Varangian Biker

Ingvar the Far-Travelled

Almost a thousand years ago, Ingvar the Far-Travelled set sail with thirty viking ships from the Stockholm region. They sailed east to open up a trade route to Serkland near the Caspian Sea.

We still now about this viking campaign from the icelandic viking saga Ingvar the Far-Travelled. It tells tall tales about fights with giants and dragons.

Ingvar sailed east over the Baltic sea, then south on the rivers Neva and Volchov to Holmgård, modern day Novgorod in Russia. From there they continued south on the rivers Lovat and Dnieper to Konugård, modern day Kiev. They had to pull their boats on land past strong rapids.

For three years, they stayed with King Jaroslav the First in Konugård. The trip then continued on a river east from Gårdarike. There they met the queen Silkesiv, and later helped the king Jolf in a battle against his brother. They make it as far as the Caspian Sea before they turn back.

Ingvars trip ended disastrously. Only a single ship returned to tell of Ingvars death in Serkland in the year 1041. Most died of an epidemic as they started their long journey back home.

Today, about 25 to 30 runestones remain in the area around Stockholm and lake Mälaren, telling the same story about that fateful trip. No other single event has as many runestones raised after it.

This summer I spent eight days riding my motorcycle to visit as many of these runestones as I could.

In total, I visited 30 runestones about Ingvar the Far-Travelled’s epic journey. Altogether, I rode 2300 kilometers on my Harley Davidson Street Bob.

My next trip will be to visit all the Varangian runestones. These tell the story about the vikings who worked as the imperial guard in Constantinople.

Twitter thread

Map of Ingvar runestones in Stockholm region

Rides

Day 1 - South of Stockholm

May 30, 2021

I’m starting my travels by visiting a runestone to the south of Stockholm, in Vansta.

Day 2 - Sigtuna

Jun 6, 2021

Near the town Sigtuna, where the king lived, there are three runestones mentioning Ingvar the Far-Travelled. I also rode to Arlanda airport, where a recently found huge runestone has been moved into one of the terminals.

Day 3 - Södermanland

Jun 13, 2021

In Södermanland there are many Ingvar runestones. On my third day riding, I visited five of them.

Day 4 - South of lake Mälaren

Jun 20, 2021

On the south side of lake Mälaren, I visited no less than 10 runestones or fragments. This was probably the longest day of my runestone rides this summer.

Day 5 - Enköping

Jul 4, 2021

On my fifth day of runestone riding, I went to the town of Enköping on the north side of lake Mälaren, where there are three Ingvar runestones. Unfortunately, one of them was locked inside a church.

Day 6 - Västerås

Jul 11, 2021

At the far western side of lake Mälaren, near the town Västerås, I visited two more Ingvar runestones.

Day 7 - Norrköping

Jul 12, 2021

A four hour ride on small roads to the south of Stockholm, near the town Norrköping, there were three Ingvar runestones.

Day 8 - North of Sweden

Jul 13, 2021

The two last runestones are found further north in Sweden. I visited these while driving my car north for my vacation.