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The Engadine Valley lies in the south-east corner of Switzerland, aroundthe deep glacial trench of the RiverInn which drains eastwards on its longjourney to the Danube and the Black Sea.Surrounded by 3,000-metre peaks, thearea has long been known for itsconcentration of winter resorts, centred onthe opulent spa town of St. Moritz. To thesouth lies the intricate mountain frontierwith Italy, dominated by the awe-inspiringBernina group, a jagged panorama of ice-clad peaks - the tallest being the 4,049-metre Piz Bernina - from which glacialtongues descend to the valleys. The rocksof this area are predominantly acidic,including granites, shales and schists, buteast of the Val Bernina there are notableareas of limestone. Most of the plantstypical of the central Alps are found here,with the addition of species morecharacteristic of the eastern Alps. To enjoythe best of this flora, particularly theemergence of the high 'alpines' from themelting snows, this tour is later than mostof our other botanical departures inEurope, since the continental climatecombined with the high altitude of thisregion means that spring arrives late. Our base for the week is the quiet andcharming town of Pontresina. Lying at1,800 metres, amongst forests of ArollaPine and Larch, on a south-west-facingterrace at the foot of the Val Bernina, this isan ideal base from which to explore thearea. As elsewhere in Switzerland, thetransport network is well-developed andefficient, allowing us to make full use of thelocal railways, buses and cable cars toreach the best sites with a minimum ofeffort. The extensive footpaths furtherprovide excellent access to the region andour programme of daily walks (broken bydelicious picnics!) will include the flexibilityto cater for all levels of walking ability.Our holiday begins with a flight to Zürich,then a train journey through the beautifulSwiss countryside to Pontresina. Themountains above and to the east of thetown are accessible by funicular railway orchairlift, and from them the views of theInn Valley and surrounding peaks arespectacular. Here we will spend plenty oftime exploring the pastures, rocks andscrees which abound with such plants asAlpenrose, Creeping Azalea, AlpineClover, Spring Pasque Flower and Bird's-eye Primrose. We may also find plantswith a more easterly distribution such asSpotted Gentian, both Broad-leaved andEntire-leaved Primrose and DwarfSnowbell. At lower altitudes, as we walkthrough the open forests of Arolla Pine, weshould additionally find such plant speciesas Alpine Clematis, Martagon Lily, WhiteFalse-helleborine and the rare Twin Flower(Linnaea borealis), as well as such avianresidents as Nutcracker, Coal Tit, Firecrestand Crossbill, and that charmingmammalian denizen of the forest, the Red Squirrel.Towards the Bernina Pass, the valleys oneither side of the limestone pyramid of PizAlv are famous for their rich flora, whichenjoys special protection. A gentle walk upthe Val da Fain takes us through naturalrock gardens as far as La Stretta, the passwhich leads into the Italian Livigno. We willsearch here for Alpine Leek, TuftedBellflower and Beaked Lousewort andmarvel at the abundance of gentians,primroses and pasque flowers. We shouldalso see the noisy Alpine Marmots whichare common in these valleys and perhapssome Ibex which roam freely over thesummits. To the south, Val Minor offers acircular route around Piz Lagalb, with aprofusion of flowers on limestone andacidic rocks. In the lower part of this valleywe can expect Baby's-breath, Large-flowered Rock-rose, Pyrenean Horminumand a variety of orchids; higher up, wheresnow lingers late into the season, weshould see drifts of the yellow AlpinePasque Flower, Creeping Avens andsplashes of pink Alpine Rock-jasmineamong the rocks.Taking the Rhaetian railway to the BerninaHospice, we can follow the north and west banks of the Lago Bianco, the damthat straddles the watershed, and descend to Alp Grum to enjoy the views of the Poschiavo Valley far below. Here, on the south-facing slopes, the