Day 703: Nuuk

When Laetitia began doing tours in Canada, her original plan was to tour all of the provinces and territories while she was here, but she changed her mind. Now that she was getting used to the far north, she decided to stay a bit. She would go to Greenland next and come back to Newfoundland and Labrador later. Today her tour began in Nuuk, Greenland’s capital city. Those used to visiting large bustling cities will find Nuuk surprisingly small. This town of 15,000 has only one stoplight.

Laetitia’s group began the day with a visit to the Nuuk Cathedral. It is a small red building resembling a rural village church, but is designated a cathedral because it is the seat of the Lutheran Bishop of Greenland. Later they went to Greenland National Museum and the Nuuk Art Museum, which featured a collection of prints by a local photographer. One photograph, entitled September Morn, had nothing to do with the Chabas nude painting that shocked Chicago in 1912, but was a stunning picture of a Nuuk sunrise.

After lunch, the group went by chartered boat to visit some Viking ruins. The Vikings came to Greenland in the tenth century and lived there for 500 years, disappearing for unknown reasons. The last historic document from the settlement records a wedding that occurred in 1408. Hvalsey Church, where the wedding occurred, is one of the better-preserved ruins in the area. The harsh climate, lack of trees, and lack of tillable land, no doubt made maintaining the traditional Viking farming and seagoing culture difficult. About 80 percent of Greenland is covered with an ice sheet, and much of the rest is low-tundra vegetation atop boulders.

Laetitia sat on a barstool and sipped a pint of Greenland Ice Cap Dark Lager. Later she was taking her group to a local Thai fusion restaurant named Charoen Porn, so she was amused at some bar gossip she overheard about some Air Force men in town on liberty who went there thinking it was a sex shop. It became the limerick of the day.

If you’re feeling aroused and forlorn
In Nuuk and go to Charoen Porn
You’ll find there Thai food
That is wholesome and good
But no gals dressed like September Morn.

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