Many people still don’t know what role Væktarstua Hotel in Tydal played for Thor Heyerdahl when writing his book about the Kon-Tiki expedition.
It was in the year 1947 that Thor Heyerdahl put together his crew and set off on his famous Kon-Tiki expedition. The object of the expedition was to prove that it was possible to sail from South America to Polynesia, and that this was how Polynesia had become inhabited. The world’s eyes were on Heyerdahl during his 8,000 kilometre long voyage on a primitive balsa raft, a voyage which many deemed a fatal venture.
Kon-Tiki – world famous expedition, film and book
The documentary about the expedition won an Oscar for the best film in its class in 1951. In 2012 the movie “Kon-Tiki”, one of the biggest film projects ever produced in Norway, was sold to over 50 countries. When we also consider that Thor Heyerdahl’s own book about the Kon-Tiki expedition is one of the world’s best read books, translated into 70 languages and with 50 million copies sold, we realize beyond any doubt that Heyerdahl and Kon-Tiki really are well-known in the world at large.
What many people do not know, however, is that Heyerdahl wrote his book about the Kon-Tiki expedition at Væktarstua Hotel in Tydal. At the time, Væktarstua was run by Heyerdahl’s cousin, Martine Lyng Unsgård, and Heyerdahl brought his whole family along to Tydal in order to write the book.
The first time he had done this was while writing his first book, “In search of Paradise” (På jakt etter paradiset), in 1938.
Like many other authors he sought peace and quiet and inspiration for the writing process, and he considered Væktarstua in Stugudal, Tydal, as the perfect place for such a stay.
The present manager of Væktarstua, Helge Kvithammer, quickly grew interested in Heyerdahl’s link to Tydal and Væktarstua.
Væktarstua Hotel has built up a permanent Kon-Tiki exhibition in collaboration with the Kon-Tiki Museum at Bygdøy. With the expert help of Halfdan Tangen jr., marketing manager at the Kon-Tiki Museum, the hotel has built up an exhibition recounting this daring voyage across the Pacific Ocean in 1947.
Using photographs, text and various exhibits associated with the Kon-Tiki expedition and Thor Heyerdahl, the exhibition tells us of the voyage itself, and about Heyerdahl’s association with Væktarstua. Amongst other things, the exhibition also includes a replica of the Kon-Tiki raft.
The raft was made by Heyerdahl’s grandson, Olav Heyerdahl, who himself followed in his grandfather’s “footsteps”, sailing the same route in 2006 on a raft called “Tangaroa”. Furthermore, the hotel has acquired the original typewriter which Thor Heyerdahl borrowed from his cousin in 1948 in order to write the book.
Some of the texts at the exhibition were written by Ragnar Kvam jr., who has written three books about Thor Heyerdahl. The photographs at the exhibition are on loan from the Kon-Tiki Museum.
Væktarstua Turiststasjon (Tourist Station) was built in 1929, and named after Væktarhaugen, the hill due east of Væktarstua. At the time, Stugudal was a remote mountain hamlet consisting of just a few farms and with no road link. The first winter tourists were picked up by horse and sleigh and carried over the mountains from Ålen.
Today, Væktarstua Hotel is a popular spot for overnight accommodation and is perhaps best known for its location at the foot of the Sylan mountain massif. Væktarstua comprises 30 double rooms and also includes a number of cabins and apartments for rent. Conference facilities are also available.
Furthermore, Væktarstua also has a lavvo (Sámi style tepee) which can accommodate 130 people, a longhouse for 40 people, 2 spa/massage tubs, and sanitary facilities with showers and toilets. The hotel rents out showers to people staying in cabins and those using the visitor’s marina near the hotel.
Væktarstua offers activities such as horseback riding, horse and sleigh rides, snowmobile safaris, ATV-rides, rambling trails and a recording studio.
Activities and Sights in and around Tydal
When visiting Tydal, you can enjoy some of the things that attracted Heyerdahl to the village.
Tydal is known for its magnificent scenery and offers a wide range of nature adventures, summer and winter.
In winter, it is the skiing trails in Tydal that attract the most tourists.
How to get to Tydal
The Rv 705 runs from Stjørdal via Selbu to Tydal. Along this route (the Rv 705), there are many exciting sights and attractions to enjoy.
Tydal is 135 kilometres (2 hours 15 minutes) from Trondheim, and 104 kilometres (1 hour 47 minutes) from Trondheim Airport Værnes. Tydal is easiest to reach by car, but you can also travel by bus from Trondheim, via Stjørdal Station and Selbu Station.