August 12, Qaqortoq, Greenland

 

Greenland, an island comprised for the most part of vast ice fields is home to approximately 57,000 inhabitants. In the native language, Greenlandic, the name of the country is Kalqaalit Nunaat and is the world’s largest island with an area of 840,000 square miles. The capital is Nuuk and it is a dependency of Denmark. Greenland extends 1,660 miles from north to south, and more than 650 miles from east to west. It consists of vast interior ice fields measuring up to 9,800 feet in depth and a mountainous ice free rim around the southwest and southeast coast. The ice fields cover the ancient rocks of the Greenland Shield which is closely related to the Canadian Shield. The climate is extremely cold in the north and in the interior but during the short summer months the mean temperature along the southwestern coastline can be in the mid 40’s. In southern Greenland ruins from Viking communities relics date back well over 1,000 years.

Qaqortoq (pronounced” Cocker-tock”) was originally known as Julinehab, named to honor Queen Juliane Marie, who was married to the King of then-unified Norway and Denmark. Qaqortoq was established by Norwegian merchant Anders Olsen in 1775. Qaqortoq today is the home of about 3,500. It is pleasant town which on the day we visited was bright and sunny. One of the features Qaqortoq is famous for is its fountain. It is not a particularly impressive fountain, but it is the ONLY fountain in the country! Due to the severe winters, fountains are not a normally found feature in Greenland.

We spent some time walking the town streets and purchasing a few souvenirs most locally made. The Danish Krone is the accepted currency although American dollars were readily accepted at a very favorable rate. I also was able to spend the last 50 Krone from the Faeroe Islands.

On our departure there were a considerable number of ice bergs, though not nearly as many as we saw in the Antarctic.

 

 

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