A married couple tired of city life sold their home, moved to Aurland, renovated an old farm and built a unique hotel.
In a valley deep inside the Sognefjord you will find the unique farm hotel 29/2 Aurland, run by wife and husband Tone Rønning and Bjørn Rønning Vike. Five years ago they sold their home in Bergen and brought their three children to the Aurland valley and the farm Vike had inherited from his uncle.
As Rønning explained to Norwegian newspaper Dagsavisen in an article about tiny hotel gems in Sognefjorden last year:
“We’d grown a bit tired of middle class life in Bergen, so we decided to do something else.”
The couple has restored and transformed old farm buildings from the 1700s, and has also erected new ones. The result is an exclusive hotel experience bordering between cabin life and hotel living and set in some of the most gorgeous nature the world has to offer.
Et bilde publisert av Elizabeth Barrett (@harcourtcrescent)
Here, locally made goat cheese and eggs from neighboring farms are served for breakfast in a smokehouse, whilst sleep is found in a cabin or in one of the suites in the barn that once housed goats.
Since it opened, the hotel has found a fair share of attention in Norway, and now it seems the larger world has caught on to 29/2 Aurland as well.
Last year, they received a “Certificate of Excellence” from TripAdvisor, and this week Forbes published an article on the tiny hotel (well worth reading in full) and their philosophy of “slow tourism” – a more sustainable, environmentally friendly, and softly spoken alternative to cruise tourism, according to Rønning.
“We really want guests to slow down here, understand the culture and history of the valley, meet the craftspeople who keep alive generations of traditions, and enjoy the fjords the way they used to be enjoyed – without polluting cruise ships.”
The hotel offers activities around Aurland, ranging from fjord skiing to fly fishing in the Aurlandselva river.
Et bilde publisert av Jarrid Puzes (@jarridpuzes)
The hotel is close to Flåm, the starting point of the legendary Flåm railway, recipient of accolades such as “the world’s best train ride” and recently the subject of its own 360 degree virtual reality experience online. If you have the time, you can watch the whole journey.
However, the true passion of the couple running 29/2 Aurland seems to be walking. Or, to be more precise, hiking around Aurland. This led to them to organizing their own walking festival back in 2015.
According to Forbes, the couple are now lobbying for Aurland authorities to connect the different villages in the municipality through hiking routes. As Rønning says:
“This area should really be the walking heart of the world given its beauty.”
The Sognefjord is Norway’s longest and deepest fjord, and it’s famous arm the Nærøyfjord has World Heritage status. The surrounding mountain areas are amongst Norway’s most popular hiking areas.
Over the past 30 years, the Nærøyfjord and Undredal got roads and a lot more tourists. Other than that, things are mostly as they have always been.