photo by Marcin Strug
The preparations for the trip to Greenland have been going on since August. From the beginning, they were associated with light stress and a lot of work.
Below I will show you how the plan was born and how my preparations looked like :).
From the beginning, many people asked me a question; What will you do there for a month?
Well, I did not know myself until the end. I started with writing out the activities I like and which I could do there.
I decided that I will definitely go on trekking, I will go for a ride in a dog sledge If the weather will be nice then I will go canoeing and complete a bike trip :).
Besides, I want to get to know the Greenlanders to show me their country from their perspective – I hope I can do it.
The promotion of the region
I realized that my trip to the North Pole, could be a port of promotion of the native Suwalszczyzna region- known to the majority of Polish Cold Pole.The Suwałki logo is a polar bear. After combining these two facts, the name „White Bear who is looking for his roots” was created. There was only one small problem, I did not have a teddy bear. I asked the City Hall to create a mascot. Fortunately, the Department of Culture, Tourism and Promotion reacted positively to my idea and I was promised a teddy.
I am a truly fan of visiting fewer places without unnecessary hurry. So that is why I decided the choose the route: Nuuk – Sisimiut – Kangerlussuaq – Nuuk.
I decided to get interested in my organization and the media.
I was able to obtain honorary patronage of the Mayor of Suwałki and the Wigry National Park.
After dozens of e-mails to various travel magazines, travel forums, radio and TV (local and nationwide, I had nothing to lose, so…) I received a positive response from TVP 3 Białystok and Wrot Podlasia. Nice Job, 100 hundred points for Arek :).
The Search for information
Uncle google tells you the truth. On the web I found a few interesting sites:
poznajgrenlandie.pl – Pole living in Greenland
visitgreenland.com – official government website for tourist information
colourfulnuuk.com – the official tourist site of the city of Nuuk
Greenland stop – the site of a Polish couple who lived in Greenland
Jakub Rybicki travel blog – A bicycle in Greenland
From these pages I mainly drew information. I was also accepted into the international Nuuk fecebook group, where I had the opportunity to talk with people living in Greenland.
Searching for sponsors
I focused on local entrepreneurs from Suwalki region, in the end I would promote the region, so why not promote local businesses? I tried to make contact with them for a few months. I sent out a hundred emails, I got 3 answers :D.
I was congratulated on the idea, good luck was said to me, but unfortunately my trip was not connected with the policy of any company, so it did not work.
Skeptical, but with the thought that in spite of the time I lose nothing, I wrote emails. This time to companies that produce touristic and sports clothing and accessories. Here the response was similar, but I sent only a few dozen messages :D.
I have received the support from the Czech company “Relax”.
What was my joy with such a small success. The fact is that it is not a full sponsorship for all financial problems, but always a small step forward. With the company’s representative, we agreed that I will get a set of thermal underwear, a hat, gloves, glasses and accessories, and a balaclava.
The second company that supported me was Larix – the official distributor of the Meindl brand. The company agreed to give me a shoe test offer during my trip in Greenland. After the exchange of a few e-mails I received a large discount! Thanks a lot guys! I could buy Himalaya MFS, which I could not afford before. Much appreciate!
I always try to buy tickets as soon as possible. So in October everything was already taken care of. Flights; Birmingham – Reykjavik (Iceland Air) and Reykjavik – Nuuk (Air Greenland) return.
Unfortunately, the airline Iceland Air in early 2018 canceled the flight on the Birmingham – Reykjavik route and I had to look for a new connection. Iceland Air offered me a flight from London or Manchester. I did not want to wander with those rucksacks at those airports. I am going to Greenland for a month, and I did not want to gather in another city for a plane: D. My laziness took over and I said that I would fly through Dublin, and by the way I would visit my very good friends 🙂 Julia and Szymczyk :D. There was one minus, by choosing such a variant I had two transfers in Dublin and Reykjavik, but this is not the first and not the last time :).
Many people also asked about the price, so for a return ticket on the route Reykjavik – Nuuk (Air Greenland), with the luggage I paid 5307 DK, or about 3,000 Polish zlotys. Change of variant and flight through Birmingham – Dublin (Ryanair) 65 pounds, approx. PLN 300; Dublin – Reykjavik (Wow Airlines) 333 euros, approx. 1376 PLN. Adding everything together the total amount in PLN was 4672.
The direction I have chosen was definitely different from the previous warm destinations, where light boots and an autumn rain jacket are enough, or, as in the case of the Philippines, blouses and sandals from time to time.
I had to prepare for the low temperatures. I do not plan to venture deep into the Greenland interior, but we do not know what will happen.
The most important equipment that I had to take with me:
- sleeping bag
Equipment from sponsors
Shoes from Meind arrived early and I could stretch them. Very good purchase :).
