3.6.11

Day 1 – Kangerlussuaq, Ilulissat and Hotel Arctic

Waking up in the morning with the knowledge that the day will bring one the first step towards a 1½4 day long travel adventure is perhaps the best way to start a day imaginable.

We woke up early too early perhaps, but we were eager to get on with things and get to the airport.
Checking in was a little nervy, we kind of knew the baggage was a little heavier than allowed, but going so far North meant bringing a big bore riffle, camera gear and lots of warm clothing. Paying excess baggage is not the end of the world though and with the sun streaming through the windows and the paying for excess baggage was not the end of the world though and with the sun streaming through the windows and the only a touch below 0C temperature in Nuuk, it was hard to be in a bad mood for very long.

We boarded the flight to Kangerlussuaq (the Greenlandic air travel hub) and enjoyed a silky smooth flight with an absolutely stunning display of pristine white snow over black mountains and Inland Ice.
Laying over 3 hours in Kangerlussuaq was a good experience as well. It meant plenty of time for a quick lunch in the cafeteria, and a stop at the new gallery “Minamut” where the talented painter and owner Mina resides (one of the kindest people we have ever met). She provided excellent last minute advice on Qaanaaq and Siorapaluk, which turned out very useful for us later on.

The Flight to Ilulissat over the mountains can be a bit bumpy at times, but also this flight turned out to be a silky smooth ride with a stunning view of the Icefiord, that displayed a to us new phenomena; It was almost empty!
Several Locals explained later on that given certain conditions the Icefiord will appear empty on very rare occasions, last time was apparently somewhere in the 1990ies.
We collected our massive amount of baggage and took the Hotel shuttle to Hotel Arctic and the awaiting “superior room”, booked for the Night. Hotel Arctic is one of 3 real hotels in Ilulissat and in our opinion the finest in Greenland.
 Eric the Managing Director has developed from nothing into a 4 star hotel with 5 star conference facilities. Even Now where the famous “Igloo” suites are undergoing restoration it is a great place to stay, albeit a bit pricey.

We enjoyed an excellent dinner in the restaurant, windows seats to a gorgeous evening sun.

While the food was excellent it did not quite live up to the standard we remembered it for. The newly introduced concept with several smaller courses and very high prices per course, made us think of a gourmet restaurant in Copenhagen, London or elsewhere, but the combination of interior, size and quality of the courses and price did not add up for us. Still the food is excellent and among the best served in Greenland.
We decided to go to bed early after a positive and eventful travel day, as the flowing day would be a tightly packed programme and a long flight via Upernavik to Qaanaaq.

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