Sweden's decision to establish an embassy in SL made the news recently... but after a brief but fun trip to Second Sweden with a dear friend a few weeks ago (and being moved to track down Radio Sweden, one of my regular childhood listening stops on the shortwave dial, online and subscribe to their podcast), I'd not given any thought to things Scandinavian until yesterday, when I found out, a few hours too late, that the wonderful Bill and Pam Havercamp were performing in Bryggen.
I was curious (no, I'm not alluding to those silly movies, which in any case were made in Sweden, not Norway...), so despite having missed the performance, I went to take a look. I'm glad I did.
Bryggen is built around a small inlet (fjord?)... ah, excuse me for a second.
(THERE WILL BE NO REFERENCE TO THE "DEAD PARROT" SKETCH! IF THERE IS, THOSE RESPONSIBLE WILL BE SACKED! OH, WAIT, I JUST REFERRRED TO IT... RIGHT! I WILL NOW SACK MYSELF!)
There, that's better.
Bryggen is very music-oriented. There's a lovely outdoor stage, with seating (and tables!) for the audience, as well as an indoor stage in one of the shops in town... a guitar shop, come to think of it. (If you ever wanted to do a Pete Townshend-style windmill guitar chord, the "air guitar" poseball gives you your chance.)
One can also indulge in what IMHO is the real obsession of SL, fashion, in two stores featuring the work of the multi-talented Neferia Abel. (Mathematicians will recognize that last name and its appropriateness.) One features clothing for men (which Mordecai seized upon with a cry of delight when I was there with him later. I didn't give in to the temptation to run my hands over his new shirt... sorry, darling).
Brumm Bricklin is the man behind Bryggen in SL. Bryggen in the real Norway is the oldest part of the Norwegian city of Bergen, and if you take a look at a panoramic photo of Bryggen (warning: really big graphic image!) and visit SL's Bryggen, you'll see the amazing work Mr. Bricklin has done in reproducing the look and feel of the actual Bryggen (though prim constraints make the SL version necessarily smaller).
His attention to detail is quite impressive, and shows in his architecture as well--one of the buildings features prefab houses he sells.
Speaking of detail... Norway is famed for its seafood, and at the end of the inlet is a table bearing an assortment of seafood. I couldn't quite persuade myself to defy the gull standing guard over it, so I can't say much else about it!
By the seashore there is a small spot where one can relax and enjoy the sea. (I'm not sure whether you'll want to go swimming; I've seen jellyfish in the water...)
Don't confine your travel to Bryggen proper; the surrounding region is mountainous and beautiful, with waterfalls and two spheres (built by Alex Ge) suspended in mid-air. Actually, one is a three-quarters sphere, set up for meditation, while the other is a half-sphere, filled with water and available for floating. Very relaxing, but I'd urge not playing the streaming music there if relaxation is your goal.
Do check out Bryggen. It's a beautiful place. Alebi 68,92,24 will put you right by that table and the ever-vigilant gull, and you might wish to head north from there to a spot where a shaft is driven straight into a mountain...