Greenland was absolutely amazing - I guess you knew that already! Today I want to tell you all about my trip though before posting more pictures of the country and blogging about my stopover in Iceland over the next couple of weeks - as always, I publish every Tuesday.
Even now that I'm at my parent's house in Germany I don't really have free-time cause I have so much to prepare for starting to write my MA thesis that there's just no way I'll be blogging more than once a week again.
I'm sorry for that but I really don't want low quality posts to be published either so I hope you don't mind!
But on to Greenland now! The whole purpose of this trip was to gather data for my MA thesis which is about the representation of Greenlandic culture in museums in Greenland and Denmark.
I didn't think I would be able to go to Greenland for a long time cause flights and accommodation are just incredibly expensive. Luckily, I got enough funding from university to cover the flights so that I was able to go in the end. I stayed in the country for 8 days and actually only spent 2 days doing fieldwork and the rest out and about, exploring nature and getting to know people.
However I certainly don't regret that! Yes, I probably could have spent only 4 days in Greenland and would have gathered enough data too but everyone I met during fieldwork in Denmark told me how important it is to explore Greenland's nature in order to understand the Greenlandic culture and I definitely agree now!
Greenland is a part of Denmark, however the country is self-governed so Greenlanders can decide on their needs and wishes themselves. The country is 4000 kilometers away from Denmark and with a length of 2500 kilometers and a width of 1000 kilometers, about half as big as Europe.
It's the largest island of the world but only has about 55000 inhabitants spread on the west and a tiny part of the east coast. The inland of Greenland is covered by the icecap so that only about 20% of the land is ice-free and thereby inhabitable. Nuuk is the capital of the country with about a third of the whole population of Greenland living there.
Apart from Nuuk, there's only 16 more towns, all of which only have about 500 to 5000 inhabitants. The rest of the country is constituted of about 60 villages and small settlements.
Greenland also only has one international airport in Kangerlussuaq - if you want to travel to any other town, you have to get into a smaller plane.... a pretty small one in fact.
Unfortunately there are only 2 ways to reach Greenland - either by flying from Copenhagen to Kangerlussuaq and then onto another town with Air Greenland or by flying with Iceland Air from anywhere in Europe and North America to Iceland (Keflavik Airport) and then by taking a small plane of Air Iceland from Reykjavik's city airport to Nuuk.
I decided to do the stopover in Iceland on my way to Greenland and chose the direct route to Copenhagen on my way back. However what I did not know at that point was, that the Iceland route takes much longer. Noooo, not just because of the stop over in general but because it takes 4 hours from Kangerlussuaq to Copenhagen in a big plane but 3-4 hours from Reykjavik to Nuuk in a small plane "depending on the wind" as the stewardess told me.
And yes, I didn't know that until I was already in the plane and believe me, getting in there in the first place was incredibly hard for me.
You know, I was suffering from a fear of flying up until I went to Greenland. Small planes especially freaked me out and even though I knew I had to take a small plane to get to Greenland, I had a panic attack at Reykjavik Airport before boarding that tiny monster that was supposed to take me to Nuuk.
This was especially embarassing in retrospect as a group of Swiss tourists that I interviewed for my fieldwork at a museum in Nuuk, recognized me from the flight.... the flight of course went totally smooth and I now can say that my fear of flying is officially cured!
I even chose a window seat on my way to Kangerlussuaq on my departure day and was able to take pictures of the icecap - horray for finally being fearless!!
During my stay in Nuuk, I lived in an Airbnb flatshare with an incredibly amazing view out on the fjord and to Mt. Sermitsiaq. It was a really cool place to live, even though I thought on my first day that I would never find my way back as the houses in Nuuk all look so incredibly similiar!
Nuuk furthermore is pretty widespread and it took me about 40 min to walk from my accommodation to the city center (according to my flatmate it usually takes 20 min but I guess I was too busy taking pictures). Downtown Nuuk definitely resembles a city.
It's loud and crowded. But you only have to walk for a couple of more minutes and once you reached the colonial harbour or the beach, it's quiet again. That's what I love so much about Nuuk. You can have everything a city offers but are back in nature within 5 min.
It's awesome! But enough on Nuuk for now - I'll publish a photo essay on Greenland's capital next week!
During my stay in Greenland, I participated in a whale safari and not only got to see a whale but was also invited to eat some whale-goulash which was pretty darn amazing! And yes, it is allowed to hunt whales in Greenland as it is on the Faroe Islands and Norway. And you probably know the pictures of the Faroese hunt.
I don't want to get too political here but if I can just briefly state my opinion: there's a quota that all hunters in all these 3 countries have to respect so that whales still exist in the future. And yes, they might me cute and amazing animals and slaughtering them might seem cruel but it doesn't differ at all from the slaughtering of chicken or pigs, only that the people in the Arctic traditionally didn't have access to chicken or pigs.
Whale meat was an important part of their diet and it's what kept them alive during wintertime - people even used the oil to light their homes. So please, try to be a bit more understanding when it comes to the hunt for whales and try imagine living in a little village in Greenland when it's -30 degrees in wintertime and the ship that's supposed to bring you food, can't make it.
But enough on that now. I'd never seen a whale before and whale safaris in Tromso are just incredibly expensive. I paid half of the Tromso price in Greenland.
However I would have also loved to go on a boat trip to see a glacier and some real icebergs but that one definitely was too expensive for me! Luckily I saw some little icebergs from my room almost every day....
I also went hiking when I was in Nuuk and that is something that I haven't really done in Tromso until now either. Sure, I've taken the cable car up to the mountain but that's definitely not the same as hiking up the mountain on your own.
So you can imagine how proud I was of myself once I made the way up! First time hiking up a mountain, all on my own, without phone service but with 29374532920 mosquitos to keep me company.
Another pretty awesome thing that I did in Greenland was seeing the Queen of Denmark, Queen Margarethe. She visited Nuuk while I was staying there and I was amazed by the amount of people that came to the harbour on that day to greet her!
I've seen Princess Victoria of Sweden in Stockholm last year and I guarantee, there were as much people there in Greenland to see the Danish Queen than there were that day in Stockholm to see the Swedish princess! And who would expect crowds like in Stockholm in Greenland?!
Apart from that, I spent a lot of time at Katuaq, which is the cultural center of Nuuk. It hosts a restaurant, a cinema, a fabulous art exhibition and an event hall. On sunny days, people were always gathering in front of Katuaq and it seemed to be THE meeting place of the locals!
I also visited the National Museum of Greenland and the Art Museum of Nuuk for my fieldwork and to my surprise, met people from all over the world there. I honestly expected to meet Danes for the most part but I met people from the US and France and the Netherlands... It was pretty cool!
Naturally, I was pretty sad to leave this wonderful country and I'll probably miss those sunsets that I got to experience there forever!
Nuuk is much further south than Tromso so the sun actually set there at around 11.30 in the evening and I have to admit, even though the midnight sun is pretty cool, I have missed seeing the sun set! Especially in a scenery like that!
So one thing is for sure, I definitely try to come back to Greenland one day and it should be on everyone else's bucket list too! It's just such a wonderful and beautiful country!
Do you have any questions about visiting Greenland? And would you like to visit one day?
Happy Travel Tuesday!