Following a poke from Shawn Shakespeare, I hopped back to Cathy Vathiany’s (zaziaa) ever-evolving region design Lost Dreams, which has had a further re-dress (and relocation), with a design that now exists in a region of two distinct halves, with several secrets awaiting discovery.
To the west, and with a north-south orientation, sits a very temperate-looking landscape which encompasses the landing point within a very rugged setting. This presents a pair of cliff-sides plateaux separated by a low meadow that is home to most of the local wildlife and spanned by a tall suspension bridge that picks its way over an inland body of water fed by falls dropping from a curtain of cliffs.
From the landing point sitting alongside a cobbled path, it is possible to walk path west and then north to where it runs down a slope to a set of steps to where a small waterfront town sits. This is a place of broad paved roads, a busy wharf and waterfront where artists of both the visual and performance kinds have found a home, and posters on the walls give the setting something of a French connection.
Following the cobbles south from the landing point quickly leads to the tall bridge and the southern plateau, a slightly wilder setting offering camping (or glamping, given the use of ultra-modern geodesic domes), with a hint of history with the presence of the ruins of a stone-built church. Winding across the plateau, the path runs down to a southern shoreline and a small island. Those wandering down to this should be aware that there is a rental cottage tucked into the south-west corner of the setting.
To the east, and again with a north-south orientation, the region takes on a completely tropical look. Separated from its temperate neighbour by a broad channel of water, this tropical environment can be reached via a broad bridge connecting the north-western town with a broad events space with café and fairground rides.
Beyond this, the sandy landscape points southwards – although again, be aware that the southern end of the beaches is again given over to a further pair of rental cabins – and these are not the only rentals here. Sitting off the east coast is an arc of tiki rentals, each on its own little sandy hump for those facing a holiday on the water.
Within these two environments, however is more to be found. Clues to this can be found in the form of a couple of teleport portals – one in the temperate one on the tropical – that are hard to miss, and more subtle teleport disc scattered around. Find the right one, and you may be transported under the waters to a sunken gardens, or another to find yourself in a skyborne multiple-room lounge that has – for those of a sensitive nature – a decidedly adult theme (although other adult, umm, pointers, can be found floating on the beachside waters of the intervening channel between the two halves of the region). While sitting over those waters is a cliff side house that – I believe – is open to the public, although access is somewhat restricted.
There are also multiple touches of detail that await photographers – not that the entire setting is in any way unphotogenic; but small details are often what bring a place to life; so these are worth looking out for. There are also curious dichotomies within the region. Take the town for example: it offers something of a European tone with a pub, outdoor café, the street performance, etc., – and then sitting on the streets is a pair of stagecoaches right out of the American west.
Compared to past versions of Lost Dreams – and Les Reves Perdus (“Dreams Lost”) before it – this iteration of Cathy’s vision is very different in tone, simply because of the way it offers that temperature / tropical split whereas past designs have tended towards just the one overall theme for their setting, be it Nordic, temperate, tropical or pastoral. However, it is clear Cathy has taken extraordinary care to make sure the two sides of the region work both as individual settings and as a united whole, with equal care being taken to keep the rentals sufficiently apart from the public spaces so as to minimise the risk of intrusion from public to private.
All of which makes for another engaging visit.
- Lost Dreams (Creative Hearts, rated Adult)