Thursday 18 June 2015

A snapshot of life in Greenland

Our last evening ended with a very special art exhibition done by nature as wonderful icebergs in different shapes and in pastel colours - created by the midnight sun - were passing by our windows in a sea that looked nearly like a mirror as we had no wind. A very special evening that we will never forget in our life.

In the early morning we reached our northernmost point on our journey: Upernavik. The sun was shining from a clear blue sky when we anchored and resonated with the meaning of the name of today's destination. 'Upernaaq' means spring and "Upernavik" means the place to be in spring. The fog is as much a part of spring in Greenland as is the sun and later in the morning the fog came down from the mountains surrounding Upernavik and finally reached the water just as we were departing in the afternoon.

Not only the weather but also the inhabitants of Upernavik welcomed us today as a cultural event including the local choir singing a number of Greenlandic songs and dancing Kalattuut, a Greenlandic folk dance tradition inspired by European folk dance (Polka etc.)  

Today is election day in Greenland, but neither for the municipal councils nor for the Greenland Parliament (Inatsisartut). The votes that are cast in Greenland today are for the two Greenlandic seats in the Danish Parliament (Folketing). The change of the Danish constitution in 1953 implied among other things that both Greenland and the Faeroe Islands became part of the Danish Kingdom with the right to be represented in the Danish Parliament by two members each. The two Greenlandic members of the Danish Parliament will be elected by the, roughly, 42,000 voters in Greenland among 14 candidates from the five Greenlandic parties.

Many passengers went into a little house where two Greenlanders had their handicraft workshop. We felt so sorry that we could not choose everything to bring with us home as many works of art were produced out of Walrus Ivory and we are not allowed to bring this to Europe or to North America. 

Tupilak: Today art, in the past used to carry a message to another person
In the museum in the old colonial part of Upernavik we received lots of information about the historical time in this northern part of Greenland. We have to say, we did not expect such a good museum in a small city so far away from everything.

On our stroll through the city we got a very good impression about the life in North Greenland. Everything looked different when we compare it with the towns we visited in the Disko Bay before. Here we could see that hunting is still a very important part of their economy. Have a look at our snapshots we have made during our stay in Upernavik and you will hopefully understand what we mean.
The National Costume hanging in the fresh air. 
Tomatoes are expensive in the super market; here they grow perfect behind the window.
After a successful day of seal hunting 

The Polar bear, the "King of the Arctic" hunted by a Greenlandic hunter
Hurrah: The last school day before the long summer holidays