The fantastic journey to nowhere!

Kulusuk Travel Blog

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As I am out of breath, she tells me that Kulusuk is fogged in and they don't know when or if they will leave. She says that if they don't, they will either refund my money or rebook for tomorrow. She then agrees to check me in. She then tells me that there will be an update on the weather conditions in 20 minutes. At 10:20 she makes an announcement for all Kulusuk passengers to proceed to security for a 10:45 departure. So.....we did. At 10:35 she announces that conditions have worsened and will be reviewed, again, at 11:00 am. Finally, at 11:00am, she had us board and by 11:15 am we were airborne with Reyjavik and the coast of Iceland at our backs. We're on our way!

We had a box breakfast filled with treats and juice.

It was enough to tide us over until we landed. I brought snacks with me, not knowing what I will find as options.

Two hours of blue skies and blue water and we were beginning our descent. About 15 minutes or so, from landing I began seeing icebergs, large ones. They became more numerous as we got closer. The mountains are sharp and very tall. I look out the window and I see that we are rapidly approaching a very tall mountain. I I can see is a wall of mountain. All of a sudden, we bank right and drop for a landing. It was all very quick but we were on the ground. The runway is very short and only small planes are able to land here.

Welcome to Greenland!

I step off the plane and - isolation - is the first thing that hits me.

Then - serene - and - peaceful - . Also, I got a good look at the mountain that I thought would end it all. It's .....BIG! The airport building is the sole building in the area, just airport, mountains, water, and snow. There is no paved road, just a worn path in the dirt. The vistas from this spot are breathtaking. The majestic mountains, royal blue skies, and turquoise blue waters with icebergs bobbing and rolling as they make their way out to sea. Some of the most amazing shapes have been created in the ice. Nature's sculptor has been working here creating magnificent works of art. Man could not make shapes this complex. Some of the erroded lines of the bergs are so very perfect and symetrical and some are avant garde.

The group for the tour all gather in front of the airport, our guide arrives, and we take off across the hills. No road, no path, we just walk across the hills and valleys. We walk across streams and mounds covered in arctic moss so thick and cushy that you bounce when you walk on it. It's a strange feeling. The guide tells us about this unusual plant that is 3 - 4 inches high thin stem with a white puff on the end. This plant is arctic cotton. That's so hard to imagine that cotton has adapted, in some form, to the Arctic. There was a whole field of it, a rare sight. We continue our trek over many more hills and valleys. He stopped briefly to show us Arctic blue berries and black berries. They are really tiny. They harvest them at this time of year and then soak them in whale oil to preserve them - YUK!

We make our way to the top of a very steep hill and as we reached the summit, we were given such a gift.

To our left was the foot of a glacier with several small lakes at the bottom and to our right a penninsula of tiny houses of difering colors all spread out across the hills. We had reach it, Kulusuk and the harbor of blue. An iceberg floating here and there. It was just like I had imagined, only I was there. It is as quaint as it looks. It is more remote than you could ever imagine. It seemed like a dream. Only a few months ago, I stared longinly at this view in a picture on Wikipedia and now I was in the view!

There was an Icelandic sailboat in the harbor as I took some of my photos. The guide told us that was a rare sight as it's around a 1000 mile crossing in the open North Atlantic. This is not the Carribean or the Mediteranean.

Ok, so we start down the hill to the village.

The penninsula is rocky and the colorful little houses are up on pedestals to remain level. They all have a commanding view of the surroundings. Our walk takes us past a beach area where we could see something floating. The guide said it was seals. They weren't moving so, I asked what they were doing. He said that they were being stored. That fishermen used them in the winter to catch large fish. The could used the extremely cold water like a freezer to preserve their bait until winter. I felt sad for the seals but, know that these people had to survive and this is part of how they do it. Also walking through the houses, we pass a clothes line with clothes drying in the breeze. This is universal. However, just up the hill a short distance was another line with small fish drying on it.

