Summer Time in Tasiilaq

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Tasiilaq is a small village on the east coast of Greenland of about 1800 inhabitants and it's the largest village of the coast.

For us, used to live in big cities, we can maybe think that there is not much here, because the village is only composed of a small harbour, used by the inhabitants and by the only one big boat that, as soon as the ice break letting the sea becoming navigable again, refurbishes the only 2 shops in the city. There is of course a city hall, a post office, a church, a little museum and a hospital, the only one on the coast and used by all the other small villages of the peninsula. If a woman who lives in another village has to give birth, she must be transported here (By boats, sometimes it takes up to 2 hours for a boat to get here, or with the sled if it's winter). There is also a lovely tourist center in which you can buy postcards, small souvenirs and which also works as a ice-cream maker. There are only 2 roads in the village, impossible to get lost. I find this place perfect like this, it is so charming to take a walk around here, surrounded by the coloured wooden houses that contrast with the pieces of icebergs floating in the bay. Moreover, the inhabitants of Tasiilaq despite all the difficulties that must face, are always smiling and let us feel that we are so welcome to their town.

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Inuit say that here there are only 2 days, 1 night and 1 day. Indeed, as since I arrived I have not yet seen a single night. Summer here is the day. In the evening the sun goes down at more or less 22:00, but it does not really leaves, it hides behind a mountain leaving its light escaping in from it so that it does not really become night, then it reappears again at around 3:00 am illuminating the mountains with its golden rays.
In the first days I was here, it was kind of confusing, because if I woke up in the middle of the night, my first reflex was to look out of the window to understand more or less what time it could be, I used to said to myself "Ohhh, it's already morning. Time to get up! "And then looking at my watch I realised it was only 3am ... Very fun.

I have been living in Tasiilaq for 3 weeks now and I am comfortable to sleep without a mask or curtains, if I wake up, as the sky is still clear and it is impossible to define anything, I directly look at my watch to understand what time it can be.

Last night I woke up, it was 2:45 am and curious I looked out the window, magic was happening. Just before sunrise the few clouds that were in the sky had such pink shades that the landscape looked just like a painting. It was the first sunrise of such a beauty that I saw, obviously I could not resist, I grabbed my camera, put on a jacket over my pyjama and went out to shoot. It was after about 15 minutes that I was outside with my slippers on and under doubtful eyes of the neighbour's dogs that I realised that I had left the keys in my bedroom and that, if someone shut the door I would have stayed outside for the rest of the night, only with my pyjamas on. Hopefully, I ran back just in time, because on the entrace Viggo, the Inuit who's living in the same house where I am, was smoking, I waved at him so that he left the door open, and went back inside lying in my still warm bed again.

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Summer here in Tasiilaq and in Greenland in general, it's not only a holiday season as it can be imagined in Europe. Here it is a real awakening. After spending long months in the cold darkness, you really feel like this light regenerates and recharges the people and the nature in which they live. It is now possible to work, they can repair everything that winter with its very strong winds and the icy temperatures broke-down. They can hunt day and night, play while the dogs rest in the sun to be ready for the winter. This is what you see when you walk through the village during these summer months. The children stay out all day, as there are almost no roads and very few cars, they are free to run around and have a lot of fun.

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The clothes dry in the sun at the same time as bear skins, fish and pieces of seal.

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You can eat an ice cream, walk around the village, watch the icebergs carried in the fjord by the currents, go out on a boat, go fishing and hunt the whale.

There are nevertheless days in which the wind comes and sometimes it rains, in those days everything stop. Work and all the other activities, we stay at home we drink a cup of tea or coffee, read a book, tell stories, laugh and wait for the weather to change. We do not get impatient, or nervous, What for? What can we do against mother nature, against a wind that can blow up to 300km / h? The gusts are so strong that they even displace waste that weighs up to 100kg, so the wisest and sure thing to do is stay at home and wait.

I only had two days of real bad weather and storm since I arrived here, but it was not such a strong wind as I described here above, it was a 180 km / h wind, however, for me it was already enough to experience it. From the house where I live, which is all up the hill (it is the very last house at the top of the village and by my window I can see the fjord and the city below) in the evening that the storm advertised arrived, I could feel the wind whistling through the wood and pushing with all its strength against its walls like a wave breaking against a rock in the sea. Sometimes the whole house was trembling and I wondered if we were all going to fly away, but then looking at the other tenants who seemed so quiet, I abandoned this thought, went to bed and fell asleep rocked by the stories that the wind was carrying with him.

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The next morning in the sunshine, the calm was present again and the village resumed the normal course of things, the children ran everywhere, the dogs worked, the adults worked and the tourists happy not to be locked in the hotel anymore were leaving it to go hike through the wonderful Greenland valleys.

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