30th April 2009, airport in Berlin, 25°C, blue, cloudless sky – two hours later we arrive in Naples, 20°C and cloud formations of clouds of the dramatic type hanging in the sky; four hours later, after heavy showers on the A3 motorway, we reach the final destination of our Rotonda journey, the Basilikata region.
We are greeted by an impressive rainbow, which my boyfriend Silko (my companion for this part of my Wild Wonders of Europe mission) and I interpret to be a good sign for our days to come in the mountains of Southern Italy… I am on a mission across the Pollino National Park, a mission that I started together with Sandra Bartocha last autumn to add a few more photographic images to my Wild Wonders of Europe portfolio.
Here in the mountains everything is starting to turn green. The past days brought plenty of rain and the vegetation is literally exploding and the pattern of colours of the mountain sides is slowly shifting. The fields of snow, which are not very white anymore, are detracting towards the summits and day by day, metre by metre, the green of the forests is pushing further towards the sky.
Green shoots are sprouting from the boulders and soil of the mountainsides and soon the violet mist of thousands of wild crocuses will cover them. The first butterflies are fluttering across the meadows, which are coming alive with early orchids and dozens of the over 1500 species of wild flowers that can be found in this National Park. The small streams, fit to burst with snowmelt and rain, are flowing into the distance following the motto “be wild”.
These are perfect conditions to work in the beautiful forests of the Pollino National Park. The sky is overcast with clouds creating an even light. Wafts of mist surround the grey trunks of the slim, moss and lichen covered copper beech trees. The rain has intensified the fresh and strong colours.
The old autumn foliage has been transformed into a slippery carpet. But with its red-brown colours it is the perfect contrast for the new shades of green.
For hours we wander through forests, following the flow of the stream with its swirls and pools. Huge beech trees and bizarre tree sculptures invite us to stop time and time again to capture new images. Only as dusk starts to settle we return to the valley to the house of our guide, Guiseppe.
Please note that blogs reflect our photographers' opinions and not necessarily those of the directors of Wild Wonders of Europe.