Day 2,021 of Traveling the World | Qaqortoq, Greenland | August 11, 2023

Quick trivia question: What city contains THREE “Qs” and is the fourth-largest in its country?? If you read today’s heading, you already know that it is – Qaqortoq. And even though it is the fourth-largest in Greenland, Qaqortoq only has 3,500 residents. That gives you an idea of how few people live in any given city in general.

The city was founded in 1774, but evidence of human civilization goes back 4,300 years. In the 10th and 12th centuries, Norse and Inuit settlers inhabited the area. The city has evolved into a seaport and trading hub for fish and shrimp processing, tanning, fur production, and ship maintenance and repair.

Walking around, we found it delightful and so much bigger than the first port we visited in Greenland. That was a tiny residential village, whereas this felt more like a city. It is built on a hill, so there were lots of things to climb to. And there were shops, cafes, restaurants, TWO churches, grocery stores, and a hotel. So it was quite a walk of discovery. The oldest fountain in Greenland is found here in the middle of the Old Town, and even has a name – Mindebronden. We went into a grocery store, as we like to do, since they often reveal clues about the culture. But we found it to be pretty normal, and it had substantially more fresh fruit and vegetables than Tahiti did, earlier this year, although Greenland really can’t grow anything with its rocky soil and cold temperatures most of the year. Since Qaqortoq is more southerly than our first town, Paamiut, it was 5-6 degrees warmer, about 48 degrees. In the sun, wearing a jacket was a little uncomfortably warm, even. Back to the grocery store – we had heard a local delicacy was reindeer stew, but all the meat sold seemed to be beef, lamb, and chicken. And proving how civilized it is, the store carried Spicy Nacho Doritos, Lay’s Potato Chips, and Snickers bars!

The whole city was filled with wildflowers. Houses were largely built to take advantage of views of the harbor. Once again, there were no sidewalks – pedestrians shared the road with vehicles. There were several dirt paths up the hill, made through frequent use of them. We spied one incredibly long staircase with people trudging up. It is a great city to keep your heart healthy, with all the aerobic walking required. We noticed that many of the older residents used mobility scooters to get around the streets. Very understandable!

Our glorious entrance into Qaqortoq Harbour.
This is pretty much the entire city, seen from the cruise ship.
An iceberg along the shore in a low bank of clouds…at first, it looked like a small boat.
…but in this closeup, you can clearly see that it is an iceberg…or two.
Rockhouse was a small venue, but we loved how hard they are trying to be welcoming, friendly, and international.
This is one of the longest staircases we have ever seen, but we couldn’t get it all in one photo.
We also took a photo from the top, but it still isn’t the entire walkway.
Everything is built up the mountain. You can see one of the dirt pathways on the right.
Once we walked up a few streets, we got these stunning views of the harbor and the summer flowers.
Walking through the grocery store, we were amused to see “Tex Mex” cheese for sale. Prices were a little more than the US, but nowhere near double.
This sounded too much like Soylent Green! We discovered it translates as Sun Grits.
An Inuit boot outside the hotel, one of the most photographed statues in the city.
A typical home.
The red roof and fence were pretty accents to this home.
A river runs through it…with several bridges across.
Frelserens Kirke (Church of the Savior) is a Lutheran church dating to 1832 and is the most famous building in the city.
The interior once again has chandeliers, the requisite boat representing those at sea, and a small home pipe organ.
As we were leaving, we saw this sign, clearly forbidding filming and photos for something. We wondered: forbidden at all times?; forbidden during services?; or forbidden to film somebody in the WC (bathroom)? We used Google Translation, and found this is the meaning: It is forbidden to take photos of a small stomach during the service. Clearly, one of the words has multiple meanings!
Mindebronden Fountain in the city center.
Go ahead! Pronounce it!
This pretty building, with its flagstone path and picket fence, is the city museum.
Gertrud Rasch’s Church, a Lutheran church dating to 1973, takes its name from a missionary’s wife. Up on the side of the mountain, its right side has glass windows with beautiful views of the harbor. You can see our cruise ship through the windows if you look carefully!
Along with selling handmade Greenland items, there is a free language lesson.
As you can see, the water in the harbor is crystal clear…you can see the bottom.
Another iceberg adjacent to a boat – you can gauge how big the iceberg is.

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