Category Archives: Greenland and Iceland

Which is green and which is icy? Harry and Benj find out!

Happy Fathers Day!

Harry and I are headed out on an adventure tonight. We’re excited!

For the last 3 years both Harry and Felicity have been going to overnight camp in Brevard, NC. Shout out to Gwynn Valley, a place we dearly love and will miss! But this year Felicity will be attending a dance intensive instead. So Harry asked if he could go camping with me rather than going alone to camp. Hell yeah!

We spun the globe and landed fingers on a place that was conveniently close, yet still dramatically remote: Greenland. And it turns out you can only get there via Iceland or Denmark. We’ve already enjoyed Denmark (other than Harry’s forehead vs. Tivoli Gardens gravity boat deck), so Iceland it is! And we may as well explore Iceland, too, while we’re there anyway…

The title of this post may seem addressed to myself. Getting off a plane and exploring a new place with my son will be the ultimate Father’s Day gift to myself. But the truth is, I’m addressing this post to my father, and dedicating this whole section of the blog to him. Dad was supposed to join us on this trip, but he suffered a freak Pickleball injury that sidelined him for the season. I wanted the trip to be his father’s day present, but instead a blog will have to do.

This blog is a combination of adventure trekking and photography, two things Dad instilled in me. (Was it nature or nurture? Do I have instinctual wanderlust, or did I learn it from watching him?)

Dad put a series of 35mm cameras with B&W film into my hands from a very young age. I learned the hard way such things as not swapping half-exposed rolls of film (gotta have the right ISO for this bright beach day!) in a “dark” corner of our station wagon. We developed film and made prints in his basement dark room. It was hours of intimate time spent together on weekends in the dark or dim red light. But first we needed to take the photos!

If you’ve seen a photo of me on a hike laden with camera body, multiple lenses, and tripod, just realize this is an extrapolation of my youth. With camera, canteen, and often binoculars strapped around my neck, Dad would take me hiking. He even dragged his large format camera (think old-timey with black curtain draped over the operator) around to get shots of landscapes or of me in the landscapes. We hiked to a place we called The Moon, which was the big water tank in Natick Town Forest. Great memories!!

Here’s to you, Dad. We’re thinking of you as we embark on this adventure, and hope you heal up before our next! 😘

Not used to the gravity

My style of leisure travel is to walk everywhere I can. I see more of the destination, get a better ground-level feel for the place, benefit from the exercise, and save $$. Boston, New York, San Francisco, London, Paris: all big cities where if there were a map of my cumulative walks over the years, they’d be painted red. Those maps would fail to capture the fact that I’d have my backpack and maybe even a roller board suitcase in tow.

I probably pulled this shit with Jessica a few times, politely tolerated at first during the honeymoon phase, before she ended it. Permanently. I want to say it was at the Copenhagen train station, walking a few blocks to our hotel with 2 young children and all our luggage. Fair enough I suppose.

Harry doesn’t know any better than to just go with it. (Or, gawd help him, he’s like me!) I’ll take that as the best ever father’s day present. We slept 2 hours max on our red eye flight to Keflavik Sunday morning, then stayed awake walking around town, no napping, until 10pm. On Monday after a 12 hour sleep, we hiked our luggage over to the domestic airport, Harry pushing his suitcase up the hills. When he stumbled, and I went back to check on him, he had a grin on his face. “I’m just not used to the gravity here yet.”

We’ll be back to Reykjavik in a week.  Onward!

Nuanneq naapillutit, Nuuk, Greenland!

Halló, welcome to migratory pebbles! Recently me and Benj went to Logan Airport and we flew to Reykjavík. Then we went to a hotel and watched four episodes of STRANGER THINGS. The next day we went to a tiny airport in Reykjavík and flew to Greenland. It was so snowy that it reflected the sunlight into my eyes, and you couldn’t close the window. Then we went to Nuuk and took a taxi to our hostel.

On the way to Logan Airport we stopped at REI and got these cool (actually pretty warm) waterproof hiking shoes. I also got zipper leg hiking pants/shorts.

New boots
I got these waterproof shoes at REI.

Qasigiannguit Island hike

Halló, recently Benj and I explored an island called Qasigiannguit Nuuat. First we had to wait for the tide to go down so we could get there.

