Exotic Holidays To Greenland
Me and my boyfriend decided to get a bit quirky for our next vacation and chose to visit Greenland. Greenland is one of the world’s largest islands that is located between the Arctic and Atlantic Oceans, east of the Canadian Arctic Archipelago. Though being the largest island in the world its one of the least densely populated countries in the world. We decided to be truly adventurous and visit Greenland as we wanted to see the spectacular northern lights (Aurora Borealis) and to go skiing and dog sledding.
We started our vacation by visiting the Ilulissat Icefjord. The Icefjord (Kangia) and Sermeq Kujalleq (Jakobshavn Glacier), along with the landscape and the surrounding region, were taken by UNESCO as a world heritage site in 2004 due to its glacioloical characteristics and the beauty of its landscape. The glacier and icefjord at Ilulissat is totally world class and cannot be described .Standing there and looking at it, one has to see and feel this natural wonder for them to experience its true magnificence.
Since we were the adventurous sort and loved the outdoors, we were told that we had to do The Arctic Trail. The Arctic Trail is north of the Arctic circle, running between the Kangerlussuaq the main international airport and the Sisimiut ,one of the largest towns in the country. Between these two is exceptionally beautiful tundra with valleys that are filled with amazing lakes. The wildlife on the trail is dominated by reindeers, who are quite approachable. We quickly dashed off to climb the Sugar Loaf and by the next day we had covered the whole distance of the Ice Cap. We decided to extend our walk and continued to walk right to the edge of the Ice Cap to the beautiful sea beyond. While exploring Sisimiut we also decided to climb the peak of Kællingehætten. While the rest of the people flew back from Sisimiut ,we decided to walk the Arctic Trail all the way back and enjoy it completely the second time round.
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After the adventure of The Arctic Trail we decided to do something more fun-Dog Sledding. Here we were greeted by a group of impatient dogs waiting to take us for a wonderful ride through the snow. It was absolutely incredible to sit snuggly, warm and wrapped up in sealskins and sitting on reindeer skins on the sled. The dogs were incredibly friendly and impatient to get a move on. The sled took off while the sun blazed down on us and the dogs panting and running through the magnificent snow landscape, made us feel like we were one with mother nature. Dog sledding is indeed an experience of a lifetime.
The one thing I was most looking forward to was getting to see the northern lights or as its called -Aurora Borealis. The dancing northern lights are literally a sight made by the gods and are indeed wonderful and truly spectacular. It is a natural phenomenon where the sky gets illuminated into a green glow. It is basically caused by the collision of the suns electrically charged particles and molecules and atoms in the Earths atmosphere. This spectacular show takes place in the upper atmosphere at a height of approximately 100 kilometers .It looks like candles flickering in the wind or like curtains fluttering in shades of mellow green and yellow. Greenland is one of the best places in the world to observe the northern lights. The entire phenomenon is absolutely magical. It makes your body tingle!
Greenland is one of the most beautiful places in the world, and its underwater world is even more spectacular. The waters of Greenland are the most unspoilt and impressive as the flora and fauna of the underwater is practically untouched. There are several species of fish like the Atlantic wolf-fish and the lump fish. There are also bright red sea cucumbers, sea urchins ,anemones and crabs. The beauty of diving in Greenland is that while one day we got to dive with icebergs, the next day we were meeting humpback whales and seals in their natural habitat and exploring a wreck at the bottom of the ocean. Diving in the midnight sun is truly spectacular, as the rays of the sun beams through the water, lighting up the entire surface of the sea.
The fun thing we wanted to try outdoors was ice fishing. The fisherman carves a hole through the tough ice and places a basic hand winch and draws the long line with fresh bait on the hooks down into the fjord. We ended up catching halibut ,which was great fun, as you feel the small jerks on the hand winch. As a tourist we ended up not only fishing but also enjoying the beauty of the surroundings.We took packed lunch and hot coffee as the temperature dropped to almost minus 20.This was an incredible new way to fish.
Heliskiing was something that we really wanted to try,as Greenland is considered as one of the world’s best and most pristine places for heliskiing. The ski slopes are located on some biggest islands,alongside some of the deepest fjords. We went to Maniitsoq which is considered to be one of the best places in the world to ski. It was an absolutely wonderful experience ,even though I was a beginner.The major part of the skiing experience is the view of the magnificient glacier covered islands and the sea( Davis Strait).
Sailing in Greenland is as good as driving a car and is a part of everyday life for most Greenlanders. Sailing is almost a law of nature where a lot of towns are not connected by roads. We decided to do a midnight sailing trip through the icebergs of Ilulissat which was gorgeous by night. During the day we did a whale safari and got to see the humpback whales, minke whales and fin whales. Our hearts were truly in our mouths when a 70 tonne whale swam under our boat and I could only hope and pray that this gigantic creature would not decide to flick its tail. My heart had almost truly stopped. But the sight of these magnificient creatures was indeed spectacular.
Kayak is the Greenlandic word for Qajaq and is an invention of Greenland. Kayaking is a wonderful way of seeing Greenland. The day started with a walk of about 6 hours , till we reached a cabin at the base of the fjord. And there on the waters rocky edge were the kayaks. And then our wonderful adventure started. We squeezed ourselves into the manhole of the kayak and then the spray decks were fastened and we set to go. Here we were kayaking across the shimmering water of the fjords.It was amazing the speed we got to and the feeling in the water was truly awesome. To be in the water and to be one with the fjords and to sit in a kayak is a feeling that can be truly felt only when experienced. We were given expert advice on safety and handling of the kayak by our instructor and the kayak felt like an extension of our bodies.
We decided to do something a bit exciting and go snow mobiling.Snow mobiles are probably considered the successor of the dog sled. At Sisimiut we took a snowmobile trip along with a hired guide to drive out into the magnificence of the night and this included an overnight stay as well. It was great fun to cruise in the snow whizzing in and out at high speed.
Nearing the end of the vacation we decided to see Greenland from up above and what better way to do it than in a helicopter. Flying in a helicopter in Greenland is a delight and is truly fascinating. The visual from above of the fjords and the iceberg is a mystical blue hue that is breathtaking.The pilot took the helicopter right over the edge at a lowered height and we got to see the Ice Sheet with its jagged edge.The helicopter ride is a memory that will always be etched in my memory.
Going to Greenland for vacation was something absolutely spectacular and is worth doing atleast once. Being able to see the Aurora Borealis, Ilulissat Icefjord and the rest of the beauty that Greenland offered is an experience I will never forget!