season is appreciably more advanced and manyflowers are to be found, including Primula integrifolia,Primula hirsutaandPrimula latifoliawhich grow abundantly, in close proximity, with a bewildering array of hybrids!The cable cars that serve the ski resorts oneither side of the Inn Valley offer excitingsummer possibilities. On one day we willride, from Sils, above the treetops to Murtel,from where a short walk brings us to thehigh pass at Fuorcla Surlej where the wetturf beneath the glacier is covered in sheetsof Primula integrifoliaand Soldanella pusillaand a careful search of nearby crags willreveal the beautiful, blue, King of the Alps.From here it is a pleasant walk back toPontresina down the forested Roseg Valley.On another - perhaps our final - day, wewill ascend to the dizzy heights of Piz Nair(3,057 metres), high above St. Moritz,where the airy summit ridge and screesbeneath it hold stunning displays of GlacierCrowfoot, Eritrichium nanum, Mount CenisPansy and many other alpine gems. Later,we descend on good paths and explore thelower slopes, before marking the end of ourbotanical explorations with a little time torelax in St. Moritz!149Outline itineraryDay 1Fly Zürich and transfer bytrain to Pontresina.Day 2/7Botanical walks andexcursions fromPontresina.Day 8Transfer by train to Zürichand fly London.AccommodationA single-centre holiday based in avery comfortable hotel in Pontresina;all rooms have private facilities. FoodAll included in the price.GradingDay walks only. Grade B(occasionally C, but optional).Between 1,800 and 3,000 metres(though most ascents by cable car orrailway).FocusAlpine flora . though mammals,birds and butterflies will also beenjoyed. LeaderDavid Tattersfield.Single room supplement£120.Web quick search: CHE01FRANCE ITALY GERMANY AUSTRIA GENEVA BERN JUNGFRAU MATTERHORN LUCERNE PONTRESINA ZÜRICHLAKE GENEVA LAKE NEUCHATEL LAKEZÜRICHLAKE LUCERNE SWITZERLAND Book direct on 01962 733051or see page 284 for Booking InformationSwitzerland - Alpine Flowersof the Upper Engadine An 8-day, single-centre holiday focusing on the alpine flora and glorious scenery of the Upper Engadine Valley during a week-long programme of mountain walks in the Swiss Alps.Sunday 30th June - Sunday 7th July Cost: £1,395Sunday 7th July - Sunday 14th July Cost: £1,395(This tour can be combined with our 'Wengen - Alpine Flowers of the Swiss Alps' holiday outlined on Page 148)Primula integrifoliaThe Upper Engadine

By any criterion, Turkey is a remarkablecountry. Standing at the crossroadsbetween Europe, Asia and Africa ithas always occupied a position of globalimportance and, for over a thousand years,was the heartland of the mighty EasternRoman Byzantine Empire which wasadministered from the magnificent capitalcity of Constantinople, known today asIstanbul. Later it became the centre of theOttoman Empire which extended beyondthe Mediterranean into North Africa andArabia and lasted for over 500 years untilthe foundations of modern Turkey were laiddown at the beginning of the 20th century.Archaeological remains of this colourfulhistory are found throughout the countryand included in this Naturetrek tour will bevisits to Ephesus and Hierapolis, two of thebest-preserved classical sites in the world!Turkey is also a wonderful destination forthe naturalist, especially in the spring. Bymid-April the stream of migrant birdsarriving from Africa has grown into averitable flood, bringing shrikes - includingMasked Shrike - to adorn roadsidetelephone wires and filling the air with thesong of countless Nightingales andwarblers. Coastal lagoons are crowded withflamingoes, pelicans, terns and migratingwaders, while the mountain forests echo tothe distinctive nasal call of the Krüper'sNuthatch. Throughout the countryside ofwestern Turkey, nature celebrates the newseason with vivid displays of colourprovided by the plumages of Bee-eaters,Rollers and Hoopoes and, above all, theprofusion of anemones, buttercups, orchidsand other wild flowers transforming themeadows with the brightness of theirblooms. Our tour begins with a flight to