Spellbound in western Greenland

@lonelyplanet writer and editor falls off the map on a research trip to Greenland - here's what happened...

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  1. I knew even before I boarded the plane to Greenland that superlatives wouldn't cut it. Greenland is huge, remote, sparsely populated, and 80% of it is covered by an uninhabitable ice cap. It's forbidding and enticing all at once, and breathtaking views started from the plane journey. Soaring over Svalbard, a cluster of islands between Norway and the North Pole, provided the first of many jaw-on-the-floor moments during this trip...
  2. Probably my most memorable view from a plane, ever. Flying over #Svalbard towards #Greenland
    Probably my most memorable view from a plane, ever. Flying over #Svalbard towards #Greenland
  3. A second connecting flight later and I touched down in Ilulissat. Tourists flock here for the icefjord but I was struck by how beautiful the town was too. This snap of rainbow coloured houses (in the Scandi style I love so much) is still my favourite picture from the trip.  
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  5. Experiencing the icefjord and cruising around icebergs was set to be a crucial part of the article I planned to write, so after exploring the town for the rest of the day, I set out on a midnight sailing trip. 
  6. Boat captain of our midnight sailing trip reckons he has the best job on Earth. Hard to argue. #Ilulissat #Greenland
    Boat captain of our midnight sailing trip reckons he has the best job on Earth. Hard to argue. #Ilulissat #Greenland
  7. With the three-hour time difference to catch up on, and the midnight sun, it was starting to feel like a never-ending day. But perma daylight and the scale of the glacier perked me right up. 
  8. ICEBERG, DEAD AHEAD! Beautifully lit berg on a midnight sailing trip from #Ilulissat #Greenland #nofilter
    ICEBERG, DEAD AHEAD! Beautifully lit berg on a midnight sailing trip from #Ilulissat #Greenland #nofilter
  9. The colours surprised me the most. There we were, in the middle of the night, and the sky was still lit up, with bergs startlingly blue, lilac and orange. 
  10. Iceberg at midnight in Disko Bay
    Iceberg at midnight in Disko Bay
  11. Five hours' sleep later (the things we do for travel) and it was time for a more epic voyage. I mustered up my sea legs for a five-hour boat trip to the Eqi glacier, where you can hear the glacier shudder, calving off huge chunks of ice before your very eyes. Disembarking at Camp Eqi, overlooking the glacier, felt like kissing goodbye to civilisation for a few days. 
  12. It also forced me to rethink my relationship with wifi, something I'd sheepishly write about later.
  13. The hiking around Eqi was incredible, though the signposting left a little to be desired. 
  14. Pfft, who needs a map when you have directions as specific as "ice cap 4hrs this way". #Eqi
    Pfft, who needs a map when you have directions as specific as "ice cap 4hrs this way". #Eqi
  15. What I wasn't expecting was the mosquitoes. I was advised to bring a mozzie net to hang over my bed, but this (deeply stylish) headnet was the smartest thing I packed. The mozzies were ferocious, and every time the wind abated they would appear in their hundreds.
  16. When I got back to Ilulissat, the town felt like an urban jungle by comparison to remote Eqi. My last night in this beautiful town gave me a chance to sample some of the best food on the trip at Restaurant Ulo.
  17. I did a short hop by small plane to Kangerlussuaq, a gateway to some truly amazing hiking terrain. And I impressed no one on that small journey. 
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