Nunataks are mountain tops that stick out of the ice like islands. Some of them can be really high and dramatic. The ice action has frequently carved the sides so there are sharp edges and sometimes nunataks come in pyramid shape. Plant communities and lichens can survive such environments for millennia and may harbour vegetation survivors from before the ice ages. Very special places to visit if you have the chance, either on the inland ice cap or on lesser glacer plateaus like on Disko Island.Related to:
- Skiing and Boarding
- Mountain Climbing
- National/State Park
Ilulissat icebergs - final chapter
You see two dinstinct kinds of icebergs - smooth ones and jagged ones.
The smooth ones have recently flipped over - they are smooth because the water they were submerged in made them so. The jagged ones have become so because of rain and because of chunks falling off due to melting.Related to:
- Sailing and Boating
Kulusuk - from the air
The area around Kulusuk is stunning from the air. All you see is blue water, grey mountains, and snow and ice, for miles. This contrasts sharply with the west coast, which is very green in the summer.
Kayaking tours are popular here.
Kulusuk - the village
Kulusuk, on the east coast of Greenland, has a population of about 300. It is the destination of day-trips to Greenland from Reykjavik, Iceland. The day-trippers are there only for about 4 hours, so outside these hours, you will be one of only a handful of tourists.
Kulusuk is quite traditional : the people still hunt seals, polar bears and whales. There is no running water, and there is no transport from the airport to the village (3 kilometres) - you have to walk ! Some people do have motorized 3-wheeled tricycle-type vehicles with large heavy-tread tires.
The east coast also looks much different from the west coast - in the height of summer, there is still a lot of snow in the mountains around Kulusuk.
Kangerlussuaq - Ice Cap
I rented a bicycle and rode for about 90 minutes to reach the ice cap. There are some beautiful views there, and I saw a couple of musk oxen along the way. I also saw lots of different kinds of wildflowers, as well as some caribou droppings.
The ice cap spawns many streams, which all flow into the fjord.
The great thing about renting a bike at Kangerlussuaq is that there is no danger of theft - they are never stolen, and you are not even given a lock. If you want to see something on foot, you just leave your bike anywhere, and come back to it later.Related to:
- Hiking and Walking
Kangerlussuaq - Musk Oxen
There are about 5000 musk oxen near Kangerlussuaq, but they are not native to this area, being transplanted from north-east Greenland in the 1960's. The area they were transplanted from is much more barren than Kangerlussuaq (where there are bushes up to three metres in height), so those musk oxen were used to eating as much as they could all the time. This attitude led to them killing themselves by overeating in the Kangerlussuaq summer. Another attempt was tried, whereby they accustomed the musk oxen to the more plentiful flora gradually over the course of a year in the Copenhagen zoo - this herd survived when taken to Kangerlussuaq, hence the number of animals there today.
Musk oxen are generally shy of humans and will run, except when they have their young with them, when they can be dangerous. This big guy (standing about 1.7 metres high) allowed me to approach within about 7 metres before he ran. Notice the shedding fur - Kangerlussuaq has temperature highs of 18 to 25 degrees Celsius in the summer, which is very hot for these animals. As a result, they tend to hang out near the ice cap in the summer, where it is a bit cooler.Related to:
- Hiking and Walking
Ilulissat, on the west coast of Greenland north of the Arctic Circle, has a harbour full of icebergs (up to 65 metres high). These come from the "ice fjord" next to Ilulissat; the ice fjord is jammed full of icebergs which have broken off a glacier at the fjord's far end. A must activity is to take the two-hour boat ride among the icebergs. If you take the night trip during the summer, you'll see the midnight sun casting all sorts of different colours on the icebergs.
Flying to Kangerlussuaq
When you fly into Kangerlussuaq from Copenhagen you first fly over the Faroes, then Iceland and you hit Greenland's east coast at or nearby Angmassalik. This is where most of the Greenland-crossing expeditions start. These days you can even do it commercially - just book a trip (you have to ski yourself, though...). Try to find "Hvitserk" on the internet.
Anyway, the flight will lower down as it flies toward Kangerlussuag and you have an excellent view of the glacier streams and the ice cap and then the western ice edge and the fjords as you approach Kangerlussuaq. Don't think of the ticket cost on this flight - think of the extra sightseeing bonus instead!Related to:
- Adventure Travel
When flying between Europe and North America you across the southern half of Greenland somewhere, occasionally further north. To North America it is normally day time, on the return flight it is normally night.
Should you have an opportunity to look out, and lucky you with a window seat, you will see Greenland's icy waters, nunataks and coastal bare land and the ice cap very well. You can see huge ice streams with ice bergs drifting out to open sea. Next, imagine you are there!Related to:
- Adventure Travel
Ok, this picture is something of a hoax. As I said on the main page, I have never actually set foot in Greenland. However, there are polar bears there and one day, I hope to see one in its natural setting. Although, maybe not this close. I actually took this shot at the San Diego Zoo.Related to:
Eric the Red’s farmstead, Brattahlid (Qassiarsuk), near present Julianehaab in the southern settlement at Osterbygd. He resisted in vein the introduction (c. 1000) of Christianity by his son Leif Ericsson. Eric’s wife Thjodhild then had a small church built. Its ruins are still visible. So are ruins of other houses built by the settlers.
Qaqortoq : the biggest town...
Qaqortoq : the biggest town (pop. 3500) in South Greenland.
You can stroll through the town, visit the fishing harbor and its fish/seal meat market, visit the seal skin tannery. There is also an interesting museum on the Inuits.
There are also nice walks on the surrounding hills overlooking fjords. With some luck, you can watch whales in the distance swimming in the deep blue water dotted with icebergs drifting away.
There are several nice hikes...
There are several nice hikes around Narsarsuaq (an international airport lies there in the middle of nowhere). For instance, to watch a glacier flowing into a fjord (picture). Or getting to the icecap.
The ruins of Erik the Red viking first settlement in Greenland lie nearby. There is also a small but interesting museum devoted mainly to the huge US airbase that was built there during WWII.
First time in my life I saw icebergs for real! (fairly small ones, actually)Related to:
- Hiking and Walking
Among other things then skiing...
Among other things then skiing on Greenland is a speciality. Greenland has commited itself to tourism as one of the country's mainstay industries. And with such magnificent natural scenery, a clean environment, an exciting culture and such potential for activity, Greenland will be an attractive travel destination in the years to come
Mountain climbing is possible...
Mountain climbing is possible practically everywhere in Greenland. Nanortalik in the southernmost Greenland challenges mountaineers from all over the world with tall and impressive peeks, some over 2,000 meters high. Other mountaineers prefer to climb down into the ice cap
Rooms with bathroom TV etc. and breakfast from $ 160 single and $ 220 double bedroom. You might get...more
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Kangerlussuaq, a former US military base, is the main gateway to Greenland. Since Hotel...more
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