Then we went to the weird stones that looked like they used to be a Minecart track.It lead us to a lighthouse looking thing I saw from the hostel. From the hostel it looked 4 feet tall but when we hiked to it we found out that it was more like 7 feet tall. When we walked past that, we saw a plastic bin with rocks in it. We walked even further on the island and saw a giant iceberg offshore.

Then we went down to the shore and saw another iceberg (see next paragraph). Then on our way back we did some parkour over the rocks.

The Iceberg Climber

I climbed 2 icebergs.

1.tiny, tall, dry…ish

Iceberg 1

2.large, pointy/smooth, sopping wet

Iceberg 2

Nuuk at Night

We arrived in our hostel cabin Monday afternoon to find we were not alone.  We expected at least some of the other 3 bedrooms to be occupied, but all of them were.  The fridge was stocked, common areas installed with personal items. Welcome to #HostelLife!

The Internet only works reliably when near the hostel’s café, which is closed Mondays. 😭 So I spent the afternoon on the cafe’s deck, swatting mosquitoes and breaking would-be café patrons the bad news. We saw a couple head into our cabin, so Harry ran down to greet them. Moments later, the couple was trying to reach the (closed) reception desk in the café.

They were a delightful Danish couple who had been booked into the hostel by a tour company, and had no idea it involved communal living. They thought they had the entire cabin (8 beds) all to themselves, and Harry must have burst that bubble big time. Better as they were just arriving back for the day, vs. during morning shower time! 🤣

We chatted for a while as they made other arrangements (no easy feat in a city with only one obvious hotel!), and reassured me that it was them, not us! “Have you ever heard of such a thing as staying with strangers?” They offered me a beer, and told me about the purpose of their visit: earlier that day they took a water taxi ride to the site of her helicopter pilot father’s tragic crash when she was 6, 46 years ago. She laid a flower and a lock of her curls over his water grave. By the end of our toasting to her dad, they had a hotel room waiting, and wished we would go stay with them there. Ha, and surrender this view?! We compromised, and gratefully shared their taxi into town, where we enjoyed our first of many meals at Café Esmeralda.

On our first “night” in Nuuk, with the whole cabin to ourselves now, we set up my camera on GorillaPod legs pointing out our cabin window. The sun had already set over the rocky hills around the hostel, out a side window of our cabin, but was still shining on the mountain tops.  Little did I know it would rise 3 hours later straight through the middle of my time lapse!

I wear my sunglasses at night.

Boat ride & Midsummer

Water Taxi Catch & Eat

On Thursday we went to the water taxi, put on a giant water-suit, got into the taxi, and started going to the restaurant.

Water suits
Sarah with an H and I are nice and warm in our water suits!

The water was very choppy so we went flying. We caught two things on that boat: fish and air.

Rainbow choppiness
When we go flying, we make rainbow choppiness.

When we got to where we could see the restaurant, we were heading straight toward a rock! Just in time, we stopped and the boat driver, Snowflake, pulled out some fishing thingy. He showed us how to use it. He caught a fish. Dad caught a fish. Sarah caught a fish. And I caught two fish.

5 fish that we caught
We caught 3 cods and 2 red fish.

When we got to the restaurant, we saw the chef cut up the fish. He gave us white things from the head of the fish.

White thingies from the fish heads
The chef pulled these out of the fishes’ heads and gave them to me for jewelry or decorations.

On our way back the water was really choppy. It made my butt hurt.

New People

Sarah with an H

Sarah with an H
Sarah with an H smiles again.

33 years

Slow hiker/quick runner/???? boater


Snowflake caught the smallest fish.

22 years

???? hiker/????? runner/good boater

National Friday

Today is midsummer, the longest day, and we met Sarah at Café Esmeralda. Me and dad told Sarah about geocaches and we left to get one. Then we went and joined a silent parade. Next we watched a short concert. Then we went to eat. Then we went to the island to get another geocache.

New People


Andrea is from Alaska.

33 years

???? hiker/???? runner/???? boater

Free Range

Since I learned to ride a bike, I had free range in my neighborhood. Before that, I was already spending a lot of time outside the house, poking around with my sister Maggie in the back yard swamp for hours on end. We walked ourselves to school from kindergarten through junior high.

Occasionally there would be our little neighbor, Mikey, running down the road to find grownups. “Ben has blood! BEN has BLOOD!” Mix wheels and steep roads and sand, or bare fingers and plate glass, or bike pedals and untied shoes, and accidents will happen. There will be blood.

