Wednesday 21 July 2010

Qaqortoq Is The Green In Greenland

Treading in the footsteps of Vikings argh!  The legendary viking chieftain, Eric the Red came to southern Greenland from Iceland around the year 982.  It is widely accepted that he named the region Greenland to encourage other settlers to follow him. This morning we landed at the last known area inhabited by Norse Vikings in Greenland.  Hvalsø.
The incredible stone structures of the church and meeting hall at Hvalsø date back to 1300.  The last official record in the community was of a wedding that took place in 1408.  The second last record was also about l'amour.  It was not a happy event.  A young man by the name of Kolgrim was convicted of sleeping with another man's wife.  The young lady's name was Steinum.  She was the daughter of the local lawman Ravn.  Kolgrim was accused and convicted of using sorcery to seduce Steinum.  He was subsequently burned at the stake.  Poor Steinum.  It wasn't long before she went mad.  She died soon after.


Fascinating story, but let's turn our thoughts to a happier time.  We had more perfect weather.  At the landing site everyone spread out over the Viking settlement.  Many sat in the sun and enjoyed the spectacular view of the fjord and the ruins.  Numerous sheep roamed the area.  Indeed there are over 20,000 sheep in Greenland.

I have to mention that in all of the  many years of experience of all of the expedition team members we have NEVER seen a group of passengers arrange their life jackets as neatly or as attractively as everyone did today.  The life jackets represent a new form of landscape art. Beautiful!

It is a short boat ride from Hvalsø to our next stop at the town of Qaqortoq, the fourth largest community in Greenland (population 3,306).
We had lots of time to explore the attractions of Qaqortoq.  Amongst other things, there is an excellent small museum, many beautiful scultures both free standing and carved into the bedrock and a superb tannery that specializes in making clothing and other items from seal skin.

Qaqortoq is a very lush, green town in the summer.  Qaqortoq is the green in Greenland