 We stop in a shop where locals make different traditional items, for sale to tourists. There are statues made from whale bone with carvings, first made by their ancestors, that were to provide protection. There are necklaces of differing Arctic animals teeth or claws. Some of those have been carved, also. They had seal skins and locally made fur coats. There were beads that were used for headdresses in generations past that were also used to create table dressings and small banners with designs of local people or the polar bear with a raised right paw. I bought one of the whale bone carvings with angry faces carved into it and one of the small colorful table dressings made form beads. They are, actually, quite expesive. Ther are only 4 or 5 inches tall and between 50 and 100 euro.

I also bought a ticket for a boatride across the harbor which was an option instead of the long walk back. Not being a slacker, I wanted to see the village from a different perspective and some of the icebergs close-up.

We left the shop, the only shop of any kind, in town. (where do they get their things for daily life?) The houses are so small, they must be no more than 2 rooms, most atleast. The bright colors help them when there is the normal 6 - 8 meters of snow on the ground and more is falling. The lakes and harbor are frozen and the mountains......all white. Things of bright color make navigating the town and finding your home much easier. There was a favorite little house of mine in the village. It was brilliantly bright blue with decorative lace curtains and with a heart and a sun hung in the window.

There was also a little bouquet of flowers, as well. Outside, there is a little flag sticking out from above the window. The one last thing to make it such a winner is that there is a beautiful husky, resting, paying no attention to the people passing by. I think he was just over tourists!

We continued down to a point on the penninsula in the middle of town. We could see most of the harbor and a dramatic backdrop of tall snow covered peaks. The guide's uncle met us here and was dressing in clothing that has been worn be these people for hundreds of years. He performed several drum dances.  He would hit his drum and sing in his native language while being very expressive to convey his feelings. His first was the "confrontation with the enemy" dance. Then, there was the "duck meets goose" dance and a special dance that focuses on the women to make the men jealous.

It was a unique cultural exerience.

From a distance, we could see a man in a kayak in the harbor. He was making his way to the point, where we were. He stopped by to way and say hello. He was the mayor of Kulusuk. He wanted to make sure that we felt welcomed. He had a fishing spear with him and showed us how it was used to catch fish or seals.

Also at the point, there was a bust of a local woman shown with her hair in a unique native "bun". This woman was our guides grandmother. It was a delicately sculpted work of love for a local artist.

The group split at this point. Some started the long walk back, while others of us were taking the scenic water route across the harbor. I climbed down the rocks and into one of two boats. We took off from the point, making our way across the harbor.

I took some pictures as the village got smaller and smaller. On the way, we passed one with incredible icebergs with fantastic diagonal fin looking cuts in it. One looked like it had a hammered pattern. It was like passing through an art gallery of ice. With some final looks back, I said my good-byes to Kulusuk. I enjoyed it friendly people and colorful houses.

We reached shore and still had a 15 minute walk across the valley and the same stream to return to the airport. I picked up a t-shirt (how many people have a t-shirt from Greenland) and a shot glass for Rob's brother. I did find it interesting to even find t-shirts here. I'm sure they don't need them. It's just a tourist thing, I'm sure.

Back on the plane, assending, the look back at the geography of Greenland is intimidating.

You can see how cut off from the rest of Greenland, Kulusuk really is. The coastline is thousands of peaks of sharp rocky mountains covered with snow. It looks menacing in it's desolation. There were new icebergs to see as we flew further away and into the North Atlantic.

Good-bye, Kalaallit Nunaat and Kulusuk, it was brief but, a day I will never forget. I walked through fields of cotton in a valley in Greenland. I visited a village on the edge of nowhere but, somewhere now very precious to me.

Back to Iceland and exploring more of Reykjavik.

halilee says:
I'm really keen on visiting Greenland.. were you there for just the day?
Posted on: Dec 27, 2015
bigmac993 says:
Great blog!
Posted on: Dec 30, 2012
Jeroenadmiraal says:
Amazing!
Posted on: Sep 11, 2010
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Kulusuk
photo by: delsol67