First contact. I just returned from my first trip to Greenland, starting to fulfill childhood and young adult dreams and plans. During this scouting trip, I learned to travel on glaciers, which are the on-ramps and off-ramps between the coast and the icecap. One by one, I am piling up mission building blocks until they are high enough for me to touch the heart of Greenland.
Part of the full-fledged adventure next year will be to start right from home, by flying myself North. This time, however, I had to let others do the flying. Greenland is part of North America – same tectonic plate, many shared plant and animal species. Airline geography, however, dictates I must first fly to Europe’s Iceland, then backtrack to Greenland. Icelandair’s whimsical touch is the aurora borealis – northern lights – flickering from the top of the luggage bins.
The first leg is a tantalizing promise of adventure. The Sun sets in a layered nest of clouds, right as we fly over Hudson’s Bay (the large body of water criss-crossed with many layers of Arctic exploration history, not the department store!), and near Polar Bear Provincial Park. The 7-hour flight crosses the southern tip of Greenland before landing at Reykjavik’s Keflavik airport. How many times have I looked through an airliner window on northern routes across the Atlantic and longingly gazed in Greenland’s direction? This time, a parachute and an open door (sorry about the sudden decompression my fellow passengers) would have sufficed to put me there!
My row mate (empty middle seat: yes!) is flying to Norway to marry a Swede who imports and restores American vintage cars he finds in the dry and corrosion-free Southwest. I get the sense I will continue running into interesting characters as I continue sliding off the beaten path…
I quickly commute from Keflavik to Reykjavik’s other airport, creatively named Reykjavyk Airport. Next: cooling my heels at Reykjavíkurflugvöllur.