The helicopter ride from Constable Point leaves one with curiosity, in awe and wondering. How can a town exist between those grey and rock-strewn mountains. It appears so suddenly – like small black dots in neat rows from the edge of the fjord and upwards against the rock face. Like motionless sculptures on the rocks, ready to greet new arrivals or people returning home, rests a colourful flock. Indeed one has come to the land of the people. Curious and shy eyes bid the new arrivals welcome and one stands a little lost there on the top of a pile of rubble with the town below the bent road.
The guesthouses are located on the top and from here one quickly gathers an overview of the town. The school, church, town hall, fuel station and hospital are waypoints and all around them the houses are placed in an orderly fashion between the roads and squares.
A town in the middle of the enormous landscape viewing the sea, mountains and a sky so high and blue like no other place in the world. The silence is intense and one sinks into a state of tranquillity with room for thought.
The sea is the town’s nearest neighbour and the children’s playground - and the children in Ittoqqortoormiit know how to play. Always in motion they confidently leap from stone to stone and play unafraid near the freezing water. They are one with their environment apparently knowing every stone and every place.
The golden beach in the Walrus Bay invites to playing like any other place where one would find sand and sea. Do the children even notice the icebergs of the arctic sea as they tumble about in the sand clattering their teeth.
Here there are no adults who yell at the children and playing takes place on their own and natures terms. The radiant energy of the summer daylight extends the day and playing seems to go on forever.
The bicycle is the best toy during the summer, but it takes strong legs and a good sense of balance to manage it through rubble, stones and water. These wonderful children seem unassailable – yes, summer has indeed arrived in Ittoqqortoormiit.
There are no gardens with flowers or bushes here, because the ground and climate does not allow for any growth beyond some sparse and low vegetation. No earth to dig in, only stones, stones and more stones. But above the town with a view to the sea lies the garden of the dead. Here one will rest with a thousand stones on ones grave and a white cross that stretches its arms toward the heavens. A meeting between culture and nature – a tale of many lives who ended in this town – a piece of unique landscape architecture shaped solely on natures terms.
The town, which looks like no other town, lies two hours flight from its nearest neighbouring town, lonely and majestically on its mountain of rocks. It has imprinted itself in my mind and become a rare experience leaving a vacuum and a desire to return to such an incredible quietness and enormous landscapes in equability with its houses and people.