Wednesday, April 23, 2014

A Visit to Folkvang Norse

By Grey Lupindo

       I recently visited Folkvang Norse, located at Lexicolo  (239, 15, 45).   In Norse mythology, Folkvang is the home of the Viking Goddess Freja.   In SL, Folkvang is one of the most unique and interesting places on the grid.  The site was created over five years ago by three SL residents, Dizzi Sternberg, NightShade Fugu, and Janet Rossini.   The three live in different countries, England, Denmark, and the United States, respectively, and met in SL.   
         Dizzi Sternberg told me that Folkvang, “is open to all as a public park as we believe open spaces are rare in SL.”  They also hope to share more accurate information about Viking life than is usually shown in the media.  They have succeeded in doing this in a variety of fun and exciting ways.    
         To begin my journey I teleported into the main landing spot at Lexicolo (224, 11, 2998).   This area has a floor map with teleports to all the major spots within Folkvang.   It also has Viking buildings, clothing, and other useful items for sale if you want to RP or explore in proper attire.   However, wearing Viking clothing is not required.   Do wear comfortable shoes or boots, however.   Folkvang is huge and has lots of places to explore.
           I went straight to Sessrumnir, which is Freja's Castle.   I kept on eye on the Jaguar guarding the courtyard as I quickly walked up the winding staircase.   Inside are lots of nooks and rooms to explore.  Among the many rooms are a library and an art gallery.   Most of the walls showcase beautiful paintings and drawings.   

         I found a few treasure chests in some of the rooms.  I didn’t realize it at the time, but the chests are part of Freja’s  Quest.   In this Quest you try to find treasures while you search for the Goddess Freja.  I found three treasure boxes, but I need to find more.  I couldn’t open them until I found some previous ones.  I looked around a bit, but I didn’t find them.   But this sim has so many other treasures that I wasn’t disappointed.  I’ll come back another time to search more thoroughly.    
         As I wandered through the rooms I also found that some of the items and furniture are for sale.  However, there are no annoying signs to spoil the beauty and ambiance.   You only realize the items are for sale when you click on them.  You need to click, however, because so many of the items are magical.  It takes a click or two to turn them on or open them up.    My advice is to touch everything.  If you don’t, you may miss out on a hidden room or an interesting object.   Explore everywhere, too.  At the end of one very long climb I found a beautiful outdoor room with a table and carved dragon chairs.    On another rooftop I found a flying dragon ride. 
         I flew the dragon ride into Thor’s Garden, which has ancient rune stones in it.  Beautiful flute music began to play, too.  There was also a wild boar hunt that I could have joined in, but I skipped that.  There are other free games to play that don’t involve hunting.  I fed some ducks, chopped wood, explored a Viking village, and more.  
            While I was exploring another building, a horse and cart clomped across the bridge.  I decided to hop on and ride around the site.  I soon found that Folkvang has more things to ride than any other place in my recent memory.   In addition to the flying dragon and the horse cart, I took a tour in a NorsePunk Balloon and sailed a small boat.   During my visit I saw even more things to ride that I didn’t have time to try:  an elephant, a swan, a giant hen, horses, and different types of boats.   
           The balloon tour started at Hedeby and flew past the Folkvang castle and the Valkyrie tower.   It made a stop at Janet’s Land, which has laboratories and a variety of inventions and gadgets to see.   The tour continued, but I got off here.  I heard trains and saw Shallot, another beautiful building that was nearby, both of which I wanted to explore.    
             The Valkyrie Transport Rail Road was my favorite ride.   The first thing that struck me as I waited at the station was the variety of trains.   Some carried cargo or did other industrial work.  All of the trains were unique and different.   I watched for a while before getting into one of the passenger coaches.  The train has great sound effects and a realistic rocking feel to it.   I was even able to bring along the cup of Steelbuck coffee that I had picked up at the stations’ rooftop cafe.        
            For residents who like challenges, there are four different types of quests here.   The Visitor area, located at Lexicolo (239, 15, 45) has teleports and information cards about the different options.  The quests combine fun with Norse mythology.  “The Road to Hel” goes though the Underworld to the throne room of Hel.  “The Old Vanirheimr” goes to the home of the Vanir Gods and Goddesses, Njord Frej and Freja.  The journey goes through both lovely landscapes as well as some hidden worlds.  “ Back to the Beginning” is said to be the hardest quest as it goes back in time to Norse creation.
           I went on the newest adventure, “Journey to England”, which is an amazing 30 to 40 minute simulator ride.  I boarded a Viking long boat in Yorvig. The ride portrays a Viking couple’s journey from Denmark to England, approximately from the RL home of Nightshade in Denmark to Sternberg in England.   Along the way they encounter storms, enemies and other hazards.    The storm, which includes a great lightning show, is so amazingly realistic that I could almost smell the wet sheep that shared the boat with us.  Sternberg told me that all of the places named in the story really exist, and the night sky has the stars accurately placed. 
           Folkvang is one of those wonderful sites that you can spend hours and hours exploring.   I didn’t have time to check out the other quests, the dwarf caves, any of the underground worlds, or the harbor.  There’s even a hidden amusement park called Dizzi World that you can only reach by going through the subway, which is located at the train station.  I peeked inside it, just long enough to know I must return. There are many other hidden gems and jewels in Folkvang, too.  All of them are waiting to be discovered.
 Grey Lupindo

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