Tuesday, 17 June 2014

Sisimiut – Pearl of the Coast

Winds were calm, waves were absent and the sun was above us already hours before we reached our destination – Sisimiut. Sisimiut is called Pearl of the Coast among locals. One can easily understand why when the strong colours of the beautiful buildings come closer and closer and the majestic landmark ”Nasaasaaq” stands proudly behind the town.

Sisimiut is the second largest town in Greenland with its almost 6000 inhabitants. Sisimiut doesn’t look that big from the seaside but when walking around  with all the locals going about their daily chores and the cars driving up and down ”Aqqusinersuaq” (the main street) it is clearly that it isn’t a small town.  
Sisimiut is a mixture of old and new – most towns in Greenland are like that. When arriving to Sisimiut you see the harbour with it’s modern boats etc. When walking not too far from the pier you see traditional Qajaqs ( kayaks) that locals have been using for thousands of years. Walking a bit further away from the harbour you pass buildings from the Colonial years – the Museum area is a part of that as well. When leaving the Museum area you’ll have to watch out for cars driving on the main street – there is even a Porche Cayenne in Sisimiut.

Walking up the steep hill towards the Center of the Town reveals modern buildings, shops etc. Mostly everything that you see when walking through Sisimiut is modern – not the graveyard where hundreds of locals are buried. But it is still a beautiful sight with the crosses and the plastic flowers – the good thing about the plastic flowers is that they remain beautiful and colourful for a long time. A beautiful sight is also in the winter time when the graveyard is full of candle lights.
At the end of Sisimiut is a living proof that the old traditions have survived. The dog yard with almost one thousand Greenlandic sledgedogs. Many cultures have used sleds and sledgedogs for transportation and hunting – they are still being used even though it has been thousands of years since the first Sledgedogs came to Greenland. How amazing is that!? Sisimiut is actually the first place North of the Polar Circle with Greenlandic Sledgedogs. From here you will not meet any other kinds of breeds. Except German Sheperds used by the Police.

MS Fram docked at the new Pier which is only one year old, the gang way opened and out came the Smurfs as the locals call the passengers onboard Fram with their blue jackets. Many locals don’t see the cruise ship but when they see the blue jacket they know there is a cruise ship in harbour – they know Fram is here.

Many ”Sisimiormiut” (People from Sisimiut) like the Fram passengers and the crew of course. Fram passengers always smile, enjoy their stay and respect the locals. Passengers have during their journey from the starting point been taught by the staff that locals are quiet, smiling and helpful. By knowing this the passengers are taught to respect the different communities that they visit during their visit to Greenland.

Fram is also good business for the local artists and tour operators. Passengers buy Greenlandic art as well as different excursions in Sisimiut. Everything from sightseeing to boat tours are being offered. Many always join. That means that many learn a bit more about Sisimiut that they didn’t already know. If they hadn’t joined any of the excursions they wouldn’t have had the face to face meeting with the local guide. The local guide who lives in Sisimiut and tells you stories that you can’t read in any books.

The Day is over – we’re leaving Sisimiut to go to a new fantastic place in Greenland….

 Takussaagut – See you. :o)