We stepped out of our hotel in Stockholm to a bright, sunny day with a temperature of 11 C ( 52 F).
We drove for a little over a half hour to a city called Mariefred. Mariefred is known as the home of Gripsholm Slott or the Griffin Castle.
Gripsholm Slott or Castle at Mariefred, Sweden
The first version of this castle was built in 1370 by Bo Jonsson Grip. This castle was named after his heraldic shield which portrays a Griffin (grip). The tower of this castle was built in the 1540's. At the beginning of the 18th century a wind vane in the form of a griffin was installed.
The two cannons which are in the first courtyard are trophies of a battle with Russia in 1623. These cannons are known as "the Boar and the Sow" as one cannon is bigger than the other and the decoration at the exit end of the cannon reminds one of wild boars. The Russian script on the cannons shows that they called these cannons the wolves as you can see from the other end of the cannon.
Cannons seized from Russia known as the Boar and the Sow
The Russian words on the cannons call them the wolves
Boar's head decoration
Wolf with cannon ball in mouth
We find it interesting that all these different castles have their own shape and history. This is a brief tour through the Griffin castle. This castle, like the others, had a first courtyard and then after you walked through that courtyard and another thick wall you came to an inner courtyard.
Inside first courtyard
Statue in room off first courtyard
Inner courtyard of castle
Water well in inner courtyard
We were able to walk through the inner courtyard and out to the back of the castle. This castle sits on Lake Malaren which is the same lake that is in Stockholm.
View from castle to town across Lake Malaren which stretches to Stockholm
Back of castle - view from the lake shore
There are two rune stones out in front of Griffin Castle. Rune stones often told stories or were tributes to those who had passed away. The expression "rune" to us meant that it had a story on the rock but we have learned that "rune" was also an alphabet.
This is the first rune stone that you come to as you walk to the castle. This rune was erected by Tola (?) in memory of her son, Harald. This rune is from the 11th century.
It is translated as "They fared like men far after gold
and in the east gave eagle food
They died southward in Serkland"
It is explained that the expression "gave eagle food" means to kill enemies.
This is the second rune stone that you come to as you walk to the castle. This rune is also from the 11th century and was raised by Halgulv and Oulv in memory of their brother, Kaitilmund. As we do not know very much about Swedish history we do not know who these people were.
We spotted these iris growing in swampy land between the castle and the parking lot.
Irises growing in swamp
We had stopped in the town of Mariefred to do a little shopping. When we got back to the car and started it we found that the check engine light was on. We drove about two blocks to the parking lot for the castle and opened the hood of the car and checked the oil. It was a little low so after walking around the castle we drove over to the closest gas station. There were no mechanics on duty but a woman who seemed to know her way around motors came out and looked things over. She agreed with us that the oil was low so we purchased a litre of oil for the equivalent of $30.00 CDN. We also topped up the liquids in the car and the check engine light did not go out. The woman suggested that as the car was running well and nothing was evident that we should continue our journey and on Monday when we are in Oslo that we should go to a Ford dealership to have this checked out. She also suggested undoing the battery for a short time to reboot the electronics but we have no way to do that. We drove another four hours with no problems other than that the check engine light is on. Reminds us of an episode of "Big Bang Theory" where Penny has driven her car for a year with the check engine light on before she actually has a problem.
We found our hotel for the night in this town of Trollhattan and did not find any trolls so we guess we are OK.
We notice that even at 8 PM the sun is still high in the sky. Last night we went to bed at 10:30 PM and it was still bright out. We are at about 60 degrees latitude which is equal with the northern border of Saskatchewan and the Northwest Territories. This explains why at this time of the year it is light so late in the day. It also explains why it is much cooler than one would expect at this time of year. Stockholm, Oslo, Bergen and Helsinki are all at about the 60th degree north.
Today we had sunny weather, cloudy weather, rain and a high of 18 degrees C ( 65 F).