Travel Diary: Ross has found somewhere ‘heartfelt, unique and spectacular’
- Related: Why Ross and John are in Scandinavia
By Ross Stevenson
I’ve just completed a couple of weeks in Sweden and Norway and just arrived in Copenhagen. Burnso arrives this morning.
I don’t want to bore you with any details on the journey so far, but I do want to single out just one place for special mention because of what it is and the people behind it.
It is called 29|2 Aurland in the spectacular fjord-side town of Aurland in western Norway.
It is run by a husband and wife Bjorn and Tone (pronounced too-na) and is a small collection of cottages and old farmhouses situated on an old farm just outside Aurland.
Bjorn and Tone (Photo: 292aurland.com)
Imagine what a town on a fjord in remote Norway should look like and that is Aurland.
Only Tone was there during our stay. Bjorn was away in the mountains with his sons building log cabins for the Norwegian Trekking Association. Norwegians love the outdoors. Tone told us they even have a word that roughly translates as “the uneasy feeling you have that you should actually be doing something outside”.
Bjorn and Tone have a strong vision of sustainable tourism in a precious environment. If that sounds boring it isn’t.
29|2 Aurland offers a choice of local experiences. And they provide guides. When we hiked to the top of the nearby waterfall it was Axel (pictured with me below), an 18-year-old local boy in his last year at school. (Next year he will take a gap year which is something the Norwegian government actually encourages. The government takes the view that since all education in oil rich Norway is free they have invested a lot of money in these kids and don’t want them leaping into tertiary courses they really don’t want to do).
When you go rowing on the nearby fjord to get to a meadow on the other side for a traditional Norwegian lunch you do you so in a traditional Norwegian rowing boat rowed by Tone herself.
She told us that she enjoys rowing because it stops her from getting what the Norwegians call “Duchess arms”. She enjoyed the Australian version: “tuck shop arms”.
The place is about $380 a night which is getting up there but is actually on the cheap side for Norway.
Dinner is a communal affair in the old smokehouse. It is a great way to meet folks from around the world. We shared dinner with Americans, Belgians, Germans and a French couple.
Before dinner you might opt enjoy the wood-fired hot tub and wood fired sauna.
29|2 Aurland is unique. It is heartfelt and is provided to you with a lot of care and attention. And it is physically spectacular.
There are two ways to get there. You can come from the west by ferry from Bergen. You can come from the south by train from Oslo. They are both spectacular journeys.
You know there might be an argument to be made that in the age of bigger and bigger cities that the real points of difference to be found when travelling are to be found in the countryside. And Norway has a lot of countryside.
Many thanks to Val Galanou of The Travel Managers and Bjorn from Fifty Degrees North for alerting us to its existence.