I have wanted to visit Greenland ever since I first heard rumours of its beauty. There are many beautiful islands in the world, but as a Dane Greenland is special as it maintains a strong link to Denmark as part of the Danish Kingdom. While the Greenlanders are very much aware of this connection, Danes are in general very ignorant when it comes to their knowledge of Greenland.
Danes are ingeneral prejudiced thinking that Greenlanders are drunkards, though the alcohol consumption in Greenland per capita is smaller than in Denmark. In fact, the Danish slang word grønlænderstiv (drunk as a Greendlander) made it to the official Danish dictionary in 2017.
Moreover, Danes often have an opinion on the fact that a lot of our taxes go to Greenland. More specifically, we pay 577 million EUR each year to support Greenland maintain a functioning welfare state with infrastructure, schools, hospitals and much more.
What we tend to forget is that Greenland is the only reason Denmark has any geopolitical influence. Neither are we any good at educating Danish children to know the Danish history as a colonial power and what our role has been in destabilising the Inuit way of life in Greenland and incorporating in more or less successful ways a Western standard of society.
The Danish-Greenlandic connection is a complex one, which both leaves us closely tied but also strengthens the feeling of otherness, particularly amongst Greenlanders.
Travelling to Greenland, I wanted to exchange my own prejudices whatever they might be with real observations.
With base in Ilulissat - Greenland's third largest city - we will be exploring Disco Bay, Greenland's number one tourist attraction.
We arrived in Greenland in late June a bit before the tourist season truly kicks off. Normally I plan everything myself, but travelling in Greenland is in no way comparable to travelling in Japan, the US or the Middle East. In order to not miss out on anything, I got assistance from the small Copenhagen based tourist agency Arctic Friend. With their competent help, I was able to put together a 12 days travelling programme in Disko Bay and Kangerslussuaq.
Eqip Sermia - the Calving Glacier
It had cleared up from a dull grey cover of clouds in the morning and we were met with a clear blue sky and calm waters which made the reflection in the icy water almost as sharp as the glacier itself.
Sailing to Oqaatsut - Walking to Ilulissat
They articulated and made understood by their translation app that as Chinese they had sensitive tummies.
Ilimanaq and the Humpback Whales
While in Denmark people hunt for trophies, in Greenland they hunt for food and because it is such an integrated part of their culture to live off the wildlife.
A Place Called Kangerlussuaq
In the valleys of the ice were clear blue lakes. Not the turquoise blue of a Greek island, but a truly clear blue, lighting up its surroundings. Melting water was creating rivers and water falls as well as holes deep into the ice sheet.