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Starting afresh in Greenland

A photo journal
Written by
Melania Siriu

Uncontainable surprise, unable to believe your eyes. Like you were starting life all over again. A far-flung land of ice, ancient indigenous culture and powerful wildlife. This is Greenland. And this is my photo journal.

I remember the day my mum explained to me that “no, you cannot touch clouds and walk on them”. I was six years old and it was a heartbreaking revelation.

What I wasn’t told is that some of those clouds, the most beautiful ones, could be found floating in some translucent lagoons, in Greenland…

I saw the first one soon after my arrival, when I boarded an open boat to the fjords.

Against the green and brown silhouettes of the cliffs, there it was: a white, frozen sculpture in the perfectly still water.

My guide explained that it was made of compressed snow… too late, my child within was screaming of excitement: “Fallen clouds!”.

Then I heard myself asking the embarrassing question: “Can you walk on them?” And to my surprise, I finally got the answer I wanted to hear:

“Sure! With adequate clothing, we can arrange that for you”….

That’s  when I learned that if your dreams are a bit too crazy for the rest of the world, they might be regular stuff for Greenland…

For example, this is what the town of Ilulissat looks like. Does it look ordinary to you?

But let’s start from the beginning.

In the outskirt of the capital Nuuk, snowcapped mountains roll down quickly to become a sprawling harbour.

There I saw small boats, containers and modern buildings , all lined up against imposing  rocks, industrial and colorful like cans in a shop shelf.

I took a stroll in the old town, with the sea breeze full of promises of adventure.

And I didn’t have to wait long: the adventure arrived at full speed, and no it wasn’t an ordinary one, but an unimaginable escalation of ice and whales…!

Here I am on the boat, sliding towards the camp, dressed in what looks like an astronaut suite to protect me from the wind.

All around me, the fjords. Seen from the boat, they are stone waves captured whilst jumping towards the ocean.

They call it glamping.

I was looking for words… Thank you, silence.

I quickly got used to looking for words in Greenland.

That is the Eqi Glacier: a 5km long calving glacier, 4 hours sailing away from Ilulissat, which I could admire from my lodge’s window. Hypnotized, I’m not sure how much time I spent watching the chunks of ice fall down, making the sound of a thunder…

This is the time when I spotted whales from my very bed! I was in the village of Ilimanaq, ready to sleep in my lodge and I couldn’t believe my eyes.

I told you this is not an ordinary place: there’s no sheep counting in Greenland!

And this is the midnight sun.

When I visited in July, the sun slides to the horizon and stays there, and all in a sudden the lagoon is liquid gold, the fjords are mirages painted by Leonardo with the sfumato technique, your soul is still and full of gratitude…

Thank you, so so much, Greenland.