Flight to Ilulissat and Hotel Arctic

After an early rise and a quick shower The Wandelgek packed his bags and left the room to check out. Then had a breakfast at the airport restaurant and checked in for his inland flight to Ilulissat.

The Planes

The flights within Greenland are executed using beautiful red painted de Havilland DHC-8  propellor planes of Air Greenland:

Number of seats: 37
Average speed km/h: 537
Max altitude m: 7,620
Max. take-off weight kg: 16,470
Max. range km: 1,713
Length m: 22.25
Wingspan m: 25.89
Engines: 2 Pratt & Whitney PW123D
Total engine power h.p.: 4,300

 

The Flight

The flight from Kangerlussuaq to Ilulissat is nothing short from spectacular. 1st we flew out of the huge Søndre Strømfjord towards the coast of Greenland which was reached some kilometres south of the Kangiafjord. I could see some small rocky islands for the coast in clear icy blue water and yes the 1st small icebergs drifted between them…

 

Then the plane arrived at the immensely impressive, jawdropping Kangiafjord …

Because the plane didn’t fly all that high, I could see the hundreds of metres high icebergs float through the fjord…

Greenland is for 80% covered in ice. On average this ice sheet is 2 kilometres thick but at its max it exceeds a thickness of 3 kilometres. This ice sheet is very heavy. That’s why central Greenland is pushed down beneath sealevel. If all the ice was lifted at once, Greenland would emerge as a circle of islands at its edge. Slowly in time (over thousands of years) it would lift.

Topographic map of Greenland bedrock

From this huge thick ice sheet, the ice slowly flows towards the lower edges and then is pushed through the rocky island circle that is above sea level, to the Atlantic ocean.
The power of the ice is so strong that over time the rock is eroded and cracks become fissures and in the end they are fjords.

In Scandinavia it is possible to see the result of all these nature powers after the icecap disappeared. Rising land in the middle and high land cut through by fjords on its edge.
In Greenland however, we see in action how the Scandinavian landscape was formed…

The “white” line above going towards the fjord is actually a wooden walking path built by Unesco and suitable for all walkers, young and old, families with children in a buggy even disabled people driving a wheelchair…

Then we flew right over the settlement of Ilulissat which is actually the third largest settlement in the whole of Greenland after Nuuk and Sisimiut.

Arrival at Ilulissat Airport

After retrieval of my luggage and going I was collected by a small hotel service bus and me and my luggage arrived at Hotel Arctic…

Hotel Arctic

Hotel Arctic is simply superb! It’s situated on a high rock, overlooking both Ilulissat and its harbour and the end of the Kangiafjord where the largest icebergs get stuck because of an undeep area caused by moraine debrie…

The Terrace View

The room was not quite ready yet so the luggage could be parked in a luggage room and I had time to go and sit on the large outdoor terrace under a clear blue sky and I utterly enjoyed the breathtaking view…

The sled dogs were just outside the terrace area frolicking around or just being lazy in the quite warm noon sun…

Small sled dog house overlooking the huge icebergs floating from the Kangia icefjord right into Disko bay…

Sled Dogs

Sled dogs were important for transportation in arctic areas, hauling supplies in areas that were inaccessible by other methods. They were used with varying success in the explorations of both poles, as well as during the Alaskan gold rush. Sled dog teams delivered mail to rural communities in Alaska and northern Canada. Sled dogs today are still used by some rural communities, especially in areas of Alaska and Canada and throughout Greenland. They are used for recreational purposes, and are raced in events known as dog sled races such as the Iditarod and the Yukon Quest.

I did manage to make some photo’s of the dogs…

The Danish military act as the police in Greenland and conduct sled dog patrols during the winter, which also record all sighted wildlife. The number of patrols averaged 14,876 km/year during 1978-1998. By 2011, the arctic wolf had re-populated eastern Greenland from their reserve in the northeast through following these dog-sled patrols over distances of up to 560 kilometers.

Then I was expected to go to an information meeting about Ilulissat and surroundings, but lying there in the sun I almost forgot about that. Luckily a travel guide decided to look on the terrace whether everyone was coming to the meeting. The meeting did give me some important extra information. E.g.: the planned helicopter flight for tomorrow was postponed for 1 day. Important for me was also to get into a kayak. I had never done that before (although I had done my share of canoeing). But I really wanted to kayak between the icebergs. So I decided to go on an evening kayak trip 🙂

The Hotel Room

After tehe meeting I could get to my hotelroom and oh joy what a wonderful room that was…

Umiaq rooms

Hotel Arctic has 21 Umiaq rooms, all with views of the sea and icebergs. These are the hotel’s newest rooms and they are of a very high, international standard. Features include a 32″ Philips TV, mini bar, café set with coffee and tea, and bathrobe.

The Umiaq rooms may be booked as either single or double rooms. Double rooms are fitted either with a king size double bed or two single beds. A child’s bed is available free of charge. It is not possible to place a bed for a third person in the Umiaq rooms.

The elegant bathrooms have shower stalls in glass and bidets.

The Umiaq rooms are located in the new wing of the same name. Umiaq is the Greenlandic word for the traditional women’s boat.

