This past two days we have experienced the phenomenon, known as “clay rain”, which is related to the transport of sand particles from the Sahara desert to the Iberian Peninsula, and is due to affect Portugal for a few days. Marc and I experienced it a few years back and it really wreaks havoc with things as it can affect your eyes, sinuses, etc. Not to mention how it coats everything…you don’t hang out any laundry while it’s occurring!!!
Heading out for a hike this morning we noticed it had already subsided a little and our “fog” wasn’t as prevalent as it was yesterday. My objective today was to head off in search of something I like to see each year that I am here.
Lavandula viridis, commonly known as green lavender is a species of flowering plant in the family Lamiaceae, occurring naturally in southern Portugal. I seek it out each year as I love the scent and I think it looks so much more exotic than typical lavender. Today our hike at Barancco do Velho was specifically to “hunt” it down.
James and I walked down the Pousada lane as Pat and Gary were going to pick us up. There is a very old horta on the road and although it looks to be abandoned I occasionally see evidence of a clean-up or sorts. Peeking in the gate today it was evident somebody had been around and the colour, and scent, was wonderful.
We arrived at Barranco do Velho, parked, and headed off on the trail. Although my eyes were watching for lavender I didn’t want to miss out on anything else, including the simple pleasure of the walk and my hiking companions.
I came across a savage tribe of pine cone hunters…….they tend to be dangerous, especially when hungry, so I kept my distance!!!
And then, finally, patch after patch of what I came to find. Lavandula Virdis! The hills were alive!!
And simply to show I am not a prejudiced person……
I had mentioned the “fog” of “clay rain”, these next two photos give you a small idea of what it looks like to our eye,.
Other than bumping into two other folks during our walk we had the entire forest and ravine to ourselves. Truly a lovely and almost spiritual experience to be convening with Mother Nature alone like this.
You might recall from my posting of this trail in the past that there is a small monte with interesting wall/garden art. Today we explored it a little more than previous walks and discovered a few new additions. No sign of the owner or today I would have chatted him up.
From this small area we climb a fairly steep hill/road and for a few minutes, about 200 meters, are on the main road before cutting back into the opposite hillside. This area has a few houses and it was a treat to see some of the flowers that had opened up since my last stop here.
Back into the final stretch of trail there was an abundance of heather, so much so that in places the entire hillside had that purply/gray colour. I thought this patch of the two plants side by side was especially vibrant.
A great appetite builder and as we were not far from the village we stopped to see if one of our favourite places might be opened, and it was!!
What a feast we enjoyed, accompanied by sound effects that are best left unrecorded!!!!
It was a lovely outing, as all of them tend to be. Marc is busy at home these days as he has been invited to, and instrumental in, participating in two more exhibitions before we leave here in May. Lots of logistical and practical things to take care of. I’ll post a photo of him soon, I promise.
In the meantime, I sign off with a photo of our sage bush…….I see sage roasted chicken in my future.
Abraços de Portugal