Thursday, January 30, 2014

Winter Update

By Gemma Cleanslate  
 I wanted to update you on the still existing winter fun places. I bought some lovely winter skating and skiing and walking outfits so want to use them before packing away in a box . I took a quick tour and some of those I wrote about have already started to melt, like Calas sims which will be closed for February. but still has skating and skiing until the end of the month. Horseback riding there is always great fun. I went over to Palma to check and took the tram tour and tho winter decor is there. Valentines Day is the theme at the moment. and it is absolutely beautiful. I get the idea this is a place where friends love to just hang out and chat. 
 Aero Pines is still covered with snow and  ice and the festival ends January 31 so take a look.  . But, I see the Football stadium (American Football Superbowl   Feb 2. )  is in place for the big game Sunday and there will be a big party going on.There are some cute outfits and players uniforms available for purchase nearby. Cindy Bolero also sent out a message to say that the lovely Mer village has moved to a new location . Pick up a brochure at the Park to see all the fun activities open to you there. 
There was one spectacular region from years past  that I did not find. It was one of the first winter activity place I ever visited in sl at least 6 years ago and I was so sorry to find it missing. The sims on Wolf Mountain Resort had so much to offer all year round. I talked to the former owner, Ṧṇö Winterẘölḟ (peach.fizz). She told me sorrowfully it is gone for now but hopes someday to resurrect it . I hope so too and wish her well. Have a terrific sl  winter before it is gone. I think winter started  a bit early in some venues and ended at the New Year. Well,  I can visit the Aussie winter places in the summer but then I will have to unpack my boxes... too much trouble!
Gemma Cleanslate

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Myconos Island: A Greek Island in Second Life

By Bixyl Shuftan

Last month around Christmastime, I came across a resident named Artemis (artemisgreece). It turned out she was the owner of a Greek island sim in Second Life: Myconos. Artemis, whom is Greek herself, invited me to take a look at the place, so I went over.

Myconos, located at the Hellenic Island sim, is based on the real life island of Mykonos, which is a little more than thirty square miles and is in the South Aegean Sea between mainland Greece and Turkey. Second Life's Myconos is smaller, but has much of its Greek charm.

The entrance point takes one next to it's travel agency. At the time, there was a Christmas tree there, but it was removed after the holidays. Artemis showed me around, the two of us going down the town streets. Among one of the first places she showed me was one of the Eastern Orthodox churches, based on a real one on the real life island. "See how peculiar it is?" Artemis asked me, "no corners, no wood. Just plaster." The inside had a number of Christian images.

Our next stop was at a tavern near the ocean. Approaching it, we were greeted, "Welcome to KoutoukiTaverna." The building itself was used to store wine cask with most of the seating outside, reflecting that on the real life island, it doesn't rain much. There were a number of tables set up, each with some food and wine. There was a little space between them for dancing, and a small band area where people could play some instruments, a guitar, an electronic organ, and something native-looking in the middle chair. Artemis pointed to the middle one, "Bouzouki, a Greek instrument." She explained they were first made in ancient times.

We continued to go about the town, walking down it's streets. Artemis commented, "narrow streets with bougamvilleas, all white and blue." She stated this was a common sight on Mykonos in real life, "small houses with teraces." We then came across a tiny church, "and orthodox churches all around." This was the smallest in town, probably designed to seat less than a dozen people.

Going further, we came across an arm wrestling table, then another tavern next to a creek with a recreation area with swings, a volleyball court that could keep score, an outdoor bar, and winsurfers and lounge chairs to sun oneself in.There was also a backgammon game on the beach.

Artemis and I soon parted, but I went back later. Going about this second time, I noticed other details that added to the atmosphere of the place. There were shops, such as the ice cream place with cookies and cakes as well. There was an occasional "artificial avatar" about to keep the place from looking empty. There were also local stalls where fruits and veggies as well as meat still on the hook and a bit bloody were on display.  Across the island, the radio streams play a mix of rock and Greek music. One can be hearing a man singing in Greek one moment, and a few steps to the left be listening to "Green Day."

The place was well done. A nice tribute to the island it reflects. One can look up information about the real island at:

"Thank you soooo much for coming here. you are welcome any time.  After all Greeks are famous for their hospitality."