The Greenlandic artist Miki Jakobsen has decorated the rooms with original photo art – all with the women’s boat as the theme. In addition, the rooms have paintings by the local artist Arne Reimer.

All rooms at Hotel Arctic have these facilities and services: Wireless internet, cable TV, telephone, radio with alarm, extra pillow, hairdryer, floor heating in the bathrooms, toiletries, mosquito net, desk, child’s bed, all dimmable lamps, iron and ironing board, room service and laundry service 7 days of the week.

Hotel room view

Ah this is better!!!

Seriously: Who needs a television when you have this as a hotelroom view?????

Although the sun would set for a few minutes (a few days ago the last summer midnight sun had disappeared), it wouldn’t get dark. The light would start getting softer and everything it shone on would start getting brighter and more beautiful with every passing minute…

I can honestly say that this was so far the best hotelroom view I had on all of my travels :-))))

Okay stop… go to sleep!

No really stop! Stop making pictures stop looking through that window! Go to sleep!!!

This is getting out of hand…

Tomorrow is another day and your gonna sleep all morning like that !!!

Sorry…

I want to but I can’t stop!!!

I mean this is so awesomely beautiful, I can’t take my eyes off that…

The problem with polar mid summer nights is that they exhaust you…

But what the heck…

I don’t care a bit…

Let me make my snap shots and…

SHUT UP !!!

I’m still sitting on the edge of my bed…

…looking at the way the light changes colors every few minutes on those icebergs…

Ah there are people kayaking in the bay…

How cool is that!!!!!!!!!!!

Don’t know whether I’m ever going to get some sleep here…

I guess not…

And still I can see a lonely kayak…

Okay now… seriously.. You need to stop!

A fishing boat in bright red colors is leaving the harbour of Ilulissat…

The sun seems to rise again…

A new day is born…

… but actually… the old day never ended. This is still the endless Polar day lasting … lasting and lasting…

The midnight sun is a natural phenomenon that occurs in the summer months in places north of the Arctic Circle or south of the Antarctic Circle, when the sun remains visible at the local midnight. Around the summer solstice (approximately 21 June in the Northern Hemisphere and 22 December in the Southern Hemisphere), the sun is visible for the full 24 hours, given fair weather. The number of days per year with potential midnight sun increases the closer towards either pole one goes. Although approximately defined by the polar circles, in practice the midnight sun can be seen as much as 55 miles (90 km) outside the polar circle, as described below, and the exact latitudes of the farthest reaches of midnight sun depend on topography and vary slightly year-to-year.

Because there are no permanent human settlements south of the Antarctic Circle, apart from research stations, the countries and territories whose populations experience the midnight sun are limited to those crossed by the Arctic Circle: the Canadian Yukon, Nunavut, and Northwest Territories, and the nations of Iceland, Finland, Norway, Sweden, Denmark (Greenland), Russia, and the State of Alaska in the United States. A quarter of Finland’s territory lies north of the Arctic Circle, and at the country’s northernmost point the sun does not set at all for 60 days during summer. In Svalbard, Norway, the northernmost inhabited region of Europe, there is no sunset from approximately 19 April to 23 August. The extreme sites are the poles, where the sun can be continuously visible for half the year. The North Pole has midnight sun for 6 months from late March to late September.

The opposite phenomenon, polar night, occurs in winter, when the sun stays below the horizon throughout the day.

Okay I really need to get to sleep !!!!!

The Hotel Arctic had 2 phenomenal restaurants. 1st there was Ulo for seafood banquets, barbecue and a la carte diners. An extensive breakfast was also served here. 2nd there was Ferdinand which was more like a cafe restaurant where you could order several plates from a menu.

In both restaurants the food was of highest quality.

Some impression of the food served in both restaurant can be seen below:

Restaurant Ulo

You will love Restaurant Ulo. Our gourmet cuisine is recognized as one of the very best in the whole country. The chefs are masters in their fields and use only the very finest Greenlandic and international raw materials. At the same time the experience is spiced by a bewitching view from the restaurant – of the Ilulissat harbour and life on the waters of Disko Bay among the gigantic icebergs.

Diner

Good morning, good day and good evening
We serve lunch and dinner a la carte from the inspiring menu, which includes Greenlandic specialities served at an international standard.

Breakfast

When the alarm clock rings and your stomach is rumbling it is time to enjoy the overwhelming breakfast buffet which is served in Restaurant Ulo. There is enough to satisfy both your eye and your appetite.

Restaurant Ferdinand

Café Ferdinand is the light and easy alternative to Restaurant Ulo. You can just pop in here and have cold drinks after all the exertions of the day, enjoy cakes with coffee and tea with a fantastic view as well – or end the evening with a light meal and a drink before saying goodnight.

Diner

Snow Crab from the Disco Island served in their shell with angelica aioli and lemon…

Steak of ox filet, with baked potato, vegetables, pepper sauce and a choice between french fries and baked potato…

Beer

Greenland does have some breweries and I tasted beers from two of these.

Both beers seen below were beers from the Qajaq Brewery in Narsaq.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Next blog I will write about beautiful Iluissat.

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