This is a trip I've wanted to do for a long time. There are not very many land tours to Greenland and those that do exist are prohibitively expensive. Likewise cruises. So when I stumbled over this cruise, I jumped on it as it included enough days in and around Greenland for a good look at the sights as well as continuing on to Canada's Atlantic Provinces, another section of the world with few opportunities for tourists. It also allowed me to spend a couple days in Copenhagen, Denmark, before the cruise began.

  Before even setting out, I learned that one can't get directly to Greenland by air from the United States: the only scheduled flights originate in Denmark or Iceland...so one has to get to either of those countries first. Hence my stopover in Copenhagen—which was a pleasant interlude in good weather. After flying from Denmark to Kangerlussuaq, Greenland, we were met at the airport and immediately transferred to the ship...by zodiac! The Silversea cruise line is one I look at and drool, as they travel to some very out-of-the-way places; but they bill themselves as a "luxury, all-inclusive" experience. Which means big bucks. With 10 small ships, ranging from 100 to 600 passengers in "all-suite" accomodations, they are the cruise line of choice for older people with lots of money. Well, I'm 'older' and I'm cheap, so I probably won't be sailing with them again. My cabin was average size and layout —definitely not what I'd call a 'suite'; breakfast and lunch were buffets (granted, they had extensive choices and were very good); laundry and spa services had additional charges. So it was a very nice experience: good food (including one dinner with new friends Richard and David at the outdoor grill); comfortable cabin with unlimited Coca-Cola; really interesting port stops with good guides; and I finally saw the Northern Lights!

  Greenland has been inhabited off and on for at least the last 4,500 years by Arctic peoples whose forebears migrated there from what is now Canada. Norsemen settled the uninhabited southern part of Greenland beginning in the 10th century, having previously settled in Iceland. These Norsemen would later set sail from Greenland and Iceland, with Leif Erikson becoming the first known European to reach North America nearly 500 years before Columbus reached the Caribbean islands. The Norse colonies disappeared in the late 15th century, and in the early 18th century, Danish explorers reached Greenland. Greenland became Danish in 1814, and was fully integrated in the Danish state in 1953 under the Constitution of Denmark. In 1979, Denmark granted home rule to Greenland, and in 2008, Greenlanders voted in favor of the Self-Government Act, which transferred more power from the Danish government to the local Greenlandic government. Local matters of policing, law, economic activity, aviation, border controls, and financial affairs are handled by the Greenlandic parliament, while the Danish government retains control of foreign affairs and defense. Denmark also retains control of monetary policy, providing an initial annual subsidy of DKK 3.4 billion, which is planned to diminish gradually over time.

  Greenland is the world's largest non-continental island and the third largest country in North America; it is 81% covered by the largest ice sheet outside of Antarctica. All towns and settlements are along the ice-free coast, and several scientific stations are situated on the ice sheet itself. There are very few native land mammals, including polar bears, reindeer, musk ox, and lemmings; the surrounding sea is rich with hundreds of species of fish and marine mammals, including seals, walrus, and whales. Fishing accounts for the majority of economic activity and exports.

  We visited two native Inuit villages and the capital, Nuuk, and approached the end of a glacier by zodiac. Bouncing around the choppy Davis Strait in a zodiac and getting up close and personal with icebergs and walruses was a memorable high point of the cruise. Not exactly loaded with tourist activities, Greenland is nevertheless a fascinating place to visit and fantasize about life at 35°F (2°C).

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      6 Sep 2016.........Pittsburgh  PIT— Washington Dulles  IAD — London Heathrow  LHR — Copenhagen  CPH

