7th International Symposium on Runes and Runic Inscriptions which I attended recently in Oslo, but rather about the very fine post-conference excursion to runic sites in Valdres, Sogn and Hadeland. This was a repeat of the excursion we made at the 3rd Symposium, held twenty years ago, with the absolute high point being Borgund (pictured above), a wonderful stave church in its own right, but also runically the richest. And, as you can see from the photo, we had exactly the same fabulous weather as we did twenty years ago.
The runes were marvellous, as one would expect, but the trip was further livened by some of the quirky things that caught my eye. For instance, the rune stone (in excellent Old Norse and good Viking Age runes) put up outside Høre stave church by two brothers, to commemorate Gyða who refused to marry Harald Finehair until he was king of all Norway (we're talking ninth century or so, here). The brothers, Hallvard and Thomas Bergh, thus credited her with inventing the country of Norway - a topic foremost in everyone's minds in 1905, when the stone was put up. Or as the stone puts it, in normalised Old Norse, hon hafði fyrst í hug eitt Nóregs ríki.