Friday, July 15, 2022
We spent some time before dinner playing some slots. Even though the ship’s casino is small, it does have some fun slots.
We decided to eat in the Lido tonight. Most of the nights they have many of the same entrees that are served in the main dining room. Since Chuck had a number of raffle tickets for the drawing at 8:00, he wanted to be sure he was present.
I got a bowl of the tomato soup and I went to the Asian station and got some of their noodles and crispy duck. Delicious. I also splurged and had the crepe chef create a dessert crepe for me – chocolate and blueberries. I did share it with Chuck.
Afterwards, he returned to the casino for the raffle, and I went to the Ocean Bar to listen to the Band. Had excellent dance music during this set.
At 9:00, we went to watch tonight’s performance at the main stage – a comedian. He was a former teacher and had some pretty good stories.
Once his show was over, we went to the Ocean Bar Band’s last set. It was supposed to be a Motown hour, but the first song was “Fly me to the Moon” which was definitely not Motown. We listened to the whole set. Not one Motown song. Oh well. Time to say good night.
The Captain indicated that we might have some rough seas last night, and he wasn’t kidding. The ship was really rocking from side to side.
When I got up at 6:00 and opened the curtains I was greeted with an unexpected site – icebergs. They were all shapes and sizes. The water was as calm as a pond. I could see Greenland in the distance.
Once we had finished breakfast in the Lido, the Cruise Director announced that the ship had been cleared by local authorities and they were lowering the tender boats. We were an hour earlier than expected. The Cruise Director said the weather would be cloudy with a chance of rain and cold. We put our rain gear in the backpacks and got our jackets.
The first thing you notice about Qaqortoq, the largest town (a little over 3000 inhabitants) and the Southern Greenland capital, is its colorful saltbox buildings.
The next thing you notice is the flying, biting bugs. We did remember bug spray which seemed to help. Chuck also wore the head net as they still preferred him over me even with bug spray. If we had gone straight to the little grocery/general store, we could have bought another one. By the time we got there, they had sold out. However, I did see one woman with a head net that looked familiar. Turns out it was the mesh bag that the HAL robe comes in. Fit just perfectly. Ingenious. I will take it next time and use it if I can’t find one to buy. I understand this is not the last port that is known for annoying flies.
The third thing you better notice is how fast the locals drive, and pedestrians did not appear to have the right of way. If you are in the road taking a picture, you better be ready to jump to the side of the road if one of their vehicles comes careening around a curve (speaking from experience).
We had no big plans today except to explore the town. It is walkable if you don’t mind hills and steps. First landmark we found was the 1927 fountain. It is the oldest fountain in Greenland. I was told that the white stones surrounding the fountain and found throughout the town lining roads and paths are there to symbolize the icebergs that flow around Qaqortok.
We went to the Qaqortok Museum built in 1804 as a residence.
It had a nice assortment of Inuit, Danish, and Norwegian artifacts. We bought a ticket for $10 pp. The ticket entitled you to enter this Museum, the smaller Norse Museum, and the 1832 Savior Church. We spent some time looking at the items.
Upstairs, they had information about the MS Hans Hedtoft – a Danish cargo passenger liner that struck an iceberg and sank on 30 January 1959 on her maiden voyage off the coast of Western Greenland. The only piece of the wreckage ever found was a lifebelt. As of today, she remains the last known ship sunk by an iceberg with casualties.
As we continued walking, we found some of the “Stone and Man” carvings chiseled into rocks and rock walls by former inhabitants.
We enjoyed the other art pieces that we found throughout the town.
We continued walking past the bank, the new church, restaurants, and the only hotel in Qaqortok. We also perused the grocery store. I had to restrain myself from buying a ginormous raisin bun from the grocery bakery. The locals were walking their dogs, chatting on the sidewalk, and buying groceries. The children were having recess. All seemed oblivious to the throngs of people wandering their town.
We did not walk to the cemetery, but I took a picture from a distance because I had not seen crosses like that except in military cemeteries.
We decided to take a tender back to the ship for lunch. The Norse Museum and the Church did not open until 1:00. Once we ate, Chuck decided to stay and enjoy the pool and the hot tub. I changed my jacket to my blue jean shirt because the sun had come out and it was getting warm. I was glad the weather forecast was wrong.
I took a tender back over and went straight to the Norse Museum. It was a small museum but had a number of Norse items and furnishings from the family of the founder.
I then walked over to the Church but there appeared to be a meeting or a service going on, so I didn’t go inside. Just took some photos of the outside.
The last item on the agenda before I went back to the ship was to visit the souvenir shop. There were no Christmas ornaments, per se. However, I found a small hand-carved spoon out of driftwood signed by the carver. I will tie a ribbon around it and use it as an ornament.
Once I returned from the ship, I spent time processing some of my photos. When Chuck came to the room, it was time to get ready for the evening. It was a nice day in Greenland.
The area around Qaqortoq has been inhabited since prehistoric times. Beginning with the Saqqaq culture roughly 4,300 years ago, the area has had a continuous human presence.
The ruins of Hvalsey – the most prominent Norse ruins in Greenland – are located 12 miles northeast of Qaqortoq.
Roughly two-thirds of all tourists to Qaqortoq are from Denmark.
*Trivia provided by Holland America and Qaqortok tourist information.