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The chief administrator's residence in Godhavn with its whale-bone portal                                             © Water-colour by Ole Jacobi 1996
In the old days, the chief administrating officer of Northern Greenland was stationed in Godhavn, hence Godhavn was the most important town in Northern Greenland.

Today, the residence has become a museum.


Monday 19 August 1996

We wake up to a day of all-over fog. I'm used to seeing the icebergs out of my window. This morning I can see nothing. Everything is grey: thick grey fog everywhere, and it's cold.

Today is a day of clearing-up. Karen Vinther is busy packing all the equipment and specimens for shipping home. It turns out that there's quite a bit of paperwork involved, different forms to be filled out with several copies of each.

For Arne and I, the day of reckoning has come. We start off in the KNI store where we pay for Karoline's and Nikolaj's latest purchases. Then we settle our account with Preben Ullitz for the accomodation at the Youth Hostel Naja and the Ionospheric Station. Then it's the turn of the school principal with whom we must leave the keys of the school and pay for the use of the school rooms we have occupied. We pay Leif Skytte for accomodation at the Arctic Station and for the lease of "Porsild" for a week. All these expenses make a big hole in our funds. The last shock is the time sheets from Karoline and Nikolaj. We must have a talk later about the budget.

Later on, we stroll around the town, to the post office, to the harbour - or to the burgerbar. Some people have still not exhausted all their strength, so they wander up to the glacier "to take the sun", as they say. For the sun is suddenly shining through the fog which clears up in an instant and leaves a nice sunny day. Our last day in Godhavn. Others have gone fishing trout.

Johanne takes us round the museum. There is a collection of paintings by Jakob Danielsen, a hunter who showed the workings of the hunt with his small water-colours. The museum also houses a collection of skin clothes and tools.

My thigh muscles are aching after the walk yesterday, and my feet feel best in sandals today. Fortunately it's sandal weather, with woolen socks, though. Some of the students are running wild, they are going to bathe! They have threatened to do it for a long time, and now is the last chance. They admit that it's cold - but quite an experience.

Brian and Lars from XTV are going home today with the helicopter. It is late, because of the fog, but they do manage to get away. Margot and Pernille are baking bread and buns for tonight, to mark Kenneth's birthday.

Tonight there is trout soup for supper.

The evening meeting is held at the Arctic Station. The students present their projects and are briefed about the final practical things concerning our departure. We finish the evening reading aloud, and I do a bit from "The Little Prince". It's about his meeting with the scientist (the geographer), and about the important role of the explorer.

Then there are fresh buns with butter for everyone, with tea and coffee, and a birthday song for Kenneth.

Arne has bought red wine for the teachers. It's our last evening in Godhavn, and so midnight comes and goes before we get around to packing.
 


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