Thursday, 27 August 2015

visiting paradise

I have been meaning to write a post about our visit to the Eden Project but somehow, it didn't happen. This is the case with a lot of things I want to do at the moment. No point beating myself up about it. Today I finally managed to sort through my Eden photos. Have you been to to Eden? It is well worth a visit if you are nearby.


This particular visit was my second one. I took Sam, Annie and their cousin Adam but left Richard and the little boys behind at the campsite. More fun that way for all of us. We got lost a couple of times in St.Austell, a town I find difficult to navigate. Parking provision is excellent at Eden and there is even a bus if you are parked a long way from the entrance. 

As we walked down the slope towards the glasshouses, I got very exited. There was so much to see, it is difficult to do it justice in just a few hours. We spent a long time in the rainforest habitat, my favourite part of Eden. I do love the heat in this glasshouse. The higher up you go, the hotter it gets. Unfortunately, the lookout just under the rooftop was closed due to oppressive heat. The plant variety is mind boggling in the rainforest habitat. There are sections for all major tropical rainforest habitats from around the world. There is also a section dedicated to farmed plants. Bananas produce the most amazing flowers. I didn't manage to get a good photo unfortunately. Did you know that the cashew nut is not a not but a seed, the seed of the cashew apple? Or that the cashew nut shell is toxic, which is why you can't buy cashews in their shells.

Cashew apple and seed (the small dangly thing)

There was a dinosaur exhibition at Eden. I am not a big fan of dinosaurs but my teenager does still like them. I thought the exhibition was not as great as it was advertised. The dinosaurs looked very plasticky and I have seen much better models. Still, they seemed very popular with the younger children. There was scary velociraptor walking around Eden and every now and then we could hear exited shrieks. The raptor nearly got me when I queued for an ice cream. My appeal to dinosaurs is unsurpassed. 


There was also another exhibition, 'Invisible You: The Human Microbiome'. I am extremely fascinated by all things microbiome. In case you are not as nerdy as I am, the microbiome is the entirety of all micro-organisms living on and in us. The microbiome has so many functions that are not all that well understood but major research is undertaken to elucidate at least some of its many roles. Did you know that Helicobacter pylori, the bacterium that causes stomach ulcers, is also associated with a lower asthma prevalence when present in infants and young children? I read an interesting paper about this a while ago. The exhibits were all pieces of art rather than 'the real thing'. Don't you think it is great, this marriage of art and science? The picture below is that of a bacterium paper sculpture. For the microbially interested, it is an Escherichia coli bacterium. These bacteria live in your gut. And yes, sometimes this bacterium causes disease, but not normally. It is actually a toxin produced by some strains that make you ill. Unfortunately, the offspring was not nearly as interested as I was. If you are, the link above tells you all you ever wanted to know.


We spent some time wandering through the gardens and the Mediterranean climate habitat. I particularly liked the dozens of chilli plants, planted in order of increasing hotness in the Mediterranean habitat. We had a delicious lunch there, too. It was much better value than I expected. We also treated ourselves to some fresh fruit juice from the smoothie bar in the link between the two glass houses. There were no smoothies, just juices but I didn't feel like starting an linguistic debate with the poor teenager working at the smoothie bar. We don't have a juicer, too messy, too wasteful, but now and then, a fresh juice is great, particularly after the heat in the rainforest.



The gardens around the glasshouses are very interesting, too. There is a large section dedicated to medicinal plants, and also to commercially exploited (mostly edible) plants such as wheat. Amongst all the flora were pieces of art. Some of them were well hidden away, for example atop the canopy in the rainforest habitat, or amongst the olive trees in the Mediterranean habitat. Others are much more obvious. Some of the art is thought provoking, for example the creepy and huge creature made out of recycled white goods (in the collage below only its head is shown). 


We didn't spend much time in the Eden shop but it is worth a short visit. There is no tat. We were instead going to the zip slide that spans the valley. We really wanted to do the slide but unfortunately, there was a two hour wait. None of us felt like hanging around and we went back to the campsite. Next time, we'll make a booking. 

What do you think? Is Eden a place you would enjoy visiting? We'll go back, no doubt. Just a shame it is at the other end of the country! 

