A Room With a View

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Norwegian photographer Knut Bry worked several years taking photos in Balestrand, a municipality and tourist attraction located by the Sognefjord in Norway. Writer Idun A. Husabø was working alongside Knut and has written a series of essays about people living in Balestrand.

The book was published by Skald (in Norwegian only).

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One evening in the late 1990s Knut Bry photographed the view east from room 222 at Kviknes Hotel in Balestrand. After the photo was published in the column “A Room With a View” in the travel magazine Condé Nast Traveler, room 222 became especially popular.

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“Relatively unchanged since the time of the Vikings, the country boasts some of the world’s most beautiful landscapes,” wrote Condé Nast Traveler.

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Kviknes hotel is one of Norway’s largest tourist hotels. The hotel houses an extensive collection of artworks and antique and its view of the Sognefjord is mesmerising. So much so that the hotel has had its fair share of celebrity guests including several prime ministers, presidents, royal families and film stars.

It’s difficult to describe a place when you feel there are no words that do it justice. This is exactly the kind of effect Balestrand has on people.

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Suzel, the managing director at Taber Holidays in Great Britain claims that “Balestrand is her favourite place in the world.” That’s a huge compliment from a woman who has travelled the width and breath of Norway, as well as all the other Scandinavian countries.

The mountains in the distance, the reflections of the sky and the water creating a special light have attracted artist from all over the world since the late 1800s. The paintings of these artists have been exhibited abroad and basically functioned as the first tourist brochures. In Kviknes Hotel you can experience historic photos and paintings og artists for whom Balestrand was the source of inspiration.

“Most people think the First World War broke out when Franz Ferdinand, the Austraian Crown Prince, was shot” Sigurd Kvikne, the hotel owner, told us, showing us a chair. “But it didn’t. It brought something in motion, there was an ultimatum and alliances were formed, so the tension grew over the weeks after the shooting. But where do you think the German Emperor, Kaiser Wilhelm II, was at the time the war broke out? He was here in our hotel, sitting on this chair.”

Even the threat of war did not stop this loyal and royal guest from going on his annual holiday to Balestrand.

A Room With a View, written by Tor Kjolberg