- Greenland's nature is one of a kind
- A real adventure in the ice
- Nowhere else are so many icebergs as here
- The cities are small but beautiful
- So many dogs ;)
An impressive arrival
The highlight and reason for our cruise was finally right in front of us. After days at sea and visiting Iceland and Scotland, we finally reached the long awaited icebergs and barren rocks of Greenland.
The morning was extremely foggy and there was no mainland around us and no iceberg to be seen in the water. From the captain of the ship came the announcement that we are now heading for Prince Christiansund. A narrow passage that leads through the southernmost tip of Greenland. The crew members with whom we made friends said already days before that most of the times it is very foggy right before the entrance but then it clears up very fast. They were right.
Nevertheless we went directly to the deck and kept a lookout. With binoculars and camera on the watch we could secure a good place directly at the bow (the front part of the ship). Slowly shadows appeared in the fog and more and more outlines became visible. Then finally it was possible to see a little more, only the entrance to the Christiansund we did not discover. Fortunately the captain had better eyes than we had 😉.
At the entrance it was exactly as described by the crew. It was like driving through a wall of fog and then you were in the Sund in bright sunshine. Really a spectacle.
Tip: If you go to Greenland by boat, try to choose a tour in which you go through the Prince Christian Sund. Really a worthwhile part of the tour
Just as we drove out of the fog, we went directly back into the fog at the end of the waterway and the view was blocked again for a while.
Capital city with a twist
One day later we finally reached the capital of Greenland during the early morning hour. In the distance the colorful houses already appeared. But also big prefabricated buildings. A picture that we had not really expected. A mix of the old building types of the houses with bright colors spread out in front of us. But again and again it was interrupted through new buildings. Partly very glazed, partly almost exclusively of concrete.
On land we made a boat trip with a fishing boat to the local mountain of the city. The fisherman wasn’t very talkative, so we could get completely immersed in the nature and also met our first small mini iceberg. If we had known what to expect in the next days we would not have been so excited about it as we were at first.
Back at the harbour the cloud cover continued to rise and it slowly became warmer. We were thickly packed. Of course, we are in Greenland too. Its always cold there. We thought at least 😀 For the capital of a country Nuuk was really small. With less than 20000 inhabitants it was no surprise. But so we were in the city centre in a few minutes and bought some food for the day in a local supermarket. My girlfriend also practices the ritual of eating a chocolate bar from every country she travels to. We could not deny her that.
Anyway, the city is practically flooded with works of art. No matter where you go, you find small statues or artistic creations in front of the houses of the inhabitants. The temperature climbed slowly above the 20 degree mark and so after a short break we went on with thin jacket and shirt. We had not expected this at all.
All in all the city was already very much geared towards tourism, but lost very little of its charm. A successful first visit on the mainland of Greenland.
The Kangia Fjord – largest iceberg manufacturer in the world
Now the next stage should be an absolute highlight of the whole tour. The Disko Bay or more precisely, our destination was Ilimanaq. The actual plan was to reach Ilulissat, but here the entry due to the ice had become impossible. Which should be our luck.
During the approach to the town it became already clear. The iceberg we had seen in Nuuk was at most one ice cube in relation to what was happening here. Gigantic icebergs stretched as far as the eye could see. One of the most impressive experiences I have had in my life so far.
In the evening we were in the roads outside the village and could make our first little tour in Ilimanaq. In roadstead means that the ship does not fit into the harbour and anchors at sea. The lifeboats become tender boats and drive the guests ashore. The walk on land was more than small. The village did actually not even have 100 inhabitants. There were several husky groups tied to stones. Altogether there were probably as many dogs as inhabitants.
Back from the exploration we went on a fishing boat again. The captain was much more talkative this time and so we got a lot of exciting information about the area and the life here. We also learned that our destination of the evening, the Kangia Fjord, is the largest iceberg producer in the world and why this was the case. So we listened to the explanations and at the same time we drove towards the ever growing white giants. A huge sea of icebergs stretched out before us. What a unique sight.
With the small fishing boat we could easily move through the small paths between the icebergs and suddenly it was only white and very cold around us. We were surrounded by icebergs and the light already bathed them occasionally in red and orange colors. It had to be said that it was the middle of the night. Our tour started at 10 pm, but it was the time of the year in Greenland when the sun never quite sets. What an incredible experience. We were all so awestruck that hardly anyone said anything except the captain. There was also a deliberate silence on the way back to the ship.
Tip: When you travel to Greenland, check in advance how long the days are at that time. It can be night here for weeks at a time. This makes enjoying the country a lot more difficult 😉
Back on board of our cruise ship we watched for a couple of hours to see if the sun really didn’t disappear and then went to our bunk with sunshine at 2 am. The next day we wanted to explore the area a little further by foot. A few uphill climbs later we were within sight of the icebergs again and could continue to enjoy the view even from the land side. We even had the great luck to see an iceberg break right in front of us. Much louder and more impressive than we thought. A nice ending for this unique place.
Tip: If you are a guest in Greenland you MUST have seen the Disko Bay and the Kangia Fjord. Please do not forget these on your travel plans. Ilulissat also has a small airport, if you want to start your trip right here.
The city with the unpronounceable name – Qaqortoq
Our last stage on Greenland was unfortunately already ahead of us. And after 100 different ways of pronouncing the name of the town, after a day at sea, we were finally able to ask the locals how to pronounce it. It’s more of a throaty breath for which our European throat is not made. So we earned some laughs from the locals. But it was a very funny situation and the Greenlanders always welcomed us friendly and open-hearted.
Already at the entrance it was clear that this must be one of the most beautiful cities in Greenland. A huge sea of colourful houses stretched out in front of us in a kind of semicircle around the harbour.
We did not have a fixed program here, so we hiked up the biggest mountain we saw. Dump is trump. But to get there we first had to walk through the streets of the city. A really beautiful place. The houses are painted in a wonderful variety of colors. Considering how long it’s dark here, you have to get some colors home somehow.
Arriving on the mountain, we knew that we had made the right decision. A unique view stretched before us. Encouraged by the rewarding view over the city we wanted to go a little higher and so we hiked around the mountain over the rocky passages.
Back in the city we went to the city museum to finish our visit. So many exhibits from times gone by and stories that could be found here.
Tip: Keep an eye out for museums in Greenland. With the entrance fee you support the local economy and the ones we visited were really informative and enjoyable.
With the tender boat we went back on board and we all could have a last look at the beautiful harbour of the city before we said “Goodbye Greenland”.