Five generations of one family smile down from photographs hanging in the small house of Pauline and Anguteeraq Kreutzmann, who have lived all their lives in Sisimiut, Greenland's second largest town after the capital Nuuk. Their sitting room is filled with stuffed seabirds, homemade bows, fishing spears and tiny hand-carved bone figures shaped like mythical creatures. Laid out on the table are their best cups and saucers it is time for Kaffemik. Translated from the Danish as "Please come to our house for coffee," this phrase is used to welcome neighbors, friends, relatives and increasingly tourists into local homes. Along with the robust coffee, we are served plates of bread with smoked fish, followed by cakes and buns. And while we eat, our hosts entertain us with folk tales and stories of life in Sisimiut.
Every summer, this settlement 46 miles (75 km) north of the Arctic Circle experiences the never-setting midnight sun. But any time of year Sisimiut holds plenty of small wonders. Scattered across rocky inlets, the town's wooden houses are painted in primary hues a tradition that started as a practical measure to make the hospital and police station easy to identify. Up on the craggy hills, you can enjoy stunning views of the town and find ancient Inuit burial mounds overlooking the sea, marked by piles of rocks.
The best way to get a sense of the place and its people, though, is through the warm, friendly custom of Kaffemik. Before we leave, there is just enough time for another drop of coffee and a few more cakes. As they say at Kaffemiks across Greenland: "Tass' mamaq (Yummy)."
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