Last month I finally did it. I undertook the road trip to Cornwall, not without some nervousness, which admission may surprise those who know me and my regular returns to Brittany, but St Malo to home via Portsmouth is a route I know well, Cornwall is another world and one I have not glimpsed for 52 years.
I hired a car for the adventure. A proper grown-up car. When I arrived to collect it I was offered a very flashy saloon. The rental lady was proud of it. "Here is your car!" she announced, with a flourish, and I would not have been surprised had she lovingly dusted the bonnet. "Oh dear," I replied, "it looks a little posh, do you have anything smaller, less businessman-like, how about a jeep?" There was no jeep, I was given a Fiat which I adored. Really, I was high up and felt safe and feisty in my Fiat.
So much so that I did consider calling the rental company to say, "I'm sorry, I lost the car, how much do I owe you?" and keeping it.
Moving on from admissions....
The Eden Project.
For those who are unfamiliar with it, it is built on the site of a former clay pit.
It is an educational charity.
It opened in March 2001.
It is amazing.
This link shows the construction work required - Building the Eden project biomes
But this post would be long if I were to attempt to cover all of The Eden Project in one go, so I am splitting it into several, starting with the art work at Eden because that is so amazing and I would love to be able to make some of these sculptures and paintings for my French garden.
Which reminds me of a house near Callac that always makes me smile whenever I drive past and which I fully intend to use as an inspiration soon..
I am rambling, I do that a lot these days, when I am not intensely focused on some free online course or improving my language skills.
Back to Eden and the art work.
Like large insects among the flowers...
And this in the Rainforest Biome
And the wall paintings...
The work of the Peruvian shamanic artists Montes Shuna and Panduro Baneo, they illustrate the link between the shamans and nature through Peruvian art.
I was very taken by the wall paintings. They are primitive yet powerful, and mysterious and magical. They remind me of the paintings at Lascaux and Chauvet's cave, created by ice-age artists to portray their world and, I believe but of course no-one knows, to draw on the power of the nature.
So here are some of the paintings...
The origin of ayahuasca and chacruna
When the powerful vegtalista (a shamanic healer) Ayas was buried, the ayahuasca vine grew from his head and the chacruna bush from his hands. Ayahuasca is used by vegetalistas to contact the spirit world.
Dance of the spirits:
The spirits are rising from the earth, dancing for joy at seeing the plants and flowers; huarmi caspi which is used as a medicine by female healers, and sacha granadilla, serves as both a medicine and a perfume,
Spirit woman of the toe:
Leaves and flowers of toe or datura are smoked to relax the mind and to treat epilepsy. The sap from the stem and root are said to induce visions. This is a strong narcotic, over-use can be fatal.
Birth of the Spirits
When this spirit was born, so were two plants: tobaco bravo, to purify the place of birth, and camapnita del campo, to announce the birth. The sun and moon are seen giving energy to the birth of the spirit.
Two plants, the canelilla and the huambisa chacruna are shown purifying the body. The body is covered in yellow clay to aid the spiritual purification process.
The Spirit of Chiric Sanango
As a teacher plant, chiric sanango has both male and female energy. It is used to treat arthritis and rheumatism. It increases energy and clears the mind.
More about the paintings can be found here
And there is a wealth of information on the Internet about Peruvian shamanic rituals but I am not including any links. I have mixed feelings about such things, and there have been some serious accidents when people have taken part in purification rituals and drug-induced attempts to contact the spirits so I leave such things alone.
Besides which my mind is so fast-moving and randomly firing that I spend my time trying to quieten and control it rather than stimulate it.
But the scientist in me admits to being fascinated and curious...
And as I am so fond of telling The Ragazzi : A chacun son goût ....
So, that's a brief look at the man-made treasures of the Tropical Biome.
Plants next and then The Mediterranean Biome