Greenland, you have eluded us before, but not today! In 2009, our cruise ship had to skip this largest island in the world due to rough seas. But today we docked safely and went ashore to explore this wild land…the 108th country we have visited! Greenland has only 56,000 inhabitants, and they mostly live in the 20% of the country that is not covered year-round in snow and ice.
Greenland was named by the Icelandic murderer, Eric the Red, when he was exiled here. Hoping to attract more settlers, he named it Greenland, even though there isn’t a single tree on the island. While it has its own local government and is classified as a country, it is also part of the Kingdom of Denmark. Fishing and hunting have been the key to survival due to its extremely short summer. Due to the climate and geography, farming is almost impossible, but there is sheep raising in the extreme southern part of the island. The primary source of income in small towns is still seal hunting. There are also dramatic mountains, breathtaking fjords, majestic icebergs, and huge glaciers. These spectacular natural formations are what draw people to visit.
Interestingly, while of course there are roads in each town, or settlement, there is no network of roadways throughout the island to connect the various towns. Transport to other places is generally via boat or via airplane, and in the photos, you can see why. Paamiut is surrounded by craggy mountains. Surrounding towns are few, and are on their own islands or across spans of water. It simply wouldn’t make sense to build roads to places that are more accessible through the water. We were captivated by all the colors of the buildings we saw here, and surprised to learn that the colors designated the function of the structure…at least, they did in colonial times. Red = commercial houses, government buildings, and churches. Yellow = hospitals, health care. Green = telecommunications. Blue = fish factories. Black = police stations.
Paamiut means “the people who live at the mouth,” as the town is situated at the mouth of Kuannersooq Fjord. There are paved roads in the town, of course, but no sidewalks. Vehicles and pedestrians share the roadway. It is obvious to us that locals are not used to lots of people on their roads, as most vehicles drove pretty fast as they came at us around bends. There were some children out on bicycles and a few people here and there, one of whom said hello and asked what country we were from. Everyone (except Mike) was dressed warmly in the 42-degree weather. But it was mostly quiet and deserted, and we enjoyed seeing the multi-colored buildings, the town cemetery, the famous church, and all the surrounding ocean. It was a short visit, but just wandering around and seeing a very foreign land was both interesting and fun.
🔹🔹 If you enjoyed reading our post, you can subscribe to our website to automatically receive every blog we publish. Just go to our “Contact” tab. In the gray box at the very bottom, it says – SUBSCRIBE TO BLOG VIA EMAIL.Just put in your email address, and we will appear in your Inbox! Also, right above it, there is a small form to send us a message, if you wish. (But please note, you cannot hit “Reply” on the post emailed to you to send us a message. You must use the Contact tab.)