I’m pleased announce that Simon Rice, another iberianatureforum stalwart has just begun his own blog on iberianature. Simon is an excellent writer with an eye for the quirkier side of things, and is, like myself, a geographer who enjoys looking for patterns in landscapes, and interplay between geography, history and nature. He divides his time between Tarragona city and Fígols de Tremps, a hamlet in the Leridan Pyrenees so he’ll be concentrating on southern and western Catalonia. Here’s an extract from his first post, illustrated with the photo above.
What is it that makes a landscape so stunning? Certainly not sheer size as in this case the valley is dwarfed by the higher ranges just to the north and the two local big sierras, Boumort and Montsec. Walking the mile or so (a couple of kilometres at most) of farm track towards the Obac de Serradell, the last flat, cultivated space at the head of the valley, it struck me that here quite the opposite was the case; even though the landscape is big, even by Spanish standards, it is small enough to be constantly changing as I walked up the valley, with new vistas and facets emerging with every turn. Plus there is a lovely juxtaposition between the bare cliffs and the wooded slopes that reach up to them from the valley floor. Meanwhile, the domesticity of the immediate surroundings, with their rolling meadows and quaint bordes, or field barns, contrasted with the primordial appearance of the dense forest and the heavily eroded slopes.