Saturday, July 2, 2011
I went to Greenland because I was basically as close as I was going to get for the foreseeable future, and at one of the very few departure points that fly there. It was a relatively expensive short side trip, but after thinking it over for a couple of weeks at home, I decided what the heck. Three days in any one country is never enough (except maybe those micro countries in Europe, I'll need to investigate that later) but I'm glad I got a little taste of the teeny patch of ground I saw. In Tasiilaq I stayed at the campground run by the Red House tourist agency, and was chatting with a guide who was spending a couple of days preparing gear for the summer season. As he put it, the town was the end of civilization before the beginning of another world that is the ice sheet that lies just a few kilometers inland. I didn't make it that far, but there was plenty of ice and icebergs for the viewing just by the coast. Plus, exciting transportation within - I sped from Kulusuk to Tasiilaq through an iceberg strewn bay on a little boat piloted by one of the locals, and popped for a ten-minute helicopter ride back a couple of days later for the return to Iceland. Tasiilaq has no runway, so boat or chopper are the only ways in and out.
The flight back to Reykjavík was almost entirely empty. It was literally a tour group of Japanese seniors and me. Window seats for all. I asked the flight attendant if that was normal, and she said it wasn't. And while I'm posting a picture of one of their planes, let me say that I adore AirIceland. They depart on time, they arrive early, they serve tasty snack meals, they serve you coffee on a tray where you can help yourself to as much creamer and sugar as you want, and there are even little chocolate nibbles, and they twice got me on earlier flights on short notice; one time I had to pay a minor fee of 11 euro, which I expected, but the first time I was moved up at no extra charge and with zero hassle.