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The Leif Eriksson rune stone was 
sent by boat to Canada on 5 July 2000 
from Gothenburg / Sweden.

* * I was hoping to hear from Canada by way of an invitation to the celebrations and the raising of the runestone. But the invite never came, and as I had no resources of my own to get me there; I gave up!

* * One week before the celebrations were due to begin, I received a telephone call from an official at UD, the Swedish Foreign Office, who said:- " We want you to go to Canada as a 

representative of Sweden, to take part in the celebrations and to ensure that the runestone is  erected correctly; do you want to go?  You probably already know my answer:-) 
- Yes! I'd love to go!"

* * At 7.45 a.m. on Wednesday 26th July, 2000, I received quite brutal treatment from the security staff at Arlanda Airport. They had discovered my knife. I was of course wearing my Viking outfit for the journey and the knife was on my belt next to to the bull pouch. They confiscated the knife, and put it into a box , where it had to stay during the flight to Canada.

For best results start with picture number one and take one pictures 
at the time. If you like faster overview with thumbnails, stay here.

I arrived at St: John's Airport in southeastern Newfoundland, at 1.00 p.m., local time. 
My intention was to travel by rental car the 690 miles north to Norstead. However, when I wanted to rent a car, they asked for my credit card. Just my luck! I have no credit card and never have had!
Avresa från St: John´s - sydöstra Newfoundland
When, after several hours, they still refused to rent me a car, I had to find someone in Sweden with a credit card, willing to help me out. But by now, it was getting late and it would have to wait until in the morning. Late at night I found my way to a small forest clearing nearby, where I slept under the stars. Good job I'm a Viking! 
Next day, I get a credit card number from a friend in Sweden and can begin my journey north. In the picture: The small forest clearing.
1:a natten - sov i dungen intill flygplatsen
While I was waiting at the airport for the credit card numbers, I made friends with a couple from Norway; Arne and Ingrid Paulsen. They were stuck at the airport with no transport available. When they saw me at the Terminal, wearing my Viking clothes, they too changed into theirs.
Once I had picked up my rental car, I offered a lift to Arne and Ingrid. We set off on the long journey to Norstead together, traveling through the beautiful landscape on perfect highways.
Fina vägar och vild natur i 111 mil
Our first stop, after 93 miles, was in a rest-area, in the dark. The landscape all around was wild and untouched and very beautiful. Most of the people in Newfoundland live near the coast; but the highway crosses the country, in parts far from civilization. Mina Norska vänner beundrar utsikten
It was summer and warm in the daytime, but we could see on the trees that the previous winter had been cold and hard. All the trees are small and they have a hard life. Strong winds and lot's of snow break off their branches and they become warped. Many were already dead.
By now, we were close to the tree-line; in the north, there are no trees at all!
Vi är nära trädgränsen där livet är hårt för tallen
Late in the afternoon of the first day, we stopped 
for a second time. We found a natural spring with 
cold, crystal clear water. We filled up our bottles.
Friskt vatten direkt ur berget
During the night, we passed through a national park in the darkness. The road went up and up until we reached the top with our ears popping! Then it went down and down until the breaks were screaming and becoming red hot! Very scary!
By the time we had left the mountains behind and reached the west coast of Newfoundland, we were very tired. We stopped for an hours rest.
Ännu ett vackert berg efter vägen
One hour became five hours, after which we woke up thoroughly refreshed and with the sun in our eyes. This was an 'official' rest area and look-out point, with a fixed telescope angled towards a huge swamp and the mountain range behind. Spectacular! Vaknar i soluppgången
I put my eye to the telescope and.......... This could not be true; a white headed sea eagle in midflight being harassed by a pair of ravens. Quickly I asked Arne and Inger to take a look through the telescope and the eagle was still there in full view. - That's what I call a 'good morning'! Utsikt mot vithövdad havsörn uppvaktad av två korpar
Later we have to drive a further 155 miles along the coast. Here the wind and the waves have changed the landscape; by the beach were tonnes of white, floating timbers, perfect art made by mother nature herself. Drivved efter vacker strand
Not far from where the white timbers lay, we found a fishing village. We were hungry and tried to find a place where we could have breakfast. Enda bebygelsen är efter kusterna - jakt och fiskebyar
We searched and searched but the village seemed deserted. The houses were small and white; they had no gardens and there were no fences. We imagined the inhabitants were concerned with the sea and hunting. Later we discovered that we were right. In a restaurant we saw a number of stuffed animal heads on the walls; and the menu offered a lot of nice sea food. Vita hus utan tomtgränser är vanligast
12.00 - L´Ans aux Meadows and Vinland
The Millennium celebrations were due to begin in two hours time; the last bit of our journey consisted of queues, busses and guards. We had to park the car and travel the remaining few miles by bus. From the plateau, we can at last look down on Newfoundland's northern point and Norstead. 
Norstead - äntligen är vi framme
I leave Arne and Inger and join the huge crowd of people. There are 15.000 people waiting for the arrival of the Viking ships. A large number of Canadians, Americans and people of Swedish descent, mingle with Vikings from the North. The atmosphere is high with expectation; the ships do not arrive on time; we wait.  15 000 väntar på att skeppen ska segla in
Suddenly, the first ships are sighted coming over the horizon; the Icelandic ship " Islandingur" is first, escorted by the smaller ships. There is music coming from giant speakers and a performer, standing on a skerry sings "gladcountry"; helicopters buzzing in the air. A strange and unlikely set up in the wilderness. Första skeppen kommer mot land
"Islandingur" comes to a stop in the bay in full view of the spectators. In this picture the Swedish ( from Gotland) ship " Krampmacken", is sailing around. A white speedboat suddenly heads for the ship.  Paradskeppet Islendingur visar upp sig
The white plastic boat picks up the ship's crew and makes for the shore; there are 
speeches to be made. In the meantime, the other ships gather around " Islandingur", 
side by side except for two Swedish boats, that head for the shore.
En plastbåt??? hämtar besätningen
Tälja, from Norrtälje and Krampmacken, from Gotland are pulled up onto the beach. The beautiful boats are unloaded in front of the crowd standing on the shore close to the newly built Viking homestead.  Krampmacken & Tälja dras upp på land - skepp som tål att granskas på nära håll Afterwards, the speeches last for three hours, during which time the ships are on display at the mouth of the bay. Övriga skepp poserar i utkanten av bukten
Different groups connected to Leif Eriksson's discovery of 
Vinland, are here. Local indians and inuits from Greenland. 
Here they are, posing for the photographers in their beautiful clothes.
Från Grönland kommer dessa personer
Jan Johansson from 
Aifur is filling up his 
food container.
Krampmackare äter i Norstead Tofta, of our company, makes a toast. It's thanks to him that we, on Adelsö, have the boat " Tjalve " and are able to travel to Birka in style, whenever we want to. Tofta från Krampmacken
One of my favorite pictures from the trip; a genuine American with 
three cameras, two watches, a cowboy hat and a dollar grin. A small 
sign on his stomach says his name is Charlie. "
3 kameror - 2 klockor - hatt - dollargrin och heter Charlie
The runestone could not be raised in time for the inauguration, so the decision was made to raise it on day 2. After a good nights sleep on the plateau above the village; this picture was taken of the Viking camp situated on the headland by the main house, Norstead. 
Beyond the headland a couple of islands are visible; then it's only whales, icebergs and lastly, Greenland.
Tidig morgon över ett av tältlägren
The rune stone was transported to Newfoundland in a container which, unfortunately was placed furtherest from the doors. Then the container itself was placed on swampy ground, which proved to be the reason why the stone could not be raised in time for the inauguration! -Oj, längst in ligger runstenen som nu ska ut
We brake open the box and the nearly two tonnes heavy stone can once again be seen. A group of rain soaked Vikings don't want to wait for the trucks to arrive from the directive at Norsead, before getting the stone out. The container is emptied of its contents and somebody figures out how many men are needed to pull the stone out by hand. Många vikingar kom till undsättning - tack alla!
Many are needed but we have enough, so 
after a lot of heaving, the stone inches its 
way towards the opening.
Inget är omöjligt för vikingar - samlad trupp drar 2 ton Vätögranit
We had to use a sleigh the last bit of the way.
Then a truck takes the stone all the way down to the bay at the front of the main houses, and we raise it in the best possible place, with the carving facing the sea.
..och ut kommer den med diverse hjälpmedel

