Day 2 – Arrival in Qaanaaq

We woke up early in the comfortable beds and after a very delicious breakfast buffet, we checked that we had 4 hours before we needed to check in (which could be done at the hotel).
After packing up the last items we talked to “World of Greenland” about how to collect the arctic sleeping bags we were to bring and where to park the baggage not going with us to Qaanaaq.
After a talk with the guides known from work done with World of Greenland in the past about this and that, we packed up the sleeping bags and grabbed a cab back to the Hotel.
Here we changed clothes and repacked our bags before checking in to the flight. After check in, we dashed by the Igloos, just to see the progress and to enjoy the absolutely amazing view they have.
Shortly after the shuttle bus arrived and we were driven to the airport where we met up with a couple of friends also going to Qaanaaq. The flught to Upernaviq and onwards to Qaanaaq was announced and we boarded the combined Passenger/cargo flight heading north.

First leg of the flight towards Upernavik, gave the first indications on what to expect because as we progressed North the fiords turned more and more into a solid sheet of ice.
Upernavik Airport and city was a stunning refuelling stop. We had half an hour to taking the stunning location. We decided to add Upernavik to the must visit list on the spot. Gorgeous mountains and fiords it seems.

Leaving Upernavik the fiord and ocean below us turned into solid ice only broken by an occasional crack or iceberg trapped in the ice. If we were in doubt that we were going north the serene monotone scenery reminded us every time we looked out the window.
We passed a final ridge of glaciers and mountains before we were dazzled by the view of the Qaanaaq fiord and the settlement of Qaanaaq. A fiord frozen solid as far as we were able to see, windblown high arctic desert mountains, witnessing of a climate where precipitation is a rarity during the long winters due to the inhumanely cold temperatures.

The city of Qaanaaq only has one flight a week and the arrival of essentials to the city alongside the few travellers going here is an event where most of the city shows up.

We are greeted firstly by Arkiunnguaq (Professional hunter and sled driver) and Tukummeq (his wife and the only one speaking anything other than Greenlandic) and then by Hans, the owner of the only hostel in town.
Having only a regular car the is some waiting time at the airport before the 10 minute drive along a dirt road to Qaanaaq itself. It is spend taking in the extremely harsh light and near Airport surroundings. And getting used to the -23C in the afternoon sun.
As the Hostel has been overbooked we have agreed to stay in what used to be the care home, before a new was build across the street. A place where the plumbing has frozen completely, meaning a ten minute walk to get a shower and that there is a 10 litre bucket collecting all the water spend that must be emptied all the time.

We settled on a very basic late dinner as everything has been closed down and a midnight walk, figuring out the basic layout and enjoying the last rays of sun before it dips under behind the mountains for a couple of hours.
We hit the bed exhausted after a long day worth of travelling and our first encounter with the stunning surroundings.

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