012 in Uummannaq, Greenland (70*N)P1000256

Photo taken at 11:00 PM on 25 June 2012 in Ilulissat, Greenland (69*N)P1000424

Photo taken at 11:50 PM on 5 June 2013 in Uummannaq, Greenland (70*N)P1010158

Photo taken at 12:30 AM on 29 June 2012 in Ilulissat, Greenland (69*N)IMG_0682

Photo taken at 12:30 AM on 8 June 2013 in Uummannaq, Greenland (70*N)P1010267

PHOTO GALLERY: Signs/Menus Around Ilulissat

Suggestions for Proper Tourist Behavior posted at Ilulissat Hostel (Taken Spring 2013)IMG_2604

Front Desk Hours at Hotel Icefiord (Taken Spring 2013)IMG_2409

Many, many signs with practical information posted at Ilulissat Hostel (Spring 2013)IMG_2418 IMG_2417 IMG_2416 IMG_2415

Opening Hours and Menus for Restaurant Mamartut (Taken Summer 2013)IMG_4508

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Information about Greenlandic Buffet at Restaurant Mamartut (Taken Summer 2013) – I KNOW FOR A FACT THAT THE GREENLANDIC BUFFET IS ONLY SERVED DURING THE SUMMER SEASONIMG_4510

Opening Hours at Icy Cafe (Taken Spring 2013)IMG_2414

Pizza Menu at Hotel Hvide Falk (Taken Spring 2013)IMG_2449

Happy Hour Menu at Hotel Icefiord (Taken Spring 2013)IMG_2473

Menu at Cafe Iluliaq (Taken Spring 2013)IMG_2597

Menu at Naleraq (Taken Spring 2013)IMG_2602 IMG_2603

Example of Buffet Menu at Naleraq (Taken Spring 2013)IMG_2600

Examples of Daily Specials at Restaurant Ulo and/or Cafe Ferdinand at Hotel Arctic (Taken Spring 2013)IMG_2592

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Menu for Cafe Ferdinand at Hotel Arctic (Taken Spring 2013)IMG_2419

Menu at Restaurant Ulo at Hotel Arctic (Taken Spring 2013)IMG_2420

Opening Hours for Ilulissat Hallen (Gym/Sports Hall) (Taken Spring 2013)IMG_2509

Opening Hours for Ilulissat Art Museum (Taken Spring 2013) IMG_2574

Opening Hours for Knud Rasmussen Museum (Taken Spring 2013) IMG_2581

What the outside of the Craft Workshop looks like… Directions: With Ilulissat Tourist Nature on your right, walk downhill and this building is on the right (Taken Spring 2013)IMG_2650 IMG_2652

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

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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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

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

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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

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60-Second Tourism Evaluation of Ilulissat, Greenland (69*N 51*W)

(From Wednesday 11 April 2013)

I will make this post for the sake of keeping with the theme of this blog, but to be perfectly honest, Ilulissat does not need my help as far as promoting the town as a tourist destination!  At all!  So without any further ado:

Weather gods, Ice gods, etc. permitting… winter/spring in Ilulissat can offer you four of the Big Arctic Five aspects: Pioneering People, Icebergs, Northern Lights, and Dogsledding.  Summertime can offer you three: Pioneering People, Icebergs, and Whales.  But… keep in mind that Ilulissat, and also the entire country, is ALWAYS at the mercy of the environment and nothing is a guarantee.  There is a Greenlandic word – immaqa – that translates to “maybe”.  People do not always use it with the best intentions, but I choose to use it here in a positive way to prove my point.  This spring (March/April) the temperatures have been so atypically warm that the normal winter tourism activities have had to adapt. Some dogsledge tours have had to reroute or reschedule because of thin snow cover. There has been a lot more free ice in the water so sailing tours have been more like “ice road truckers tour[s]”, so said one American tourist.  Also, there are no farms or zoos or Sea Worlds in Greenland. Whales are wild animals, so people cannot just order that they jump out of the water right in front of them. The skies may be cloudy so perhaps the Northern Lights are not visible… About the only thing that can be counted upon as a constant is that there will always be Pioneering People here in Greenland who absolutely LOVE this country and who want to share it with others! And I suppose you can also count on there being icebergs as long as there is Inland Ice, and that is not going anywhere anytime soon!