I make a speech in which I talk about the stone's future for the next 
5 000 years; about its symbols and lastly, the runic inscription: 

VTTA and Barbara Genge raised stone to commemorate the exploration 
of North America by Leif Eriksson in year thousand. Kalle rista
(rista = carve)

Invigningscermoni - VD Barbara Genge är med och uppdraget blir slutfört
Above is a sun compass; a copy of a find from Greenland, surrounded by sun-rays, or a cross, if you prefer. Everything is suspended from the rune carrying dragon. Under the sun compass a vikingship, a copy of VTTA  logo. VTTA = Viking Tourist Trail Accosiation Resultatet av många månaders arbete - en ny runsten är rest
The runestone is perfectly positioned in the bay and immediately becomes a popular object to photograph, especially by me.

Below; the runestone seen from different angles.

Översikt mot nordöst
Översikt mot öster Översikt mot norr och rakt framifrån Mindre minnesstenar söker kontakt Översikt mot öster Översikt mot norr

My friends, Arne and Inger from Norway and Dotes from Gotland have 
cut a rune stone each, as a gift. This is what they look like.
Gotland och Norge gav varsina stenar som gåva Norska runstenen är huggen i sandsten Längs sidan finns mer runinskrift Krampmackens sten är naturligtvis av kalksten
During the afternoon of day 2, we visit the original Viking encampment only 2 kilometres away. Nearby lie the reconstructed buildings, which blend in well with the barren, beautiful landscape. Dags att besöka orginalboplatsen i L´Ans aux medows
Once there, I throw myself down onto my back in one of the houses. The mounds that show the shape and form of the houses from a thousand years ago, are only faintly visible in the picture, but they are there! I denna husgrund kanske Leif sov en gång för 1000 år sedan
Here we visit the twenty year old reconstructed houses. Vi går mot de rekonstruerade husen straxt intill

The walls are built with 
thick layers of turf.

