Tuesday, July 20, 2010
Another day of exploring in Greenland
Today we visited the town of Nanortalik, Greenland. Nanortalik was founded in 1797 as a Danish whaling station, and today it is a fishing port. Many of the residents are also seal hunters.
When we arrived at port from our tender, there were several folks dressed in seal-skin outfits, even their toddler was all decked out in the warm looking clothing. The gift shop had many of the same articles of clothing for sale, they were soft and beautiful, but I couldn’t get over the fact that they were made from seals…I know that these people hunt them for survival, I just couldn’t justify purchasing an article of clothing made from them.
We were one of the first tenders to arrive on shore, and many of the exhibits planned by the locals were not quite ready for us yet. We wandered around and took photographs of the buildings and some of the local flowers. They had a large ‘outdoor museum’ which was really an area of their village that they set aside to be a snap-shot of their history. They had nice exhibits in each building showing what life was like in the early days of the settlement. There was a bakery, a radio station, an example of a turf-house, an example of a seal-processing camp and the first hospital that they built. There was a lovely hostess in the hospital who spoke enough English to tell us all about the hospital. She said she was born here in Nanortalik, but she wasn’t born in a hospital, she was born at her grandmother’s house. She showed us a photo of the house and she pointed out to us where it used to be. It was obvious to us that she valued her town’s history and culture.
We stopped by the local church where there was a lovely choir singing in their native language, and then we continued our exploring.
Kevin asked for some coins from our travels and so far we haven’t had much luck. We asked at the gift shop if we could exchange US money for some coins and the gal agreed (they wanted a $6 exchange fee at the post office). I gave her two dollars and she gave me one tiny coin! Guess the dollar doesn’t go very far here! Hopefully we will be able to collect some more coins for Kevin as we journey on.
We have been having a great deal of trouble getting this blog to publish, so our plans of sharing our travels as we go, isn’t working out so well. The internet connection on the ship is extremely slow, and for some reason, we often get errors when the photos try to upload, but the frustrating part is that we will get a ‘please wait’ message that displays for several minutes before it fails. We’ve used up almost all of our 100 minutes and we’ve only gotten a few of our blog pages uploaded. Looks like we have 4 so far that haven’t published.
Our exploring of the entire area was pretty much over after about 2 and a half hours, so we headed back to the ship. Although this was a smaller community than “QuackQuack” the people seemed much more friendly. Unfortunately, the first impression we got when we arrived was a large obscenity-laced display of graffiti. And someone had broken many of the windows of the local grocery store. I hope that isn’t an example of how this town normally is.
There were postings in several places letting the locals know that our ship would be arriving, so it was obvious that they were eager for our visit and they went through a lot of trouble setting up exhibits of their culture and history.
We spent a leisurely afternoon in our cabin, watching movies and Adam worked on the computer a bit creating a musical montage of some of our photos.
One thing is for sure, we are getting a lot of relaxation on this trip…and with the hectic year we’ve had — it’s very welcome.
Adam’s Note: This was very nice port but we enjoyed “Quack Quack” better. There was just more to see and it had excellent vistas. The folks here seemed friendlier however. As I am writing this we are slowly backing out of the fjord that brought us up to Nanortalik and then we are to set sail for 2 days at sea until we arrive in Iceland. I hope this isn’t end of the ice for us – I’ve really been enjoying the amazing colors and beauty that the icebergs bring. Hopefully we’ll see more in Iceland but I’ve got no idea if we will or not.
Susan has been doing such an excellent job on this blog and it’s great! I would tip my hat to her but it’s cold and I’m keeping it on my head 🙂