During the summer of 2022 I traveled to Greenland, a country which has fascinated me since reading an apocalyptic trilogy written by the Dutch author Thea Beckman as a teenager. The main aim of my trip was simple: to hike the Arctic Circle Trail, a long distance route in West-Greenland which runs from Kangerlussuaq, the location of Greenland's only international airport, to the coastal town of Sisimiut.
Home to the country's only international airport and main internal transport hub, Kangerlussuaq is visually mainly defined by its history as an American airbase. It has a grid-like layout, and consists of a strange amalgam of buildings, whose function can only be deciphered by plates attached on the outside of the buildings.
The ice cap
The Ice cap is the most defining element of the landscape in Greenland. It is impossible to comprehend its size; it is over 3km at its thickest point and 2,900km wide. The cap is melting at an alarming rate; the sound of the glacial rivers which run towards the sea is deafening. It is an uninhabitable place for men and standing on it conveys a feeling of being in a different world.
The Arctic Circle Trail
I spent most of my days in Greenland on the Arctic Circle Trail, a long distance hiking route of 165km through the wilderness in West-Greenland, going from hut to hut, and when walking back, also sleeping between the huts. The route traverses a region uncovered by snow during the summer months and one feels very small in this landscape shaped by retreating glaciers. Cairns along the route point walkers in the correct direction.
The coastal town of Sisimiut in West-Greenland, for most of the year covered by a blanket of snow, is a striking mix of colourful buildings and lights. My favourite moment of the day was just after sunset, at dusk, when the lights are switched on, which created a beautiful palette of complementary colours.
Assaqutaq is one of the many abandoned fishing villages on the coast in West-Greenland, where its inhabitants mainly depended on the sea for their subsistence. Some of its buildings have now been renovated and serve an educative function.
A chronological description of my trip to Greenland, with more text and photos, is available on my hiking and travel blog.