That place with all the Q’s – Qaqortoq, Greenland (July 27)


Bright rows of colorful homes lined the winding road as I climbed toward the blue X that a young Inuit woman had added to my map. This morning I wanted nature first and museums second. Qaqortoq, on the southern tip of Greenland, is its third largest town, with a population of 3,100. Under the protection of Denmark, Greenland nonetheless has home rule, a parliamentary democracy with a constitutional monarchy. Amazingly, the underlying land is a continuation of the Canadian Shield, familiar from the vivid writing of Sigurd Olson.


I was alone and just a bit intimidated when the road abruptly ended. Above, silhouetted against the deep azure blue of a cloudless sky, was a cairn. From rock to rock, across a landscape that spanned the palette of greens and grays and browns, I climbed. Moss, lichen and the tiny leaves of hardy plants clung to the rock with tenacity and the brightest hue was the granite’s pink and orange tones.

After the first cairn, I continued on, then hunkered down under an overhanging rock, resting, in my own little corner of Greenland. From that angle, there was no town, no people, my only company a pair of ravens that swooped a roller coaster pattern far above, croaking their joy at the view below.

Above, more cairns beckoned and then a man came into sight. “You must keep going,” he urged, “there are ‘bergs!” So far, this climb and the view of the bay below, dotted with icebergs, has been my grandest adventure!



Wandering the town, I discovered this church and the museum, with a good array of native tools and kayaks, built for hunting seals. The town is also know for its whimsical stone sculptures, scattered along its streets, and the friendliness of its people, mostly Inuit. I could write more, but now it is the next morning and we will be cruising Prince William Sound today. From my window the beauty is just beginning. There will be 6 glaciers, and hot chocolate and soup served on the decks, and a day as glorious as yesterday. More later.



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