Freydis Joanna

Last weekend, a replica Viking ship came to Toronto and being proud of my heritage, I naturally had to go check it out.

As we're waiting for the bus, the latest monsoon hit Toronto (making it look much like this, causing things like sinkholes) and by the time we're on our way, west on Lakeshore Boulevard, it is much more Lake than Shore. Seriously. Huge expanses of water, up to well past ankle height, creeping up your leg/tire. By the time we got to the drop-off point that harbor front, the street looked like this. Yes, that's a curb.

It was beautiful, though, the aftermath of the storm lending a light to the sky and the lake that I've never seen before, a strange murky green in the water and above, metallic blue with a strange glow, almost impossible to capture in a photograph

I went out on a small pier and was surrounded by water and a westerly wind and when I took a deep breath and closed my eyes, the scent of wet sand and big water hit me and it was thisclose to smelling like ocean. Paradise. I hated to leave but there was more adventure to be had.

As we made our way to the Viking ship, we stopped and chatted with some of the wildlife

and then... there she was. Not in the water due to the water coming from above, but safely in a place where it wouldn't drown. Freydis Joanna is a replica of a Gokstad Boat built by the craftsmen at the
Viking Museum in Roskilde, Denmark using a 200-year-old oak tree and funded by a legacy from Karen and Kresten Sommer. It is a true replica, built with replica tools and methods from the Viking period and was made for the Danish-Canadian National Museum in Alberta (you can read more about Freydis Joanna here, in both English and Danish). A Gokstad Boat is smaller, used for coastal sailing and raiding parties (it could go on one of the big longships). And, I think, just the perfect size for my demented funeral plans... y'know, should I ever die).

The beautiful swooping lines instantly felt like home
- I don't know why, just that it did.

Everything was handmade and was just perfect.

the boat is named after two women: Freydis, sister of Leif the Lucky and according to the sagas, a strong leader herself and also bears the middle name of Karen Sommer

I spent a lot of time just looking at the rudder - so many beautiful details showing the craft of ship building

Rudder detail

Sail detail

When alerted to the fact that it smelled good, too, I got lost for a while in the scent of wood and resin (and was completely unconcerned about how ridiculous I looked inhaling the boat)

photo by DavidG

This one gives me the feeling of raiders coming on a storm

It was a beautiful day and a tremendous experience. And I'm not plotting ways to put her in my living room. At all. Although, maybe if I move the couch...