Cornwall pics 3 - The Eden Project

I was not terribly keen on seeing giant greenhouses. Horticulture isn't really my thing. Of course I'd read the press - about how amazing everything was and how it was so much more than just a bunch of big bubbles with plants in them. Looking back on it, it was, for the most part, a bunch of big bubbles with plants in them. Which is odd, because I thought it was amazing. And big bubbles with plants in them aren't things I normally find amazing. We spent five hours there.

I've been trying to work out what it was that made it so cool and it's hard. It's probably the most well organised large tourist attraction I've ever been to, so much so that even when it's heaving with people, you don't have to wait long and you don't feel claustrophobic. The queues are short and fast. But that's not it. You don't go to the Bodleian Library to admire the card catalogue. The world's most organised lint exhibition is still going to suck.

I think it's enthusiasm. The whole thing is epic. These aren't just big bubbles, they're the biggest, and they're not just filled with plants - they're filled with a lot of plants. And the people who put them there don't just hug trees, they get to know them. Every aspect of every tree: social, commercial, scientific and cultural, is examined. And the people who have done this, from the directors to the guys emptying the garbage neutral recycling bins, believe in the tree. They believe in all the trees in fact. They've approached the entire thing with such enthusiasm and optimism that it's intoxicating, because the whole thing has been designed to channel that enthusiasm and optimism straight into the hearts and minds of the people wandering around, staggering, awestruck, mumbling that they thought it was just big bubbles with plants. It overwhelms cynicism with a sense of wonder, excitement and hope and lots of plants. I still can't wrap my head around it, but it was wonderful. And you should go there.

Big Bubbles. With plants.

A surprisingly empty flower bed.
They had vines! And this wicked Dionysan ritual, bronzed. They omitted the traditional severed head for the sake of the children, but at least they mentioned that there should be a traditional severed head.

Waterfall. In a big bubble.
This machine was an elaborate piece designed to crack a nut, highlighting something deep and meaningful regarding plants and industry and how far more of the former could be used in the latter. It thought it looked cool.

Oh - and on top of everything, they have awesome concerts - Snow Patrol, Magic Numbers, Goldfrapp. All sold out. Got to get their 2007 schedule. Party in the big bubble, baby.