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

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