Comments on why we went, how we got there and what we found
Initial ideas were not practical, then the alternatives were uncertain, but the end result was mind-blowing
Greenland 2007 Index
By summer 2006 it was nigh on impossible to find out what was happening and then a leading Danish travel company, Profil Rejser produced firm 2007 dates for packages ex Copenhagen including a one-way journey on the coastal ship. We booked with them by email for a trip from north to south (which gave us an extra night in Greenland), for flights between Manchester and Copenhagen and a hotel in Copenhagen at each end. In Copenhagen Profil chose the Hilton at the Airport for us. Not cheap but just a few minutes' walk to the terminal and a station with frequent trains into the city (we took an extra night there). It was also good and with an excellent, early breakfast - important as our flight was early. We found Profil good to deal with and encountered no language problems, thanks to their command of English.
At Ilulissat we were met by the local representative who took us to the Arctic Hotel where we were to spend three nights. Throughout Greenland accommodation was half-board. The Arctic Hotel was modern with good staff and smallish but adequate rooms with good views. Breakfast buffet was ample if somewhat limited in variety. Dinner was fine but service was excruciatingly slow, still the view was incredible. One night was a Greenlandic buffet - a mixture of hot and cold dishes. The hotel ran an hourly bus service down to the town.
Included in the package was a walking 'city tour' which was interesting. Other optional trips were possible, we took an evening boat trip to the ice fjord, a short day trip by boat to a nearby settlement and went to learn about sled dogs. All were worthwhile. We also spent a day walking on our own.
There was an excellent courier on board. She was Greenlandic and an academic at Copenhagen University specialising in Eskimology. We had inclusive city tours with her at three of the stops, one of which was a bus trip around Nuuk. Other stops were of short duration which allowed a chance for a quick look round. Much of the journey was on open sea which on our trip was flat calm all the way. We were very lucky, most trips before in the season had seen quite a bit of motion.
There was a local representative who took us on the inclusive boat trip across the fjord to Qassiarsuq, the site of the original Norse settlement where we went to the reconstructed house and church, a good trip. Otherwise there were a number of optional excursions available, but we chose to spend our time walking on our own. Return to Denmark was by Air Greenland 757.
We were in Greenland in early July. We had left Europe cold and flooded to arrive there in hot sun. The weather was generally good, although there were some misty days. Knowing what it might be like we had taken plenty of warm clothing and did need it all on a few occasions when it was very cold. We saw no rain.
Greenland is not just expensive, it is very expensive. The towns, though the standard of living is good, are nonetheless very much 'on the edge' and have a distinct frontier feeling. Places are small and distances immense. It is a place for boots and looking, not strolling and shopping.
The galleries (links at the top of the column on the left) include further comments about Greenland and our trip.