On the third day of my stay in Cornwall, the weather started to turn, and the once comfortable strolls along the promenade no longer seemed as inviting. So, I decided to venture out and visit an intriguing site - The Minack Theatre. It's approximately an hour's bus ride away. Not exactly nearby, but it seemed closer in the context of the overall journey.
The Minack Theatre is an open-air theatre, carved out of the rocky seashore. Staircases and seating spaces are etched into the rock, providing a space to watch performances, reminiscent of the ancient theatres of Greece. On a good weather day, this place is majestic and beautiful.
However, with worsening weather and the theatre's rugged stone steps, getting there was a bit of a challenge. And unfortunately, without a ticket, my visit was more of an exterior exploration. I could only imagine the magic of watching a performance unfold against the backdrop of the sea.
To my disappointment, the intensifying wind stirred up the sea, the waves crashing harder and louder. It was a raw, untamed spectacle, a far cry from the calm of the Mediterranean. Yet, in its own way, it was a captivating sight, a demonstration of nature's unfettered power.
On my last day in Cornwall, I had a five-hour train ride back. But before the train departure, I had some time to spare after checking out of my B&B. I spontaneously decided to visit the Eden Project, about an hour away from Penzance. To maximize my time, I bought an additional ticket to the site and planned to catch my train later in the evening.
Upon arrival at the station, it wasn't clear how to get to the Eden Project using public transport. Evaluating the distance, I realized it was about an hour's walk. Not wanting to deal with additional transport uncertainties, I decided to go on foot.
The Eden Project is an impressive site, perhaps more enticing in photos than in reality. It's a vast complex of biomes or 'greenhouses', each representing different ecosystems. The two main biomes are tropical, where you can wander and immerse yourself in a pseudo-jungle environment, observing various fruits and plants, and even an installation of a waterfall.
While interesting, the biomes are quite small compared to the overall vastness of the Eden Project. To reach and explore them, you have to navigate through countless paths and turns. It takes much longer to get to the biomes than you actually spend inside them.
Two-thirds of the Eden Project seemed to be filled with restaurants and souvenir shops, pushing its primary objective as a botanic garden to the background. Despite not being overly crowded, there were long queues for these establishments, which seemed inefficiently managed. It felt very commercial, and for children, while it might have been entertaining, I couldn't shake off the feeling that the commercial aspects outweighed the educational ones.
Overall, the Eden Project didn't feel like it was worth the effort to get there, the ticket price, or the time spent. However, given that I had time to spare before my train, it wasn't the worst idea to kill time there.
There were other smaller exhibits, which didn't hold much interest for me. It felt like the space wasn't effectively used - it could have had a more scientific basis instead of the commercial attractions.
On a positive note, the weather had improved on the last day, and visiting this well-known botanical garden wasn't a total loss. After the visit, it was time to catch the 4 pm train back to London. Although I returned with a sense of fatigue, the memories from the trip were indeed enriching.
In retrospect, the highlight was probably St. Ives, with its calm, old-English atmosphere. If I had to do it all over again, I'd have spent more time there, soaking in the tranquil surroundings, the Atlantic ocean views, and the subtropical vegetation that oddly coexisted. Also, the helicopter ride was an interesting experience that I wouldn't forget.
Even though some parts of the trip were underwhelming, none of it went unnoticed. Each place has its unique charm and contributes to the overall experience in its own way.