So MAYBE you can check off all your to-do’s when you are in Greenland, but if not, I am willing to bet that simply being surrounded by breathtakingly beautiful people and landscape is enough to make you happy to be on this Earth 🙂

Last-Chance Tourism in Ilulissat (69*N 51*W)

As of late with the daily talk of climate change, there has been an increasing motivation to travel to precarious destinations “before it is too late” or “before they disappear”.  In some instances, this motivation elevates the destination to the very top of the Bucket List when otherwise it would have taken another 5, 10, or 15 years or more to get there.  The Galapagos Islands is the destination that comes to mind most readily, but also, here in Greenland it has been muttered from more than a few tourists last summer and this spring.

But, it is not the disappearing destinations to which this entry’s title alludes but rather the disappearing holiday time itself.  I have now spent 10 glorious nights in Ilulissat, and I have only 7 nights more.  I am starting to get that “last-chance” feeling that tourists usually get near the ends of their holidays that makes them think, “I have to do XYZ because I don’t know when I will get the chance again!” or “I have to soak up these last impressions because tomorrow it is back to the real world!”

Last summer, I did not encounter this last-chance feeling because I knew I was returning to Greenland before I left the first time.  And even on this trip, I know I am returning to Nuuk again in September, but as for the other fantastic places in Greenland that I have visited – that is unknown now.  I am starting to miss them before I have even left!

Honestly speaking here, I do not think I will miss Kangerlussuaq.  I know I will certainly look back on my time there fondly, but I do not anticipate sitting at home wishing I was there.

I do, however, anticipate sitting at home wishing I was in Ilulissat!  And it is not just about the icebergs or the howling Greenlandic sledge dogs or the gastronomic greatness… Okay, okay, it is a little bit about the natural beauty and the Greenlandic specialties, but mostly it is about the handful of people that I have met in Ilulissat who are really, really, really passionate about Greenland and its future as a sustainable tourism destination, and as a sustainable society, in general.  I can get lost in conversation with them for hours and they are inspiring!  It makes me so excited for the future of Greenland!  There is not a doubt in my mind that Greenland will be in my immediate life for a very long time if I can help it!  I do not know if it will be in a professional capacity or a personal capacity, but I do know that the people I have met in Ilulissat, the sights I have seen, and the experiences I have had have hooked me 100%!

So I am missing Ilulissat before I have even left!  It is making me want to picnic by the Ice Fjord a few more times, have another sortebær smoothie and chat out on the deck of Inuit Café, hike from Oqaatsut to Ilulissat again, and do many other seemingly small things that are classic Ilulissat for me.  Because as far as I know right now, this could be my last chance!

Takuss’

Welcome to Ilulissat! (69*N 51*W)

(Thursday 28 March 2013)

On Monday I flew on Air Greenland from Kangerlussuaq to Ilulissat. I have now been in Ilulissat for 3 glorious nights, and I have 14 nights more. I have had the pleasure of visiting Ilulissat twice before, so this has been a fantastic return trip! Last June, I spent 11 nights in Ilulissat with Visit Greenland, Ace & Ace, and Chris Coubrough to film the fifth and final episode of Taste of Greenland. Then in August, I spent half a day while sailing on Sarfaq Ittuk, the coastal ferry run by Arctic Umiaq Line.

I am staying in the most perfect, cozy, little studio flat, Qupaloraarsuk 52, literally right on the water with not a single thing obstructing my view of the sea! When I wake up in the morning, I don’t even need to sit up in bed in order to see the icebergs! Here are some of my personal snapshots of the million-dollar view from the private balcony:

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I know about the flat because its owners are relatives of my host family in Nuuk, but it is for rent to the general public! It is a small studio flat with a private entrance and mudroom, private balcony, private bathroom with shower, and private kitchenette (two burner stove, mini fridge, shelves for storing dry goods, pots, pans, dishware, utensils, and tea kettle). There is a small table for dining, a chest of drawers, a television, and a radio. The flat is virtually next door to Hotel Icefiord where there is a nice restaurant and bar, and it is just a 15-minute walk to the center of town where there are plenty of shopping and dining options and all of the tour companies’ offices. What more could you need!?

