This is a belated but sweet story of Mon and Steve from Australasia, who entered a pub as lonely travellers and emerged as superstars in the town of 1400 people, Nanortalik in South Greenland.
All photos provided by Monika, one of the first Australians I met in Greenland when I had no fellow Aussie friends in town.
The South of Greenland is more popularly a summer destination, famous for its green landscape and sheep farms. Despite this, Mon and Steve from Australia and New Zealand decided to start a big trip to Greenland in the southern town of Nanortalik in late February 2014.
Wintertime in Greenland is very quiet outside as activities tend to occur indoors. In order to try to meet some locals, Mon and Steve went to the pub upon arrival. After all, that’s naturally a great place to meet locals, right? Little did they know what was in store for them!
“We were the first tourists in town since the previous summer, according to Niels who ran the local information centre there. A most delightful gentleman who whisked us off from the helicopter at arrival to take us to the supermarket and make sure we were well nourished for our stay before it closed,” said Mon.
Mon and Steve felt the full force of the local’s enthusiasm for them. They had not much on the itinerary in Nanortalik, except to walk around town and see what to do. However, within a few hours of arrival to the pub, the locals of Nanortalik had planned out their entire stay!
“We had no concrete plans for what we were gonna do before we turned up. Next thing you know we were out seeing bands, going to kaffemiks, after parties, and local kindergartens that were holding school fairs,” said Mon, “At the bar they kept on buying us drinks and fought over who should spend time with us. With a population of just under 1400 in Nanortalik, I think we managed to meet most of them in the four days we were there!”
“One of the events we joined were the festivities surrounding Greenlandic version of Halloween called “Mitaarfik” (painting of the face) & “Anaaloroorfik” (hitting the box). This is where children come up to a box hanging off a string and hit it once one by one in the hope that the presents inside it fall out when it’s their hit. At this festival was also our first taste of seal soup.”
What a story
This sounds like an incredible experience. It would definitely not happen to everybody. I make a few presumptions when I suggest this: Firstly, that Mon and Steve are incredibly open. Secondly, that it must have been a long time without any new visitors in Nanortalik. It’s not exactly a hub for tourism at that time of the year. Thirdly, the Nanortalik locals were perhaps so generous because they had just been paid their salary at the end of the month so were happy to share their earnings.
All this was the cause of an amazing experience in the most unlikely of places, which is why I thought I should finally get around to sharing this.
Have you ever had a travel experience which was amazing for the most unexpected of reasons?