   7-9 Sep..................Copenhagen

     9 Sep..................Copenhagen CPH — Kangerlussuaq, Greenland  SFJ

     9 Sep..................Kangerlussuaq, GR: Embark Silversea Silver Explorer          

    10 Sep..................Kangaamiut, GR; Evighedsfjord, GR

    11 Sep..................Nuuk, GR

    12 Sep..................Cruising Davis Strait

GREENLAND, EAST COAST—the ice cap is barely visible under the clouds
GREENLAND, EAST COAST—the ice cap is barely visible under the clouds
GREENLAND, WEST COAST—mountains, snow, and tidal land
GREENLAND, WEST COAST—mountains, snow, and tidal land
KANGERLUSSUAQ—Air Greenland: our plane from Copenhagen lands at the largest airport on the island
KANGERLUSSUAQ—Air Greenland: our plane from Copenhagen lands at the largest airport on the island
KANGERLUSSUAQ—the Qinnguata Kuussua river empties through the shattered bedrock into Kangerlussuaq Fjord
KANGERLUSSUAQ—the Qinnguata Kuussua river empties through the shattered bedrock into Kangerlussuaq Fjord
KANGERLUSSUAQ—the airport and town are 190 miles inland and 31 miles north of the Arctic Circle
KANGERLUSSUAQ—the airport and town are 190 miles inland and 31 miles north of the Arctic Circle
KANGERLUSSUAQ—the tundra reaches to the ice cap which covers the interior
KANGERLUSSUAQ—the tundra reaches to the ice cap which covers the interior
KANGERLUSSUAQ—many varieties of low shrubs and flowers cover the tundra
KANGERLUSSUAQ—many varieties of low shrubs and flowers cover the tundra
KANGERLUSSUAQ—late summer flowering pink ground cover
KANGERLUSSUAQ—late summer flowering pink ground cover
KANGERLUSSUAQ—wonderfully fluffy plant already gone to seed
KANGERLUSSUAQ—wonderfully fluffy plant already gone to seed
KANGERLUSSUAQ—one of the last blooms
KANGERLUSSUAQ—one of the last blooms
KANGERLUSSUAQ—far off in the distance, some musk oxen, native but reintroduced to the island
KANGERLUSSUAQ—far off in the distance, some musk oxen, native but reintroduced to the island
KANGERLUSSUAQ—our transport from the airport to the ship
KANGERLUSSUAQ—our transport from the airport to the ship
KANGERLUSSUAQ—sailing southwest down the Kangerlussuaq Fjord
KANGERLUSSUAQ—sailing southwest down the Kangerlussuaq Fjord
KANGERLUSSUAQ—a glacier winds down from the interior
KANGERLUSSUAQ—a glacier winds down from the interior
KANGAAMIUT—a fishing village of about 350 people on an island off the west coast
KANGAAMIUT—a fishing village of about 350 people on an island off the west coast
KANGAAMIUT—carved stone with Inuit designs along the path
KANGAAMIUT—carved stone with Inuit designs along the path
KANGAAMIUT—the town was founded in 1775, though Inuit have lived here for centuries before
KANGAAMIUT—the town was founded in 1775, though Inuit have lived here for centuries before
KANGAAMIUT—built on a steel hillside, there are more staircases than roads
KANGAAMIUT—built on a steel hillside, there are more staircases than roads
KANGAAMIUT—the modern houses are well built and well insulated
KANGAAMIUT—the modern houses are well built and well insulated
KANGAAMIUT—the little bay
KANGAAMIUT—the little bay
KANGAAMIUT—a bird enjoys a snack of a discarded fish
KANGAAMIUT—a bird enjoys a snack of a discarded fish
KANGAAMIUT—an Inuit woman demonstrates a traditional song and dance
KANGAAMIUT—an Inuit woman demonstrates a traditional song and dance
KANGAAMIUT—another woman skinned and butchered a seal in about half an hour
KANGAAMIUT—another woman skinned and butchered a seal in about half an hour
KANGAAMIUT—treasures on a local's back porch
KANGAAMIUT—treasures on a local's back porch
KANGAAMIUT—the brightly painted houses and fish drying racks
KANGAAMIUT—the brightly painted houses and fish drying racks
KANGAAMIUT—OK, in the local market: processed frozen fish sticks...from Alaska
KANGAAMIUT—OK, in the local market: processed frozen fish sticks...from Alaska
EVIGHEDSFJORD—or Kangerlussuatsiaq Fjord, northeast of Kangaamiut
