Another small tree species, Acer sempervirens was just beginning to turn colour. Descending to Fournes for lunch at the Botanic Park, we returned to a much warmer climate and the most eclectic of lunches. After delicious mushrooms, omelette and stuffed vegetables we were presented with plates of all sorts of berries from the exotic trees and shrubs growing in the fertile valleys below. Types of pineapple guava Acca sellowiana, persimmon, and a black fruit that tasted like a lychee were beautifully presented but sadly with no identification for diners of what we were eating.
After lunch we walked down through the hundreds of tropical plants, brought from all over the world. There were Macadamia nuts Macadamia integrifolia and lilly pilly Syzygium oleosum from Australia, many different citrus and myriad fruits, climbers and nuts new to most of us in the group, British gardeners.
A wonderfully named gold finger shrub, Juanulloa mexicana grew alongside the path, it is a member of the Solanaceae and said to flower almost continuously.
At the base of the valley, were caged vegetables, birds and sheep along with dramatic signs of the November 2018 flooding which had washed masses of soil and gravel downstream, damaging this area. On the way back, several of us stopped for breath next to what looked like a tap. Instead it provided a fine mist of water, an excellent way to cool down for visitors on the long climb back. I was thankful my camera was inside its case. That night we dined amongst merry groups from Slovenia and Germany, all making the most of the last few days when the Samarian Gorge is open for the year.