It’s been a while since I’ve last written about Binemust, the Full region held by Biné Rodenberger, a place we’ve oft enjoyed visiting for its landscapes and gardens both above and below the region’s waters. However, we were recently drawn back due to Biné having spent the last few months creating something very new and different for the region, and which she recently opened to the public.
Abrahamstrup as the region is now known, presents a great mountain of an island rising from the sea and topped by the stern walls of a tall, blocky castle keep, sans surrounding curtain walls and courtyards. The island rises steeply from a narrow ring of shingle beach, the rock offers no real means to ascend to the great keep – at least from the outside. How then, to reach it? The About Land description holds a clue:
A Mountain Island – A Labyrinth of Caves – A Castle.
And indeed, on the shoreline facing the landing point – located on a deck built out over the water and home to a small shack – is an entrance to a cave or cavern at the foot of the mountain, the board walk connecting deck to shore pointing a crooked finger towards it.
Those arriving are offered an introductory note card that explains more about what to expect, together with a flashlight. Whether the latter is required largely depends on personal choice – and possibly whether visitors opt for the local environment settings or tinker with them viewer-side. During our first visit, I opted to initially go with my preferred viewer-side settings before switching back to the region’s environment. For the pictures shown here, I used ~Clouds Fluffy White Elven Sky, by Stevie Davros, tweaked a little, together with the region’s settings.
Crossing to the shore and entering the first cavern gives a hint of the engaging curio of exploration that awaits: a great façade modelled on that of Al Khazneh (The Treasury) at Petra in Jordan faces the cavern entrance, while to one side, glowing flowers suggest a path to the heavy door of the façade. Across the cavern, a large sign suggests people EAT – with places to do so close by – while another offers the invitation LET’S GET WEIRD.
Pass through the massive wooden door of the façade, and the path plunges downward into the first chamber of a network of caverns and tunnels. Each of these caves – about which I’d prefer not to say too much lest it spoil discovery – offers a certain setting, with those underwater offering a feel for actually being underwater, despite the flaming torches lining the tunnel walls (having the viewer’s Advanced lighting Model enabled – Preferences → Graphics is strongly recommended during a visit), giving them a wonderful fantasy feel.
Along the way through the tunnels is a sign offering the direction to reach the castle, but when exploring for the first time, I recommend ignoring it and going in the other direction. This allows you to visit the rest of the caverns and tunnels first and avoid possibly missing what’s on offer. One of these tunnels may lead you back outside through a narrow cleft sitting above the eastern beach, if so, there are some local points of interest to see before re-entering the tunnels once more.
When you are ready, the ways to the castle can be found within one of the underwater chambers. And yes, I did mean “ways” – there are two teleport options available: a door to the very top of the keep’s central tower (use the pail of flowers and candles through which you emerge onto the roof to make a return), and a mirror that leads into the castle itself.
Throughout her time in Second Life, Biné has been a patron of the arts, and this has always been reflected in her region designs, as continues to be the case within Abrahamstrup. In fact, it is the presence of pieces by number of artists within this design that also make me hesitate in revealing too much of what lies within caverns and castle rooms. However, careful exploration will reveal pieces by the likes of Cica Ghost, Haveit Neox – whose alien and telescope found within the main hall of the castle offer something of a nod towards his Paper Tower (see: A Carnival of Architecture to say farewell to a landmark) -, Bryn Oh and Kilik Lekvoda.
Set off to the north-east corner of the region and sitting on its own black rock island is a further curio: a Russian (Soviet era?) communal swimming pool, apparently broken and battered by time and perhaps tide. Sitting almost like an industrial era left-over, it presents a very different setting to castle and caves, and can be reached via the shoreline beach from the landing point.
My one regret with Abrahamstrup is that in order to make room for it, Biné has had to remove most of her marvellous underwater gardens – long a highlight of visits to Binemust. True, for those who plunge below the waves, some elements remain, but the gardens, paths, sunken trees and artistic corners have, for a time, vanished. Nevertheless, the island with its caves and waiting discoveries, together with the high castle keep offer more than enough to keep explorers and photographers happy, making Abrahamstrup a worthy visit.
Note: visitors must have Payment Information On File to access Abrahamstrup.