EVIGHEDSFJORD—or Kangerlussuatsiaq Fjord, northeast of Kangaamiut
EVIGHEDSFJORD—the Sermitsiaq Glacier drains the Maniitsoq ice cap into the fjord
EVIGHEDSFJORD—the Sermitsiaq Glacier drains the Maniitsoq ice cap into the fjord
EVIGHEDSFJORD—bundled up in a zodiac, we get up close and personal to the edge of the glacier
EVIGHEDSFJORD—bundled up in a zodiac, we get up close and personal to the edge of the glacier
EVIGHEDSFJORD—another face of the glacier...about 25 feet tall at the waterline
EVIGHEDSFJORD—another face of the glacier...about 25 feet tall at the waterline
EVIGHEDSFJORD—many small icebergs are slowly working their way to the sea
EVIGHEDSFJORD—many small icebergs are slowly working their way to the sea
EVIGHEDSFJORD—the icebergs are undercut by wave action
EVIGHEDSFJORD—the icebergs are undercut by wave action
EVIGHEDSFJORD—a crystal clear shard of the glacial ice
EVIGHEDSFJORD—a crystal clear shard of the glacial ice
EVIGHEDSFJORD—each unique iceberg is a natural sculpture
EVIGHEDSFJORD—each unique iceberg is a natural sculpture
EVIGHEDSFJORD—another natural sculpture
EVIGHEDSFJORD—another natural sculpture
EVIGHEDSFJORD—a trickle of meltwater flows down the cliff that bisects the glacier
EVIGHEDSFJORD—a trickle of meltwater flows down the cliff that bisects the glacier
EVIGHEDSFJORD—our ship in the fjord
EVIGHEDSFJORD—our ship in the fjord
NUUK—capital and largest city of Greenland is farther north than Reykjavík, Iceland
NUUK—capital and largest city of Greenland is farther north than Reykjavík, Iceland
NUUK—the sturdy houses are brightly painted to add a little cheer during the winter
NUUK—the sturdy houses are brightly painted to add a little cheer during the winter
NUUK—a government building
NUUK—a government building
NUUK—water-filled atrium
NUUK—water-filled atrium
NUUK—paintings of traditional cultural events
NUUK—paintings of traditional cultural events
NUUK—the statue of Hans Egede on the hilltop honors the founder of Nuuk in 1728
NUUK—the statue of Hans Egede on the hilltop honors the founder of Nuuk in 1728
NUUK—the Lutheran Church of Our Savior was built in 1849
NUUK—the Lutheran Church of Our Savior was built in 1849
NUUK—the Nuuk Art Museum
NUUK—the Nuuk Art Museum
NUUK—coastline of the city
NUUK—coastline of the city
NUUK—colorful canoes stacked near the shore
NUUK—colorful canoes stacked near the shore
DAVIS STRAIT—lies between mid-western Greenland and Canada's Baffin Island, Nunavut
DAVIS STRAIT—lies between mid-western Greenland and Canada's Baffin Island, Nunavut
DAVIS STRAIT—we encountered a brief snow squall
DAVIS STRAIT—we encountered a brief snow squall
DAVIS STRAIT—exploring 'Iceberg Alley' in zodiacs
DAVIS STRAIT—exploring 'Iceberg Alley' in zodiacs
DAVIS STRAIT—many small rocky islands along both coasts
DAVIS STRAIT—many small rocky islands along both coasts
DAVIS STRAIT—landing on the islands would be too dangerous
DAVIS STRAIT—landing on the islands would be too dangerous
DAVIS STRAIT—a group of walrus hauled out on shore, basking in the sun
DAVIS STRAIT—a group of walrus hauled out on shore, basking in the sun
DAVIS STRAIT—we didn't get too close to these huge animals
DAVIS STRAIT—we didn't get too close to these huge animals
DAVIS STRAIT—steak dinner al fresco with two new friends, David and Richard
DAVIS STRAIT—steak dinner al fresco with two new friends, David and Richard
DAVIS STRAIT—'Iceberg Alley' lived up to its name
DAVIS STRAIT—'Iceberg Alley' lived up to its name
DAVIS STRAIT—this one reminds me of a Monet haystack
DAVIS STRAIT—this one reminds me of a Monet haystack
DAVIS STRAIT—more bergs
DAVIS STRAIT—more bergs
DAVIS STRAIT—waves splashing on the lower part have smoothed the surface
DAVIS STRAIT—waves splashing on the lower part have smoothed the surface
DAVIS STRAIT—Northern Lights...not the best photo, but ya take what ya get
DAVIS STRAIT—Northern Lights...not the best photo, but ya take what ya get

60 PHOTOS

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