Hellenic Island (13/202/23)

Bixyl Shuftan

Monday, January 6, 2014

Two Coastal Retreats: Belegaer and the Island of Armenelos

By Grey Lupindo

I started the new year with a trip to two connected sims, Belegaer and the Island of Armenelos.   Both are part of the award-winning Calas Galadhon Park.    Belegaer, located at BELEGAER, BELEGAER (32, 75, 21), is an open water retreat that has a number of hidden surprises within its borders.   While exploring there, I saw a nearby villa.  It was so beautiful that I knew I had to visit it, too.    The villa is located at The Island of Armenelos, ARMENELOS (146, 106, 21).
         I found these two jewels of SL when I visited the main sim, Calas Galadhon Park in December.    Created in January, 2010, by SL residents Tymus Tenk and Truck Meredith, Calas is an 11 region estate.  My friend and fellow reporter Gemma Cleanslate reported about this magical place in “A Wintery Favorite:  Calas Galadhon Park”, published December 13, 2013.     During my visit there I saw posters for Belegaer and the Island of Armenelos.   Unlike the active and busy winter sims, Belegaer and the Island of Armenelos are warm weather sites with an emphasis on quiet beauty. 
        At the landing point for Belegaer I found the “Blackspot”, an ancient sailing ship that may be haunted, and a small kayak that is available for anyone to use.    The “Blackspot”, like many places on Belegaer, has dance balls ready for couples to use.    But I didn’t want to spend any time exploring the ship.   I was eager to try out the kayak and see the other sights.
       The kayak was a perfect fit, and I was soon out in the open water.   The ambiance is wonderful here.  Sea gulls and pelicans call out as they fly by.  The sound of crashing waves alerts you to the danger of getting too close to the rocks.    I’m sure I heard a pair of humpback whales, too.             
      Although kayaking on the water was serene, the outcropping of rocks near land was more inviting to me.    Ignoring the danger, I headed toward them.   At one point I was hung up on a reef, but I quickly floated free.     I guided the kayak through an arch and was pleasantly surprised to find a beautiful garden near the shore. 
     I left the kayak and waded ashore.  At first all I saw was the garden, but I kept exploring.   On the other side I found many hidden treats, like benches for relaxing and great places to snap pictures.   Bird watching is great here, too. 
      Tucked away on the far side of the garden is a private pool that would be perfect for couples.   Nearby I found a picnic blanket with a basket of goodies and a nice vintage wine.   Dance balls are located in many spots, often concealed in statutes of birds or sea lions.    Although the area seemed small at first, the path winds up and around in a way that makes it feel bigger. 
       When it started to get dark I stopped exploring and tried to find my way back to the kayak.    By the time I found my landing spot, the kayak was gone.    While I was scrambling over the rocks, I slipped and fell into the water.  What a happy accident that turned out to be!  Under the water is another beautiful park.  I swam with some fish and looked around a bit.  Because it was now very dark, I opted to teleport out and come back another time to visit the villa.       
        When I returned to explore the Island of Armenelos, I teleported in at The Island of Armenelos, ARMENELOS (146, 106, 21).  At the landing point I was greeted by Shelly the sea lion, who was looking for a treat.    After I fed her, I walked up the stone steps toward the villa.
         At the first landing I came to a dance area near a colorful fountain.    The opulence and beauty of this sim is evident immediately.   As I continued up the long set of steps, I found a number of decorative mosaic tiles on the landings.  There are scenes of dolphins, turtles, a swordfish, and other marine life.
        At the top of the steps are apartments that are open for exploring.   There are no rentals here.  Visitors are free to walk inside the villas without worrying about invading anyone’s privacy.   There are many apartments connected by narrow passages and stucco stairs.    I had a great time exploring in and around the many villas.
        Outside many of the apartments and on some larger patios are chairs where visitors can relax in the sunshine.   I met resident DowJones Fullstop when I stopped to have a cup of coffee.   Fullstop often comes to this and other Calas sites.   He told me about the skating and other activities that can be found here.     
         I was impressed by the unique and detailed interiors that can be seen inside the apartments.  When I was talking to Fullstop, he had remarked about how realistic the site looks.   I agree with his observation.   Tenk and Meredith have added many unique items that make this site special.   For example, in one apartment a small oscillating fan sits on a table and cools the room.   Other villas have pet cats inside while birds chirp on the ledges outside.            
         On their website, Tenk and Meredith state that these sites are their gift back to the residents of SL.    Although they accept donations to help with the operational costs, the donation boxes are limited and located only at the entrances to the sims.    Tenk and Meredith have created a perfect place for anyone who wants to enjoy some quiet time on the sea or relax at a seaside villa.     

Grey Lupindo