After a wonderful trip to Iceland, which saw Angela and her Caitlin explore glaciers, waterfalls and a blue lagoon, we found them in Greenland. Number 133 on Angela’s list of countries visited...
“Leaving Iceland was not such a sad thing, as we knew we were heading to Greenland!
When I first went to Abbotts Travel to book the trip, the first question that Julie asked me was ‘why Greenland?’
Firstly, because Greenland would be an addition to the ever-growing list of countries I've visited, and also because I wanted to go somewhere vastly different.
Greenland is the largest island in the world, 80% of the land is covered in ice and it has many unique things to do and see; from fully working Inuit Villages to Glaciers in the middle of the sea.
A three-hour flight took us to Illulisat, on the west coast of Greenland. We had amazing views as we began our descent; icebergs as far as the eye could see.
When we landed, we were taken to Hotel Arctic and given the warmest welcome.
We embarked on a city walk, where a guide took us around Illulisat and spoke about the history and wonders of the small town. We were shown the busy fishing harbour, the old church and the museum.
Our welcome meal, included in the price of our hotel, offered the chance to taste whale, reindeer, ox and seaweed… all worth the try!
A 'Midnight Cruise’ took us to the icebergs to watch the sunset over the horizon. When the boat came to a stop, we found two whales having a nap in front of us, their snoring was almost as loud as mine!
If that didn't impress, then how about a martini with pieces of icebergs in them? You lift the glass to your ear and can hear the air popping, whilst enjoying the beautiful sunset.
Our second day in Greenland was spent at an Innuit village. As the only way around is by air, boat or dog sledge (only in the winter) we were back on a boat.
We saw the hunters settlement of Ilimanaq, south of the ice ford, where we visited the local school. The town has approximately 50 inhabitants and seven children attending school.
Big Greenlandic sledge dogs were chained up everywhere, as they are not used in the summer months. I would avoid going near them, these working dogs are completely wild. The puppies however, are friendly and roam freely around the towns.
We were lucky enough to join the whale safari. We saw so many whales we couldn't keep track. They would squirt water into the air, make loud noises and even dive down and show us their magnificent tails. It was a truly incredible experience.
When we got back, Caitlin embarked on a hike up in the hills - I wish I was young again so I could have gone too. She walked up to Sermermiut and onto the rocky terrain where a trail is set out. The guide pointed out the flowers that were edible, which apparently tasted like hazelnuts and sweet candy.
At the top is the most amazing view of icebergs right up to the horizon. At only four-kilometers long, you can run, walk or crawl the trail. Either way, Caitlin says it’s one of the best hikes she's ever done.
Eqi glacier is the only glacier near the Ilulissat area, which we visited hoping to see it calve. We would hear the occasional sound (like thunder) and see a piece of ice sliding down into the sea.
Looking through a pair of binoculars, over 200 birds flew over the water around the glacier. They have the wonderful ability to sense where ice will fall and stick around hoping to fly in and catch fish.
It was a relaxing night in the room for me but an evening kayaking adventure for Caitlin. She was whisked away and taught her how to paddle, as well as what to do if she capsized (thankfully it never happened). Once in the two-seater kayak, she was off paddling into the sea to witness the overwhelming beauty of the icebergs at night.
When I booked the flight home, it was unfortunate we couldn't find one straight from Greenland but that meant we had one final night in Iceland. We spent the evening visiting the cathedral, as well as the old antique shops in the city.
Before long it was time to head home, bringing an end to our fantastic trip. I had tired eyes and worn out legs but left with brilliant memories.
I could go on and on about the wonders of Iceland and Greenland, but you should visit Julie at Abbotts Travel to book a trip and see for yourself. Even though I was the first person she has sent to Greenland, I'm betting I won't be the last.”