Saturday, September 26, 2015

Eden - At Last!

This post is late by a day because I was too tired last night to do it. Here's what transpired yesterday: After a minor scheduling snafu with the bus, we arrived at the train station in Penzance - just as our train was pulling away.  I have to give Anne high marks for actually running down the platform trying to get it to stop! I'm willing to bet not many septuagenarians would attempt it. Luckily, we only had to wait about 25 minutes for the next train, and then we were on our way.

A short bus ride from St Austell station to Eden, ended with a LONG walk to the entrance to the project. As with everyone I've met since coming to England, the staff were smiling, friendly, and helpful. We hadn't had breakfast, so we decided to get a bite to eat before starting our trek through the biomes. The Link is a grass-roofed building that serves as entrance to both biomes, and the Eden Kitchen, so we ate there and then headed to the Rainforest Biome.

Eden site 1998: photo credit Eden Proj.
The Eden Project was the brainchild of Tim Smit, who successfully restored the Lost Gardens of Helligan. It started as an abandoned china clay pit, and was transformed into a stunning, ecological wonderland, including the largest "captive" rainforest in the world. It is an educational charity, and everywhere there are plaques and exhibits to educate, and inform visitors.

There are two biomes: the Rainforest Biome, and the Mediterranean Biome. In addition, there are outdoor gardens, a stage for seasonal events, the Core (home to exhibitions, art, school programs, and a play area for young ones), as well as the Link, and Visitors Centre.

We concentrated on the two biomes, as we knew we wouldn't have time to see it all in one day, and accommodate our travel back to Marazion. If you get there as soon as it opens, and don't leave until it closes, you could see the whole place and not have to rush. But you would need to drive there rather than take public transport.

The rainforest biome was incredible! The variety of plants was amazing, and it was hard to take it all in. There were many plants I was familiar with, and many I had never seen before.

When you remember that this was once a big dirty hole, the scope of the project becomes mind-boggling! There were waterfalls, dense foliage, and an array of lovely flowers. There are even some small birds that make their home in the biome.

With all the walking, it was nice that there were places to rest here, and there. And everywhere there was a green stillness, or a blaze of color popping through. Flowers in reds, whites, purples, blues, and yellows.

There are also small exhibits illustrating how crops can be grown sustainably to support both people and the environment.

After completing our tour of the Rainforest Biome, we stopped off in the Link for some Cornish ice cream. The reason Cornish ice cream is so good is because it is made from real Cornish cream.  And real Cornish cream comes from Cornish cows. Happy Cornish Cows! It is also why their cheese is so phenomenal!  Ice cream devoured, we proceeded on to the Mediterranean Biome. While, it is smaller, it is no less spectacular.

Herbs, and food plants abound, from the Mediterranean, South Africa, and California. Both wild, and cultivated plants are represented. If you get peckish, there is the Mediterranean Terrace, where they serve authentic food from that region.

Several very interesting sculptures, and tiled walls and walkways gave it a special atmosphere.

A very long walk back up to the car park to get to the bus station was followed by a long wait for the 4:15 pm bus back to St Austell station. The train ride back to Penzance takes about an hour and then there was another hour wait to catch the bus back to Marazion. That made it a very long day, but an absolutely wonderful one!  Once again we had perfect weather for a perfect day out!

Today, is laundry day, and a day of rest and relaxation. Later we will go downstairs for a cream tea in the tea garden at Seagrove Gallery. Tomorrow we will try a walk along the SW coast path to the small village of Perranuthnoe.

Stay tuned...

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