Cruise Specialists Hosts Steve and Wendy are on the road (or high sea’s in this case) once again with the Voyage of the Vikings. Read part one of what to do in Bar Harbor, Maine >>
Our day at sea after leaving Labrador was a much needed rest and we still found ourselves busy all day.
We went to Cruise Specialists Chat time, sampled the Indian food buffet on deck, attended a wine tasting, helped out at the Waltz lesson, and got in two hours of dancing before dinner. That was more than enough for a day we were supposed to be taking it easy.
As we sailed through the fjord leading to our next port, we saw our first iceberg. The fog that had enveloped us for the last day was lifting and the sun was starting to come out. And there was a great chunk of ice just parked by the shoreline. As many times as we have seen icebergs, we still stopped to take a picture. Continuing on down the fjord, we saw two more large bergs but that’s it. And then before us was our destination, the unique town of Qaqortoq (pronounced quark’ a tok). It’s shaped like a great amphitheater in front of us, with all the houses built up on the hills.
With only 3,000 residents, it is the largest town in Southern Greenland and clearly has influences of both its Danish and its native Inuit people. We have visited several times and always enjoyed the unspoiled streets and neighborhoods. And today, the weather was ideal.During our last visit in 2014, we discovered Lake Tasersuaq (don’t know how to say that one), which sits in back of the town. We loved our walk around it. So for today’s visit we headed directly to the lake. This time we took the clockwise route which made it a completely different experience.
The more challenging hiking and steep climbing came at the beginning and took us up and down several crests, scrambling over rocky outcroppings, and tundra-like turf. It wasn’t dangerous but we did have to pay attention to where we were stepping. It was so worth the effort as the views are so spectacular, the air so fresh, and the sounds of silence so peaceful. We measured the walk today at almost 9 miles, longer than we previously thought but a perfect way to spend the day.
It’s 7:00 AM. The sun is already shining as we walk out on the bow of the ship with about 30 other guests to watch our entrance into the Cape Farwell Archipeligo, which will take us to Prince Christian Sound. The water is perfectly smooth and the temperature is a comfortable 55 degrees.
Mainland Greenland is on our left and great peaked islands on our right, with rocks billions of years old. Several medium sized icebergs pass by as we sail effortlessly through this remarkably unspoiled scene. There are a few birds but it is otherwise amazingly quiet.
We see waterfalls coming down from the jagged peaks. A seal drifts by on a piece of ice and isn’t at all impressed by our size. Two whales playing in a cove put on a show for us – they swim along with us and then dive so we can see their tales. They repeated this 4 times until we lost sight of them.
And along comes a small motorboat driven by a local man. Where is he going? We pass his village a few minutes later, nestled in a protected cove with no roads and no services. We’re told it is the only village in the area. What must it be like to live in this beautiful but isolated place? By early afternoon, we reach Price Christian Sound which fortunately is mostly ice-free and now we’re ready for the glaciers. They are coming down from the huge Greenland ice fields and they are spectacular. We stopped in front of one especially large glacier and were treated to several good sized calving events, where the ice just tumbles dramatically into the water.
By 6:00 in the evening we left this protected space and were out in the Denmark sea, headed for Iceland.
One more day at sea before we arrived in Reykjavik, the capital and most populated city in Iceland (300,000 residents). The spectacular weather continued and was near perfect for the tour we took on day one of our stay. We joined about 80 Cruise Specialists guests to repeat an excursion call The Golden Circle. We’ve described this tour before, as this was at least our third repeat – but as we say about this whole voyage, it’s never the same experience twice.
We went to three places:
Thingvellir National Park – sacred site where the oldest legislative parliament was founded in 930. It’s a vast lava field surrounded by mountains.
Geysir Hot Springs – reminiscent of Old Faithful. There are eruptions every few minutes to delight the everpresent crowd.
Gullfoss Waterfall – fed by the Hvita River, it drops 96 feet in two fast rushing and powerful falls. You can walk the path very close to the water if you are willing to get wet or stay on the upper trail and look down on it. We did some of both.
All of these sites were very busy with tourists, as this is prime time for visitors in Iceland. Fortunately, our lunch spot was at the Geysir Hotel for a traditional buffet and our group were the only guests.
After our 9.5 hours of this tour, we were too tired to do anything at night and saved our energy for a busy second day in Reykjavik. Stay tuned for more!
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