by Eva Bellambi
photographs by Wren Carling
Love does not consist [only] in gazing at each other
but in looking together in the same direction.
~ Antoine de Saint-Exupery ~
Once again the season of romance and love is upon us. All over the world lovers celebrate St. Valentine’s Day with special gifts, words of love, and trips to romantic destinations among other things. The freedom that virtual worlds provide to us extends even to romance as time and space are not barriers to making dreams a [virtual] reality. Once one has found that special someone with whom to spend an amorous evening, there are many destinations in Second Life from which one may select.
The readers of Prim Perfect were invited to submit their favourite locations to be featured in a series of blog posts. Over the course of the next 4 days, we will explore the choices together. The selections all share a sense of the idyllic, while two of the destinations share fantasy themes in common. All are well worth a visit at Valentine’s Day or any other day.
The first of our featured quartet is Avilion Grove: Castle Grand Ballroom.
Set in the Medieval fantasy sims of Avilion, the ballroom brings to life many a magical dream. Avilion has successfully navigated the challenging landscape of success in Second Life, the ballroom has been around since 2006. The castle ballroom is part of a larger complex, which makes for a very enjoyable walk with your paramour across the cool stone walkways which are somehow lit from within. The stone fairly sparkles around you. The magic seems to be all encompassing here.
While the building itself appears to be a substantial fortress, the fact of the matter is that there is no roof. For romance this may be the best of both worlds – a safe place set apart, but also open to the stars and to many possibilities.
The textures are deep, rich, and varied. Blooming flowers are nearly everywhere as are candles and other sources of soft, magical light. The evening that I danced in the ballroom, snow was also falling. Somehow the juxtaposition of the blooms and drifting snowflakes gave the sense of perfect symmetry as we waltzed and tangoed.
The wondrous moment of our meeting . . .
I well remember you appear
Before me like a vision fleeting,
A beauty’s angel pure and clear.
excerpt from: Wondrous Moment
by Alexander Pushkin
One arrives in Avilion Grove at the bottom of the steps leading to a large pavilion – the Grand Ballroom. Imagine then, you and your beloved are in black tie attire. She is, perhaps, wearing a special piece of jewelry. A gift from you. As the beauty of the scene unfolds before the two of you – blooming trees, twinkling stone walkways, a fairy-tale carriage being pulled by unicorns – she winds her arm through yours and whispers in your ear that she is so pleased to be spending the evening alone with you.
A gentle kiss, then the two of you ascend the stairway. You are drawn immediately onto the resplendent dance floor. Even with others sharing the space, you somehow feel completely alone. The music. The gilded, magical atmosphere. Her eyes. Yes, perhaps you have found the perfect place to nurture romance.
Should the mood change from dancing to more quiet conversation or cuddling, feel free to walk to the second level of the Grand Ballroom. Here you will find private alcoves for dancing and talking, and teleportation devices to the surrounding floating islands. The island you select will provide a natural & secluded retreat for you and your beloved. The poses found on each island are well-placed and are perfect for your romantic evening.
If you prefer, walk the grounds arm in arm enjoying the natural and magical beauty that surrounds you. As you follow the byways, you may come upon the Avilion Grove chapel. The chapel is also open to the air and continues the fantasy-feeling of the place.
Perhaps thoughts of your own wedding may enter your mind, whether that wedding is long past or well in the future. The feeling of love and eternity is palpable in the space. You look at your love and know that Avilion Grove is a world apart. Looking up into the sky, perhaps the words of Goethe come to mind.
Stars, you are unfortunate, I pity you,
Beautiful as you are, shining in your glory,
Who guide seafaring men through stress and peril
And have no recompense from gods or mortals,
Love you do not, nor do you know what love is.
Hours that are aeons urgently conducting
Your figures in a dance through the vast heaven,
What journey have you ended in this moment,
Since lingering in the arms of my beloved
I lost all memory of you and midnight.
by Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
Avilion – and the Avilion Ballroom – will be featured in the Designing Worlds Valentine show (2pm SLT Monday 13th January), when there’ll be a special showing in Avilion. Stayed tuned to the blog for further details!