ONE HUNDRED YEARS AGO THE VALLEY ORDESA WAS DECLARED A NATIONAL PARK. A CARPET OF GREEN VALLEYS CLEARS THE WAY TO THE IMPOSING PEAKS. WE ENTER THE DOMAINS OF THE GREAT PHARAOH OF THE SKY: THE BEARDED VULTURE.
The vehemence with which nature has protected the valley of Ordesa is undoubtedly the reason why its virginity remains unperturbed.
The defence has been a tenacious one. Centuries of wind, cold and unrelenting temperatures have carved cliffs that tear the sky apart with their jagged peaks.
The antechamber, however, is a patch of green valleys pierced by lively brooks. A carpet of fresh grass and wildflowers opens the path of this paradise, which is fortified between mountains. In 1918 the valley of Ordesa was declared a National Park. This impenetrable territory has turned a hundred years old.
Since the domain of exclusivity was wrested from nature, thousands of mountaineers, naturalists, scientists and tourists have travelled the countryside in search of hidden treasures. The Park is magnificent in its extent and fierce in the defence of its possessions.
Its orography is dominated by the Monte Perdido massif, with the Three Sorores summit, from where the valleys of Ordesa, Pineta, Añisclo and Escuaín are poured. The landscape is formidable, worthy of a romantic fable.
The extreme aridity of the peaks has cracked the rock causing water to seep through cracks gushing with crystalline waterfalls.
The canyons of the limestone rock make up a group of ravines where the view is not obstructed by any human presence. Only water, grass, species, vertigo. Ordesa is a treasure confined in time.
Hundreds of paths cross the signposted routes. Around these, we can find a bustling, heterogeneous fauna composed of small mammals such as marmots, which are easy to find among the brooks, and animals of high lineage such as the bucardo (Pyrenean ibex), a subspecies of the mountain goat that has found an impregnable lair in the shady rocks. The cold waters of the mountain rivers serve as the habitat for trout or the endemic triton of the Pyrenees.
Exceptional is undoubtedly the right word for the great pharaoh of the Park: the bearded vulture, an endangered osteophagous bird of prey whose very name spells terror, but whose demonic appearance conceals a deep fragility, along with a delicate way of understanding wildlife in the most stripped-down sense of the word. Its figure flies over the horizon, offering a terrifying vision. It is impressive when it throws the bones from the air so that, once crushed, they can use them as food.
The obligation to protect the integrity of the fauna and flora, in short, the set of ecosystems of these calcareous masses, led to the extension of the original National Park to its present size. The abysses of Monte Perdido (Lost Mountain) create a sense of disturbance with its spectral name only. These are high-altitude deserts where the bare rock reigns all over its extension. Only the presence of the glacial remains gives an inkling of the tumultuous past of these narrow sculptures.
The preservation of these sites is regulated by the European Diploma, the Biosphere Reserve, the Special Protection Area for Birds and, above all others, the World Heritage title given by Unesco in 1997. Such is its incalculable value.
PARADOR DE BIELSA
Located in the heart of the Huesca Pyrenees, at the foot of Monte Perdido, the Parador de Bielsa resurfaces in the midst of a canvas of groves, mountain lakes and meadows. The building maintains a comfortable environment in which wood is an omnipresent element.
The feeling of calm, with views of the mountain and the river, is noticeable at any time of the year. In summer, the landscape is full of life and splendour. The Parador stands as the ideal place for undertaking mountain excursions and outdoor activities.
Its restaurant is a gastronomic benchmark in the area thanks to its careful menu and the preparation of typical dishes with high-quality products, such as the Ternasco de Aragón (Young Lamb), the Teruel D.O. ham, the Tomate Rosa (Pink Tomato) from Barbastro, or the bread baked in the traditional oven of Labuerda.
From the exquisite handling of the local products, simple but tasty dishes emerge, such as the migas aragonesas (Aragonese crumbs), the trout of the Cinca River, the ternasco asado (Roasted young lamb), wild boar stew or the `teresicas´ of Aragón, a puff pastry dessert.