The Prince Christian Sound (AKA in Danish as Prins Christian Sund) separates the mainland of Greenland from the islands of the Cape Farewell Archipelago. It is at the southern tip of Greenland and connects the Labrador Sea with the Irminger Sea. It is 60 miles long and very narrow–sometimes only 1600 ft wide. The only settlement along the sound is Aappilattoq with a population of about 150. This long fjord system is mostly surrounded by steep mountains—some reaching over 7,200 ft high. Many of the glaciers go straight into the water where they calve icebergs. However, strong tidal currents often limit the formation of ice.
This is a journey full of breathtaking glaciers and mountains and waterfalls. And the village of Aappilattoq is quite picturesque, also!
Qaqortoq is South Greenland’s most populous town and it may be “one of the most charming and attractive towns in all of Greenland!” So said “What’s in Port.com.” We found many things to be quite charming: the carved artwork in the stone cliffs along with the sculptures all around town; the pastel-colored buildings; sealskin gloves; the many hand-crafted wares in the souvenir shops. We shopped the supermarket and the local version of Ace Hardware. We walked the Tundra.
The colorful colonial buildings date back to 1775 when the town was founded. The church was built in 1832. Currently, there is a cultural project underway: “Stone and Man” consisting of 30 different motifs that are chiseled into the rocks and stones of the cliffs. They follow the path up the hill. Atop one of the cliffs is the Qaqortoq Hotel where we had a very tasty lunch accompanied by the local brew (Jack’s Ale).
I’m not going to say much about the Viking presence in Greenland until later in the cruise. The narrative flows better from Scandinavia to North America because that follows the timeline of the Viking age. We will follow the Viking progression when we leave Rotterdam and begin the homeward journey.