Day 2: Kangerlussuaq, Greenland.
Flying over Iceland and being arrested by the sun reflecting craters, frozen fjords, volcanic rock. We're not even there yet and the collective experience is bordering on disbelief.
Arriving in Kangerlussuaq to white-out conditions. It's so cold our snot freezes immediately. We're told to dress warmly for our wildlife walk in the tundra. It will soon become clear that there is a steep learning curve to our understanding of what dressing "warmly" means.
On the way to our hotel, we pass by an ice cream shop. It's open. Apparently it's never too cold for ice cream in Greenland.
Our guide, Jens-Pavia helps us spot caribou and rabbits and we search in jest for muskox and rocks that look like muskox, and follow arctic fox footprints as the sun comes out from over the ridge, painting everything we can see in gorgeous pastels of pink and violet. Surely, this is a dream.
We're collecting spherical icicles on our eyelashes and beards of frost on the peach fuzz on our chins and upper lips. Loose strands of hair break off from being frozen solid from the condensation of our breath. Christiane might already have frostbite.
The frozen riverbed croaks and adjusts underneath our feet as we sledge through the snow. Nature's inhale, and exhale. It sounds like a ship coming into the harbor, only there are no ships, nor a harbor, for hundreds of miles.
While we were out, Nini prepares us a pot full of caribou soup with broccoli. Probably the best stew we ever tasted, and we each have three bowls worth as she regales us with stories of Greenlandic heritage, its history, protecting traditional Inuit life, sustainable hunting and perhaps the most epic birth story of all time, as we grope her hand knitted muskox wool shawls, hats, and spools. She feeds us cake sweetened with locally foraged herbs, and Greenlandic angelica tea.
I try a mouthful of seal blubber and dried fish slathered in herbed butter instead of dessert. Seal blubber melts in your mouth, and tastes like...seal. Dried fish smells like...dried fish.
We are overcome by the pure warmth of this couple amidst the bitter cold of this wondrous place already.
Sleep comes easily as we have worn ourselves into exhaustion from awe.