Our reservation was at Restaurant Roklubben. We had heard from several people that it overlooks the water and was the best restaurant in Kangerlussuaq; therefore, we were anticipating a great dining experience.
The restaurant is approximately a 15-minute ride outside of town; therefore, a motor coach is sent to the hotels to pick up its patrons at 6 o'clock every evening. The interior of Roklubben reminded me of a down-home country dining place with its plaid table clothes and blue paper place mats. Guests are assigned tables with other guests. Traci and I thought we had been assigned a table to ourselves maybe because we were not Danish-speakers like everyone else. We eventually met our tablemate who was speaking Danish to the hostess. I thought we were going to have an awkward dinner because of the language barrier; but to my surprise, our tablemate was fluent in five languages - including English!
When traveling to somewhere as off the beaten path as Greenland, you end up meeting some very interesting people. Our tablemate was certainly no exception. He was a tall, rugged Finnish man with a hunting knife strapped to his waist. He travels the world for his job but was in Greenland on a week-long fishing trip. He kept us entertained with his travel experiences - everything from spending time in the Mongolian countryside to getting into a fist fight with muggers on the streets of Chile. He had a flask of vodka in his pocket that he would pour into his water glass when the waitress wasn't looking. He was quite an interesting fellow.
It turns out, there is no menu at Roklubben. There is only a plate of the day. The hostess announced the entree in Danish first which generated applause. She then made the announcement in English to Traci and me that went something like: "This evening, we are serving ground musk ox with gravy and potatoes."
Oh no! Cue the diminished chord horror music. Zoom into the terrified look on Traci's face. Traci doesn't eat red meat. Before giving into our urge to leave the restaurant and ask the bus driver to make a special trip back to the hotel for us, we decided to ask the hostess if there was anything other than red meat available. She said she didn't think so but said she'd ask the chef. Fortunately, the chef found some fish from somewhere and said he would prepare it for Traci.
Traci was satisfied with her fish as was I with my ground musk ox which tasted like meatloaf with gravy. There was a dish of beets on the table. I hadn't eaten beets in many years but these were very good. Our tablemate and I devoured them.
ready for dinner
Plate of the Day - Ground Musk Ox & Potatoes
As was the case with most of the restaurants we visited in Greenland, the check is not brought to the table. You pay at the register on your way out. I'm not sure where the extra people came from at this remote location but our bus ride back to the hotel was standing room only.
Traci and I were used to sharing a dessert after dinner but Roklubben does not serve dessert. We decided to visit the Hotel Kangerlussuaq Restaurant before heading back to our room. Our Finnish friend joined us and entertained us with more great conversation. It turned out he had spent time as a U.N. peacekeeper in Lebanon and had some interesting views on the conflicts in that region. I was taught from an early age that you should avoid discussing money, religion, and politics. As much as I tried to stick to this rule, the conversation kept drifting towards politics with all the excitement of the historic U.S. presidential race between Barrack Obama and John McCain. In fact, earlier that evening when an elderly Danish woman asked me where I was from, she pumped her fist in the air and exclaimed "Go, Obama!" when I told her I was from the U.S..
As we finished our dessert, I could see the sleepy look in Traci's eyes or maybe it was the effect of all the secondhand smoke in the restaurant that evening. At any rate, we excused ourselves and wished our Finnish friend pleasant travels.
Wednesday morning, we embarked on our final excursion in Greenland, the 5-hour Ice Cap and Barbeque Excursion. Traci and I were on a bus with a large Danish tour group. Fortunately, our driver narrated in English as well as Danish.
It is approximately a 20-mile ride on a bumpy, dirt road from Kangerlussuaq to Greenland's massive ice cap. The ride took us through beautiful wilderness with green tundra, rivers, lakes, and glaciers. Our guide pointed out and made stops at a few interesting sites. Some of these places were embarrassments to the U.S. government. Our guide certainly didn't miss an opportunity to take a jab at the U.S. during these stops.
We passed by one area where there was a sign warning hikers and others to keep out. Apparently, several years ago, the U.S. lost a nuclear missile somewhere near Kangerlussuaq. It has never been recovered.
Our driver made another stop at the remains of a U.S. military plane crash. The crew had safely ejected before their plane crashed in a bad snowstorm in the 1960's. The airplane parts remain strewn along the side of hill. After explaining the crash, our guide added, "The Americans are not known for cleaning anything up." - Ouch!
We continued on through the wide open wilderness with cameras snapping away. We stopped a few times when musk oxen were spotted. They were really far away. Even through binoculars, they looked like moving brown or black dots.
Greenland is green sometimes
1960's plane crash - pilots safely ejected
musk ox on a mountain ridge
Traci in the biting wind
Dressing in layers was very good advice for this tour. It was warm enough to wear a short-sleeve shirt when we left town, but as we got closer to the ice cap, I needed to put on my hoodie, wind breaker, gloves, and anything else that would keep protect me from the cold wind blowing off the ice. Continue...