Tone and little Ensi enjoying a hike in the mountains
Tuva making snowmen
Silas and Tuva above Aurland
Tone & Bjørn Rønning Vike and their family
Tone is a print journalist with a background in the national press, while Bjørn is a master builder who specialises in building projects up in the mountains and in restoring old wooden houses.
Few people know the mountains of Western Norway better than Bjørn. Tone has for many years written stories about sustainable tourism and rural development – where else could they end up than Aurland?
‘We hope that the hospitality we have been shown on our travels and our enthusiasm
for Fjord Norway will prove to be highly contagious.’
Architect Yngve Brakstad from Operagarden has designed their dream house, a place that feels so much like home that they are definitely planning to stay for good. ‘For the rest of our lives’ is a phrase that no longer seems so daunting to them.
The buildings on the farm have been restored one by one, so that the guests will hopefully get a feel for the history of the farm and the local community through the walls that surround them.
In the longer term, they plan to convert the silos in the barn into suites. Modern architecture and creativity have long since become the prescribed recipe for giving Rural Norway what Rural Norway needs most: people.
They are good at finding inspiration in both places and people, and they love travelling – with and without skis on their feet. It is probably the people they have met and the hospitality they have been shown that they remember best from their travels – whether to Greenland, Kirgizstan, Iran, Brazil, Morocco, Rwanda, Nepal or India, to mention some of the places they have been.
And also here at home, they have a beautiful natural treasure chest that they want to share with other people. As Tone puts it, ‘We hope that the hospitality we have been shown on our travels and our enthusiasm for Fjord Norway will prove to be highly contagious.’
Nuru and Mingma Sherpa working in Aurland
OUR HIMALAYAN FRIENDS
We are eternally grateful to boast of having the world’s best mountaineers on the farm: brothers Nuru and Mingma Sherpa. Both seasoned Everest veterans.
For nearly twenty years we have had a close relationship with our sherpa friends. It began when the uncle of Nuru and Mingma Sherpa, Ang Tsering, saved Olympic gold medal winner and cross country athlete Vegard Ulvang when he got sick on the anniversary trip for the first Norwegian Everest Expedition. Odd Eliassen, friend of Bjørn and part of the Norwegian Everest expedition asked Bjørn if he had a job for Tsering.
Bjørn had a job for him as he needed help on dry stone wall building, a dying art in Norway. Ever since there have been built many stone walls with the unmistakeable “sherpa persistence” on both our farm and in the mountains. Not only are these guys unusually strong, they also have an unusually good mood. The reunion is always heartfelt when they arrive every spring.
PRESERVING THE VALLEY
Three happy master builders during the arduous construction of a new suspension bridge in the Aurland valley. Bjørn in the middle, flanked by his two good friends Johan Lundbo (on the left) and Odd Eliassen (right) who was part of the first Norwegian Everest Expedition.
In June 2014 they took days off from their day jobs to work for free in the Aurland valley, ranked as one of the top ten walking routes and former freight route between western and eastern Norway. The reason for working for free? To let more people enjoy and discover our beautiful valley!