My travels around the world


Around Lake Mälaren, Sweden

Sigurdsristning (The Sigurd Carving)

Sigurdsristning or Sigurd Carving at Sundbyholm in Sweden
Otter, one of Rodmar's three sons

.... continued

In the next view tips I would like to explain the several parts of the Sigurds Ristning by telling the sage of Sigurd Fafnesbana.... hahaha, or actually the small part of the saga that is shown on the rock, as it is a very lenghty story and only part of it has been written down here....

The Saga of Sigurd Fafnesbana :

"Otter was one of Rodmar's three sons. When he fished for salmon, he was used to take on the shape of an otter. On one such occassion ?sir (Norse Gods) Loki, H?rnir and Odin happened by. Otter was killed by a stone that Loki threw at him. Later that same evening, the ?sir went to Rodmar and showed him their prey. Rodmar became angry. He demanded that the ?sir fill the otter skin with gold to atone for their crime.

Loki went to the Andvara rapids and used his net to catch the dwarf Andvari, who had taken the shape of a pike. The dwarf purchased his freedom with all the gold he owned except for one golden ring. When Loki ripped the ring from his hand, the dwarf spoke a curse over all who would come in contact with the gold.

Once the father Rodmar had received the gold, he did not want to share it with his other two sons, Fafnir and Regin."

In the picture you can see the carving of Otter, son of Rodmar

Fafnir the snake

Sigurdsristning:  Fafnir the snake Fafnir the snake

"Fafnir became enraged and killed his father to get at the gold. Thereafter, Fafnir took the shape of a snake and brooded atop the gold at a place called Gnitaheden."

The snake is the part that goes all around the ristning and this is the head that you can see on the right side of the carvings. The snake is Fafnir, son of Rodmar. In the lower part of his snake body is the Runic inscription. I'll write more about these Runic inscriptions in another tip.

The tools of Regin

Sigurdsristningen: The tools of Regin
The tools of Regin

"Regin, who was a smith, wanted a share of the patrimony and planned to seize the gold through trickery. He brought Sigurd, who had earlier become his foster son, into his plans. He forged a razor-sharp sword, named Gram, for Regin."

In this close up of the Sigurdsristning you can see the bellows, anvil, hammer, a pair of tongs and a fire which Regin used to forge the sword. The great part of this detail of the Ristning is that it is one of the first pictures of tools; giving it a big industrial historic value.

Sigurd killing Fafnir

Sigurdsristningen: Sigurd killing Fafnir
Sigurd killing Fafnir

"Urged on by his foster father Regin, Sigurd dug a hole at Gnitaheden where Fafnir, in the shape of a snake, usually slithered his way down to the lake to drink. When Fafnir entered the trap, Sigurd stabbed him through the heart with his sword, Gram. Fafnir died and Sigurd was then given the name Fafnesbane (the Bane of Fafnir)"

In the carving you can see Sigurd killing Fafnir by sticking the sword into the snake body (=Fafnir).

Sigurd putting his finger in his mouth

Sigurdsristningen:  Sigurd putting his finger in his mouth
Sigurd putting his finger in his mouth

"After the deed Sigrud accidentally burnt himself while roasting Fafnir's heart over an open fire. He put his fingers in his mouth and got Fafnir's blood on his tongue. Instantly he could understand birdsong.

The birds warned Sigurd. Regin was planning to kill him, partly to revenge his brother Fafnir, partly so that he would have the treasure to himself. The birds adviced Sigurd to kill Regin."

In this detail of the Sigurdsristning you can see Sigurd putting his fingers in his mouth and get Fafnir's blood on his tongue.

Regin and his cut off head

Sigurdsristningen:  Regin and his cut off head Regin and his cut off head

"Sigurd sought out Regin and cut off his head so that he would escape his thoughts in the future."

In this part of the carvings you can see Regin with his cut off head laying to the right side of him.

Do you want to know more about Vikings?



I am rather fascinated by the Vikings and the traces that they left here in Sweden. Maybe it is because I live so close to a Viking site that I am so intrigued by it. Here are some links to my and Åkes pages where we have written a bit more about the Vikings:

- Sigurdsristning at Sundbyholm
- Anundshög at Västerås
- the most famous of all runestones in Rök
- The Vikings by Åke

Lake Mälaren Area

Lake Mälaren
Around Lake Mälaren

Area: The Lake Mälaren and the close area around it.

Mälaren is the third in size lake in Sweden. It has a climate quiet different compared to other close by areas. It is more humid and warmer in the summer, but not as cold in the winter. This has created a specific flora and also a special fauna. Several species of flowers and trees only grow around Lake Mälaren and in the south of Sweden. The mistletoe for instance is rather rare in Sweden but we can see dozens of them from our window.

Many fortifications and castles have been built around the lake. You can for instance visit 5 Royal Castles by boat on a 6-hour trip roundtrip from Stockholm. This building of fortification and permanent settlements began early, around 5000 BC, and there are many fort hills and archeologically sites around.

Everyone has probably heard about the Vikings, and you can still find lots about them in this area. I live only a 10 minutes walk from a very important Viking monument: The Sigurdsristningen. Being so close to a site like this makes me feel in touch with this part of Swedish history and has made me fascinated by the early history of Sweden. Around Lake Mälaren there are many spots where you can find signs of early culture, like in Birka and Sigtuna. Along the roads you can see a lot of Runic Stones.

Click on the map to go to the destination pages.

Interesting points to see in the area are:

  • Anundshög: old burial mounds from Viking Age.
  • Birka: ruins from old capital city of Sweden.
  • Mariefred with Gripsholm Castle. A picturesque village and a beautiful castle. In the castle is also the Swedish National Portrait Collection.
  • Sigtuna: old city with lots of historical background.
  • Sko Kloster: one of the most popular castles with a huge collections of painting, furniture and arms. The latter is one of the largest in Europe.
  • Sundby with Sundyholms Castle and the famous stone carvings from the time of the Vikings: Sigurdsristningen.
  • Eskilstuna: not a real tourist destination, but it has some nice places. My favourite of all is the Fors Kyrka (Fors Church). Also worth visiting is the Klosterkyrka, sculpture 'Hand of God' by Miles, the historic area of "Rademachersmedjorna" and the museum "Faktorimuseet".
  • Taxinge slott: Get a taste of the typical Swedish Christmas celebrations at the yearly Christmas market at Taxinge Slott.
  • Tidö slott: A beautiful castle with a toy museum.
  • Ängsö Castle A haunted castle from the 15th century and one if the many smaller castles in this area.
  • Strängnäs: one of Sweden's oldest towns. The highlight of this city is its beautiful cathedral.
  • Västerås: is one of the top 10 cities of Sweden. Suggestions: visit the park (Djäkneberget), interesting for the many boulders with inscriptions. The old part of town with historical houses at Kyrkbacken and the Cathedral.
  • Örebro: is an university city and the 7th largest city in Sweden. Places to see are castle from the 13th century and Wadköping, which is the old town and now open air museum.