It is already November which means I am back in Germany since 4 Months already. That is the same time that I spent in Nuuk. so it is time to think back and review what the time in Greenland made with me.
On the one hand it magically touched me. I mean I saw snow before, during winter times but I never saw that much in one place. Also if you think about the snow in Germany that we are used to... the first thing that comes in mind is grey slush so wet that you need to wear rubber boots or you get these really nasty cold and wet feet.
In Greenland the snow is different and it seems like it is not from this world. If you have never been there it is difficult to understand but I was so amazed during the first days that i could have spent hours just wandering around and watching icebergs in the small bay next to the house I lived in.
I will tell you now something personal about myself. I always tell people that they should not count on my orientation sense because i simply don't have one. That is fine with me. I got used to it but in Greenland? You can't imagine how difficult that was. for me, I always need a couple of days and then I can remember at least my way back home. But in Nuuk, with all the snow it seemed like a new place everyday because new snow is coming and changing everything. The stone that was there yesterday, that was my marker to tell me turn right now... The next day it was not there anymore. Please, but this you cannot do with a person who has a missing orientation sense. So in the first week it happened what had to happen. After spending a good time in the city center I was walking home during the night. I never felt that safe in a place than in Greenland so for me walking home alone was new but I really enjoyed it. Suddenly I saw this greenish dancing lights in the sky and I had to stand still for a moment. I have to say, seeing the northern lights was one of the most impressive experiences I have ever had. I was so fascinated that I climbed up a small hill to see the lights even closer and to leave the city lights behind me. I did not recognize that iI had spent already more than an hour watching this spectacular. The problem is with these temperatures that I couldn't feel my legs anymore. So I decided it is time to go home finally but wait, where was home again? In the end I walked around three hours until I found home but in between I had concluded with my life already.
Nuuk is not only pretty during nights. It is a play of color at any times. The contrast of the little, wooden houses along the coast on top of the white snow landscape seem so unreal but pretty at the same time. Not only the manmade houses give that colorful charm to the city. The sky does the rest. I never saw those beautiful sunsets and rising suns in my life. It can go from cotton candy pink to blood red. As pretty as the northern lights are, the midnight sun has also its enchantments. So for all photographers among you. Ever thought about traveling to Greenland?
However the sky might be clear in the morning that doesn't mean it is still clear in the evening. The weather in Greenland is unpredictable and can turn so fast that it gets dangerous from time to time. I had days where I thought about sleeping in the university instead of going home or better call it flying. Storms happened quite often and once you experienced the icy rain in your face that feels like hundreds of needles, you appreciate a warm home very much. I always thought to myself: You know you are in Greenland when it takes you half an hour to get dressed before you can go outside.
I was lucky that I came and all the snow was there, by the way this year Greenland had more snow than the last 80 years! Of course when somebody like me, a summer loving person comes to see some snow... I stayed until June so I had the chance to see Nuuk changing. It first got really wet and quite grey but once the snow has been melted, it became green and again Nuuk looked totally different. So for people who love nature and breathtaking landscapes, please go and visit Greenland you will fall in love.
In Nuuk is much more to do than enjoying the landscape. Before I arrived, I was a bit afraid of being bored after a short time. This fear was unfounded. Once you there you get to know quickly many people, either Greenlandic or internationals. The bound between international people living in Nuuk is so strong. One day I got to know Marc who comes originally from Scotland and moved to Nuuk with his wife and son. He moved there because of his job as a geologist but geology is not only his job but his passion too. So once a friend of mine and I were invited for dinner, he told us that he was building his own igloo in his garden. Yes we did not really believe him but when he showed us this little whole in a bunch of snow we could not believe what we saw. This whole was the entrance of an igloo with carpets on the ground and even a groove for candles. So we decided, we had to spend a night there. So we did, armed with an arctic sleeping back and a whiskey filled flapjack to keep us warm. It was an amazing experience but I have to admit the ground was quite hard after a few hours. I met also a few international students coming from Germany, Switzerland, Finland, Denmark and Indonesia we had a great time together. So it was never boring as long as you find yourself something to do. Another trip that I did was ice climbing and hiking up the mountain Store Malene. Together with an experienced climber we did the ascent within four hours and you have no idea how exhausted I felt. The problem once you are up you have to get down somehow. That took us then only two hours. During that hike I really approached my limit and I believe my limit is quite high but the ice cold wind and the steep ice walls really challenged me. In the end nothing can ruin the moment of pride once you reach the summit and those days, you will never forget.
Other activities that I did during my time in Greenland was paragliding which I loved. I am not afraid of hight rather the opposite. I love being in the air and these views were unbelievable. Also the fact that a ski lift with three slops was so to speak in my garden made me so happy. The first I went up the lift it made my speechless because I never saw the sea while I was skiing. I was so amazed that i just stood still after I exited the lift which caused a huge traffic jam.
One thing that I learned while living in Greenland, is that you cannot really plan your days. This is really difficult for a German person, believe me we love our structure and having everything planned to the smallest detail. That was not possible anymore especially because of the weather conditions. However I learned this condition has also positive sites. You just let things happen and so you end up in situations that wouldn't have happened when you plan everything. These are exactly the serendipity moments my blog is named after. One example would be the day that we spontaneously went out to the harbor because after a few days of storm we needed some fresh air and sunshine. What we found were people fencing outside in front of the sea. First we just watched them but after a few minutes they came and asked if we want to join. So in the end of the day I spent hours fencing in front of icebergs. If that is not a serendipity moment what else?
That was by far not all I did during my time in Greenland. I did a few boat trips, visiting abandoned fishermen villages. From the boat I learned how to shoot icebergs. I tried kayak polo as well which was so much fun and I even took part in a tournament in the end. But also going out, having a beer, having dinner, going to the cinema or a night club all that is possible in Nuuk. The only negative point I have to mention is the living costs up there. For 6 bananas it is not a problem to pay around 7 euro, a glass of wine costs you around 9 euro. No not a bottle just a glass. Also organized trips are for us pampered Europeans quite expensive but as I said before, the people living there are so open minded and they love to show you around so just let it happen and enjoy your personal serendipity moments ❤︎
Maybe you were wondering, why I was in Greenland because so far it is not really a mainstream destination to visit and I believe it will never get mainstream. I went to Greenland to write my Master Thesis about the potential of tourism in Greenland for the future. So of course all I did was just for research purposes for sure. No but seriously, Greenland will always have difficulties to develop and maintain a tourism industry but there are many who work so hard to make the most out of it. One example is Guide to Greenland. This website collects all that a tourist need when he / she wants to visit Greenland. They offer flights, accommodation and a huge range of different tours for everybody. So in case I rose your interest in traveling to Greenland, have a look to their website. It is worthwhile.