Southwest GreenlandInneruulalik & Igaliku August 2011
Hike to Inneruulalik
Inneruulalik Sheep Farm - my hosts for 1 night
The Lund family returns from grocery shopping
Hendrine treats us to liquor “on the rocks” using iceberg ice, which made a crackling sound as the air bubbles in the ice escaped.
Foggy morning in Inneruulalik….
My fellow houseguests Nanette, Sarah Lee, and Bill
Winter barn for the sheep. In the summer, the sheep feed up in the mountain pastures. The sheep farms round them up in autumn, a process that involves neighbors helping each other sort out one another’s sheep. (Every sheep is tagged for identification.)
Saying goodbye to Nanette, Sarah Lee, and Bill as they head for the airport.
Jørgen helps steady the boat
Hike from Itilleq boat dock to Igaliku
Igaliku – population 30
Igaliku’s Meeting House Here the 2004 agreement between Greenland, Denmark and the United States was officially signed to strengthen economic cooperation between the United States and Greenland. Colin Powell represented the USA as Secretary of State, of which I was ignorant until seeing a photo of Colin Powell by a local photographer.
Harvesting grass to feed the sheep in the long winter months
Garðar Ruins – Episcopal Seat of the Medieval Norse
I stand within the ruins of the Norse cathedral at Garðar, a huge complex of Norse ruins excavated in the middle of Igaliku. Here the Greenland Norse met to establish laws and settle disputes in court through their parliament, or thing. Garðar also became the home of Greenland’s bishop with the conversion of the Norse to Christianity.
Sitting within the cathedral, which was dedicated to Saint Nicolai, the patron saint of sailors. You can still see the basic blueprint of the cathedral in the rocky foundations, including the nave and bell tower. Construction started in 1124.
The Christian church was a powerful influence in Norse Greenland, as evident in this large building to house all the tithes to the church, as well as the huge complex of the bishop’s residence, larger than the cathedral itself!
Grave marker for one of the bishops, JónSmyrill, who died in 1209. The first bishop arrived in Greenland in 1126, a Norwegian who endured a 2 year voyage.
Norse well, now home to child’s play. The well is still used by the local community, housed in a small gray building.
A happenstance reunion with my Spanish hiking family
Dinnertime chore – carrying home well water
Day hike up into the mountains – a cloudy beginning
Lunch break at Lake 35
High up on the NarsaarsupQaava Plateau, following the red dots to a scenic overlook. Crossing my fingers the clouds will clear out.
Miracle timing! Clouds clear to reveal the Tunulliarfik and Qooroq fjords.
Trees or shrubs? In Greenland, everything is low-growing to conserve energy in the harsh climate.
Hike back to the boat dock in Itilleq
Qooroq Ice Fjord
Icebergs sculpted by wind and water and time….
The ice, thousands of years old, crackles and pops and drips and shifts, sometimes splintering into pieces without warning right before our eyes.