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Whiel we were in south-western England this summer, we took a trip to one of the big new (as of 2001) local attractions, Cornwall's Eden Project.

Essentially a botanical garden stuck in a disused quarry, it's a striking site – and sight – with its series of geodesic domes – biomes as they call them – supporting a variety of tropical and mediterranean vegetation that you would not normally find in England. Looking like a series of giant flies' eyes stuck on the landscape.

Stylishly designed and laid out, I have to say I found it almost over-the-top with its self-proclaimed greenness, particularly as underneath it all are all the trappings of another cleverly conceived money-making tourist trap, complete with concert stage for rock bands.

Perhaps this is a overly cynical viewpoint, but I saw nothing there that I have not seen for years at the Missouri Botanical gardens (possessor of a geodesic dome of its own for decades), a much less flashy but deeply serious organization that has been dedicated to the preservation of wildwide flora for many years. And I could say the same about Kew Gardens in London as well as many other similar institutions worldwide.

Small quibbles. There were lots of people there having a good time, and it certainly provides Cornwall with another good tourist destination.

The whole area was very colorful, with flags galore flying from bamboo poles, and the restaurant/shop complex was a fine as any mall I've come across.

Ironically, perhaps my favorite part was a very dense slope of English wildflowers, any one of which you might find locally but not as colorfully crowded as they were here.Inside the domes, there were tropical and others beauties galore to gaze at, all in very good condition. A strong testament to the engineering skill behind the domes and climate control apparatus.

Still, I had this continually nagging feeling that I should be more impressed than I actually was. It never left me. As we were walking out, I saw this sign concerning one of the local attractions. Somehow, it seemed to sum up my feelings about the place very well. Even if they are perhaps a little unfair.

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