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Published: October 21st 2013
There was a time when I would never have dreamed of embarking on a journey to Greenland, but like everyone else, travellers will inevitably change as the years continue to roll by. Now it seems the most natural thing in the world, however it's certainly placed a strain on my finances. Flying to Greenland is burning a hole in my pocket, seeming to flush away my wallet and all it's contents. I mean, let's be honest, Greenland is a very expensive travel destination, with prohibitive airfares from Iceland and internally. Also the accommodation options range from extremely pricey to even pricier! This is an obvious impediment to many travellers visiting the Arctic region, but I'm pleased to have taken the plunge. Finally I have the opportunity to explore this spectacular country. After all, it's not every day a boy from oz is this far north in the world, so I need to make every post a winner.
You may be green with envy, dear reader, but as always let's embark on new adventures together. We left off in Reykjavik, where I was sad to leave Kex hostel with it's super smart and super cool guests, and the equally cool hostel
staff. Iceland Air operates out of Reykjavik's domestic terminal for flights to Greenland, meaning it's only a ten minute taxi ride from the city centre. The airport itself is tiny, and check in for the propellor plane flight to Nuuk was a breeze. The flight takes three hours at cruising altitude over the Greenland sea, and we arrived at our destination on schedule. The airport in Nuuk is even tinier, and the conveyor belt was so small I almost burst out laughing. I had a few issues communicating with my cabbie (who knows as he may have been bunging it on a bit) but he got me to a 'budget' hotel without too much drama. Although my wallet was soon significantly lighter, I checked in and got comfy in my room before ten in the evening. Following on from a good first night's sleep in a new country, I got up and about to pile into the hotel breakfast before heading out for the day. I've spent so much on airfares and accommodation in the last several days it's enough to make a travel blogger dizzy, so I'm determined to make the most of the breakfast laid on each morning
in the hotel. The hotel is right next to the fishing berths, and only 500 metres from the centre of town.
Nuuk has the smallest population of a capital city in the world with less than 16,000 people, and would feel like a country town for travellers from many countries around the world. The city is populated by Inuits and Danes, and I headed out in the morning to see what options were on offer at the tourist information office. I was keen to do a day tour of the fjord, but no other travellers had expressed interest, so there was no chance of a trip. Never mind, it's a thrill to be visiting the largest island in the world, whose residents recently voted for Greenland to become an autonomous region within Denmark. My options, therefore, were limited to exploring Nuuk on foot, and being such a small city it's a breeze to get around. A day spent roaming around a new city is one of the joys of travelling.
I spent ages exploring the colonial harbour, which is the oldest part of the town and idyllically situated at the mouth of the fjord. I had
the chance to gaze in wonder at ice floes slowly drifting by, while taking countless photos of the beautifully coloured houses on the hilltop. The city was founded in 1728 at the end of the Nuup Kangerlua fjord. It's a common sight to witness big boats dry berthed in the yards of the inhabitants, and snow mobiles are ready to burst into action as the Arctic winter begins to take hold. The Inuit influence is all pervasive in Nuuk, and travellers haven't witnessed people properly rugged up for extreme weather until you've visited Greenland. Massive parkers with seal fur lined hoodies are poplular, and boots often reach up to the knees. The Inuit are a remarkable people, who have lived and hunted in this brutal environment for many hundreds of years. Inuit communities have dotted the east coast of Greenland for all of that period, stretching all the way up north to extraordinary latitudes. The land of the Inuit, polar bears, leopard seals, and seals is a thoroughly intriguing travel destination.
A visit to the National Museum is highly recommended, and I spent several hours learning about the history of the Inuit people. There is a large collection of
artifacts, with fascinating photographs and stories on display, some mummified remains, and a great video on the traditional way of life for the Inuit hunters. The museum actually takes up several buildings, and it's a foregone conclusion that visitors can wile away several hours learning about this fascinating culture, and how they have managed to flourish in such an extreme environment.
I made my way back to the hotel to spend a second night in the capital, having spent an excellent day exploring what the city has to offer. I'm looking forward to continuing my adventures in Greenland after a rewarding introduction to this unique travel destination, basically all of you should be here now!
(Media question to The Beatles during first U.S. tour 1964) "How do you find America?" "Turn left at Greenland." Ringo Starr
As I continue my travels, until next time it's signing off for now
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