Monthly Archives: February 2019

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First day in Nuuk

My travel schedule for 2019 is very much centred on Greenland. Those of you who have chatted to me in the past 18 months know how obsessed I am with the place, so I was very excited to be able to collaborate with Guide to Greenland for this trip.

I actually started blogging for them after my first trip here in 2017 and you should definitely check out that blog for more stories from Greenland from yours truly!

My apartment is up on a hill in the suburb of Nuussuaq- out near the University and the airport.

Looking up at my apartment from the bottom of the snowy hill - Nuuk - Greenland
Looking up at my apartment block from the bottom of the snowy hill

While this might sound like a million miles away from the city centre, given how small Nuuk is (it only has a population of 18,000 people), it means I have about a 3km walk to get to town.

On my first morning, I headed out from home at 7:30am … well before the Sun had risen. Rather than walk down the road (which initially heads in the wrong direction), I followed some locals straight down the steep snowy slope that passes behind the Recycling Centre and ends near a part of Nuuk Harbour.

View down the snowy hill near my apartment block - locals leading the way to the harbour - Nuuk - Greenland
Locals leading the way down to the road that runs along Nuuk Harbour in the pre-dawn light

Fortunately it wasn’t too slippery, and I managed to make it down without falling! Still testing out my snow legs!

I asked Maps.Me to show me the best way to walk into town, and set off following its trail of blue dashes.

Maps.Me screenshot showing the walking route from my apartment into Nuuk
This is apparently the best walking route from my apartment into Nuuk

This led me along a convoluted route between apartment buildings that were absolutely silent in a world muted by snow. I’d never really experienced something like this before, and I was surprised at how much a thick layer of snow changes the soundscape.

Dark images of walking between apartment buildings on my way to work in Nuuk - Greenland
It’s quite dark when I walk in to town at the minute and my trail leads me through blocks of apartment buildings

The centre of Nuuk is relatively flat, and when I visited here 2 years ago I didn’t really venture too far beyond that. However, walking in from the suburbs quickly had me reassessing my view of Nuuk – it is quite a hilly place and there are staircases everywhere!

My route into town led me up and down several staircases, with this 240-stair monster providing an incredible view over the harbour.

View of Nuuk Harbour from the top of one of the many staircases in the city

Move cursor over image to see full panorama

Looking carefully at the end of the straight road heading through the above panorama, you can see the next staircase I was heading towards leading up the snowy bank to a passing bus. This is the last staircase on my walk into town (which is just behind the hill), and there is another amazing view back down over the harbour from the top.

View of ships in Nuuk harbour
View of ships in Nuuk Harbour from the top of the staircase

The offices of Guide to Greenland are very close to the center of town and really lovely inside.

Exterior and interior of the offices at Guide to Greenland - Nuuk
The road leading to the offices of Guide to Greenland (the light blue building to the left) and the Nuuk Center (the tall grey building on the right) of the panorama. The middle and bottom images show the great setup of the offices

My station is the one over in the corner with a vinyl copy of Nanook’s latest album right beside me on the windowsill 👍👍 No, I didn’t put it there. It was there when I arrived 😂

Image of where I'm working from at the Guide to Greenland offices
Eeeeek! A Mac! And I swore I’d never use one again… I do very much like what is keeping me company on the windowsill though!

I had a great day getting my bearings and chatting with everyone, and am really looking forward to my time collaborating with this awesome bunch of people!

Then, about 4pm, it was time for the walk home. Yes, the days are quite short at the minute, and that 240-stair staircase gives you quite a workout when you are heading up it!

Looking up at the 240 stairs on the way home - Nuuk - Greenland
Oh boy! The start of the 240 stairs leading up. It was much easier coming down!

It was quite dark by the time I’d reached the bottom of the snowy slope below my apartment, but I’d forgotten (didn’t think to bring) my headlamp. So time for the phone to guide the way!

Image of phone with flashlight on and my apartment in the background - Nuuk - Greenland
Walking in snow in the dark is challenging. You can’t quite make out the lay of the land … hence flashlight!

It’s always nice to arrive home, as Greenlandic houses are very well heated. You strip off in a “mud room” just inside the door before venturing further into the house.

I love where I’m staying – here’s a nice little tour of the inside.

Living room and kitchen of the apartment
Living, kitchen, walk through the hallway “mudroom” into the bedroom. I also have a small bathroom with washing machine

Yes, it is small – and the kitchen is challenging for someone who loves to cook (even though I have almost everything I need).

But it is perfect for my stay here this time and I love it!

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From Sydney Australia to Nuuk Greenland

Ask any Australian and they’ll soon tell you …

It’s a bloody long way from Australia to pretty much anywhere!

This was once again brought home to me as I awoke 4 hours after taking off from Sydney to find myself still over the continent of Australia. *sigh*

I was flying to Copenhagen on my birthday to start my 2019 adventures. This year they are primarily focused around one country. You might be able to guess which one if you’ve been keeping up with the blog posts and my obsessions, otherwise the home-made board game and birthday gift “Sah’s 40-something Travel Quiz – 2019 Edition” might give you a clue.

