Breathing space between the mountain and the fjord
With its steep mountains and glaciers, green valleys, wild waterfalls and a turquoise fjord, Aurland is perhaps some of the most beautiful Norway has to offer. Tone Rønning Vike and Bjørn Vike were spellbound and moved there with their children to start a farm hotel on the farm Bjørn’s mother came from.
Text: Edda Espeland / Translation: Linda Vikaune / Photo: MONTAG
Tone is a journalist and has been writing about sustainable development for many years. Bjørn is a builder specialising in building in mountains and restoring old wooden houses, and few know the mountains on the west coast better than he does. For these two it had to be Aurland.
They are not the only ones who have been enchanted by the spectacular scenery. Today they welcome guests from all over the world to their farm. 29|2 Aurland – so called because that’s the farm registration number – lies by the Aurland river and has become quite the little tourist magnet with its location in the world heritage listed fjord landscape. Aurlandsdalen valley, Flåmsbanen railway and Rallarvegen cycle path are just around the corner. The location deep inside one of the world’s longest and deepest fjords has also contributed to making Aurland a popular destination ever since Kaiser Wilhelm and other European royals sailed into the fjord in their steam ships at the end of the 1800s.
The area has been populated since Viking times and there are several old burial mounds in Aurlandsvangen village, which was the main seat of King Sverre’s maternal line. Although the property isn’t quite that old, the hotel’s Fish House built in the early 1700s is one of the oldest buildings in Aurland. The main road between east and west Norway went through Aurland, and for hundreds of years livestock and horses were driven up the Aurland valley on their way to markets further south. These drovers left their initials carved into the walls in the Fish House and they are still visible today.
Long fishing traditions
Inspired by explorers and European imperialism more and more people started travelling, and the British aristocracy led the way with their wealth and their interest in sport and other outdoors activities. They rated the Aurland river as one of the best in the world for fishing sea trout, flocked to the area with their fly-fishing rods and basically started international sports fishing. Since then the farm has housed sports fishermen from Norway and abroad for generations. Today all the rooms in the Fish House are named after fishermen with close ties to the farm and the Aurland river.
The farm has nine rooms in total, all decorated in their own unique style. The hosts have experimented with traditional colours and decorated the rooms with expertly mixed old and new furnishings to give their guests a feel for the history of the farm and the local area. There are several cosy lounges with open fireplaces, the converted cookhouse where dinner is served, a beautiful garden, a vegetable garden and a hot tub with a view to a waterfall and fields.
The hosts aim to use local and organic produce and are adamant that they can offer the best goat’s cheese in the world – white and brown – as well as having access to fresh organic vegetables from Norway’s only organic agricultural school and beer from a local brewery.
Every morning they serve homemade breakfast, mainly local and organic.
Tone and Bjørn love to travel. They like to get new inspiration from places and people and are convinced that their enthusiasm for their home and the Norwegian fjords will be contagious. They also have some of the best mountain climbers in the world right there on the farm, something they are proud of and grateful for. Brothers Nuru and Mingma Sherpa are both experienced Everest-veterans who for nearly 20 years have come to Aurland every spring to help Bjørn in the mountains as well as on the farm.
Tone and Bjørn are happy every time the world knocks on their door, whether the guests are Norwegian or foreign. They have found their home here and this is where they’ll stay.
It’s good to live in Aurland, and it’s good to be a guest at 29|2 Aurland.