The "slowest" hotel in the country? No, that's not the reason why we have a turtle in our logo. We do, however, have a fascinating story to tell you.
In 1941, Agnar Eggum was a member of the crew on board M/T Langanger, bound for Trieste in Italy with a cargo of oil. French naval forces took over the oil tanker and ordered the ship and its crew to sail to Bône i Algeria for fear of its cargo falling into the wrong hands. In Algeria, the captured crew were set to stripping rust and maintaining the ship. Poor and limited food supplies soon became a physical strain and the crew's thoughts turned to escape. Plans were made; food rations were set aside, a lifeboat was secured, and clothing was sold to bribe the harbour guards. They planned to reach Gibralta within one week.
On the night of 17th June 1940, the seven crew members set out in a lifeboat among a fleet of local fishing boats. At first, they headed towards Sardinia to mislead any attempts to recapture them. Planes and boats were indeed dispatched to pursue the escapees, however the search focused on the direction of Gibralta and the lifeboat remained undiscovered. When the lifeboat and men finally headed west across the Mediterranean, a terrible storm overpowered them south of Majorca. They lost valuable time, the boat took in water, the wind chilled them to the bone and their food and water rations were depleted. The situation was critical. When the storm finally eased, the men had no other option than to start rowing, even though this also sapped the little energy they had left.
When all hope seemed lost, she appeared. A large sea turtle, which would ultimately save their lives, came swimming towards them. They managed to get the turtle onboard the boat and survived by eating its raw turtle meat. One life saved seven others. They then made it to Gibralta, later England and finally Norway.
After the war, Agnar Eggum put his seafaring days behind him and settled down in his home village of Hermansverk, Leikanger. With his wife Aslaug, he built a guesthouse on the idyllic headland of Nokkaneset. The guesthouse gradually developed into a hotel and a tourist attraction on the shores of the Sognefjord.
Today, the Sognefjord Hotel is owned and run by Agnar's children. In memory of Agnar and his dramatic escape, the turtle has become the hotel's logo.
"Agnar with the scull of the turtle who saved 7 lifes"