Far away from nearly everywhere else, on the east coast of Greenland, lies the island Ammassalik. And it’s one of the most beautiful places I have ever visited in my life.
Thinking of Greenland, you tend to think of snow, glaciers and ice, but there’s more to Greenland that that. While the interior is pretty much one big ice cap, along the edges there’s a more inviting climate. In summer, anyway.
I visited the island Ammassalik, on the south eastern coast of Greenland. This island, host to the district capitol of Tassaliq, is one of the most beautiful places I’ve ever visited.
There are glaciers everywhere you look. We camped on the island for 10 days, and I don’t think we had a single camping spot where we couldn’t see at least one glacier. Our record was nine visible glaciers from one spot. Most of them were on the sides and tops of mountains, out of our reach, but our hike did bring us right next to a charming little mini ice cap.
And of course, there were the icebergs. Beautiful, impressive herds of giant ice castles further out on the fjords. And smaller ones, molten in bizarre shapes on the beach.
But don’t be mistaken, Ammassalik is not a barren mass of rocks and ice. During the short summer, life shows it’s resilience and bursts out of the ground: there are flowers everywhere. Tiny yellow specks on hardy succulents, but also large patches of delicate looking pink flowers, masses of purple bell flowers, fluffy white cottony balls (yeah, technically not flowers, I know, but the look very flowery).
Hiking on Ammassalik can be a bit of a challenge. It took us seven days before we found as much as a route marker, let alone a path. Excellent navigating skills and compass prowess are a must when you go hiking here. We had to cross ice cold rivers, clamber trough endless fields of rocks, and navigate trough dense mist. We were lucky, though. Apart from a few days of light rain, we had no storms or very bad weather, and Greenland showed us it’s best summer side.
The summer sun had even warmed up some shallow lakes enough to risk a quick swim. Still cold, but very refreshing! And the lakes proved to be home to dinner as well. One night, we had a lovely grilled char. A true team effort: one of us caught it, another gutted it, another cut it up, another cooked it and we all ate it.
All in all, I think we saw the most beautiful side of Ammassalik.