Cornwall: the Eden Project
On our final full day in Cornwall, it was freezing cold and raining. So I took the boys to the Eden Project, while Fiona stayed at basecamp with RTL. I'd heard a lot about Eden before, but had never visited, so I was interested to see what the experience would be like, albeit on a cold late-October day.
I was quite impressed: it would have been a really, really good experience, if it hadn't been for the crowds. There are two enormous greenhouses (called 'biomes') which are at the centre of the whole experience. One is Mediterranean, the other tropical (this is the larger one).
We started off in the slightly less crowded Mediterranean biome, where the boys were delighted to find Blue Peter presenter Andy Akinwolere doing a piece to camera (younger son took the picture of him, right).
There was a small section here dedicted to grape growing, with a rather bedraggled (and mildewy) collection of grape vines, arranged around a dionysian metal sculpture (below). I know it's eco and all that, but at least they could spray the vines with some sulfur. You can't grow vines without treating against fungal diseases. Not since the mid-19th century, anyway.
The tropical biome is spectacular, but the shuffling hordes (made even slower by those annoying individuals who line up their friends and family for a group photograph in front of various plant exhibits, and then take ages to compose it, while everyone else politely stops) take a lot of the natural beauty and drama out of the plants on display. Pretty cool to see coffee beans growing (I'd not seen this before, below).