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Sailing overnight, we hit the kind of weather everyone warns you about when you sail the North Atlantic. It was much too cold to go out on deck. Besides, we had nearly gale force winds and 20 foot waves. No one was seasick, but it was a rough night.
There was a show in the cabaret, and attendance was high, since little else was possible. The performing troupe put on a great show, leaping and dancing on a swaying stage, and when they finished their act, the audience gave them a standing ovation in recognition of their efforts under most stressful and taxing conditions.
In the morning, it was colder than at any time during the trip, but the seas were much calmer, and the captain headed for port in Qaquortoq (Kah Kuhr Tock), Greenland.
There is little to see or do there, and the population is quite small. At least we could say we had been there, even if we couldn't pronounce the name of the place.
All of us were anxious to get off the ship and onto solid land, so we left to go into the little town. There was a bit of time to kill before we could head for the main bar, where the cruise people had arranged for a luncheon to be set up.
The locals were apparently not prepared for our arrival, and while they got things in order, we were able to take a helicopter ride over the area. Unfortunately, there was nothing to see, but that was just the kind of day it was going to be.
Our helicopter lifts off for a fly-over
The helicopter ride ended, and we all got out and headed for the tavern, where the lunch was finally ready for us. The buffet featured samples of the typical diet of the Greenlanders, mostly dried fish and a few vegetables. The season for growing is too short to allow much variety. The food was barely edible (to our tastes), and several guests hurt their teeth trying to chew the dried fish and whale blubber (whatever!) which had the consistency of slightly softened bricks.
Later, I asked Nancy what she thought of the meal. This picture shows Nancy’s reaction.
"Gag, gag". The food was worse than awful!"
It is easy to understand why the Vikings named this island “Greenland” and their other discovery “Iceland”. How else could they have enticed anyone to come here? The place is a cruel joke.
Now Iceland- aah! Quite a different story. A lovely place with an abundance of natural resources and beauty, you can easily fall in love with the place.
They now have direct non-stop flights to Reykjavik, the capital, from the US, and it is not only a great place to visit, they have made a real effort to take the needs of the physically challenged into consideration.
Our first view as we came into the harbor is the intriguing metal sculpture dedicated to the Viking ancestry of Iceland.
For its part, Reykjavik is all about architecture, especially churches. This one is the absolutely breathtaking Hallgrimskirkja. The tower is about 230 feet high, giving you a fabulous view of the entire city.
There is also an obvious flare for sculpture, as you can see, not only from the Viking ship in the harbor, but also in the photo of this interesting work, rather avant garde, of musicians. It is on the grounds of a huge geothermal hot water complex, furnishing heat to the houses of Reykjavik in winter.
Geothermal geysers are everywhere. This one is the original "Old Faithful", named for the nearby village of Geyser.
Geyser, Iceland 2003
Close to the city are volcanic craters, beautiful, tranquil valleys, and superb waterfalls.
This is not Niagara, but no less stunning. It is the Gullfoss, 106 feet high in 2 cascades falling into a canyon nearly 2 miles long and 200 feet deep.
The site belonged to a farmer and his daughter, who fought foreign buyers who wanted to take over and develop the area. The two of them turned down an offer of millions of dollars and gave the site away, instead, to the state for posterity. Their only stipulation was that the site NOT be altered from its natural beauty.
Taking this photo, I am literally no more than 2 feet from the edge, thankful to the farmer and his daughter for not giving in to the temptation of money!
High rise condominiums on this site just wouldn't cut it, won't you agree?