Greenland. Where snow white and sky blue is everything
“When you’ve seen the world there’s always Greenland”
From the moment we decided to spend a few days in Greenland, my impatience knew no bounds. I have no idea what to expect, to see or experience. But in my heart, I knew the decision was right and seeing is believing.
Leaving Iceland from the Reykjavik Domestic Airport, we board Air Iceland’s flight NY 439 at 11:45 am. From my window seat, I can see the vast expanses of glaciers and mountains of ice and snow that make up most of Greenland’s interior.
The turbo-prop bombardier Q400 takes us to Greenland’s Ilulissat airport in 3 hours and 15 minutes.
Ilulissat, (meaning iceberg) formerly known as Jakobshavn is located approximately 350 km (220 mi) north of the Arctic Circle. This is the third largest city in Greenland with a population of 4,541 and 3500 sled dogs! The Ilulissat airport is tiny and much to my dismay there is no immigration or customs, because I really want my passport to be stamped here.
Å 15 minute drive takes us to the Ilulissat Guesthouse a three bedroomed house overlooking the Disko Bay. To say that the view is stunning from here is an understatement! From our veranda which sits high on the edge of the Bay we can see floating icebergs, ducks and terns, the sun setting right ahead turning the blue icebergs to a fiery orange and the most colourful homes down below.
Greenland is the world’s biggest non-continental island with the world’s scantest population. While the interior of this immense island is bare of human habitation, the west coast is scattered with little villages made of colourful photogenic wooden homes with contrasting metal corrugated rooftops. There are barely any roads, and a few vehicles, a small police station, a post office and a couple of supermarkets with barely any essentials left as the ship carrying produce from Denmark has been delayed due to the adverse weather.
Greenlandic belongs to the Eskimo family of languages. It is a ‘polysynthetic’ language, which means that words are formed with a root, one or more affixes and a suffix. A Greenlandic word can thus be very long and can mean what corresponds to a whole sentence in other languages.
Don’t even try to pronounce this!
Greenlanders are generally known to be reserved and indifferent, but we meet plenty of nice friendly folk, mostly from Denmark, Norway and the Philippines who have come to work here. And believe it or not, we bump into a wonderful Sri Lankan lady and her family, who have opened one of Ilulissat’s more popular restaurants, the Café Inuit.