Greenland: Kangerlussuaq (SFJ)

After spening a bit more time than expected at the airport in Nuuk (pretty flexible rescheduling of the flights) we arrived in Kangerlussauq in the early afternoon after a pretty short flight. After arrival we were pretty stunned that there really isn’t very much in Kangerlussuaq at all. We stayed at Old Camp which we also booked through booking.com. This was about 30mins walk from the aiport. Usually there are some taxis / locals offering a ride, but we arrived on a day where a huge cruise liner was in the fjord, so the village is literally dead and everyone is out by the boat to take people around on tours etc.

We didn’t really mind because out backpacks have both wheels and a harness and it was very sunny and warm actually (we prepared for this to be the coldest stop and we eneded up walking around in T-shirts). However, the mosquito struggle is real. We used Anti Brumm, which is German deed, and it proved to be impressingly effective.

Once at the Camp – which really was an old military camp –  we couldn’t really get a hold of anyone. After we found the key in a letter by the reception we cooked (internet was 30DK for 30mins here, so digital detox all the way) and then made our way into the city again.

On the way we stopped at Polar Lodge, which would have been slightly more expensive but due to the location the better choice. But similar situation here: everyone was gone. It was all dead and there was no one to get any info from about tours etc.

City means airport. Everything is sitatued around the old US army base apron. This is also one of the two alternate airports for aircraft on the way between North America and Europe,  because the apron is long enough to accommodate wide body aircraft in emergency sitations. Therefore, there is about one emergency landing per month here. Only for technical reasons though – we were wondering what actually happens if an A380 landed here because the whole city doesn’t have enough beds to accommodate this many people. Anyway. There is a supermarket opposite the airport open from 8am-6pm during the week and 8am-2pm on the weekends (maybe it was 9am – 6pm as well, we lived so far away we went only once).

The airport has once cafeteria and one fancier looking restaurant if you feel like you’d like to treat yourself. The supermarket is well stocked, you’ll find anything that tickles your fancy here. There are two little boutiques, in one of them a very lovely lady informed us about possible tours. Unfortuanetly one company (World of Greenland if I am not mistaken) was all busy with the cruise ship coming the next day. She recommended another guy to go with who offerend private tours. We decided to wait to the morning in case we find someone at out place to talk to.

We then went to walk around the runway to the old army buldings, where today still the Kangerlussuaq International Science Support resides. There was also a bowling center (not sure if still in use) and the youth hostel. But similar situation here, literally no one was to be found. This part looked on top of that pretty empty. On the way there the bus service (we didn’t know about it in the morning because there were no real signs at the airport, but there is a bus driving round every hour) had already stopped but thankfully someone took us home by auto stop.

The next day we made out way into town using the bus (cost I believe DK 10 per head) and tried to hunt for some tours. It turned out pretty quickly that there was only one option to go and see the Russell Glacier at 4pm with a guy called Adam. Even though it was expensive (more than USD 100 per person) we decided to go for it because we had – and in hindsight we don’t even remember why – planned two nights here. We found someone who took us back (auto stop is the way to go here) and then waited until 4pm for Adam to pick us up.

We probably expected a bit too much, but we were both a bit disappointed. We stood by the glacier, which was impressive. But the guide marketed himself as a glacier expert but did not give us very much information. After 1.5h of looking at the glacier we decided to sit back in the Jeep because it got pretty chilly. The guide spent the time filming with his camera equipment because he was positive a huge chunk will break off. Didn’t happen. After a while we made it understood that we would like to leave (and I mean we paid a good USD 200 for this…) only to stop a bit further away where he waited for another 20mins for a piece to break off. Again, didn’t happen. We asked him to stop on the way back at an old airplane wreck, he didn’t seem to keen but it ended up to be equally as interesting for aviation geeks like me.

We shared accomoation with some Danish guys working for the tour companies who shared some pretty interesting stories about the place. Apparently there are only two people buried on the graveyard because people only come here for a short period of time, no one wants to die here. There also is a place wreck in a lake nearby one can dive to and a fully intact but abandoned military base on the ice cap around 100 km. Both sounded pretty spectacular but not possible with us leaving the next morning for Ilulissat (click on link for next blog).

 

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