As we crossed the Tamar I pointed out to Layla that the huge river we were crossing was the dividing point between Devon and Cornwall. I may have tooted my horn as I drove into Cornwall, it has been too long.
Then on into Cornwall and the long and winding roads to Eden. Stepping into Eden is a futuristic experience, I felt like a child entering the sets of one of my favourite Sci-Fi films.The whole thing was so exciting, the huge white domes holding an entire tropical rainforest within an old quarry. Word of advice though, don’t watch the Dead Cat thing – it just isn’t nice.
Our first port of call was actually ice skating. I had fun, hadn’t been for a long long time. Layla on the other hand, clung to the rail for five minutes before retiring and offering to take “action shots” on the new camera -these did not turn out well. So I’m not putting any up. The rest of the day was great for photos, the skating not so much.
Once we/I had enough of ice skating we went into the domes. The first was the Mediterranean Dome (I suddenly feel like Richard O’Brian on the Crystal Maze – and have just had one of my best ideas ever, Crystal Maze in Eden!). Had some great food in there, a lemon chicken kebab and some chorizo stew. Then for a quick wonder around. There were a lot of fantastic sculptures hidden round and about in the Med Dome, and the plants were interesting, although I didn’t really feel like I was seeing anything I hadn’t seen in some parts of the UK. This was obviously in direct comparison to the childlike glee I felt when entering the Tropical Dome.
In the Tropical Dome everything was much bigger and exciting and foreign, even the chocolate, coffee and bananas, every day commodities for us, but how often do we actually get to see them on the trees and plants. Everywhere there was a lesson to be learnt on fairtrade and how local growers are treated and in some cases exploited. The socio-economic plight of the third world farmers was on display all over the place for this reason (if for no other) I think it is an educational experience that everyone should experience.
But then there was the pure wonder of it all, the gigantic trees looming overhead, the huge waterfall, in a Tropical Dome, in a quarry in Cornwall, the Tyrannosaurus Rex. Yes there was a dinosaur. Then to round it all off there was the trip to the top of the dome. I doubt there will ever come a chance again to stand on top of a tropical rainforest, to look down on the canopy. I’d recommend everyone reading this to get down to Cornwall and do this as soon as possible.
The only downside was that although the political aspect was well highlighted, I didn’t think the science was really bought to the fore. Why were some species chosen to be in the domes? Were they self sufficient (obviously not), what is the level of leakage, could we build this on the moon? I’d modelled microcosms for part of my Masters and there was the excitement of seeing this on a huge scale, but I had no idea if they were even looking at the same thing. There was so much more I wanted to learn about
Eden and hopefully they will rectify this. Some people will go for the
science, please don’t deny us it. Although that said, as an experience, as a living museum and a spectacle of what can be achieved Eden is second to none.
Next we were back on the road again and to St.
Michael’s Mount, for those who haven’t seen it St. Michaels Mount is a very small island near Penzance which can be reached by a tidal causeway, but as the tide was in when we were there we could only see it from the beach. Probably a good thing given the weather. It was one of the colder and more blustery days to see St. Michaels. So much so that Layla was wearing a tube scarf as a hat. We stopped in the pub for some good local ale while overlooking the sea and island while the sea wall all around us was taking a proper battering from the storm.
We managed to make it back to the car just in time as the car park was about to be locked, but the friendly car park keeper (is that the right word?) had decided to walk his dog until I showed up – many thanks, I would not have fancied the walk to Mousehole on a day like that.
The evening was spent in Mousehole, a tiny little village just past Newlyn. Once we had the fun of driving around the towns one way system I parked my car in the most precarious place I have ever parked my car. Right on the harbour wall, while a storm was building. This was not made any easier by the fact it was pitch black when we arrived with few lights and only a thin rope to stop us backing up into the harbour.
The Ship Inn was a great place to stay, the room was great and the staff were friendly. They recommended a little restaurant called the Cornish Range. We walked in and the whole place smelt amazing, obviously the whole menu was fish. I had Scallops again to start, these were good, but not a patch on the ones from the night before. Then a fish Thai green curry. This was good, but not as good as the recommendation from the guy who came back in just to thank the chef for a great meal.
I think Mousehole was one of my favourite places, just for its uniqueness as a small Cornish fishing village, clinging to the rocks on which it is built. It is worth going to and having a swift jar at the Ship Inn, or if you get the chance stay over there.