I was very much looking forward to seeing the Ilulissat Ice Fjord and a sea full of icebergs during the winter season… and I have not been disappointed! My expectations were that the icebergs would be much, much larger than in summertime, and that they would be eerily locked in place because of a frozen sea. Well, I was correct about their larger size, but I was incorrect about them being locked in place. The sea is not totally frozen, so the icebergs are free to move around… and they do!

I am first and foremost in Ilulissat in order to work, but I do hope to carve out some personal time to enjoy this beautiful town! Weather, time, and availability permitting, some of my dream wish list items for Ilulissat are:

Sailing to Qeqertarsuaq (Disko Island)

Multiple-day doglsedge tour to Oqaatsut (Rode Bay)

We shall see… Takuss!

A Little Lesson About Ice

(From 25 March 2013)

Since I am gearing up to travel to Ilulissat, the town whose very name means “icebergs”, I figure there is no better time to give a small lesson about ice and icebergs in Greenland. As a disclaimer, I am no glaciologist, so please do not take everything I say to be scientifically precise J But I do know enough from what I have learned in Greenland to provide some useful information. If anybody is interested in a truly spectacular and awe-some portrayal of glaciers, do check out Chasing Ice, a big-screen documentary (by James Balog, National Geographic photographer/cinematographer) that artistically displays how glaciers flow, depress, and calve over time. The images document glaciers in Greenland, Iceland, and the United States.

One may ask: Are there not icebergs all over Greenland? Why does Ilulissat have the pleasure of being the namesake town for icebergs? The answer is: Yes, there are icebergs all over Greenland. Icebergs originate from glaciers that flow into a body of water, creating a tongue that floats on the water whose front breaks off (“calves”) in pieces of all shapes and sizes – the icebergs. When I say that glaciers flow, one may think of liquid water; but a glacier is frozen ice. It flows due to its own weight, and it is not detectable by the human eye just standing and watching for a short period of time. The Greenland Ice Sheet is itself one huge glacier, and it flows into the water in hundreds of places all over Greenland. Therefore, there are icebergs all over Greenland.

Ilulissat is especially well known for icebergs because the glaciers in its immediate area (Sermeq Kujalleq and Eqip Sermia) are especially active. They move faster, and thus calve more frequently creating more icebergs, than other glaciers in Greenland and in the whole world! Sermeq Kujalleq, more commonly just called Kangia or the Ilulissat Ice Fjord, is one of the fastest flowing glaciers in the world. It currently flows about 35 meters a DAY while other glaciers in the world only move that far in a year!

However, despite the glacier’s fast pace, it is currently in a state of rapid retreat (moving closer and closer toward land). Glacial retreat IS a natural occurrence, but the rate at which Sermeq Kujalleq is currently retreating is what is unprecedented. Sermeq Kujalleq has actually been slowly retreating since about 1850. But in 1998, the glacier suddenly started flowing twice as fast as before, its surface level depressed, and its floating glacial tongue calved off entirely. In just 10 years, the glacier retreated 15 km (9 miles) when previously it took 80+ years to retreat that far. The Ilulissat Ice Fjord was granted UNESCO World Heritage Site status in 2004, so the area is now protected.

This is a picture of the Ilulissat Ice Fjord, taken in August 2012.

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This is a picture of Eqip Sermia, a glacier just north of Ilulissat that calves very frequently, taken in June 2012. It is an extremely popular attraction for tourists. There are sailing tours to view it from the water, and there is also the possibility to stay overnight in small huts/lodges on land close by.

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This is a picture of Narsap Sermia, a glacier just north of Nuuk, take in July 2012… and an iceberg that originated from it.

