Situated as the southernmost municipality of the county of Møre og Romsdal in north-west Norway, Sunnmøre (or South-Møre, if you prefer) – as with the county as a whole – is regarded as a region of outstanding natural beauty, its rugged and varied landscape being home to the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Geiranger Fjord.
While one of three districts within Møre og Romsdal, Sunnmøre accounts for over 50% of the county’s population – although this doesn’t mean it is exactly going to feel crowded; the total population for Møre is under 200,000, with the majority living within coastal towns like Ålesund (popn approx 53,000). This means that much of the county – and a lot of Sunnmøre is open countryside – is a place where people are free to enjoy friluftsliv.
Pronounced (I’ve ben informed) free-loofts-liv, the terms translates as “open-air living”. Originally popularised by the Norwegian playwright and poet, Henrik Ibsen during the mid-1800s, friluftsliv was initially used to describe the value of spending time in remote locations for spiritual and physical wellbeing.
Today, the phrase is used more broadly by Scandinavians as a whole to cover just about everything from runs in the forest or riding a bicycle through the countryside, to joining friends at a lakeside sauna (often followed by a chilly dip in the water), to simply relaxing in a mountain hut or participating in a little glamping, through to more vigorous activities such as rock-climbing or cross-country skiing when the snow permits, and so on. It also still encompasses the ideas of wellbeing and health, and is closely linked to allmansrätten, the right to roam.
Within Second Life, Emm Vintner (Emm Evergarden), of The Nature Collective fame, has brought a touch of Norwegian friluftsliv and a stylised touch of Sunnmøre to life with a Homestead Region design called – quite appropriately – Sunnmøre, which thanks to a pointer from Shawn Shakespeare, I recently enjoyed visiting.
Sitting as a clutch of islands protected within the mouth of a fjord opening out into the sea, Sunnmøre offers a setting rich in activities one might reasonably expect to enjoy whilst participating in a spot of friluftsliv. There are tracks and trails to walk / ride along (horses can be rezzed from the one hitched near the landing point ferry), kayaks are available for paddling through the channels and around the waters surrounding the islands, together with motorboats and inflatables – all of which ensure dry feet when trying to reach the smaller islands! For the more energetic / daring zip-line rides might be had from the top of the main island’s peak.
For those seeking something more restful, opportunities are available for a little fishing, taking to the air in hot air balloons, or simply sitting and watching the world go by. And, of course, there are plenty of opportunities for photography, with lots of local wildlife to be found – and some rather acrobatic sheep! Signage at the landing point offers some instant directions to points of interest, and the ferry-as-a-landing-point gives a nice feel for having literally just arrived from somewhere on the mainland when visitors teleport in.
Environmental consciousness is very apparent within the island – hardly surprising, as Scandinavia tends to lead with way when it comes to the likes of wind and solar power and thing like ground- and air-source heat pump systems for heating. A trio of wind turbines look like they provide power to the islands – and probably the local lighthouse, whilst the research centre located on the largest island utilises solar power. Of course, this being a design by Emm, bees are also in evidence, although the chance of some fresh honey has drawn an inquisitive bear cub to them!
If you want to extend their Nordic experience after exploring Sunnmøre can avail themselves of the signboard advertising Moon Lair Taste of Norway, located as it is alongside the Sunnmøre Tourist Centre. Doing so while spirit you away to Moon Lair – but I’ll leave that to a future visit and possible blog post!
As always with Emm’s work, Sunnmøre is well presented, and makes for an engaging and photogenic visit.
- Sunnmøre (Wylda, rated Moderate)
One thought on “A Taste of Sunnmøre in Second Life”
Thank you so much for visiting Inara and for the lovely blog post about Sunnmøre! It was such a fun place to create and I’m glad that people are enjoying it.