Impnerande 20 åriga hus med tjocka väggar av torv
There is a " guard " outside. He gives information to the visitors and I get caught up in a discussion about the history of the settlement. He says that only 30% of it has been excavated, and there is more to be found. During our talk, he carves a wooden figure which he gives to the children afterwards. Vakt - guide och informatör i forntida kläder gav rätt känsla
After a quick inspection of the outside of the house, it's time to take a look at the interior; I step inside. Dags att se husen från insidan - jag går in There are two more "guards" inside the house. I don't have a flash for my camera, so my only picture is of the housewife working on a piece of cloth by the light coming from one of the openings in the roof. Fler levande personer finns här som man kan svara på alla frågor
We walk across to the museum about 500 metres away, to watch a film about the discovery, of the settlement in 1960, and we even get to see evidence that the sight is 1000 years old and of Nordic origin; a Viking age bronze pin! På museumet 500 meter bort finns beviset - Ringnålen
Once back at Norsead, I decide to inspect 
and document the erected Viking settlement.
Tillbaka till Norstead och de större och nyare husen
The houses are on a large scale in order to facilitate a lot of visitors. They are not as well-built as the reconstructed ones, but are nice to look at. Entrén till långhuset ser ut så här All the houses are covered in turf and growing (living) grass. Here is one of the smaller houses. Ännu ett av husen i Norstead
Leif Eriksson became a Christian in the year 999, which makes him a 
hero in Newfoundland. Maby that helped to make a strong argument 
for the building of the settlement and the wooden church in the picture.
Diplomatisk byggnad ger medvind i Canada - en kyrka
Kämpar bakom runstenen Between the houses and the runestone, there is a meadow with space enough for Vikings to fight. A quarrel begins and a fight ensues. Flera dödade och några sårade

The last picture shows when reason dawns and reality hits home; 
what went wrong?

Ser kämpen inte lite moloken ut?

My outing takes me to the "Tälja" crew, of which I was a part during my time at Norstead. This ships company is the soundest I have ever met; they gave me so much inspiration that now we have a ships company on Adelsö, even though, at the time of writing, we have no boat of our own. 
Täljas fårn Norrtälje tältar på Norsteads udde Ur Täljas besättning - mins ej namnet - hjälp mig! Ur Täljas besättning - mins ej namnet - hjälp mig! Ur Täljas besättning - mins ej deras namn - hjälp mig! Ur Täljas besättning - mins ej deras namn - hjälp mig! Tälja lägger ut för färd bland valar och isberg

The Tent.

Gunilla Fornstål: Responsible for the wellbeing of the crew during the trip.

Lars Widerberg: Just as calm and kind in Canada, as he looks in this picture.

Petter Hallegren 
and Sandra Hammarberg: 
They kept us in high good humour.

Robban talks with Charles Audette, a USA crewmember of the ship Orm from Holland 

A daily trip 
with the ship "Tälja".
The fastest of all the ships, "Glad of Gillberga" from the Swedish province of Värmland, even has a magnificent tent made of frieze-cloth.
The blacksmith Lars-Erik Wiss speaks excellent English, but ' gives himself away' every 15 minutes, I know, we had our first lively discussion in English in the dark lasting 15 minutes about my blowhorn until we understand we both come from Sweden.
Besättningen på Glad har ett av de vackrare tälten I tältet bor smeden vars namn jag ännu saknar - hjälp mig!
His recipe on how to make a torch, I will have to try; " Melt equal amounts of 
pork fat with bees wax and let it harden in a rolled up cloth made from flax, 
and then you will have a beautiful, enduring flame that smells of good food.
50% bivax & 50% fläskflot med lintygsveke brinner "gott" och länge
The most tragic part of the journey, was to see the broken ship from Holland. 
It took 5 years to build by hand and then it was accidentally dropped from a 
crane lorry. Now the ship stands upon land with a broken prow. 
Man blir förbannad - tappa en så vacker båt - hoppas den går att laga
A pre-requisite for allowing me to cut a rune stone was that the directive in Norstead knew of me and that I could do the job. Olle Hoffman it was, who tipped them off.
This is when I met him for the first time,; he displays original Viking age objects to the visitors at Norstead.
Olle Hoffman visade orginalfynd från Gotland
I found another blacksmith 
and this one is fully employed
Ännu okänd smed - Hjälp mig igen!

Ivar Larsson, another member of the "Krampmacken" from Gotland crew, throws a warp (kedge)

Knepig gotlänning med varpa i högsta hugg
Travelling with me on the journey, was a small bottle of special "porsbrännvin" (vodka with herbs) given to me by my friend Raino.

I took my farewell of the runestone and then we shared the bottle and wondered if/ when we would meet again. Then I headed for the airport. Two days later I was back on Adelsö again, filled with memories and my mission accomplished."
Dags att åka hem - ett sista avsked - när ses vi igen?

Uppdaterad 04 juni, 2007 av Kalle Runristare All rights reserved, ©