Icebergs look incredible regardless of the weather. If it’s bright sunshine, the brilliant white pops against the sky. If it’s dull and grey, even snowing, the white and glowing blue can look magnificent against the grey clouds. On the boat from Qaqortoq to Narsarsuaq, we had a mix of weather as we made our way up the fjord, including some smaller icebergs that were shining shades of blue, and it looked incredible speeding past them.
I was fairly happy to leave Qaqortoq. In hindsight, we probably should have visited here first because the town and surrounding scenery didn’t live up to what we had seen before. Mix in some miserable weather, mosquitos, and a town which was quieter and more touristy than we expected, it wasn’t the best couple of days of the trip. Qaqortoq didn’t really feel Greenlandic – it felt like a hub where people stop off to catch connections, or to use the hotel for conferences. So a return to Narsarsuaq to complete our trip felt like a welcome next step.
Checking into the familiar airport hotel in Narsarsuaq was frustrating this time around. It’s a pet hate of mine, more so given how much I travel with work, when receptions take a long time to check in guests. We waited 20 minutes (in a queue of just three, including ourselves) before heading off to the Blue Ice tourist info office to see if we could arrange a boat trip. One of the interesting things about Greenland, from my experience, is how things can just work, people can make things happen. We asked about a boat trip around the coast to Qorooq glacier, only to be met with an almost blank response. Little effort to help at all. It was a bit weird and in contrast to previous experience from Greenland.
After checking in to the hotel, we both had that “end of a trip” feeling which can be a total downer, potentially even ruining the last couple of days of an otherwise awesome trip. To help alleviate that feeling, we went out for a walk.
On the trip to Narsarsuaq a few days earlier, we had taken on the 33km round trip from the town to Qorooq fjord. Not wanting to try anything quite as ambitious this time, we took a walk to Signal Hill. It’s a hill sitting just behind the town with an easy path up and down in a circuit. The view from the top is outstanding: the Narsarsuaq glacier in the distance, mountains, the fjord with the turquoise water. It’s a beautiful, quiet spot and easily accessible even for people with only a short stopover at the airport. It also includes a walk through a forest, which is quite unique for Greenland.
Much of the area around the town was used for a project a few years ago to see how trees from the Arctic Circle line – including from Scandinavia, Siberia, Alaska and Canada, would cope in Greenland. In Kangerlussuaq they failed, but in the south in Narsarsuaq, they look to be thriving, and there’s a fairly expansive forest in the area. It just isn’t what’s expected from the often barren landscape of the country.
In all, this short stopover in Narsarsuaq was only to make sure we were there for the flight back to Reykjavik the following morning. The weather in the town was beautiful, much like it had been for most of our trip around South Greenland, and it gave us the peace and quiet and the scenery which helps make this such an incredible part of the world.