Yesterday, we went to the Eden Project in Cornwall. From the moment we climbed on the courtesy bendy bus, it was a visual feast. The whole site is built in a disused quarry so from the banana shaped visitors centre, you look down on the two massive geodesic biomes and the wooden ‘core’ building in a massive amphitheatre.
The Biomes are the massive greenhouses that you see in the photos of the Eden Project. One contains the largest captive rainforest in the world and was as you would expect, hot and humid. It was a relief to find a cold room about half way along. Entering was like stepping in to a refrigerator – most welcome. Huge palms and giant ferns almost obscured the roof of the dome. But every now and again, the starkly man made structure could be seen through the greenery.
The Mediterranean biome was a more palatable environment, far more pleasant to walk through. It was just warm enough that an ice cream was required, but not too hot that it melted too quickly. We stopped to watch a saxophonist and a rope climber improvise and riff off each other – an unusual but very clever and entertaining interlude. The moves the climber was making were spectacular and the noises the saxophonist was making were many and varied. Some were distinctly unsaxophone-like.
In the cafe, I stood on the balcony watching chefs preparing the pizza and salads below. The smell of cooking pizza wafted up as I was over the ovens. From that moment on, I was hooked. The pizza was delicious. The scones were the biggest I’d seen and the butter looked golden and rich enough to eat on its own. I resisted the scones – they haven’t agreed with me recently – and felt good about the decision. I would have loved a fruit scone though!
The Core housed an exhibition of biodiversity and ecology and had the best looking and sounding machine I’ve ever seen. It was a seemingly random collection of cogs, gears, chains, levers and ratchets that were operated by two wheel accessible to the public. To the accompaniment of clanking and grating, cogs whirred and every so often, a large ball bearing dropped down along a trough to be picked up again in an endless chain of events.
Driving back the traffic was relatively light considering it was the Sunday before Bank Holiday. It was still a long drive along boring dual carriageways and the M5. I was glad to get back to the cottage.