Orchids Before Lunch

We have a couple of friends in the valley who enjoy going out to lunch. Lunches in Spain tend to be significant affairs with the local fondness of Menu del Día, consisting of at least two courses, and often running to three or even four. Our preference tends to be for light lunches with a main meal in the evening. However, when invited to join in today, we’d rather have socialized than not so we adjusted our normal eating habits accordingly.

The chosen venue was to be an establishment called Verdi Vent at Maserof, which is about half way up the road to the Sierra de Bernia, one of Francine’s orchid patches. A cunning plan developed; we could spend 90 minutes or so orchid hunting before a lunch that would be almost guaranteed to stop much further movement for the day. Lunch was set for 13:00 so we shot up the Bernia for 11:30, passing the restaurant on the way which didn’t look as if it was about to open. Faith, Franco. 🙂

Abandoning the car, we began combing the roadsides beneath the towering Bernia for orchids. Francine worked one side while I worked the other. We found three old faithfuls plus a new one for this site. Actually, this was only our second ever encounter with a Yellow Ophrys (Ophrys lutea). With the other three – Dull Ophrys (Ophrys fusca); Woodcock Ophrys (Ophrys scolopax); Mirror Ophrys (Ophrys speculum) – Francine could be described as a happy camper.

_17C3189 Dull Ophrys_17C3209 Woodcock Ophrys_17C3213 Mirror Ophrys_17C3231 Yellow Ophrys

After a successful morning we meandered our way back down the long and winding road to the restaurant which was magically now open and absolutely heaving. Our friends were already there and shepherded us in through the door to a table at the rear beside a group of 19 birthday-celebrating Germans.

As we set about working our way through four courses, wine continually being topped up, an English group arrived and took up the one remaining empty table. Both the German group and the smaller English group were accompanied by a young girl. A musical trio fired up. [Oh joy! Actually, it wasn’t too bad but if I wanted music I’d go to …] The two girls soon began playing contentedly together, with absolutely no sign of any language barrier or self-consciousness. Now why can’t we adults do likewise?

My main event was duck, Francine’s main was lamb. Jim, our friend, waxed lyrical about his fillet steak declaring it the best he’d ever had. It was all very convivial.

We just about managed enough limb movement to get back to the cars and meander our way back down the mountain road to Jalón where we could continue digesting.

Just a bite of cheese in the evening, then.

Posted in 2017-Spring Spain

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