I type these words in a seafood restaurant at the main square of Visby on the island of Gotland. I haven’t been here for almost a decade. Today I had the rare pleasure of teaching undergrads. My old grad-school buddy Gunilla Runesson at Visby University College gave me four hours to talk about the Late Iron Age elite, which is what occupied most of my working hours from 1994 until last fall. So I got up at 06:15 this morning, rode a tiny propeller plane across the sea and did three hours on settlements and one hour on graves. Very nice students!
Afterwards I walked through the Medieval city and out to the former artillery regiment’s area where, for reasons of regional jobs policy, much of the National Heritage Board is based these days in a shiny new building. Johan CarlstrÃ¶m showed me around the place as the sun set, I met my friend Lars Lundqvist and I chatted to a bunch of other colleagues. This is, for instance, where the country’s excellent on-line sites & monuments register is kept.
Then I walked back into town and made my usual round: the Eastern City Gate, Horse St., CramÃ©r Sq., Beach St., St. Olaf’s ruin, the Botanical Garden, where I said hi to the Empress tree, Main Square with St. Catherine’s ruin. Everything a little ghostly and melancholy in the dark and snow, trees denuded. And here I am now, belly full of fish soup, bread and aÃ¯oli.