By Theresa Russell
@cruisewriter (Twitter * Instagram * Periscope)
Colorful buildings dot the hillsides strongly contrasting with the barren and treeless landscape. We arrive at Maniitsoq, our first port of call on our Viking discovery adventure on the Hurtigruten Fram. Old men dressed in warm jackets play checkers outside. Families stroll the rugged and hilly narrow streets. Cruise passengers, in their red jackets move like fire ants in pursuit of photographs and the small local museum that shared the past of the town and gave insight into the present.
Temperatures dropped as Fram sailed on to the next port, Paamut, an even smaller version of Manitsoq. Families walked about and kids vied for photos as passengers descended the streets curious about this Greenlandic lifestyle. Little did we know that the next few ports dramatically decreased in size as we ventured to even smaller, pastoral communities, like Igaliku with a population of just 21.
Although populations are small, nature is enormous. On foot to the highest accessible view points, paddling a kayak or via a small excursion boat, we experienced the amazing nature that Greenland offers. Icebergs, mountain vistas, streams, lakes and the sea itself demanded our attention at every turn.
A small boat navigated the scenic Qooroq Icefjord dotted with a variety of icebergs perhaps more dangerous than beautiful. Our expert boat driver inched us close to these chilly sculptures. Back on dry land at Qassiarsuk, we explored the area of the settlement where Erik the Red established his Greenland base. A Viking longhouse and a bronze statue of Leif Eriksson, who like his father explored the area, overlooks the fjord. Sheep grazed the hillsides completing this perfect pastoral picture with views emphasizing the grandeur of nature.
Like Vikings, we sailed across the Labrador Sea, thankful that the MS Fram was built to endure the rough seas that we experienced on the crossing.