With the noon sun high above me, I swung the speedboat north east and headed for the small sandy shore gathered at the base of a cliff that supported a large white mansion that looked like the kind of place Columbo would have rolled up to in the late 70s to solve a cunning murder. This, I thought, was something I had to see.
The boat gently crunched onto the beach and I hopped out, tied off the boat* and began the long climb up the steep hill.
Halfway up, the land plateaued out and there, nibbling the warm grass, was the most beautiful horse I’d ever seen. Fully seventeen hands if he was an inch and with feet as big as my head.
I approached slowly, not wanting to spook him, until I could reach out and stroke his face. He snorted contentedly and shook his mane. I gingerly took his reins and put a foot into a stirrup. He instinctively braced himself as I swung my leg over and dropped into his saddle, which fit me perfectly almost as if it had been made for me. I pulled on the reins and with a snort the horse padded off to the left, up the hill towards the mansion.
Once again the rise flattened out and my mount stopped by the sources of a gushing waterfall that led down to a beautiful wooden house.
I climbed down while he drank (I would have to find a name for him… Charger? Adolphus? ClipClop? I needed to think) and gazed across the expanse of the inland sea back towards Davenport and Bodega. The hills and mountains of Sansara rose into the sky like old friends waving to me and I felt my first real pang of homesickness.
I climbed back into the saddle (Speed? Fleet?) and headed along the ridge that circled the white house until I came to an opening leading into the grounds. I rode in and found that the whole place was in fact a partial reconstruction of an earlier mansion built by SL’s first ever resident, Stella Sunshine. Having built the original in the days of Linden World, she gave it to the Lindens for the move across to the grid as we know it. Some things have been lost along the way and a team of volunteers have worked hard to restore it and maintain it as a sort of museum of lost builds.
I decided not to linger, rather to carry on around the house to another waterfall where my new friend (Dasher? Europa?) decided to leap down in a manner that frankly (Frank! That was it! Frank!) left my stomach in my mouth.
But soon, sure-footed Frank had us down on the ground and we meandered through the beautifully maintained park…
…to take a closer look at the wooden house by the sea I had seen earlier (which turned out to be a Victorian marvel selling musical instruments…
…before Frank whinnied and stamped impatiently, eager, I felt, to move on to the next location. Although I would have liked to make my way back to the car so long ago parked in Bodega across the inland Omidyar sea, I patted his neck and we headed North towards what looked like an enormous beanstalk. An enormous beanstalk laying just past a fully rigged pirate ship that is…
Yours in Travel,
* Well, it was auto-returned immediately, but it’s sort of the same…