Until we viewed our property on the huge La Finca Urbanisation, I’d never even heard of Algorfa. However, as soon as we walked through our garden apartment onto the terrace, and saw the Sierra de Callosa mountains and the orange groves winding their way down to the village two miles away, I knew that Tony and I had found our dream home in a perfect location. I’ll be telling you a lot more about Algorfa and the surrounding area, but for now I want to tell you about my own haven of peace and tranquility, which is the beautiful orange groves on our back doorstep.
In April and May, the smell of the orange blossom as you stroll down the back road to the village is overpowering. And once the bees arrive for pollination purposes, you wouldn’t believe the noise they make. Locally, it’s known as the Algorfa Roar, and if you happen to be around at the time, you’ll understand why. The hum of the bees builds into a crescendo of sound that can be heard for miles around.
And of course, there are the birds singing and flitting from tree to tree, and the rabbits running through the avenues and finding the safety of the warren if any dogs are around. In spring, if you kep your eyes peeled as you walk past the groves, you may even see a couple of hares, up on their hind legs boxing.
Come October, the oranges start to change from green to – well, orange. However, they are still hard to the touch, but by the end of November they are ready to be picked and eaten, although it will be at least another month or so before the commercial harvest begins. And the fruits will keep coming right through until the end of March.
The custom is that, if the groves are fenced off, you’re trespassing if you go in there, but if there is open access from the road, you can go in and walk your dog, and even pick a few oranges straight from the tree, as long as you’re not too greedy. The large, thin skinned Valencian oranges that grow in our local groves make wonderful fresh orange juice – sweet, but with just a hint of sharpness, and so juicy that just two oranges will provide us with a large glass of juice each to start our day.
I love to take my dog Paddy into the groves in the early evening, let him off the lead and watch him bound with unconfined joy along the avenues, sometimes chasing rabbits, but more often than not just enjoying being alive in that perfect space. While Paddy scales the almost vertical terracing that separates the different levels, I stroll along the ridges, loving the peace and tranquility, gazing out over the mountains, and watching the colours of evening chase across the sky as the sun sets. It’s my haven, and it’s right on my back doorstep. Aren’t I the lucky one?