People often ask us why. There are so many countries … why would we go to Greenland, especially in the winter, when the temperature drops dramatically below the zero and the sun becomes a distant memory?
This wasn’t our first time in the kingdom of ice and icebergs. We had already had incredible experiences in Greenland — from Qaanaaq in the far north, where the sun never sets in the summer, to Ittoqqoortoormiit, the wild land inhabited by whales and polar bears, to the young capital, Nuuk.
This time our destination was Uummannaq. Here’s why we went.
We went to work on our project, OhNo Kids.
This year we got the chance to go to work with the kids at the Children’s Home located in the beautiful town of Uummannaq. We were welcomed to the island by the heartwarming children, the employees, and the Children’s Home’s leader, Ann Andreasen. We spent a month exploring the world of dance with the kids.
Together we created photos and videos in -20 degrees celsius weather, kept warm by dancing in the traditional seal anorak and polar bear pants.
Children are the future. We do as much as we can to pass our passion for photography and dance on to the next generation. We’ve worked with Greenlandic children over the last two years, doing our best to inspire them to be creative in their own individual and beautiful ways.
On the world’s largest island, the comparatively small population of 56,000 is spread out in little towns along the costs. High prices and limited transportation to and from the isolated towns keep many people from visiting Greenland. It’s especially important to us to bring art, inspiration, and happiness to places like this.
We went to discover another way of life.
Uummannaq, a small island surrounded by a majestic and impressive fjord, 500 km north of the Arctic Circle, is the picture of a typical Greenlandic town. Small, colorful, “developed” in length, along the coast, in contact with the sea, a source of life for the inuit culture.
Colorful houses line streets with no traffic lights or pavement, just dirt roads, empty except for old pickups and the howling of dogs in the distance. The color white wraps around everything. The white of the snow, of the storms, of the sea ice, the icebergs, and the clouds against the sky.
White is Uummannaq in winter.
There is something else that distinguishes this stunning location aside from its monochromatic color. Uummannaq is protected and watched over by her mountain, a heart-shaped summit that doubles as the symbol of Greenland and shares the town’s name. It towers over the town. But while the mountain shields, it also steals, as its peak is the only receiver of sunlight during the winter months.
We went to experience another type of transportation.
Experiencing Greenland’s majestic landscapes from the comfort of a dog sled is unique.
Dog sleds are an important part of the Greenlandic culture. It’s not only the most traditional mode of transportation, it’s a way of life.
Travel by dog sled is slow, which gave us time to fully take in our surroundings.
The paws sinking in the snow, the sled slipping away, the panting of dogs, small noises echoing in the silence. It was all too easy to lose ourselves in thought, admiring the landscape instead of speaking.
We went to sleep beneath a different sky.
The sky is different in Greenland. It seems closer to the ground, as if it were a dome covered with stars placed over everything. Given the amount of falling stars, making wishes becomes a habit.
It’s easy to immerse yourself in silence, despite the cold that gets inside your bones. Admiring the northern lights dancing in the sky, it’s easy to realize that it is one of those experiences you will carry with you for a lifetime. Pure magic.
We went to view the majesty of nature.
In Greenland you constantly feel small and inadequate compared to the nature around you. Sometimes it is at the end of the world that you learn to observe the most spectacular sights Earth has to offer.
It was in Greenland that we rediscovered the power of the earth and its beautiful places. The poignant beauty of icebergs, lonely cathedrals in endless expanses of white. The power of the sea, always moving, never motionless. The color of the sky, surreal, like we were looking at a painting.
The sun, so familiar to us, disappears for several months each year in Uummannaq. The moment it returns is very special.
We went to appreciate the beauty of the world around us.
Greenland is not a simple country. The weather is harsh. Transportation is all but nonexistent. Life is difficult. But experiencing Greenland was special. And in turn, it made us realize that life is special, too.
Experience the midnight sun or walk on the sea ice. Touch an iceberg or see a polar bear. Surround yourself with pure silence or watch the northern lights. Fall in love with the Earth and your life all over again.