From Relax I received: glasses with accessories, gloves, hat, stickers and two large banners that I had to take to Greenland (part of the sponsorship agreement). Here, more problems appeared. The first was the lack of thermal underwear in my size; at that time I started realizing how much do I eat – fat, bad Arek – all its his fault :D.
The second problem was the size of the banners – they were definitely too big and it would be hard for me to even pack them in my backpack. After consulting with Ed (representative of Relax), I decided to order the flag myself, and put the banners back in Poland after returning.
The overnight – my morales collapsed
In spite of small problems, I arranged everything with a smile on my face. My face became thinner when I started looking for accommodation. As in previous trips, I decided to book only the first two nights in the capital, to recognize the area, and later to see.
The prices of accommodation just killed me. I knew it was expensive there, but not that much. The rooms prices started from 350 PLN per night. My budget could not handle it.
After a few days, I made a decision that I am taking a tent. Initially, it was difficult for me to get used to the idea that I would spend 20 days in the field. I always came back after a few days of trekking and had a shelter with water and electricity.
In this case, I will be on my own and I think it disturbed me the most. You will need to combine battery charging, copies of the photos in the cloud, leave a large luggage somewhere (I will not still be caring the 20 kg with me) and showers. After a few days I became overwhelmed, there was still a slight anxiety, but I accepted the challenge :).
The return to action
I remembered that I have a Couchsurfng profile, but nobody ever invited me to sleep on his couch: D. I wrote to a few people from Nuuk and after a few days I managed to find a host who let me to spent the night at his place – in case of any issues I will still have a tent. I also received an invitation from another couchsurfer for a beer :).
I found a library and an internet café and installed the Wiman application searching for Wi-Fi networks – I will use it for the first time, apparently in the capital there are places where the internet is available.
All previous worries slowly started being forgotten.
- thermal underwear
- memory cards
- power banks
Since I decided for a tent, I had to buy a model suitable for winter conditions. My current tent „Hania” – Hannah Troll 3, although it is decent, is not suitable for such trips. After a few days of searching, I decided to buy the Marabut Baltoro RED LINE model. It cost a lot, but it is a purchase for years and I hope that it will be useful in 2020 :).
I read a bit about weather and terrain. Calendar will show that the spring started there, but spring in Europe, and in Greenland are a bit different things. In 2017, between April 1 and April 28, temperatures ranged from + 5 ° C to -24 ° C – it would be fun: D.
The minimum average is -6.4 ° C, max -0.6 ° C.
Recently I became the owner of a smartphone and I must admit that it makes traveling easier :).
Maps.me – a great application with maps of various places of the world operating offline. In my opinion, very accurate, there are also marked trekking routes.
Colorful Nuuk – application from the tourist site of Nuuk cities, also offline. It contains the same information that is placed on the Colorful Nuuk portal.
Searching for accommodation
I continued to look for accommodation at Couchsurfing. I managed to find another person, actually a couple who will give me free place to sleep. The number of days that I should have spent in the tent has decreased to 15 :). I am looking for another accommodation at Kangerlussuaq.
The final preparations
That is, putting everything all together and button it up. The insurance, boarding passes, buying small food supplies, trial packing and checking if everything is ready for sure :).
Currently, the travel plan looks like this:
March 28-30 – Dublin
Birmingham flight – Dublin, 2 nights with friends one day for visiting the city.
30 March – Dublin – Reykjavik
A flight to Iceland, a hostel night and a meeting with friends over beer.
March 31 Reykjavik – Nuuk
I will spend the first 3 nights with Dennis Couchsurfing. At the time I want to get to know the city, see the museums and buy a sim card.
Approx. 2/3 April I will sail to Qooqqut Nuan – a center in the middle of nowhere. I plan to spend 2/3 days there depending on the conditions and price of the boat.
6 – April 14 Sisimiut
After arriving by ferry to Sisimiut I will stop at Neils (also with Couchsurfing). Just like in the capital, I will devote a few days to getting to know the city and the surrounding area. I will leave the area for a few days, but my plan can be modified, who knows.
15 – April 22 Kangerlussuaq
I would like to get into this city with a dog sled. If there are no conditions or the price will kill me once again, most likely I will fly a helicopter or eventually give up this point and stay longer in Sisimiut. Time will show how it will be. I do not buy tickets yet, because everything can change from day to day.
23 – 28 Nuuk
After a few weeks I will return to the capital (I do not know yet where I will be staying). I will definitely go for a few days trekking and I will be preparing myself mentally to return to reality, which is never too pleasant.
This is a general outline, only with a few fixed dates: arrival, ferry crossing to Sisimiut and departure. The rest is flexible and the whole travel plan depends largely on the people I meet on my way.
More for technical reasons, from time to time I will post photos and videos only on Instagram and FB. I invite everyone interested in my fates to follow me on these profiles:
Before leaving, there will also be a report from Scotland – due to the lack of time it will be provided in the abbreviated version :), which does not mean that it will not be interesting :).