WWOOF Espana - Orgiva

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March 8th 2010
Published: May 4th 2010
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We had landed back in mainland Spain by ferry from Ceuta (Spanish enclave at the tip of Morocco) and Algeciras we decided to go to our next WWOOF farm in Orgiva via Granada - and what a great choice that was. Set below the snowy Sierra Nevada mountains Granada melded our recent Moroccan experiences with Spanish, Moorish and gypsy culture. The number one draw card is the captivating, sensual and mystical palace-fortress ‘the Alhambra’ which overlooks the city. It is one of the most impressive pieces of architecture and art either of us have ever seen - it’s amazing! We wondered around in the buildings and gardens for hours but could’ve done so for days. Clarissa also chased graffiti artists around the streets snapping walls and doors for pieces to go into her fourth companion coffee top book ‘Graffiti Art of the World’. This book matches her images in ‘Cats of the World’, ‘Doors of the World’, oh and her ongoing novella research into ‘Love Stories of the World’. Stay tuned for more on these upcoming publications.

The farm we worked on was owned by Anthony and Catherine - ex-pat Brits who checked out of the rat race three years ago to build their dream house on a 2 acre farm with over 200 orange trees and 100 olive trees in the Las Alpujarras. It’s a common story for this part of Spain with large communities of Germans, Dutch and English re-locating to sunny Spain … or so they thought. It rained every day for the 10 that we were there, some days more than others, but not as much as in January (so we were told). We were driven across the river once but were then stranded on the other side for the entire time - save the make shift plank someone had strewn across the river for daily crossings to town. The farm dogs, mother and son team Oliva and Zumbar preferred to cross on foot, as did the guy who came to prune the seven 400 year old olive trees! Yep that’s right they prune and harvest from 400 year old trees! Oh and that means that the job for the WWOOFERS is dragging the branches down the hill, and stripping them for fire wood and mulching, and in the process getting very dirty. Most of the time there we were damp and dirty, not only because of the work and drizzle but also because the solar heating process seemed a little ineffective so hot water was scarce - except for the nine pots on the boil every few days.

Our accommodation, breakfast venue and personal retreat was an old, Dutch caravan about 50m from the main house - where we shared the kitchen, bathroom and lounge around dinner time. Through our work on the farm and questioning we learnt about: caring for citrus trees, harvesting olives, bread making, and composting toilets. We also learnt that 4L of red wine in a big plastic bottle isn’t always unpalatable. We spent many evenings chatting over said red wine and still woke in time for our 9:30 start … though I don’t think either of us will ever get used to waiting till 2:30pm lunch or 10pm for dinner! It is always interesting to hear the stories of people’s dreams and how they are living them out and coping with the changes this brings. It’s also great to get to share time with the earth and to eat the best oranges on the planet!

Orgiva itself is a hip little town especially on Thursday market day when lots of the hip-pie crowd roll down out of the hills to share food, coffee, conversations, and cigarettes while their kids run around cafes playing chasing games. We took a day trip up their neck of the woods into the high Alpujarra towns of Pampaneira, Bubion and Capileira on the one sunny day we had, then came back down to some more weeding in the rain.

Additional photos below
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10th May 2010

Photo 2
OMG - Clarissa certainly had a bad hair day!! Was it after the aforesaid wine? Ps What exactly was Karen doing with the machetes? Playing Ninjas or was it Monkey Magic? LOL Mum

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