Qaqortoq: Pretty as a Postcard

  • Day 29, Voyage of the Vikings 2019
  • Tuesday, Aug. 27, Qaqortoq, Greenland

Greenland is trending on Twitter lately, and images of sunny picturesque villages usually accompany online articles. Qaqortoq is just such a village.

Perhaps it is larger than a village. Like many port towns in southern Greenland, Qaqortoq rises from a harbor protected by surrounding islands. The town of 3,000 has at least two grocery stores. Small hotels and cafes are here and there. A fish market stays busy. And locals peddle their handmade goods from tables around the harbor.

Brightly painted houses and small buildings dot the hills – some designs traditional and others modern. I couldn’t resist sitting on a bench and sketching for a while.

The Zuiderdam isn’t the only ship in Qaqortoq today. The World Explorer, a new ice-strengthened expedition ship carrying about 175 passengers, is at the short dock.

Our ship used its engines and thrusters to hold its position in the harbor, where it isn’t possible to anchor. We tendered to shore. Tomorrow Holland America’s Rotterdam will be here. Nearly 20 ships are scheduled to visit during August and September.

As we walked through town to the nearby lake, children in the school playground waved and shouted hello. Pairs of teen boys seemed to sneak off for cigarettes, although I’d guess in such a small community there aren’t too many secrets. The concrete bike stands at the school don’t allow for locks, but theft is unlikely an issue – where would you take the bike?

Face and whale carvings line the rocks along pathways climbing from the harbor.

The Qaqortoq Museum is in the oldest building in town, dating to1804. I paid 25 Danish Krone to visit, but tourists without local currency could pay the slightly higher fee of $5 or €5. It was well worth the cost, with a lot of history of Norse sailors and the Inuit packed into one building. On the top floor in the eaves are small rooms, including the one where Charles Lindbergh stayed overnight.

Lest we forget that the voyage ends in a week, the ship’s staff sent us departure forms to complete with our flight information. Instead of thinking about that, I think I will channel Scarlett O’Hara and focus instead on planning port activities for future cruises.