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Eating Green in Greenland

The Arctic diet is certainly under great scrutiny these days! Comedian Ellen DeGeneres is publicly combating seal hunting, President Barack Obama is urging Iceland to cease its whaling practices, and the official Instagram feed of National Geographic is blowing up with negative comments in response to sneak peek shots from Matthieu Paley’s “Evolution of Diet” story (many of which come from the village Isortoq in East Greenland).

Food in Greenland is not all about seal hunting and whale hunting. Here is one Greenlander (@hannekirkegaard83) who makes my mouth water every single day with her pictures of delicious and nutritious homemade food one would never guess exists in Greenland!

Homemade chicken soup with carrots, cabbage, leeks, spring onions, Greenlandic shrimp, garlic, chili, lemongrass, coriander, and lime leaf.Screen Shot 2014-04-11 at 10.58.54 PM

Arugula salad with bell peppers, cranberries, sunflower seeds, fresh basil and basil oil. Screen Shot 2014-04-11 at 10.23.36 PM

Vanilla custard with macaroon and Greenlandic paarnat (crowberries, in English).Screen Shot 2014-04-11 at 11.04.37 PM

Homemade fish soup with fresh parsley.Screen Shot 2014-04-11 at 11.03.50 PM

Homemade pizza with mozzarella, fresh basil, and pepperoni.Screen Shot 2014-04-11 at 10.55.41 PM

