Along the GR10 from Germ for a stroll…

As part of the festivities described earlier, a group of 16 of us also spent a couple of nights at the fabulous Centre de Montagne at Germ. Probably best described as ‘hostel-plus’, the Centre de Montagne has scored a tremendous hit with the opening of ‘Chez Lily’ their bistro and bar just beneath the Centre. This transforms the atmosphere with its quirky tapas and meals menus, great wine and concerts/music throughout the year, and such nice people run it. What a delight.

GR10 group, July 2015

GR10 group, July 2015

However, despite the attractions of the bistro, we did tear ourselves away and stroll along the GR10 on a very misty, cool day rather reminsicent of Scotland- which was actually a lovely, refreshing change from the heat and sun of previous days. The GR10 was filled with interesting plants revelling in the moistness of the day. Dianthus plumarius, the wild dianthus of the Pyrenees, was flowering everywhere, very pretty, with pink/lilac fringed flowers.  For more information about the garden variety, click here.

Dianthus plumarius, GR10 Germ, July 2015

Dianthus plumarius, GR10 Germ, July 2015

The pyramid orchid, Anacamptis pyramidalis, could also be seen- not numerous, but in one or two small drifts close to the path.

Anacamptis pyramidalis, GR10 Germ, July 2015

Anacamptis pyramidalis, GR10 Germ, July 2015

And this was a magnificent clump of pink thistles, quite different from the regular variety, which was everywhere. I have tried to identify it from the web, and so this may or may not be Carduus deforatus…

Carduus deforatus, GR10 Germ, July 2015

Carduus deforatus, GR10 Germ, July 2015

And, of course, the magnificent blue of the wild Eryngium bourgatii.  There is a spectacular cultivated variety called ‘Picos Blue’ which I have always lusted after…

Eryngium bourgatii, GR10 Germ, July 2015

Eryngium bourgatii, GR10 Germ, July 2015

Everywhere, like so many discarded paper tissues, were the nests of the funnel spider, apparently native to Andalucia, and maybe turning up on the French side from imported olive trees.  The spider waits in the funnel for its prey, and is difficult to see.

Funnel spider in web, GR10 Germ, July 2015

Funnel spider in web, GR10 Germ, July 2015

At one point, we passed a spot where, quite naturally, a group of sempervivums and grasses had populated themselves into a rockery display that Dan Pearson would have been proud of….I think, again from the net, that they were Sempervivum montanum, with the yellowing indicating the level of stress the plants were suffering due to the heat and very dry conditions of the past few weeks.

Sempervivum montanum, GR10 Germ, July 2015

Sempervivum montanum, GR10 Germ, July 2015

Sempervivum montanum, GR10 Germ, July 2015

Sempervivum montanum, GR10 Germ, July 2015

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