By the age of 7 or 8 I was riding my bike along Rt. 16, past Memorial School to downtown South Natick: Olde Towne Market, church, the library, the waterfall. By the age of 10, now in Sterling, I was riding my bike everywhere. To the soccer fields, to my friend Wes’s house all the way across town, and eventually to work at Johnson’s Garage or the beach, hoping to run into friends there.

If there was any protocol to keep our parents informed, I’ve forgotten it. Eating at a friend’s house, or sleeping over, I’m sure demanded a phone call home. But at a young age, if I wasn’t spending an entire summer day in front of my computer at home, I was out on my own exploring my world, unaccounted for, until dinner.

This was a lot of set up for my main point: my kids do not have this. They don’t know what they’re missing, and we don’t know how this might handicap them later. The world is no more dangerous now. Seems it was already riddled with pedophiles needing help finding their lost dogs. We barely had seatbelts in the 70s. It feels like as parents we’re just holding on a lot tighter these days?

With this in mind, I’ve given Harry an extra measure of free range on this trip. Unintentionally at first!

On our first day in Reykjavik, we explored the city a bit, walked down to the waterfront, and then back up the hill and found a café.  I was working away on my laptop after we finished our croissants and hot beverages. Harry said, “I’ll meet you back at our hotel.” I distractedly said okay, sure, thinking I’d catch up to him right outside in a minute.

10 minutes went by, and I realized I should probably get out there and join him. I thought he’d probably be looking in the windows of shops on the street outside. No sign of him. I went to the corner, looked up and down both streets. Gone baby gone. I circled the block, starting to worry that I lost my son in a foreign country. Finally I gave up and left proximity of the café and walked to our hotel on a parallel street 3 blocks away.

Harry was sitting in the sun on the front steps, just people watching. My heart rate normalized. I nonchalantly asked him, “How’d you know your way back?” He said, “I was paying attention and keeping track of where we were.” Duh. Same as we did before cell phones.

Harry’s trophy
Harry returns from a solo mission with his fractional iceberg trophy.

So every time on this trip he asks, “Can I go climb on the rocks, or the icebergs, or the seals, or …?” the answer is, “Yes. Remember, we don’t know if there are hospitals in Greenland. Just make sure there’s at least a body I can bring home to your mother.” He respects that protocol. I think he’s right when he said, “I’ve grown up a lot over the last few days.” 

Me too. I’m still watching nearly his every free range movement from an invisible distance, and still checking for signs of breathing every morning when I wake up before him. But that’s on me.

“I’m taking the long way over the mountain. I’ll meet you back at the hostel, okay?” Feels like an eternity, but eventually Harry emerges into view…

Harry Lipchak’s Day off


#Ferris Bueller/funny blogger

Today I decided to take a break and have a day off. I started by playin’ some .IO & VOODOO… for a few hours.

I played,, 2, Dune, TwistyRoad, and Crush?

When we were going to breakfast I said:

“Flip flops?”

And you can guess what dad said:


¡Later I learned how to do Spanish punctuation! ¡! ¿?

Recap of Greenland 🇬🇱

¡This was our path to get to Greenland!

Zoom in

Here’s a panorama

3xharry=good blog

¡We got some geocaches!

We did 4 geocaches.
We did 4 geocaches.

I also got some other photos

¡Goodbye! But hello Iceland 🇮🇸

Iceland tour Day 1: Snæfellsnes Peninsula

Ytri Tunga beach and seal colony

Here there were a lot of rocks, also some ducks and seals scattered around.

Búðakirkja, the Black Church of Búðir

Here there isn’t much, just a danish style church and a hotel.

Rauðfeldar Canyon

Here we hiked through the big dent in the cliff, wich was carved by the river. The water was cold and had a really strong current.


Here we hiked across the harbor to the restaurant, and on the way we saw a 20 meter deep hole. We also got some cool pics. Game of Thrones location. (See Game of Thrones locations below.)

Saxhóll volcanic crater

Here we walked up the side of the crater, and I went down into the crater. Before I went into the crater I asked the guide if it was a good idea and he said:

err-eeh maybe

so I went.

Should I?

Continue reading Iceland tour Day 1: Snæfellsnes Peninsula