Izmir, theancient city of Smyrna and the third largestin Turkey. We will quickly escape the hustleand bustle, however, with a visit to theGediz Delta. The saltpans on the edge ofthe delta are home to 4,000 pairs of GreaterFlamingoes, plus colonies of MediterraneanGulls, Dalmatian Pelicans and a variety ofterns. Numerous migrating waders feed inthe shallows, while overhead patrol LannerFalcon, Marsh Harrier and the occasionalPallid Harrier, and in nearby villages springis announced by the arrival of White Storksand Lesser Kestrels.Next we transfer to the coastal town ofKusadasi, our base for two nights while weenjoy a pleasant mixture of natural historywalks and archaeological excursions,including a visit to the legendary city ofEphesus, one of the best-preservedclassical sites in the world and once theRoman capital of Asia. Nearby, DilekNational Park offers the most pristineMediterranean habitat in western Turkey andlies on the beautiful Aegean coast oppositethe Greek island of Samos. Above themaquis-covered slopes soar a variety ofraptors including Bonelli's Eagle, Peregrine,Eleonora's Falcon and perhaps a migrantLesser Spotted Eagle or Black Kite.Subalpine, Rüppell's and Orphean Warblerssing side by side from the low scrub, whileKrüper's Nuthatches inhabit the extensivetracts of Callabrian Pine and RockNuthatches scold noisily from their boulder-strewn haunts. Interesting flora includes theEastern Strawberry Tree, Oriental Bugle,Mandrake and a dazzling array of orchidsincluding Anatolian Orchid, Holy Orchid,Toothed Orchid and the endemicCephalanthesa kotschyaria.South of Dilek National Park lies the vastalluvial plain of the River Menderes and thefreshwater Lake Bafa. This area is home tolarge numbers of egrets and herons, alongwith White Pelicans, Spur-winged Plovers,Pygmy Cormorants, Ruddy Shelducks,Long-legged Buzzards and a variety ofmigrating waders. In the drier countrysidenearby we will enjoy a variety of westernTurkey's passerines including MaskedShrike, Rüppell's Warbler, Cretzschmar's Bunting, Isabelline Wheatear and the shyOlive-tree Warbler.For our final two nights we climb along theRiver Menderes to the town of Denizli, whichlies at an altitude of about 1,000 metres.From here we visit the ancient city ofHierapolis, a World Heritage Site which sitsatop an area of geothermal hot springs andthe terraced white calcium cliffs ofPamukkale (the 'Cotton Castle'). Hierapoliswas founded as a thermal spa early in the2nd century and today is one of the best-preserved classical cities in Turkey. Finally,as the birds and flowers beckon once more,we will end our tour with a visit to the salineLake Acigöl and freshwater Isikli Gölü.Greater Flamingo, Avocet, Slender-billedGull, Ferruginous Duck and Red-crestedPochard are all possible here, although itwill be the surrounding Central AnatolianSteppe and juniper scrubland that is likelyto produce the most exciting birds such asOrphean and Rüppell's Warbler andFinsch's Wheatear. If fortunate, we mayeven end the holiday with views of thebeautiful White-throated Robin - a fittingfinale to our time in Turkey before we retraceour steps back to Izmir to catch our returnflight home.Western Turkey - Birds,Flowers & History An 8-day wildlife holiday to the eastern Mediterranean to enjoy the birds, flowers and archaeologicalhighlights of western Turkey, a country at the crossroads between Europe, Asia and Africa. Tuesday 16th April - Tuesday 23rd April Cost: £1,395Outline itineraryDay 1Fly Izmir.Day 2/3Kusadasi.Day 4/5Lake Bafa.Day 6/7Denizli.Day 8Fly London.AccommodationComfortable tourist hotels withprivate facilities.FoodAll breakfasts and dinners areincluded in the price. Lunches arenot included; allow £5-£10 per day.GradingA. Gentle day walks only.FocusBirds, flowers andhistory/archaeology.LeadersAndy Harding and Kerem Ali Boyla.Single room supplement£195.Web quick search: TUR02150Call now or visit www.naturetrek.co.ukfor your free Trip ItineraryTURKEYAEGEAN SEAEPHESUSKUSADASIDENIZLILAKE BAFAHIERAPOLISMOUNT BOZDAGIZMIRDILEKNATIONAL PARKOrchis italicaEphesusWhite-throated Robin