Hola from Tarifa

We woke at 7:00 and ate oranges, bread and tea on the steps outside of our room.  We then carried our belongings to the car and moved east.  Our plan was to look at Gilbraltar for I. filifolia, which we hope to find flowering and then drive to Tarifa.  Iris juncea may occur in the hills around Tarifa.  From its description I. juncea is similar to I. filifolia but has yellow flowers.  The information on it is thin and it may only be a color form of I. filifolia.   It may be ecologically distinct and occur in less rocky sites possibly in fields or along the road.
    We parked in the town of La Linea that borders Gilbraltar and walked across the border.  From the Gilbralter side we caught a bus to the base of the upper rock and began our hike.  Soon we saw I. albicans through a fence.  Unfortunately this was a military site and we could not cross over the fence to take a better look.  We have been looking in the former Arab villages throughout the region without seeing this Iris and were surprised to see it here.
The guards at the Upper Rock Park Entrance were amazed that we were walking in and asked where our car was.  We walked to the top of the rock without finding I. filifolia and were feeling rather dejected.  Along the way we saw monkeys that we understood had come from across the strait from Northern Africa.  The vegetation was mostly weedy but there were a few gladiolus and saxifraga on the rocky wall.  While looking out toward Africa, Clyde spied one Iris flowering on the cliff.  We then walked around at the top and saw several plants on the steep face of the rock.  It is a tough environment. We realized that we could have ridden the Gondola to the top and skipped the hike up.  After taking pictures we hiked back down, caught the bus, walked across the border and headed for Tarifa.  We arrived late in Tarifa and skipped dinner. -May 19, 2007