As always, thanks for visiting, and thanks for your comments. Have a lovely Friday! Cxx

22 comments:

  1. Great pictures and interesting stuff. Especially about the cashew. I personally like going to these kinds of places but not my husband so he would be left behind.

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  2. I've not been to the Eden Project, my lot would be unbearable so maybe in about a decade I'll get to go without them! I do love art from recycled materials, if I was an artist that's tge media I would use. Good job I'm not that arty, husband already hates how much junk I try to hoard!
    Jillxo

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  3. On my bucket list is a journey around the UK to visit all the amazing gardens. You have so many beautiful ones! So nice to catch up with you again, hope you have a great weekend! x

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  4. I have not had the pleasure of a visit but would love to go...maybe one day! Impressive pictures.

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  5. it's on my wishlist. I love the sound of the microbiome exhibit, art and science are a great combination.

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  6. What a wonderful place, and you've photographed it beautifully. I went once years ago and really enjoyed it. Cornwall is great for lovely gardens isn't it. I really enjoyed the Lost Gardens of Heligan as well. CJ xx

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  7. I have never been though am aware of it, don't know if I would cope with the heat in the glasshouses! I didn't know that about cashew nuts,mvery interesting. Yes I love when art and science come together, always fascinating. X

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  8. I went a few years ago and to be honest, I wasn't really impressed, I was expecting more from it. It does sound as though it's changed since I was there though so perhaps we should have another trip. I've just shown Eleanor the bit in your post about The Human Microbiome, I'll forward the link to her as she's interested to read more about that.

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  9. I went to the Eden Project with friends when we were on holiday in Cornwall. I think it was in 2008. I really liked the place. The rain forest habitat was my favourite too- the climate and plants reminded me so much of home. I'd love to go back one day with my girls. And yes, such a shame it's at the other end of the country! X

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  10. I've always thought I'd love to go to Eden but it's an awfully long way from North Wales.

    That paper sculpture, how amazing is that?! Ethnobotany is more my 'thing' than microbiomes, but as soon as I have five minutes I shall be following that link.

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  11. Interesting - I'm not familiar with the Eden Project, but it looks like a really cool place. Beautiful flower collage - this world is amazing, isn't it?

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  12. It really is an amazing place isn't it! We have only been once, but would go again for sure. I love the biomes, although the hot one is very hot and sticky isn't it! There is always so much to see and do and learn. Your flower photos are beautiful! So glad you had such a great time! xx

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  13. Brilliant photos! I've never been to the Eden Project but it's somewhere I've wanted to visit for ages - one day!

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  14. It's typical, isn't it? We spend what must be years of our lives looking at things that our small people want to see and as soon as you want to spend twenty minutes looking at an exhibition that interests you, they're not impressed. What selfless creatures we Mums are! ;-) I've never been to the Eden Project but it's on my list, and you've just moved it a bit higher up that list with your wonderful pictures! xx

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  15. One day I will make it here with my three.... I always hear good stuff about it, but we tend not to holiday in Devon or Cornwall. Your pictures really capture the feel and appeal of the place; you must have taken thousands!

    And I would have been desperate to visit the Human microbiome exhibition. I love all that micro stuff.

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  16. We have a dinosaur place near us in Florida and when my middle son was young we used to visit it all the time. Although they were plastic, they were life sized and it always surprised me just how bit they were.
    Lovely trip with so much to see.
    Meredith

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  17. It looks like an interesting place to see. I think it might be similar to an exhibit at Epcot Center, in Disneyworld, called The Land. I've only been there once, but it was a biome and greenhouse type of exhibit and it was really beautiful and there was a lot to see.

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  18. I love the Eden project and have been there a couple of times this year. I'll be going again when the schools go back. It is lovely in the biomes when it is wet and cold outside.

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  19. What an amazing place! So much to see and do - and learn! This is the kind of place my kids thrive on. I wish there was something similar around here. I've got to look into it more, I think. There must be something similar..... thanks for sharing!

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  20. I'd love to go there - it sounds brilliant.

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  21. Yes - I've been a couple of times and loved every minute -it's a wonderful place. Glad you enjoyed it! Judy.

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  22. We visited the Eden Project a couple of years ago. It is well worth going to see.

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