Greenland - More ice white than green!
Greenland is the world’s most sparsely populated country and the world’s largest island. Famed for its gigantic ice cap, and every summer as the ice breaks off and crashes into the fjords, the island’s coastal waters are populated by a staggering 250 million tons of icebergs. The scale of the ice cap is almost incomprehensible as it is around 3km thick in places and covers an area the size of Mexico. Not surprisingly, it covers the majority of the island and has left only a narrow ribbon of uncovered land around the coast. Of course, this means that all of the main sights and attractions are easily accessed during a small-ship cruise.
This is not a destination that sun-seekers should flock to as the mean temperature remains around 10°C even in the middle of summer but, as it has fairly low humidity, the island can feel warmer. Our cruise operates in September when temperatures will be starting to fall ahead of the onset of winter. The daylight hours remain long enough to enjoy the daytime shore excursions and the dark skies that descend at night can provide glimpses of the Northern Lights if conditions are favourable.
Greenlandic society has been influenced by a blend of Inuit, Canadian and Danish cultures which is unsurprising given its location between Canada and Europe. These influences have created a rich and varied nation and a place where traditional values remain strong, despite the inevitable arrival of more modern imports.
A classic place to witness this montage of cultures is on a restaurant or café menu. There may be modern dishes available but some of the ingredients can be very traditional. Seafood is a staple, but the likes of marine mammals such as seal and whale as well as reindeer, musk ox and seabirds also provide essential protein sources.