In mid-April, I grabbed an EasyJet flight from Milan to Malaga and then took a bus to Almuñecar to stay and work at Plácido's WWOOF farm, Jardin Tropical. With red poppies blooming on the sides of his valley, views of Andalucian mountains in the distance and over 100 varieties of fruit trees, the setting was quite idyllic.
When I arrived in Sicily in early March, my Spanish was sneaking into my Italian mixing me up when I spoke. Now in Spain after six weeks in Italy, my mouth was speaking Italian while my brain tried to speak in Spanish. The inside of my brain felt like the swirled poppies above.
For much of his citrus fruit, Plácido waits for it to ripen completely to the point that they fall off the trees and the next year's flowers bloom again. Thus, in April, his orchard was still full of many varieties of delicious oranges.
This area of Andalucia near the sea has a unique environment, being the zone in mainland Spain that is most nearly tropical. Plácido maintains a couple greenhouses to encourage his tropical experiments like this pineapple above.
Plácido's diet is nearly all vegan and raw. Above is an example of a typical lunch split between the two of us: papaya, banana, chirimoyas and nisperos.
Plácido removes plastic from some successful tree grafts on a pear? tree.
Close-up of two grafts
Plácido is passionate about his mango tree cuttings from Thailand.
In one of the greenhouses
The top of a mango cutting shows new growth.
Jiaogulan, known as immortality tea
Some fig trees
Plácido took me to a beautiful spot to do some rock-climbing outside Granada.
And I accidentally knocked a rock down into his forehead while he was belaying me down the rock face.