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Greenland

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  Santa is from Greenland, according to an edict from the 40th annual Father Christmas World Congress.

  Ice and snow

  Greenland offers adventures of ice and snow like nowhere else on this planet. The ice cap(冰帽)- up to three kilometers thick - covers an area 14 times the size of England, and icebergs(冰山)snap off the glaciers(冰河)at the edges of the ice cap.

  You'll experience icebergs almost everywhere in Greenland. In the Disko Bay(迪斯科湾), icebergs often rise up to 100 meters above the waterline - keep in mind that 90 percent of an iceberg is hidden below the surface of the sea. The world's most active glacier moves 25-30 meters a day and calves across a front 10 kilometers in width.

  Visiting the ice cap is possible from most towns in Greenland, although it usually takes a helicopter flight or a boat trip to reach the edge of the inland ice. In Kangerlussuaq(康克鲁斯瓦格)the ice cap is only 20 kilometers away and you can hike, drive, fly or mountain bike to there - and stay overnight if you bring a tent.

  Springtime is the best season for dog-sledge(狗拉雪橇)tours and skiing although Greenland also offers first class summer skiing on glaciers, and dog-sledge tours in the summer.

  As a neighbour to the North Pole, Greenland has an Arctic climate, although there are great differences from north to south, and from coast to inland. Generally speaking, the climate is very dry, and as a result, temperatures feel quite different from most other places in the world. 10-15 degrees Celsius (50-60 degrees Fahrenheit) feels very warm, while minus 10 degrees Celsius (14 degrees Fahrenheit) is equivalent to a comfortable temperature.

  Outdoor life

  Greenland has a potential for outdoor adventures that very few places on this planet can match. The breathtaking(惊险的)Arctic scenery is almost endless on the world's largest island, and with a total population of only 55,000 you are truly on your own as soon as you leave one of the small towns and settlements. Human civilisation is the exception in this country. The mountains, valleys, rivers and gigantic ice cap are practically virgin land(处女地)。

  Hikers will experience unspoiled scenery no matter where and how. You can walk from hut to hut or - in South Greenland - from sheep croft(小农场)to sheep croft. Experienced mountain hikers will find challenges with unique awards of beauty in every part of Greenland.

  Several travel agencies offer hiking tours to Greenland. Alternatively you can plan your own trip. Check out the detailed hiking maps!

  In the early spring it's possible to angle the Greenlandic shark through a hole in the ice. The shark may be up to 6.5 meters long. It is also possible to join a Greenlandic fisherman to the Ilulissat(伊路利萨特)ice fjord(海湾)for two days to fish with long lines through holes in the ice.

  The kayak(爱斯基摩人用的皮艇)was originally developed by hunters in Greenland, and today kayaking is experiencing a renaissance(复兴)。 The fjords, straits and archipelagos(群岛)are ideal waters, and several local tourist offices have sea kayaks for rental - from just a few hours to several weeks. Your experience will most likely include icebergs, seals and whales.

  Animal life

  In Greenland whale watching can be enjoyed from the streets or even from your hotel room. During the late summer and early autumn whales swim close to the coast and are sometimes seen in the harbours. But of course the best way to spot these huge mammals is at sea. Whale-watching tours are offered in several towns in Greenland. When you sail along the coast on a passenger ship, the captain will often notify you when whales are close.

  There are many different species of whales in Greenlandic waters including the two largest, the blue whale(蓝鲸)and the fin whale(长须鲸)。 At sea you'll also see seals. An estimated two million seals live in Greenlandic waters. Walruses(海象)are primarily seen in north and east Greenland.

  Your first encounter with large animals in Greenland usually takes place very soon after arrival. More than 3,000 musk oxen(麝香牛)live in the area around Kangerlussuaq Airport and some of them can be seen in the immediate surroundings. A one-hour guided tour of the area will most likely include an encounter with these large, sedate animals.

  Reindeer live all over the ice-free(不冻的)parts of Greenland, and you may be lucky to see a herd. Reindeer hide is very insulating, and if you decide to go on a dog-sledge tour you will have the chance to dress in clothes made from reindeer hide.

  Polar bears live predominantly in north and east Greenland but also come to south Greenland, drifting on the field ice. Encounters with polar bears are extremely rare except in north and east Greenland and no precautions are necessary outside these regions.

  The northeastern part of Greenland is a protected national park. With a size larger than England and France put together, it's the largest national park in the world. Polar bears, walruses, reindeer, musk oxen and a growing stock of wolves live here along with smaller animals and many bird species.

  Dog-sledge

  Dog sledge driving is a total experience of speed, teamwork and grandiose(壮丽的)scenery.

  The sledge feels alive under the reindeer skin, moving up and down in time with the terrain. Steam comes from the 12 baying sledge dogs. Apart from that, the silence is overwhelming, broken only when the driver gives the team a low-key order to take a left or a right. 12 perfectly swung dog's tails attest to the fact that our engine is pulling evenly on all cylinders.

  Dog sledges and sledge dogs are not found throughout Greenland, only from Sisimiut and north on the West Coast and along the entire East Coast. As a tourist, dog sledge riding is best in March and April.

  Dog sledge tours are offered by the local tourist offices and last from just a few hours to several weeks. The dog sledge driver is a fisherman or hunter who normally uses the sledge in this context - to transport himself to a fishing or hunting area in the winter or to carry the fish or the seals back home.

  Midnight sun and northern light

  Midnight sun is a state of mind. Time makes no sense in this world. You can leave your watch in your suitcase. The day has no end.

  The children will rollerskate down the streets in the middle of the night - with sun in their faces. Small motorboats chug out of the harbour. Groups of people sit on the rocks here and there, enjoying the never-ending sunlight.

  The midnight sun can be encountered north of the Polar Circle. In Ilulissat, for example, the sun never sets from May 25th to July 25th, and during that period "normal" calender time is virtually non-operative.

  It is light around the clock. At what used to be nighttime the soft, warm light and the long shadows from the low-hanging sun bring the scenic backdrops into dreamlike and almost supernaturally beautiful relief.

  The northern lights are no less impressive. White, yellow, green and red they sweep across the dark sky in a state of eternal, rapid flux. Accummulate in intensity and culminate in scenery beyond imagination.

  Northern lights appear all year round in Greenland, but they can only be observed against a clear, dark night sky. They appear at a height of about 100 kilometers (65 miles) and have the shape of a flapping curtain or points radiating from a single dot.

  The phenomeon is due to electrically charged particles from the sun entering the earth's athomphere and being conveyed from there by the magnetic field lines. When the particles meet the molecules in the atmosphere, the northern lights arise, their colour being determined by the nature of the molecules.

  The winter darkness is the companion to the midnight sun, and equal fascinating. For weeks the sun doesn't rise above the horizon. The landscape is all white from the snow and the frozen sea. The stars, the moon and the northern lights provide the few candela neccesary to light up the snow. The world turns real and unreal like a dream.


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