In December 2014, Ty Tenk contacted me to let me know that Calas Galadhon would be closing its gates for the month of January 2015, while he and Truck Meredith took their annual hiatus from things following the busy October through December period. He also informed me that during the hiatus, there would, again as usual, be some remodelling within the parks, and as a result, the long-running recreation of the famous Santorini, located in the Armenelos region, would be packed away, and the region itself re-purposed.
While Santorini may well have gone from Calas Galadhon, Armenelos itself formally re-opened on Sunday, March 8th, and true to their word, Ty and Truck have created something truly fabulous. Relocated to occupy the north-west corner of the estate, and sitting alongside a new addition to the park, Long Lake, which Ty and Tuck have added to Calas in order to bring the total number of regions in the park back up to 12, the new Armenelos is a visual and aural delight.
On arrival, the visitor is presented with a rugged, wooded landscape, with high cliffs facing the sea to the west, west, and which drop slowly to lower-lying land to the east, and the bridge connecting Armenelos with the mostly low-lying islands of Long Lake, and which in turn offer passage to the Misty Mountains. Across Armenelos, tall spires of rock and flat-topped plateaus push their way between the trees, offering high vantage points from which to survey the world, while paths an trail wind through the tall grass and under the shade of high boughs, encouraging visitors to wander and explore.
And there really is a lot to see; so much so, that unless you are keen-eyed, you’re liable to miss many of the finer touches tucked away across the region which bring it to life. For a start, make sure to have local sound enabled; Armenelos has a wonderful sound scape that enhances the feel of immersion: waves crashing against the cliffs; the singing of birds inland, the bark and cry of gulls wheeling over offshore island where they and pelicans are nesting; the honk of male deer, the plaintive cry of a high-soaring eagle or two; the slightly worrisome howl of wolves through the trees…
Signposts close to the landing point will point you in the general direction of many of the region’s attractions, such as the oriental pavilion, where you can enjoy a refreshing cup of tea under the benevolent gaze of Buddha. From here you can follow a wooden board walk around the rocky escarpment that rises to one side of the pavilion and hop onto a boat with a friend or two and enjoy a trip around and through the waters of Armenelos and Long Lake, passing the Dolphin Cafe, which remains in a re-modelled form on the west side of the land, and which resume its live entertainments from Monday, March 9th at 18:00 SLT (Oz’s club also remains overhead as well).
For the daring, there’s the opportunity to scale the high plateaus and then traverse between the various high-points via rope glides supplied by Cube Republic, which have excellent camera positioning for giving you a real feel for shimmying your way over deep gorges on a single length of rope! There are also, of course, all the touches one would expect from Ty and Truck – places to sit and chat, to cuddle or dance, and hidden walks which might not be discovered on a first visit.
For me the magic of Armenelos doesn’t just come from all of this; it also comes from the little details that have been added throughout the region, and which really do require a keen eye in order to spot. Such as spotting one of Morgan Garrett’s marvellous and beautifully detailed little brids sitting on a bough or watching you from the side of a board walk, song occasionally bursting forth from it; or looking up into the branches of a tree and spying a little lizard, frozen in place, looking back and you and pretending it really isn’t there…
Given all of this, you’ve probably gathered that Armenelos isn’t so much a place to be visited, but rather to be experienced. It its new form, it addes further depth to the already remarkable Calas Galadhon parklands – which, if you haven’t visited before, I strongly urge you to do so, as there is much to see, including new attractions. Should you do so, remember you can take a horse from near the park’s main entrance and ride up from Calas Galadhon, through Mirrormere and over the Misty Mountains to Long Lake (which, btw, offers activities of its own), and then on to Armenelos, making for a wonderful trail ride.
When visiting, please also remember that Ty and Truck provide all 12 of the Calas Galadhon park regions purely for the benefit of other residents. They do not offer land rentals or use the regions to run an form of business, nor profit from the estate. They provide 40% of the total running costs out of their own pockets, the rest being made up by donations by visitors. So please, when visiting, do consider using one of the donation points scattered throughout the park to show your appreciation for, and support of, their work and generosity in bringing to much to Second Life for us all to enjoy.