Gateway to Greenland
Reykjavik Airport – Reykjavíkurflugvöllur – is what I call a real airport. City and forest surround the field. You can see all the taxiways and runways. Many small airplanes joyfully flitter around like hummingbirds. The terminals are functional – gateways to adventure rather than shopping emporia.
As for me, it’s hurry up and wait. There are 50km between Keflavik International and the Reykjavyk Airport, and I focus entirely on completing the transfer as fast as possible. “Success”: now I get to wait six hours for my flight to Greenland! Cost of taking an earlier flight: 300 euros. Rental car availability: no. Looks like I get to play Tom Hanks in The Terminal…
And there are no power sockets anywhere to be seen. This power-hungry American wallows in distress at the complete absence of power sockets. I sip off my mobile computers watching battery levels the way a video gamer watches his life bar – thus far I have not been able to “level up”, as my kids might say. How will this play out on the glaciers?
So I watch from the cafeteria as a high tide of travelers with voluminous baggage splashes against the check-in counters. The most colorful passengers are middle-aged scientists wearing vests covered in project and expedition badges. Couples from many countries wearing new and shiny equipment flow around tour leaders in eddies and gyres. A narrow passage through a security check and into the tarmac drains the terminal dry again. Low tide.
It comes back with a vengeance. A large group of Italians led by a tall, bearded leader brings half a dozen blue waterproof storage barrels like the ones we used in Wales for the Shackleton’s Unfinished Business 100 Years trials. North Face expedition bags are everywhere, as is every conceivable brand, from MEC to Mammut, from Haglöfs to Helly Hansen, from Patagonia to Petzl, from Fjällräven to 66 North – the local brand. Mountaineering pants with knee reinforcements appear to be the rage. Most people are wearing serious mountaineering boots. After all, they have to climb aboard their flight!
Finally, it is time to fly to Kulusuk – my destination in Southeastern Greenland. Armed with my own panoply of outdoor brands, I gawk at our steed before boarding it. I have my own row. On the other side of the aisle, an Inuit-looking gentleman sports a “Greenland Hotels Association” jacket. The door closes, the aircraft taxies, the turboprops roar at full throttle, and the landing gear oleo struts extend as the wings take on the weight of the aircraft.
We are go for Greenland!