If these shots whet your palate, just wait until you see @hannekirkegaard83‘s homemade desserts!

~~~

For a bite-size lesson on the Greenlandic diet, read about food in Greenland and challenges with Greenland’s food industry below.

What does one eat in Greenland?

The diet in Greenland is a mixture of native Greenlandic foods and imported Danish & international foods. 

From Greenland, there are 3 main categories of foods, and they are all protein. Their most common preparations are drying and smoking.

  1. Land species. Primarily reindeer and muskox. Also lamb, snow hare, ptarmigan, and many bird species.
  2. Sea mammals. Primarily seal and certain species of small whales. Polar bear is also eaten, but its consumption is much more regional than other sea mammals.
  3. Seafood (Fish & Shellfish). SO many choices like halibut, redfish, trout, cod, Arctic char, salmon, capelin, snow crab, shrimp, mussels, scallops, and even caviar (lumpfish roe).

One’s best bet for tasting many Greenlandic foods is to eat at a Greenlandic buffet or try a Greenlandic tasting menu. The selection will be wide, so one can try as much or as little as they want, and the presentation is usually quite impressive. For example, here is smoked muskox, juniper steamed fjord trout, whale carpaccio, and shrimp salad at the Sunday Buffet at Restaurant Roklubben in Kangerlussuaq.

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From Denmark and elsewhere, there are all the foods you could find in any grocery store in the world. (But, availability and variety are related to town size. Nuuk [the capital city] and other towns like Sisimiut, Ilulissat, and Qaqortoq are very well stocked. As you get into the smaller towns and villages, the selection becomes more limited.)

  1. Carbohydrates & Grains. Especially dark rye bread (rugbrød), baguettes, buns, full grain cereals, müsli, and many others.
  2. Fruits & Vegetables. It’s all imported, but you can find pretty much anything you want, save a few items. I’m not sure I have ever found an avocado?
  3. Saturated fats like cured meats, sausages, tons of cheeses, and paté.
  4. Dairy. Yogurt, milk, cheese. Even Icelandic Skyr 🙂
  5. Sweets. Think of any dessert you have ever dreamed of, and it is here, but especially Danish pastries and anything with marzipan filling! And literally 30 varieties of Haribo candy 🙂

What are the challenges with the food industry in Greenland?

  1. Agriculture is virtually non-existent. There is very little arable soil in Greenland, so Greenland relies heavily on imported goods. The suitable soil that does exist is all in South Greenland, and farms are working toward growing fruit & vegetable crops for domestic distribution (like potatoes, strawberries, and lettuces, and there is even small-batch honey being made)! BUT at this time, there is not enough yield to support even the small Greenland population of 57,000 or the 60,000 annual tourists, so imports remain the largest food source.
  2. Greenland is an island. Every item that Greenland imports must come in via airplane or container ship.
  3. There is no domestic ground transportation. With no roads between towns and villages, every item that Greenland imports must also be distributed throughout the country via airplane or container ship. There are over 70 inhabited areas in Greenland, and many of them are inaccessible by boat for part of the year due to a frozen sea. For example, the East Greenland town of Ittoqqortoormiit (population: 444) receives only a few shipments by boat a year; the rest of the deliveries must be made by air. By the end of winter, you can imagine the residents are in dire need of variety and freshness! Nuuk’s shipment situation is not so drastic, but the wish for fresh ingredients remains. Check out my friend’s excitement to receive a bag of fresh lettuce as a housewarming gift!
  4. Food is expensive… because of #1-3. Not to mention, Greenland’s food imports are coming primarily from Denmark and Scandinavia, widely known as some of the most expensive countries in the world.

Oqaatsut to Ilulissat Hike – 22 km

(From Saturday 30 June 2012)

With Taste of Greenland done and wanting to take a day of relaxation in the beautiful Disko Bay area, today I did a full outdoors day with friends of a friend.  There were four of us in total, and we were lucky enough to get a lift (via boat) up to Oqaatsut to eat at H8 Restaurant before walking back to Ilulissat.

This settlement is home to approximately 40 people, and it has tried to make an economic comeback with both a seaweed production factory and also with a little bit of tourism.  A German couple started a restaurant there called H8, and there is also the Hotel Nordlys and a small youth hostel where tourists can stay overnight.  There are no roads whatsoever, and I think there are not even designated pathways – it is all just natural rocky and grassy terrain.  There is one supermarket, Pilersuisoq, and a church that also doubles as a schoolhouse.  And then aside from the restaurant and two lodgings, all other buildings are residences.

It was eerily yet peacefully quiet in the settlement with virtually nobody walking around.  No motorboats in the water making noise, no planes or helicopters overhead, no cars, and no music even… just the sounds of nature.  In the beginning, I kept having a weird feeling that I couldn’t put my finger on, but I finally figured out what it was.  It felt so strange to be at an inhabited place but not see or hear things common to a habitation like vehicles, loud noise, or hustle and bustle.  It really was people just living.

 

We walked around the settlement for a little bit before eating lunch at H8.  There was a nice bench at the top of a small hill, so we headed for it.  Along the way, an adolescent Greenlandic dog (that did not yet have to be chained) took quite an interest in us.  He nibbled my fingers and was very interested in the strap to my camera!  Then he accompanied us the short way to the bench – it was as if he had been designated our Canine Guide!  He actually stayed with us the entire 15 minutes or so that we sat there and took in the view, and then when we got up to head to lunch, he got up, too!

The restaurant was really quite cozy!  It was big enough for perhaps six farm tables; there were exposed wooden beams and a few very small windows in the walls that faced the water.  The windowsills were filled with small Greenlandic handicrafts, and the tables were decorated with country-style placemats and napkins.  There were also simple little flower arrangements in bud vases on the tables – fresh cotton grass and Niviarsiaq.

Lunch was a fantastic spread of breads and delicious foods from the sea!  There was shrimp, saarullik (cod), kapisilik (salmon), qaleralik (halibut), breaded and pickled ammassak (capelin), cod liver, mattak (whale skin & blubber), and whale meat.

Once our bellies were full, we started on our walk. It was a distance of 22 km/14 miles, and some people had told us it would take around 7 hours to get back to town. Good thing the sun is out 24 hours a day at this time of year 😉 One never has to worry about beating the clock to get home before dark! We found the orange trail and at half past 12 we were officially on our way!  The time passed by effortlessly.  The girls kept saying that their English was rusty and that they were having to think really hard before they said anything, but I thought they spoke perfectly!

In the end, the 22 km hike only took us 5 hours. I think we must have sped through it faster than anticipated so to keep the mosquitos away!  But I still had the chance to snap these photos along the way!

 

Once we returned to town, we celebrated our day with a hard-earned latte and dinner at Hotel Arctic! So it ended up being an entire day of good company, great conversation, and stunning views.  Just another day in Greenland 🙂