Waking up on the day for our departure from Qaanaaq was not pure bliss, we both awoke with mixed feelings on one side we were both very keen on getting back to real sanitary facilities, paved roads and a real cafe.
Ilulissat is not to confuse with a larger city like Copenhagen, London, Paris, New York or whatever, but coming from dry toilets and a city with a total of maybe 10 cars, where 4 of them has broken down and the most reliable way to get from A to B is a dog sled, then Ilulissat has all the comfort one would ever need.
After getting up, we had our usual breakfast of hot müsli stew and chilli tea , before closing the suitcases, riffle bag and making our way to to the real hostel and hans to pay the bill for our stay. Hans was at the shop so we killed time talking to a couple of guests and enjoying a cup of coffee.
Hans arrived and provided us with a very reasonable price given the standard of the facilities we had been staying in, so we paid up and went for a walk around Qaanaaq.
Qaanaaq is an amazing little settlement or village, it is visible by it structure that it was originally build when Pituffik (or Thule Air Base) was build, as a new settlement for the Inuits that was forced to leave to make room for the air base.
It has a very American layout, almost totally straight streets in even rows, the house though are traditionally Greenlandic and range from something that almost resembles the hunters hut we stayed in on Herbert Island, to large houses of a standard you would normally see in one of the larger Greenlandic cities.
The place was very photogenic, but the people living there were rather shy photographically speaking.
We planned the route past “Pilersuisoq” where lunch and late afternoon snacks were bought, before we walked our way back to our room.
At around five in the afternoon we were picked up by Hans and driven to the airport with all our stuff. We checked in on time only to find out that our flight had a 1 hour delay. So we sat down and started killing time chatting with other travellers and the two friends travelling with us.
The flight took off on the one hour delayed schedule and we began another silky smooth journey, but visually much the opposite to the trip up there. Slowly the solid white sheet of ice began showing occasional cracks and what was even more unusual to us, darkness began to return.
We arrived in Upernavik, our refuelling stop, around dusk and once we reached Ilulissat, it was almost dark and the once solid sheet of ice had now dissolved into indicidual smaller sheets and icebergs floating on open water.
The baggage was there quickly and as we exited the airport we were greeted by Laali, a local superstar guide and good friend.
She drove us to the hostel where we were to spend the night before Louise’s flight back to Nuuk the following morning.
At the hostel we both enjoyed a looong shower before heading to bed, tired after a long day and the many hours aboard the small aircraft.