Bereft of life, that is.
The Bernia is a roughly Snowdon-height mountain, that is to say about 1000m/3000ft-ish, to the south of the Vall de Pop where we are house-and-dog-minding. There is a spectacular circular walk around its peak but we were a little too tardy setting out today to attempt that. However, the drive up to base camp at the start of the walk is quite pleasant and last year, on our previous visit, we had had some success scouring the surrounding scrub for wildlife. Given the clear morning, we thought we’d try again.
Nada, nichts, rien, nothing! We were a few weeks earlier last year but, whereas then we were stalking butterflies such as the Green Hairstreak and the diminutive Panoptes Blue, this time we couldn’t find a thing. To be completely accurate, two butterflies buzzed past in the near distance but didn’t settle. Many of the daisy-like flowers appeared to be infested with tiny red mites but it was otherwise extremely dull.
There are two roads up the Bernia, one from either side, and Chris and Yvonne had told us of an iris garden part way up the road we had not used. With no critters to amuse us, we decoded to descend on that other road and call in to the garden instead. At least there’d be something to interest Francine.
We found the correct turn – there aren’t that many to cause confusion half way up a mountain, let’s face it – and coughed up our €3 each to the jolly Englishman to get in.
Now, look, I know irises, they’re those blue flappy flag things named after my mother. I had to think again. Here were gaudy irises in a rainbow of colours with huge, frilly blooms. They defy verbal description (by me, anyway) so here’s a selection in a attempt to get the message across.
The garden also boasted a circular labyrinth. It wasn’t quite on the scale of the famous labyrinth in the cathedral at Chartres, but it was an interesting idea being constructed of multi-coloured flowers. Avoiding the small pathways between the beds, here’s a shot trying to concentrate the colours.
I know we suffered from poor weather for our first week but Spain had had a good spring up to that point. We’ve seen massed wild flowers and now, massed cultivated flowers. We see and hear bees buzzing but there seems to be a paucity of wildlife.