The fantastic journey to nowhere!
Kulusuk Travel Blog› entry 2 of 2 › view all entries
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.