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Published: October 9th 2016
A Few Days in Greenland…
"People are not fond of thinking. Only reluctantly do we bother ourselves with what is hard to understand. Perhaps that’s why we know only so little about the beginnings of the sky, the earth, and of most animals. Perhaps or perhaps not. For most difficult of all is to understand how we ourselves came, and where we go on the day we no longer live. Over all beginning and ending, there is darkness." Apakak, in Ostermann 1952.
Our vessel took us across the raging Baffin Bay to the deeply cut, western shores of Greenland (Kalaallit Nunaat as the Greenlanders prefer to call it). Due to unexpected weather earlier in the voyage, we arrived alongside the harbour in Ilulissat during dinner time. This meant we could get off the ship for an evening community visit – a rare treat, and a great opportunity to experience the legendary Greenlandic nightlife.
Legendary for sure!
Three men dressed in blue walk into a bar…
They drink a shot of some lethal Greenlandic concoction…
All is good…
There is a great line in the movie “The Secret Life of Walter Mitty “Many scenes were filmed in Greenland. There is a scene in Nuuk (Formerly Godthaab - the Greenland capital) when the drunk helicopter pilot says with a burp… “It’s tough living in Greenland. It’s tough living in a country with only eight people in it”.
There aren’t many folks in these parts (more than 8 though), the Greenland nightlife reflected this…
♩♪ ♫ ♬♯ ♪ ♫ ♬ ♪ ♬ The Icefjord…
for about four hours along the rocky shore of the impressive Icefjord and the sea of icebergs that are within it! It was a silent place with the dazzling blues and whites against fall colours glowing in the sunlight. The grandness of the Greenland coast is staggering – massive mountains and valleys with spilling glaciers flowing toward the sea… Some stubborn flowers were still clinging to their gnarly stems adding a bit more colour to the autumn land.
The ice fjord is home to the Sermeq Kujalleq Glacier, one of the few glaciers from the main ice sheet to reach the sea. It moves at about 20 metres per day – this is the glacial equivalent of light speed, and about 10% of Greenland’s icebergs are produced here.
Greenland is 80% covered in ice more than 2 miles thick! That’s a fair bit of ice! The massive interior is a hostile and utterly inhospitable icy wilderness not dissimilar to Antarctica. The expanse of ice is best witnessed from the air, however, we did not have an aircraft so we took a bus to the top of a peak near the airport-town of Kangerlussuaq, and there it was –
the Greenland ice sheet – the largest ice cube in the hemisphere. Huge glaciers spilled over the edge of the mountainous rim and filled the valleys below - musk ox roamed these valleys... Amazing! Craving Ice Cream…
I slowly opened the packet revealing the chocolate exterior. It looked great. The smell was interesting. It was sunny and warm outside and it didn’t take long for it to start melting. As I bit off a chunk of chocolate from the side I could vaguely taste the potent flavour of licorice. Licorice ice cream – everyone should try it someday – really peculiar!
However, I was traumatized for a moment! A great flake of chocolate fell to the ground - in slow motion need I say! The street was too dirty for me to consider picking up the chocolate – I walked away thinking of the raven that arrived on scene immediately after my departure…
I finished my icy snack then chatted with Lisa for quite some time…
Lisa was the artist in residence at the small but charming art museum in Ilulissat. Much of the art on display depicted the importance of the dog-sled and the
These are all icebergs that are jammed in the fjord - They cannot escape as there is an underwater moraine.
winter and how it gave the Inuit (Kalalliit) the freedom to move around and hunt. Lisa enjoys the traditionally themed arctic art, but feels it needs a bit of a revival, so she adds an abstract splash of colour to a lot of her work – it makes for an interesting modern-day variation of traditional art.
I really liked her paintings.
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