“Don’t walk on the grass!”
This is the first thing you are told when you arrive in Igaliku, and it is an anathema to an Australian who loves walking on grass. Of course, there is a valid reason for this directive – Igaliku is a sheep farming town and the grass is fodder for the sheep. But they could have at least made a narrow path between the Igaliku Country Hotel (the local hang-out joint and where I had to check-in) and the Gardar Hostel (where I am staying), rather than having to always walk the long way around a very big paddock that sits right in the middle of town.
I’d arrived in Igaliku having caught my boat transfer up the fjord from Narsaq
and after having walked the 4kms along the very pebbly “Kings Road” that links the dock at Itilleq (located in the same fjord as other key centres in the area) to Igaliku (which lies in a different fjord).
Fortunately, luggage transfer is included in my trip so I only had to carry my day pack 😊
Igaliku was one of the most important sites in Greenland during the Norse era, having been settled by Einer (Eric the Red’s best friend) in ~985AD. The parliament and court were located here, and, once Christianity arrived, the Episcopal residence was also located in Igaliku. The ruins of this residence, the cathedral and associated buildings (including barns that would fit 100 cattle) are located right in town, and apparently there are other Norse ruins scattered all around the area.
Also, and unlike elsewhere in Greenland, many of the houses in Igaliku are constructed from the same sandstone that the Norse used 1000 years ago (literally – they raided the ruins). Though more modern buildings, built after the introduction of the Preservation Act for Greenland in 1937, are constructed of wood.
Gardar Hostel is fantastic (I even have a dorm room to myself 😊), and I found packets of stew (designed for hikers – you literally put the closed packet in boiling water for 10 minutes to heat the contents up) in the Pilersuisoq (grocery store chain) here.
Guess what is for dinner for the next 3 nights?!