Docking in Qaqortoq, Anne and Vera disembarked from their Oceania Insignia ‘Atlantic Glaciers and Harbors’ Cruise at their final port on Greenland for a taste of Greenland, to not only discover local food, but become more immersed in Greenland’s culture.
The following two days were sea days, one more than was scheduled due to not being able to dock at Nuuk. Apparently no ships had been able to go there for the past few days because of the increased winds and waves creating unsafe conditions at the pier.
We were sorry not to see Nuuk, the capital of Greenland, but we thoroughly enjoyed the beautiful days at sea. Also, to make up for not going to Nuuk, the captain took us to a special seldom-seen fjord where he said there were herds of musk-ox. We never did see any, but the scenery was spectacular and we saw the buildings where research scientists lived and worked in this remote area.
A Taste of Greenland in Qaqortoq
After those two days we arrived at our final Greenland port – Qaqortoq … (trying to say this name did make us chuckle, as I am sure it did the locals at our mispronunciation of it, despite all efforts.)
Qaqortoq was a little larger than the other towns we had visited – at a whopping 3000 people it was the 4th largest town in Greenland. Through our other ports we had already had a ‘taste of Greenland’ so to speak … but here at Qaqortoq we would be going on a tour actually called ‘Taste of Greenland’, where we would get to taste some of the local foods.
Our guide met our group at the dock and led us through town, pointing out some things of interest along the way. She brought us to the town hall, an older-style building which we learned was a gathering place for many different events in the town.
Inside were several tables already laid out with plates holding samplings of various local foods. After we were all seated, our Inuit host came onto the stage and explained what we would be eating – there was reindeer, seal meat, lobster roe, prawns, small local potatoes, and a rhubarb puree dessert. All had been prepared that morning by the host’s wife, a young Inuit woman who came by later and chatted with us for awhile. It was fascinating trying all these uniquely Greenland foods that she had prepared, while she answered our questions and told us about her life in this town. Vera and I enjoyed trying all of the tasty foods, but we agreed that the delicious rhubarb puree was our favourite, while the chewy seal meat was our least favourite.
As we made our way back outside following the meal, we found it was still raining slightly, but it didn’t dampen our spirits in the least. We walked around the town and enjoyed browsing in some of the stores. Among others, there was the usual grocery store and pharmacy, and there was even a JYSK.
One particular store, InuaCare, caught our attention, as it seemed a bit more up-scale than many of the other plainer looking buildings. Inside were two rooms, with the first room having beautiful displays of herbal products, and the larger room behind it being where the products were created. One of the ladies gave us a little tour and showed us how the locally collected botanical leaves are washed and then processed to create wonderful organic hair and skin products.
It was fabulous having our own personal tour, and we ended by buying a set of their fabulous shampoo, conditioner, and face moisturizer to take home.
With the leaves we had just seen in mind, we were more aware of the natural vegetation around us. As we walked along, coincidentally two men from our ship just happened to be taking some pictures of the grassy banks as we passed by them. We stopped and chatted for a bit, and we found they had science backgrounds and knew quite a lot about what was growing in the area. I chuckled to myself as I joined them in taking a couple of pictures of the lichen and moss, as I never would have thought to do that before the recent events of the day.
Continuing on, other great photo opportunities came at the oldest fountain in Greenland, at the top of a long flight of wooden steps leading to a gorgeous panoramic view, and at a fish market.
As we were passing by the fish market, I was intrigued by the huge slabs of raw meat laying on a table outside. The man working there was friendly. After I asked him what kind of meat it was, with limited English and some sign language he indicated it was whale meat, and he didn’t mind me taking a photo.
Vera and I had more than just a ‘taste’ of quaint Qaqortoq, and we had thoroughly enjoyed seeing this wonderful little town in southern Greenland.
Now We Know … Greenland Facts & Figures
We knew very little about Greenland before this cruise. Here are some of the things we learned:
- Greenland is over 20 times the size of Iceland, but most of it is covered by an ice sheet.
- The towns are only along the coast, mostly in the south and west of Greenland.
- There are no roads connecting any towns in Greenland.
- There are only about 56,000 people in all of Greenland.
- Greenland is not a country, but a territory that is part of Denmark.
Tips & Recommendations for your Greenland Adventure
Try to sample some foods unique to Greenland and talk to locals. ‘A Taste of Greenland’, our Oceania shore excursion, was a great way to experience the people and culture of this area.
We also heard good things about the ‘Kaffemik’ tours, where locals bring you into their own homes for coffee and tell you about their life in Greenland.
Cruising is a great way to see multiple ports in Greenland, and summer is the best time to go.
Tune In To Our Full Adventure With Oceania Insignia’s ‘Atlantic Glaciers and Harbors’ Cruise
- Reykjavik, Our First Port in Iceland
- Grundarfjordur and Iceland’s Snaefellsnes Peninsula, Our Second Port in Iceland
- Icelandic Island of Heimaey, Our Third Port in Iceland
- Cruising from Iceland to Greenland with Oceania Insignia
- Nanortalik, Exploring this South Greenland Port
- Paamiut, Wandering Around this Southwest Greenland Port