Was actually kind of glad I hadn't been able to find a hostel in the town, 'cause that meant I got to have my own room and shower at the Travelodge. Woke up nice and clean and refreshed. Happy day.
Well, happy morning. Then I went to the bloody hotel reception to ask them to hold my luggage for me. And what do I get? "Sorry, but we're not allowed. For security reasons, obviously."
No, NOT obviously. If you go to any hostel anywhere in the world, they will hold your luggage for you. No worries, no fees (mostly), no waivers or 'security' issues. They just go, "Yeah, sure, dump it there with the crapload of other backpacks." *grumbles* On account of that, I had to drag my backpack almost a kilometer to the tourist info office so I could find a bus schedule. (I'd had plans to walk to the Eden Project and take the bus back, but I wasn't going to attempt that with my backpack on.)
When I got to the Eden Project, I had to carry my backpack down from the bus stop to the entrance (couple
hundred yards), then back up to a parking lot 'cause the guy working there said they had lockers, but kept moving them around, and the last place he saw them was up there. Thankfully, the lockers were there and it wasn't a wasted trip, but, man, those lockers were small. I almost couldn't fit my backpack in there. Had to take out some stuff out and fit them in the corners.
After that, the rest of the day was a breeze. Wandered around the Eden Project till ~3 or 4 in the afternoon. It's a huge place, and you can easily spend one or two days wandering around in there. The left dome is the rainforest biome, the middle dome is just the main entrance/gift shop/food court, and the right dome is the
Mediterranean biome. I headed for the rainforest biome first, but almost turned back around when I hit the doors and a blast of hot, humid air smacked into my face. Forgot rainforests were tropical. :P
I didn't get as many pictures as I would have liked in the rainforest biome because my camera lens got all foggy and though I tried wiping it off, it kept coming back. It took like 20-30 min. for the lens to finally warm up to rainforest temperature and by then I was like halfway through the thing. And, no, I wasn't going to stand around in that heat for an extra 30 min. just to get some pictures. Sweating into your pants is not fun at all.
After that, I went to get lunch at the cafeteria. I'd heard it was pretty decent for a tourist attraction and it was. (If you don't count the exchange rate!) I had a vegan sandwich (cucmbers, tomato, sprouts, hummus, and tomato bread) and a sausage roll ('cause I'd been so enchanted by the one I'd had in London) and a cup of milk. The vegan sandwich was actually pretty good; the sausage roll was excellent, but nothing compares to the one I had in London; and the milk was the BEST milk I've ever had. Although to be fair, I've only ever had supermarket milk in the States, and that's not generally the good, fresh stuff. But, yeah, there was something about that milk. It didn't leave the gunky aftertaste I get with regular milk. I went back later and asked for another cup 'cause it was just that good.
After lunch, I went to the Mediterranean biome, which was chock full of flowers instead of sweltering heat. Lots and lots of tulips. Fields of them. All different colors and bright as the sun. The place is probably even more beautiful in the summer, when more flowers start to bloom. They also have concerts and stuff outside at night during the summer. When I went, they were still constructing the stage and seating area for the concerts.
I went exploring outside next. There was a giant statue made from electronic waste, this farmer thing on the right, a giant bee, metal
sunflowers and more. There was also another building with exhibits on environmental issues, a giant water machine (which reminded me a bit of Tinguely as I don't think the machine really did *anything* just moved around a bit) and, my favorite, a gallery of photographs
by Andy Hughes with bright skies and heavily saturated close-ups of garbage
and debris lying on the beach.
I wandered around the gift shop for a bit - bought a birthday gift and a postcard - then hopped on a bus back to St. Austell, so I could catch a bus to the lovely city of Newquay, which is pronounced "Newkey" in British. Took me a while to get used to that one. Newquay is a small city, mainly visited by surfers. The downtown feels a bit like Las Vegas in the daytime, except with small arcade casinos. (That's another one of those things that took getting used to - the occasional casino/arcade and bookies that don't have big fancy hotels or names like Pechanga, Foxwoods or even my-ancestors-died-so-I-could-steal-the-white- man's-money.)
I had some time, so I went down to a nearby beach and looked around. It was pretty nice there. Only saw one dude surfing, though. I
think summer is the surfing season. March is perhaps a bit too early and a bit too cold.
The beach actually reminded me of San Francisco because it was next to some cliffs with houses on them. And, of course, there was a sign there, telling me not to walk close to the cliff because it was unstable and might fall on me. I wonder if the owners of the house sitting at the edge of the cliff noticed that when they bought it. :P
I stayed at the Newquay (damn, is this an evil, evil word to type.) International Backpackers Hostel. It was a pretty old place, and pretty dead when I got there (I had a six person dorm all to myself), but I can imagine it being lively and fun if you go during the summer and you're a surfer. It's a real backpacker's place with a kitchen and a pet dog and a lounge where people can hang out and chat. The blankets were pretty thin, though so if you go during the winter, wear extra clothes to sleep.