2019 version of the Travel Quiz made by my brother and his wife - featuring Greenland
These home-made board games are some of my favourite gifts ever! The last one (for when I left Australia 3 years ago) had a map of Latin America on it … where I would spend most of my time during that year

Toni, Bill – you guys are awesome! I love my board games! Though I think my questions were a little on the hard side this time 🤔 I really loved playing the night before I left, and I have to admit the pizza was bloody good😉

Playing my home made board game with my brother sister in law and niece  while eating home made pizza
Playing the latest edition of my awesome board game! One of the many brilliant things about this game is that the questions are specifically written for each person. Which means a 4 year old has as much chance of winning as a trivia buff!

Copenhagen is one of the two stepping stone options you have to get to Greenland. Previously, I’d always flown from Reykjavik in Iceland, but I’d never been to Denmark and it was a good opportunity to visit the Visit Greenland offices (I collaborated with them and wrote most of their Go To Guide to the Arctic Circle Trail last year), and catch up with a friend I’d not seen in 18 years!

Images from our visit to the Visit Greenland offices include the amazing building, a polar bear, dog sled and other traditional Greenlandic items
The Visit Greenland offices are in an awesome building that also hosts representatives from Iceland and Faroe Islands. There is a very cool Greenland store and museum there as well.

Well, actually, it turns out we had caught up once in that time, but neither of us had remembered it until I mentioned that I’d been to Geneva once for about 8 hours. It suddenly dawned on me that the only reason I would have done that was to catch up with him! We had both forgotten! Ah … failing memories 😧

I didn’t have a lot of time in Copenhagen, and Enzo and I spent the vast majority of it chatting. But we did manage to make it to the Lego shop (very cool), to watch Russ’ last IMAX Movie “The Story of Earth” at the Tycho Brahe Planetarium, and teach me that Tivoli is much more than just a venue that my favourite band, Nanook, play most years.

image of me at the lego shop and tivoli gardens in copenhagen
Me at the Lego Shop (L) and walking past Tivoli (R). Who knew it was an amusement park and not just a music venue? BTW the snow is fake

48 hours after arriving, I was back at CPH (Copenhagen airport) and boarding Norsaq – Air Greenland’s only jet – for the 5 hour journey to Kangerlussuaq – Greenland’s primary international airport.

First time on Norsaq
Flying towards adventure 
Nanook in my ears.

5 hours to Greenland
The land that captured my heart
And inspires me.

3 months I have there
Living rather than touring
I can hardly wait.

The above is a haiku I wrote during the flight over. I had a window seat and a wonderful view of blue skies and clouds 😀

Views out my window as I fly over Denmark, Norway and Iceland on the way to Greenland
Flying over Denmark, Norway and Iceland.

Which had turned to grey skies and snowy landscapes as we came in to land at Kangerlussuaq. This looked VERY different to when I was here last August to hike the Arctic Circle Trail!

Images of approaching Kangerlussuaq out of the window of the plane
The edge of the Greenland Icesheet (L) and turning into our approach to Kangerlussuaq (R). This latter runs up the (frozen) fjord and the airstrip is on the left-hand-side past where it narrows (you can just see it)

It was -16 degrees C when we landed and the walk from the plane to the terminal was my first taste of walking in icy/slippery conditions. Fortunately I didn’t face plant!

Passengers from Norsaq heading into the Kangerlussaq airport terminal - west Greenland
This is the biggest airport in Greenland. No, there are no aerobridges.

One of the many interesting things about Kangerlussuaq airport is that although it is the primary international airport for Greenland (due to having the best weather and the longest runway), nobody actually stays there. When Norsaq lands, there is a fleet of at least 4 Dash-8 planes waiting to transfer passengers to where they actually want to go in Greenland – in this case Ilulissat, Sisimiut, Narsarsuaq and Nuuk, my final destination for this trip.

Looking out the window of Kangerlussuaq airport. Note the several Dash-8 planes waiting (one had already taken off). Yes, the announcement is in Greenlandic, but there was an English version that followed.

Less than 2 hours later, Norsaq took off again in the direction of Copenhagen, I’d taken a picture of Kangerlussuaq’s famous sign, and I had boarded my own Dash 8 to head to Nuuk.

Kangerlussuaq Airports famous sign with distances to destinations - West Greenland
I’m pretty sure that most signs like this in the world don’t have the distance to the North Pole so close

Despite having mostly lost my voice, I spent the entire flight chatting with the person beside me. This was my second trip to Nuuk, and when it came into view 40 minutes later, I was reminded about how stunning the surrounding landscape is!

View of Nuuk as the plane flys over ready to circle back and land - Greenland
Nuuk from the air. It is surrounded by a fjord and stunning mountains

I am actually collaborating with Guide to Greenland on this trip, so Mads and Lasse met me at the airport and transported me to the small apartment that I would use while in Nuuk. It is plenty big enough for one person, has a great view, and is nice and warm. Perfect for me 😀

Panorama from the balcony of my small apartment in Nuuk - West Greenland

Move cursor over the image to see the full panorama

I’m soooooooo excited about my time here!

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